Posted by: Jacqui Murray | July 10, 2009

What’s Happening to My Mid Plebe Summer?

I got the lowdown from a friend Who’s Been There. When her Mid was in Plebe Summer, she got a newsletter every week  from the Company Officer (Golf Company, in this case). It included all sorts of news, events, accomplishments. Here’s a copy of one:

Plebe Summer in a Nutshell
The main goal of Plebe Summer is to prepare the Class of 2008 to enter the Brigade of Midshipmen in August.  The focus of training this summer is summed up by the opening line of the Mission of the United States Naval Academy, which is, “To develop midshipmen morally, mentally, and physically.”  For many, this will be the first military basic training they have received, while others may have already experienced a similar indoctrination.  Some of the vital skills that a naval officer must possess include the abilities to remain calm under intense pressure, to rapidly learn large quantities of information, to quickly discern right from wrong, and to meet physically demanding challenges at any time.  Since these skills will be refined over the next four years, Plebe Summer aims to test their readiness to receive this long-term training.  Bottom line: it is supposed to be hard and not everyone will make it, but the lives of those who do will forever be altered in a positive way.
The Weekly Routine
Daily Schedule
Although it doesn’t seem that way to the Plebes, the daily routine over the summer does have a rhythm to it.  Generally, their days begin at 0545 with reveille (which is wake-up time in the military).  On most days from 0600 to 0730, the Plebes will be at PEP (or morning physical training).  Following morning quarters formation at 0810, the Plebes eat breakfast.  The rest of the morning is filled with classes and events.  Noon meal formation happens at 1210, followed by lunch.  The early afternoon brings another round of classes and events.  On most days from 1600 to 1800, the Plebes have a sports period.  Evening meal formation goes at 1810, followed by dinner.  After dinner, there is typically an event that all Plebes will attend, such as drill or a briefing.  Their personal time begins at 2100, and from 2130 to 2145 they attend Navy Blue and Gold.  This final 15 minutes is a time for the Cadre to check on the Plebes’ health and welfare, and finally to sing the Naval Academy’s Alma Martre.   At 2145, the Plebes are asleep.
Weekly Events
While the daily schedule above generally repeats itself each day, there are some variations throughout the week.  For instance, on Wednesdays, there is no PEP in the morning.  Reveille still goes at 0545, but another event will take the place of PEP, such as a room inspection.
The biggest variation to the daily routine is seen on Sundays.  Reveille goes at 0700 on Sundays, followed by formation at 0730.  The Plebes are then on their own to attend breakfast and religious services until 1200.  At this point, the normal daily schedule commences with noon meal formation at 1230, and so on.  Please note that although Plebes have all of Sunday morning free, they do not have liberty.  They are not allowed to visit ANYONE, nor are they allowed to roam freely around the Yard (which is what we call our campus).  They must either be at breakfast, religious services or events, or in their rooms.  The first time that the Plebes will have liberty and be able to visit with anyone will be Plebe Parent’s Weekend, from 13 August to 15 August.  I ask for your cooperation in this matter.
Last Week’s Highlights
Induction Day
Many of you were here for “I-Day,” so I won’t go into the details.  Golf Company was formed on June 30th, 2004 with 83 members of the class of 2008 inducted into it.  Seventeen had prior enlisted service and/or time at the Naval Academy Preparatory School, and twenty-five were recruited athletes.
After you said goodbye to them, they had their first meal together as a class in King Hall (our dining hall, which can seat the entire 4,200+ Brigade of Midshipmen during academic year), followed by an introduction to their detailers and a basic introduction to life in Bancroft Hall (finding their rooms, safely climbing into their bunk beds, fire drill, etc…).  They were in the rack (or to bed) by 2145, as they will be every night this summer.
The Rest of the Week
The rest of the week was jam packed with events, as will be the rest of the summer.  Many of their academic validation exams took place during the first week.  On Thursday morning, they received their introduction to PEP and later in the morning were issued their rifles (non-functioning M-14s) that they will use when they drill. On Friday morning they took their initial strength test that will serve as a baseline for their physical improvement this summer.  Friday night was their first drill session.  I got some scheduled time to talk with Golf Company on Saturday and answer a few questions that were on their minds.  Saturday evening brought more drill.  The Plebes saw their first “break” on Sunday, having the morning off.  However, there was still much to learn so much of that free time was spent studying.  Please see below for a further description of our 4th of July festivities.  On Monday morning, Golf Company got to run the squad endurance run instead of doing PEP.  This course is just one of the fun and motivational events that Plebe Summer offers, where the Plebes negotiate a lengthy wilderness trail with some obstacles along the way.  Monday evening concluded with some more drill.  Tuesday brought a slew of uniform issues,  as the Plebes were given more uniforms that they will need over the next four years.  Wednesday started off with a room inspection, and also brought their first sports period in the afternoon.  Drill concluded the evening.
There were many other events that took place this week.  The list is too numerous to list here, but some of the highlights include damage control training, martial arts, and swimming instruction.
The 4th of July
This year, the 4th of July fell on a Sunday.  Following their normal Sunday morning free time, the Plebes were treated to a naval history brief as well as a call by the Officer in Charge of the Fourth Class Regiment, CAPT Sears, USN.  Next on the schedule was an outdoor picnic, but Mother Nature didn’t cooperate and the food had to be moved inside to King Hall to avoid the rain.  Luckily, the rain let up, and with full bellies the Plebes were lead outside to view the fireworks that the City of Annapolis put on to celebrate America’s Independence Day.  This patriotic day helped many of the Plebes reinforce in their minds why they are here at the Naval Academy.
Where They’re Going This Week
Language and physics validation exams take up much of the morning and evening.  In the afternoon, the Plebes will get their first honor lecture, followed by their first in a series of distinguished speakers.  Captain Coffee, United States Navy (ret), will speak to the Plebes on character development.  Captain Coffee was a prisoner of war during Vietnam, and his talk is traditionally an eye-opener for the Plebes.
Friday begins with PEP, and is followed in the morning by martial arts training and in the afternoon by uniform alterations.  Before evening meal, they will participate in their second all-sports day, and after evening meal they will attend a United States Marine Corps history brief.
Saturday should prove to be a fun day.  After PEP in the morning, the Plebes will spend the rest of the morning and some of the afternoon at their first period of sailing instruction.  They will learn the basics of sailing on a knockabout and a laser.  These small craft allow them to focus on the fundamentals of sailing.  Following sailing, the Plebes will have their third all-sports day and conclude the evening with some drill.
Sunday morning brings a much needed reprieve in that the Plebes will be able to attend religious services and have some personal time all morning.  The afternoon is much looked forward to, as they will be allowed their first five-minute phone call home.  The afternoon also brings their second honor lecture as well as 13th Platoon’s second character development lecture.  In the evening, they will attend the Plebe Sing Along, where they will be able to show their spirit by singing the new Navy songs they have been learning.
On Monday morning, the Plebes will not attend PEP but will instead try their hands at the Obstacle Course for the first time.  This course, located at the Annapolis Naval Station (across the Severn River from the Naval Academy) will test them in areas such as agility, strength, and endurance.  Following this, the morning will see 14th Platoon at their second character development lecture, and all of the Plebes will receive training on the Blue Jacket’s Manual (the book issued to all new recruits in the Navy that explains many of the Navy’s rules, customs, and traditions).  In the afternoon, they will have their third swim period followed by sports period.  The evening will bring a brief from Navy Federal Credit Union (the credit union that services all Midshipmen at the Naval Academy), some drill, and a “fire-side chat” with their Midshipman leadership.
Tuesday after PEP, the Plebes will get their first haircut since Induction Day.  As you can imagine, there isn’t yet much hair to cut, but the backs of their necks will need to be cleaned up.  The rest of the day will be spent getting dental exams, and 13th Platoon will get their second uniform issue as well as their first lecture on interpersonal relationships.  Sports period and drill conclude the day.
Wednesday will begin with a practice parade, followed by uniform fittings, training on the Blue Jacket’s Manual, and the first interpersonal relationship lecture for 14th Platoon.  The afternoon brings their third honor lecture, more martial arts training, and a personal conditioning brief.  Following evening meal, a special event called United States Marine Corps Battle Colors will take place.  Here, the Plebes are treated to a special performance by the marines from the United States Marine Corps 8th & I Barracks.  These marines are experts at drill, and feature a silent drill platoon.  A Commandant’s Call on the Plebes by the Commandant of Midshipmen will conclude the evening and the week.
Event of the Week
This week’s event of the week is the initial strength test (IST) that all of the Plebes took on Friday morning.  The test consists of four parts.  One is pass/fail, which is touching one’s toes with legs outstretched.  The other three parts are two minutes of sit-ups, two minutes of push-ups, and a 1 mile run (for the IST, the run was only a mile…from now on it’ll be 1.5 miles), and these are graded on a scale from 60% to 100%.
Of the 83 Plebes in Golf Company, 82 took the IST (one was injured, and will make it up soon).  Of the 82 that took it, 56 passed by Midshipmen standards.  That’s over two-thirds of the company, which is outstanding!  However, our goal is to have everyone pass this physical test by the end of Plebe Summer.  Every single member of Golf Company has made verbal commitment to me to accomplish this, and I don’t doubt it will happen.
On the individual events, there were some stellar scores.  For sit-ups, 11 Plebes performed at or over the maximum level of graded performance, which is 101 sit-ups.  Special recognition goes to six of our Plebes who not only passed the IST but scored an A (defined as a score of 90% or higher) by Midshipman standards.
Frequently asked Questions
1.  Can I send home cooked foods or treats, or is that “junk food?”
Answer:  Absolutely!  They love getting treats in the mail, just don’t send too much.  Apart from diet reasons, Plebes have a very limited amount of food storage space.  If there is anything they can’t store, we ask them to either share it with their classmates, and/or dispose of the extra.
2.  What’s my plebe’s mailing address?
Answer:
MIDN 4/c [name]
G-[13 or 14]
PO Box [xxxxx]
USNA Class of 2008
Annapolis, MD, 21402
If you don’t know which platoon they are in or what their P.O. Box number is, please contact me and I can give it to you.
3.  Why hasn’t my Plebe gotten their mail yet?  I mailed it a week ago.
Answer:  The schedule for Plebe Summer does not allow time for each Plebe to check their individual P.O. Box as they will be able to do during the academic year.  In the summer, the post office must sort the mail by company and have it delivered to our company area.  The Cadre must then sort the mail and deliver it to each individual Plebe.  As you can imagine, these extra steps to deliver the mail during Plebe Summer can cause letters and packages to be delayed by one or two days.  Please be patient…they will get your packages!
Information Sources
www.usna.edu
USNA’s homepage; a good starting place for learning a lot about the Academy.
www.navy.mil
Good place to go to learn about the Navy in general.
http://www.usna.edu/PlebeSummer/index.htm
Great place to go get info about plebe summer, as well as many photos.  We try to update this page every couple of days.
For the next newsletter, click here.

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Responses

  1. […] the next newsletter my friend kept from her son’s Plebe Summer experience (for the first one, click here). […]

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  2. […] Happens During Plebe Summer–from the Front July 25, 2009 If you read this post and this one straight from Plebe Summer’s front lines, here’s the next […]

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  3. […] More Plebe Summer Happenings–from the Front July 25, 2009 If you read this post and this one straight from Plebe Summer’s front lines, here’s the next […]

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  4. […] will be the final post from the secretive confines of Plebe summer. The first three are here and here and […]

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