Have you ever wondered what life at the USNA is like? It is challenging, to say the least. The “midshipman experience” involves a tightly structured schedule that is designed to push them well beyond perceived limits both physically and mentally. Here is a picture of what life at the USNA.
The summer before a midshipman starts instruction at the USNA serves as a transition from civilian to midshipman. However, this is no easy summer. Once arriving in Annapolis, MD and entering through the gate on Induction Day, plebes don the uniform and embark on the indoctrination process. The first thing they learn is a proper salute. The rigors of the day, for the next seven weeks, kick off at dawn and continues long after sunset. Upon a plebe’s first day, he/she learns a whole new “Naval” vocabulary:
- The Deck = The Floor
- The Wall = The Bulkhead
- The Restroom = The Head
- Classmates = Midshipmen, Mids, Middies
- Midshipman First Year= Firstie
- Student Body = The Brigade
- Naval Service = The Fleet
Just the Basics, Ma’am
The Brigade is divided into six battalions. Further, five companies make up each battalion, for a total of 30 companies. The company is the most significant unit. All midshipmen live in Bancroft Hall, an immense dormitory complex. However, mids eat, sleep, study, drill, play and compete as teams as a company. They learn to trust and rely on each other. This all mimics life in the Navy and Marine Corps where small unit cohesion is crucial. Every semester, companies compete for the title, ‘Color Company,’ which means they are the best in the Brigade. Companies accumulate points during academic performance, professional and athletic excellence. The two winning groups are recognized at the Color Parade during Commissioning Week. They also receive special privileges the following year.
Living with Honor
An Honorable Life
The Honor Concept of the Brigade of Midshipmen urges everyone to carry out their duties with the highest sense of personal integrity and honor. Additionally, loyalty to the service, its customs, and its traditions, are fundamental characteristics essential to a successful naval officer. Accordingly, lying, cheating, and stealing are never tolerated. And could serve as the reason for separation from the Naval Academy. Furthermore, the honor treatise emphasizes “doing what is right” rather than only not breaking the rules.
A Day in The Life
A typical weekday schedule for a midshipman:
5:30 a.m. Arise for personal fitness workout (optional)
6:30 a.m. Reveille (all hands out of bed)
6:30 – 7:00 a.m. Special instruction period for plebes
7:00 a.m. Morning meal formation
7:15 a.m. Morning Meal
7:55 – 11:45 a.m. Four class periods, 50 minutes each
12:05 p.m. Noon meal formation
12:10 p.m. Noon meal
12:50 – 1:20 p.m. Company training time
1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Fifth and sixth class periods
3:45 – 6:00 p.m. Varsity and intramural athletics, extracurricular and personal activities; drill and parades twice weekly in the fall and spring
6:30 – 7:15 p.m. Evening Meal
8:00 – 11:00 p.m. Study period
12 Midnight. Taps for all midshipmen
Add in the time required for military instruction, inspection prep, extra academic instruction, and you see the demands on a mid’s time are hefty.
No Rest for the Weary
Think Midshipmen enjoy summer break like other college students? Think again. For mids, the summer brings with it extra opportunities to learn about their future lives serving in the military.
- Third Class Summer
The first summer after experiencing life as a midshipman is
a cruise aboard a surface ship or a submarine. It offers a snapshot of life as a Fleet enlisted personnel. Mids become part of the crew, participating in operations, drills, and watches. It is an opportunity to experience what life is like for the men and women you may one day lead after commissioning.
- Second Class Summer
During this summer, mids complete Professional Training of Midshipmen (PROTRAMID). This program introduces them to the missions, equipment, and the people of the major Navy and Marine Corps branches. Midshipmen may have the opportunity to fly in Navy aircraft, drive ships, and partake in Marine Corps combat training.
- First Class Summer
In the final summer, Midshipman may choose a myriad of assignments. The experience serves as assistance for mids with their warfare community preferences before their service assignment during their last fall semester.
Midshipmen Pay and Benefits
Did you know that the Navy pays for the total tuition, room, and board, medical and dental care of every Naval Academy midshipman? Midshipman also enjoys regular active-duty benefits such as access to military commissaries and exchanges, commercial transportation and lodging discounts, plus the ability to fly space-available in military aircraft around the world. What’s more, midshipman earns a monthly stipend of $1017. However, laundry, barber, cobbler, activities fees and other service charges are automatically deducted every month. Actual cash pay starts a $100 per month and increases slightly every year. Any remaining amount is stored and maintained by the Midshipman Disbursing Officer for future educational expenses.
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