Posted by: Jacqui Murray | December 7, 2016

Remember Pearl Harbor

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, which is annually on December 7, commemorates the attack on Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii, during World War II. Many American service men and women lost their lives or were injured on December 7, 1941. National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is also referred to as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day or Pearl Harbor Day.

Pearl Harbor

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | December 5, 2016

Announcing: To Hunt a Sub now available

to hunt a subI’ve written many tech books, the how-to Building a Midshipman, and now my debut thriller, To Hunt a Sub:

A brilliant Ph.D. candidate, a cynical ex-SEAL, and a quirky experimental robot team up against terrorists intent on stealing America’s most powerful nuclear weapon, the Trident submarine. By all measures, they are an unlikely trio–one believes in brawn, another brains, and the third is all geek–but they’re all America has to stop this enemy who would destroy everything they believe in. But this trio has a secret weapon: the wisdom of a formidable female who died two million years ago. 

What sets this story apart from other thrillers is the edgy science used to build the drama, the creative thinking that unravels the deadly plot, and the captivating prehistoric female who unwittingly becomes the guide and mentor to Kalian Delamagente as she struggles to stop a madman from destroying her life:

An unlikely team is America’s only chance

The USS Hampton SSN 767 quietly floated unseen a hundred fifty-two feet below the ocean’s surface. Despite its deadly nuclear-tipped arsenal of Trident missiles, its task for the past six months has been reconnaissance and surveillance. The biggest danger the crew faced was running out of olives for their pizza. That all changed one morning, four days before the end of the Hampton’s tour. Halfway through the Captain’s first morning coffee, every system on the submarine shut down. No navigation, no communication, and no defensive measures. Within minutes, the sub began a terrifying descent through the murky greys and blacks of the deep Atlantic and settled to the ocean floor five miles from Cuba and perilously close to the sub’s crush depth. When it missed its mandated contact, an emergency call went out to retired Navy intel officer, Zeke Rowe, top of his field before a botched mission left him physically crippled and psychologically shaken. Rowe quickly determined that the sub was the victim of a cybervirus secreted inside the sub’s top secret operating systems.  What Rowe couldn’t figure out was who did it or how to stop it sinking every other submarine in the American fleet.

Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | December 1, 2016

December To Do List for USNA Applicants

partial photo credit: NemoDepending upon where you are in the process, you may have done some of the items on this list. Skip them. Be happy you’re done. Move on to the next:

First Steps:

If you’re serious about attending the USNA or any other military academy, buy a few books (or check them out of the library) on the process. It’s worth the investment because if you pursue this dream, you will be investing much more of your time and money before you achieve your goal. Better to make sure this is the direction you want to go.

Here are two books to get you started:

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | November 18, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

I’m taking this week off. I’ll be busy decorating the house, planning menus, making digital holiday cards, and cooking. I wish all of you the best of the holiday. Eat lots of turkey and enjoy your family. I’ll see you in a week!


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and To Hunt a Sub, her debut thriller. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a tech columnist for TeachHUB, a program reviewer for CAEP ISTE, and freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Currently, she’s editing the sequel to To Hunt a Sub–Twenty-four Days–which should be out next summer.

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | November 14, 2016

What’s it Like to Parent a Midshipman?

worriedThese are from websites for USNA parents. I think they make good points:


To be a Good Naval Academy Mother:
is to know FEAR – there is so much mystery at USNA
is to know PRIDE – that one so young will aspire to such noble calling
is to know UNCERTAINTY – why hasn’t he called?
is to know GRATITUDE – that a sponsor will take him in and treat him so well
is to know JOY – he likes it and is doing so well
is to know DESPAIR – he’s on restriction
is to know FRIENDSHIP – others who share your feelings and see you through
is to know FAITH – there is someone other than you working in your child’s life
is to know AGONY – his friend was separated
is to know a THRILL – catching a glimpse of him in a parade or march on
is to know PERSEVERANCE – the Dark Ages last forever; send another care package
is to know SUPPORT – their Sponsors, whom you have never met, write regularly
is to know ANGER – why does he have watch on the day you can visit?
is to know to keep PATRIOTISM – spend an hour in Memorial Hall and read all the names marked.

Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | November 11, 2016

Today We Honor Veterans

always-a-soldierIn the USA, Veterans Day annually falls on November 11. This day is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice, which ended the World War I hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany in 1918. Veterans are thanked for their services to the United States on Veterans Day.

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | November 7, 2016

November is Warrior Care Month

wounded warrior projectWarrior Care Month” will be a month-long DoD-wide coordinated tactical effort to educate the military and to increase awareness of DoD’s Warrior Care programs and resources. Warrior Care Month will provide a snapshot of the Continuum of Care in a 30-day period.

Warrior Care Month will focus on the programs, initiatives, and support that DoD promises our military through the phases of recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration that are integral to the livelihood of our wounded, ill and injured service members, and their families.

SECNAV Designates November as Warrior Care Month

Story Number: NNS091104-04
By Zona Lewis, Navy Safe Harbor Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) — released to all Navy and Marine Corps personnel, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV)designated November 2009 as Warrior Care Month.

Throughout November, the Navy and Marine Corps will focus its attention on one of the Department of the Navy’s highest priorities – caring for wounded, ill and injured Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen.

Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | November 5, 2016

N* Football: USNA vs. ND

Texas bowlNovember 5th, 2016… Be ready with your blue and gold!

Game Info:
Who: Navy Midshipmen vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
When: Saturday, November 5, 11:30 a.m. ET
Coverage: CBS (TV); Navy Radio Network (Radio)

USNA does what’s called ‘Spirit Spots’ in support of their Big Games (Notre Dame, Army–that sort). These are quick videos that display their enthusiasm, commitment and fun-loving attitude. Here are some favorites for USNA vs. ND, Army, Air Force and others:

Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | November 1, 2016

November To Do List for USNA Applicants

partial photo credti: Nemo

Depending upon where you are in the process, you may have done some of the items on this list. Skip them. Be happy you’re done. Move on to the next:

First Steps:

If you’re serious about attending the USNA or any other military academy, buy a few books (or check them out of the library) on the process. It’s worth the investment because if you pursue this dream, you will be investing much more of your time and money before you achieve your goal. Better to make sure this is the direction you want to go.

Here are two books to get you started:

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | October 17, 2016

How to Prepare for the Congressional Interview–Part III

USNA Crest

There are a couple of givens–requirements without which you will not succeed at a congressional interview:

  • Be sincere. Let the committee see who you are and make a decision. A Military Academy is a big decision. If something comes out that excludes you–but you were honest–it might be the right decision. Trust the process. No one will be out to get you.
  • Be prepared. Are you prepared physically, scholastically, mentally, medically. They’ll want to know. They’ll have your file and will know. Make sure you’re not wasting their time.
  • Know what it means to apply for and be accepted into the Naval Academy. Understand the demands, the rigor, the expectations and the commitment you are signing on to. Know what you’re getting into and that it’s the right move for you.
  • Know you can succeed in one of the toughest schools in the country. Few Universities require a physical  and medical commitment as well as scholastic success. All the Military Academies to. Be absolutely sure you can succeed in this environment and communicate it to the committee. It’ll take more than words–lots of positive body language to back up your verbal.
  • Be committed to the success of your country. Patriotism and loyalty aren’t trite words at Service Academies. Believe them and adopt them as yours.

If you get through this bullet list, here are some of the questions you may be asked by the committee:

Here are questions that are suggested as possibles. Review them. Make sure you have good answers to each:congressional interview

  • Why do you want to go to the Naval Academy
  • What are your alternatives if you do not get into the Naval Academy
  • Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 15 years
  • How are you going to handle the pressure of the Academy
  • How are you preparing physically for the academy
  • Tell us what you think of (a current event)
  • What sparked your interest in the Naval Academy
  • Who would you most like to be
  • What is leadership, and what makes you think you can be a leader
  • How have you handled failure and stress in your life
  • What are your best and worst characteristics
  • What do you know about the honor code?

Here are questions that the applicant in Building a Midshipman was asked. Print out the sheet and write your answers next to each question:

Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | October 13, 2016

Happy Birthday to the World’s Greatest Navy!

ImageSunday, October 13th is a day to celebrate the birthday of the U.S. Navy and the freedom it guarantees our country.  No other force for so long has been projecting power across the ocean and around the world to ensure America’s protection, provide humanitarian assistance to struggling countries… and sometimes to drop a Tomahawk on someone who deserves it.  The Navy exercises a unique ability to extend our borders further from our shores and buttress them with steel and hardened warriors.  Thanks to the Navy, Americans rarely have to consider the possibility of attack on our own soil.  This is a benefit of American citizenship that is such a rarity in history.  America is so blessed to wake up every morning under the blanket of protection provided by the United States Navy.

Speaking of the hardened warriors standing watch around the clock on our Nation’s warships, these Sailors are the smartest, fittest, most educated Sailors in our history.  They work long hours whether in port or in harm’s way.  They leave their families for 9 months at a time and can’t tell their families where they’re going.  These Sailors are reminders that America is made of strong stuff; America’s greatest generation made some good kids!  These kids are going to college part-time while learning to repair electrical circuits embedded in a motor required to operate a sea water service pump so the ship has flushing water.  And thank goodness for their excellent multi-tasking capability because never has America demanded more from them.  Warfighting has evolved rapidly in the past decade.  Despite the evolution, the joint operations of the U.S. military hinge on the ability of the Navy to be on site, on time and put warheads on target.  Who else could pull that off?  A Firecontrolman Third Class Petty Officer on a Guided Missile Cruiser operating in the Arabian Gulf is trained and empowered to pull that off, that’s who!  The fast evolution of war and new terrains on which we fight complicate every operation and every maneuver, requiring even faster and more intelligent action at every level of the Chain of Command, from a 4-star Admiral to that Firecontrolman Third Class during the “mid watch” on her ship.

Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | October 10, 2016

Happy Birthday, USNA!

On October 10, 1845, USNA was established! ph-10044

By Commander William Marks, USNA Class of ‘96

With the Naval Academy’s birthday on October 10th celebrated each year just three days earlier than the U.S. Navy’s, now is the perfect time to reflect upon the parallels of the two institutions through the years.

Founded in 1845, the Naval Academy and its graduates are immersed in the history of our nation. Our heritage and our warfighting are inseparable, for in our history of daring and courage is a foundation of warfighting and readiness.

Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | October 7, 2016

How to Prepare for the Congressional Interview–Part II

interviewPut yourself in the shoes of an applicant. S/he’s submitted her application, been found physically, medically and scholastically qualified. Now it’s time for interviews–with his/her Congressperson’s Nominating committee and later, his/her Blue and Gold Officer.

Today, s/he must impress a committee of knowledgeable interviewers. The Congressman has only a limited number of nominations he can offer to all four service academies. Here’s how it might go:

The day of the interview, you attend morning classes, but your mind is elsewhere. At lunch, you get early dismissal and come home to prepare. You dress conservatively—dark pants and light-colored blouse, with closed shoes and pulled-back hair—not your usual knotted pony tail. Your father drives because you’re too nervous. You arrive early. Before going in, you make sure your clothes are neat, your teeth are clean, and you feel positive and confident.

The first thing you notice as you enter is a room full of nervous potential nominees. You see two people you know, interviewone from your school, and chat for a moment. As you wait, the Congressional assistant pops her head in the waiting room and chats with you, about something the two of you had discussed at the Service Academy night. She puts you at ease, even as you feel all other eyes in the room on you, wondering how you merit special treatment. As you sit, you mull over your reasons for applying and how the country’s investment in you can be returned.

Finally, your B&G officer leads you to the interview room. You enter a large office with five officials—two you have already met. You shake hands, smile, look them in the eye and sit calmly. No fidgeting. No senseless moving. The questions are similar to those you expected. No one tries to confuse you or obfuscate issues. They seem sincerely interested in ferreting out those best suited to Academy life, and most willing to accept the long-term commitment accompanying an appointment. When you answer questions, you reply honestly, calmly, the hardest question being why you selected the Naval Academy as your first choice rather than the Air Force Academy (your family has a history of participation in the Navy). Your dumbest answer confused the nomenclature for Navy and Air Force planes (is the Harrier a Navy or Air Force plane?). Time flies, and it’s over before you know it. As you leave the building, you get curious looks from the candidates still waiting, as they try to read your thoughts.

Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | October 3, 2016

October To Do List for USNA Applicants

usnaDepending upon where you are in the process, you may have done some of the items on this list. Skip them. Be happy you’re done. Move on to the next:

First Steps:

If you’re serious about attending the USNA or any other military academy, buy a few books (or check them out of the library) on the process. It’s worth the investment because if you pursue this dream, you will be investing much more of your time and money before you achieve your goal. Better to make sure this is the direction you want to go.

Here are two books to get you started:

From the perspective of a woman who was accepted and how she accomplished it. Down-to earth, personal, definitely not dry, and should give confidence to any teen, male or female, considering a military academy as their college of choice.

A general and useful overview of the USNA application and the academy in general

Seniors–Check for Letter of Assurance

Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | September 27, 2016

The Congressional Interview–Part I

buildHere’s my previous post about an introduction to the importance of the Congressional Interview to attending Military Academies. Thanks to the Structured Learning workbook on Building a Midshipman for this:

The final stage in your pursuit of a Congressional nomination to a United States Service Academy is a personal interview…” This letter, received April 30th of your Junior year, confirms that your Congressman remains aware of your continued interest in the Service Academy interview and nomination.

A year ago, at the Service Academy night, you listened to the presentations from each of the five Service Academies, and then introduced yourself to Congressman Cox’s assistant, Ms. Leslie Duvall, to let her know you would be applying for a nomination. She suggested you get in touch in spring for a packet. Interviews would be the following November. On April 30th, you received a confirmation letter, outlining what the Congressional Nomination packet would include:

  • a completed Application for Nomination
  • a resume (based on an enclosed sample)
  • a short essay discussing your reasons for seeking admission to a Service Academy
  • a photo
  • SAT examination results
  • three letters of recommendation.

Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | September 20, 2016

The Congressional Interview

American Flag idea illustrationThe Congressional Interview is required for a high school student to apply for nomination to the USNA. Here’s how the Naval Academy website says it:

To receive an offer of appointment to the Naval Academy, an applicant must obtain a nomination from an official source. There are many nomination sources and applicants are encouraged to apply to all available sources. This normally includes a U.S. Representative, two U.S. Senators and the Vice President of the United States.

The nomination application process is similar to applying for a school, and being personally acquainted with the person from whom you are seeking a nomination is not required. 

The nomination process and your USNA application are separate processes, however they should be accomplished simultaneously.  DO NOT wait until you have received a nomination to begin your formal USNA application.  Many nomination notifications do not go out until early to mid January, even though nomination interviews are conducted much earlier. The deadline for your USNA application is January 31st.

Read More…

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | September 17, 2016

Constitution Day!

Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_StatesConstitution Day and Citizenship Day is a combined event that is annually observed in the United States on September 17. This event commemorates the formation and signing of the Constitution of the United States on September 17, 1787. It also recognizes all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become US citizens.

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | September 16, 2016

POW/MIA Recognition Day

The United States’ National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed across the nation on the third Friday of September each year. This year, that’s September 16, 2016. Many Americans take the time to remember those who were prisoners of war (POW) and those who are missing in action (MIA), as well as their families.

You will never be forgotten.

pow mia

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | September 11, 2016

America I Love You

9/11, a day of remembrance.

We won’t forget.

Posted by: Jacqui Murray | September 5, 2016

Labor Day–Honor American Warriors

Labor Day is a US holiday dedicated to workers across the country. The public holiday always falls on the first Monday in September. The first federal observation of the holiday occurred in 1894 however the first Labor Day observed in a state was in Oregon in 1887.

Today, I honor the warrior, his job to fight for America’s way of life, invisibly and heroically, across the globe.

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