Charles Heath, a graduate of Brunswick School in Greenwich was inducted into the Naval Academy Class of 2024 on June 25, and will begin six challenging weeks of basic midshipman training as part of Plebe Summer.
Approximately 1,200 candidates are selected each year for the Academy’s “plebe” or freshman class, and each student is required to participate in Plebe Summer. Last year the Naval Academy received over 16,000 applications for the class of 2023.
During this time, plebes have no access to television, movies, the internet or music, and restricted access to cell phones. They are only permitted to make three calls during the six weeks of Plebe Summer.
The pressure and rigor of Plebe Summer is carefully designed to help plebes prepare for their first academic year at the Naval Academy and the four years of challenge, which awaits them.
As the summer progresses, the new midshipmen rapidly assimilate basic skills in seamanship, navigation, damage control, sailing and handling yard patrol craft. Plebes also learn infantry drill and how to shoot 9 mm pistols and M-16 rifles.
Other daily training sessions involve moral, mental, physical or professional development and team-building skills. Activities include swimming, martial arts, basic rock climbing, obstacle, endurance and confidence courses designed to develop physical, mental and team-building skills. Forty hours are devoted to the instruction of infantry drill and five formal parades.
Founded in 1845, the US Naval Academy today is a prestigious four-year service academy that prepares midshipmen morally,mentally and physically to be professional officers in the naval service.
More than 4,400 men and women representing every state in the US and several foreign countries make up the student body, known as the Brigade of Midshipmen.
The US News and World Reports has recognized the Naval Academy as a top five undergraduate engineering school and a top 20 best liberal arts college. Midshipmen learn from military and civilian instructors and participate in intecollegiate varsity sports and extracurricular activities.
They also study subjects such as leadership, ethics, small arms, drill, seamanship and navigation, tactics, naval engineering and weapons, and military law.
Upon graduation, midshipmen earn a Bachelor of Science degree in a choice of 25 different subject majors and go on to serve at least five years of service as commissioned officers in the US Navy or US Marine Corps.
According to the USNA website, the Class of 2024 will be received in small groups over a four-day period from June 29 – July 2 to accommodate social distancing measures.
A number of measures are being taken to ensure the safety Plebes as well as faculty, staff and midshipmen who will be overseeing their training. These include: sanitizing living spaces in Bancroft hall prior to arrival, spreading out report dates/times to facilitate social distancing, issuance of face masks, COVID-19 screening upon arrival, a 14-day quarantine period for all inductees and their midshipman chain of command, repeat COVID-19 testing at the end of quarantine, and distancing strategies after quarantine to minimize the risk of exposure during Plebe Summer. The Naval Academy has a full-time staff of medical professionals who are available 24 hours a day/7 days per week to evaluate and treat midshipmen.