This morning, 1,184 men and women entered Alumni Hall on the Yard of the United States Naval Academy to take the first step to becoming officers in the Navy and Marines–the plebes arrived for Induction Day, or I-Day. The day when they say goodbye to their loved ones and friends for six weeks of a grueling summer where they are indoctrinated into the ways of military life.
In about 4 hours, they will be issued a new uniform, given a thorough physical, register and sign up for various programs, sign an oath of office, and be instructed in some of the finer points of military life-like saluting, how to carry your cover (hat), and how to address the upperclassmen and officers who will be working with them this summer.
Over the years, I-Day seems to have become kinder and gentler. Four years ago, there seemed to be more raised voices and urgency in the orders being barked. A plebe might be ordered to say “good morning” to every passerby in the hallway regardless of military affiliation or rank. When they were instructed in saluting and proper wearing of their cover, there was a lot more of the stereotypical “in your face” military. This morning’s induction was noticeably less rigid.
Sacks of belongings were dragged along the floors and not carried over the shoulder in a sprint. Very few raised voices were heard, and to be honest, most plebes were still smiling when they finally boarded the bus to Bancroft Hall for the remainder of the afternoon. In the past, that was not the case!
But all of that is not to say they do not have a tough road ahead of them in terms of their training this summer, the remainder of their time at the USNA and in their service commitment (5 years) to the Navy or Marines.
Some facts about plebe summer that may surprise you:
- They eat 4000 calories per day
- The awake at 530am and lights out is at 1000pm
- They undergo 140 hours of physical training
- They run 100 miles
- By the end of the summer they must do 45 push ups, 65 curl ups, a 1.5 mile run under 10:30,
- They will memorize all 225 pages of Reef Points, the “manual” for the USNA
- They will not have access to Internet, television, music, movies, or radio.
- They are allowed to make only 3 telephone calls during the 7 weeks of summer
- They will be reunited with their family on Parents Weekend at the end of the sixth week and they will be changed people
Right now, the Class of 2020 (and one embedded reporter from The Capital) has been processed and are in Bancroft Hall being attended to by the detailers (upperclassmen) and further indoctrinated into the ways of the USNA. They will emerge at 6pm as changed individuals who will take part in an Oath of Office Ceremony. They will be briefly reunited with their loved ones for a final bit of home cooking before headed into Bancroft for the first night of Plebe Summer. Reveille at 0500.
More coverage later from the ceremony and also photo galleries.