Thursday, July 2, 2015

Induction Day An Emotional Experience For Plebe Parents

For the parents of the incoming Class of 2019, dropping their sons and daughters off at the U.S. Naval Academy’s Induction Day July 1 was an especially emotional experience.

“It's something my daughter has wanted for a very long time,” said Andrew Bowen. “But watching her walk through that gate and into Alumni Hall – it got my attention.”

Photo by Gin Kai

 I-Day marks the beginning of Plebe Summer, a physically and mentally demanding six-week indoctrination period designed to transition civilian students to military life.

“Today’s a day of transformation,” said Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter during the parents’ briefing. “They showed up as boys and girls, but in the course of about 12 hours today, we're transforming them into not only midshipmen but young men and women. You will see a change after they take the oath today.”

After the Oath of Office, the plebes met briefly with their families – the last time they’ll see them until Plebe Parents Weekend Aug. 13-16.

Photo by MC2 Nathan Wilkes

During that six-week period, new plebes have little opportunity to speak with family and friends back home. They don’t have access to computers and can phone home only three times throughout the summer for 30 minutes at a time. Most of their communication home is done through written letters.

The concept of Plebe Summer is “positive pressure with a purpose.” It’s necessary for the new plebes to be tested, to learn how to work together and depend on each other to succeed in an intense environment.

Photo by MC2 Nathan Wilkes

“We're not talking about just developing leaders for the Navy and Marine Corps. We're talking about developing leaders for our nation,” said Carter, who recalled his own induction day 38 years ago, when he arrived at the Naval Academy for the first time.

“I was scared to death,” he said. But he remembers every minute of his induction day ceremony. “Rest assured, this is the first exciting day of many to come.”

Through the tears of parting and the anticipation of seeing their children transitioning to adults, there is also a great deal of pride in what they’ve accomplished so far.

Photo by MC2 Nathan Wilkes

“We’re very proud and excited for him,” said James Comford about his son Austin. “Obviously there are a lot of emotions today but they are all good emotions. It’s his dream, and he is living it.”

"I can see him as he came in as a boy, and it seems like already I'm talking to a man," said Ron Collier about his grandson. "I see him facing the challenges. And I appreciate the fact that they have a plan to take this young man and mold him ... to be the leader he needs to be."

1 comment:

  1. This was a fantastic day for our family, to see our son reach this milestone. He has worked so very diligent to get to this point. God has been a blessing in our collective lives. Thank you for your blessings and grace.

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