Tips from Parents for Swabs


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Apr 27, 2007
I thought this might be a good thread to start. Here is my tip of the day:

When writing letters to your swab this summer, regardless of the fact that some of the info you get in the cadet/parent handbooks, address your letters to:

Swab John Smith

And not

Cadet John Smith or Cadet 4/c John Smith

That will make life a little easier for your swab...just trust me on this one.
During swab summer, the cadre try to find things to irritate the swabs and that is one way they can do it. They are not "cadets" yet and so when the cadre sort the mail, it is just another way to take a little jab. Hope that makes sense. We got a few notes to that effect from our son last summer. I remember one letter that he wrote that basically said "Swab ____ requests that his mail be addressed to Swab ____. Swab ___ is a swab and not a cadet." Something along those lines...I hear they are told sometimes that they are a swab until they see another swab (obviously the next R-Day).

The letter was only a couple of lines long and started with:

Dear Swab ______'s parents....

and was signed:


Swab _____

P.S. Obviously all the blanks are my son's name and he had written the letter.
They are developing leaders there but swab summer is definitely NOT the time of their stay at the academy that they want to draw "unnecessary" attention to themselves.

On R-Day, there is usually a large crate (rolling mail crate) outside Leamy set up so parents can put packages and mail in for their cadets so they get it the next day (versus mailing it). It sometimes sits in the direct sun so avoid chocolate (!) in the boxes. Pretzels, cookies and other food items that don't melt are great.

Another tip is if you want mail, make it as easy as possible for your swab. By that I mean, leave him/her with preaddressed and stamped envelopes and even a few checkbox/circle correct answer letters with questions like this:

I am it here......uggh

The cadre are so....nice.....mean....grouchy.....not as bad as I thought

This place is like a....hotel....vacation resort.....prison.....just the way I expected.

The food is...great....good....fair....poor

You will get a lot more letters if you do those things. They have very little time to write but want you to know they are doing okay.
phone cards/cell phones

I was browsing through the parents handbook for 2007 and I wanted to mention that I was nervous about the cell phone/phone card thing last year before my son reported. I was afraid he wouldn't be able to get in touch with us when they finally granted them permission to call. I bought a phone card as was suggested in the parents handbook, but when the time came, he charged up his cell phone and used it and has never used the phone card. I think I bought one with like 200 minutes on it. I guess my suggestion is that if you buy a phone card, it may never get used, so you may want to opt for fewer minutes on a phone card if you do leave one with your swab. We had Cingular cell service but changed to Verizon when he was home for Thanksgiving because the Cingular service at the academy...our experience...was very bad. It was like night and day between the two services. It may have been our phones, I'm not sure, but I remember a lot of mention of other people having the same problem with Cingular.

We went from calls dropping off every minute or two with Cingular to him being able to talk to us clear as a bell even if he was using his ear thingy...gosh, what are those things called???

The other thing is, basically all the kids have cell phones so if your swab has any trouble with his cell phone after it being stored, ANY of the other swabs would be more than happy to let yours use theirs.
Tracfone's might be a good trade off. 20$ for the cell phone & first 80 minutes. I guess they won't have that much time to talk on the phone.
Tracfone's might be a good trade off. 20$ for the cell phone & first 80 minutes. I guess they won't have that much time to talk on the phone.

You really don't get to use your cell phone until Eagle or the Flag ceremony whichever comes first in your schedule. Then when summer ends you will get them back. Verizon is the best service at the Academy.