Plebe Summer, which began July 1, is a demanding, fast-paced boot camp-style orientation that begins four years of preparation of midshipmen before commissioning as naval officers. It demands physical and mental challenges with the purpose of developing leadership ability, motivation, moral strength and physical skills.
Of the 1,191 men and women who began Plebe Summer six weeks ago, only 13 voluntarily dropped from the program over the course of the training. This being one of the lowest attrition rates of recent history, the academy staff attributed the success to a focus on safety and well-planned training.
The Class of 2019 is composed of 859 men and 324 women from all over the United States and includes 12 international students from around the globe. Ninety-two percent of the class competed in varsity athletics during high school and 32% come from college and post-high school preparatory programs.
“We are proud to say that this new class is one of the most culturally diverse and highly competitive that we have ever had at the academy,” said Vice Adm. Ted Carter, USNA superintendent. “This is also the largest class of women and varsity athletes that we have ever had.”
Often time, parents say they don't recognize their sons and daughters right away, as in just over a month most of them have drastically changed. They say they stand taller and straighter, often say "sir" and "ma'am" and use Navy terms, acronyms and abbreviations with ease.
During the four-day weekend, parents watched the plebes’ formal parade, toured the dorms at Bancroft Hall, and meet with faculty and staff members to get a glimpse of the life at the Naval Academy.
“We are incredibly excited and this is all really a lot to take in,” said Mary Colton, mother of Midshipman 4th Class J.P. Colton. “It’s great to have the opportunity not only to support him during this huge time in his life, but to be able to get involved in some of the things that the plebes experience just makes you feel better about the whole thing.”
The Class of 2019 is scheduled to join the entire Brigade of Midshipmen during a reform ceremony Aug. 18. After the ceremony, plebes will move to their permanent company spaces in preparation for the academic school year.