Plebe summer is a demanding, fast paced boot camp style orientation
that begins four years of preparation of Midshipmen for commissioning
as naval officers. Physical and mental demands upon the plebes' time
seem never ending, but they have a purpose: the development of leadership
ability, motivation, moral strength, physical skills and stamina.
These are attributes of any outstanding officer in the Navy or Marine
The first day of Plebe Summer, Induction Day (I-Day), begins as prospective
plebes report to the Academy's Alumni Hall. There they meet their
upper-class company commanders, selected first class (senior) and
second class (junior) midshipmen, and the commissioned officers who
supervise the Plebe Summer training program. They also meet their
classmates, many of whom will become close friends by summer's end.
the induction process, plebes cycle through medical examinations,
uniform fittings and equipment issue. They get their first plebe
haircuts and fill out forms and more forms. Twelve hours after the
plebes first arrive at the academy, they assemble for the oath of
office ceremony. With anxiety, fatigue and great pride, the new
midshipmen pledge to "well and faithfully discharge the duties
of the office on which (they) are about to enter."
Plebes are assigned to military units comprising the Fourth Class
Regiment. The regiment consists of two battalions, Port and Starboard.
The Starboard Battalion has eight companies and the Port Battalion
has seven. Each company has two numbered platoons. Each platoon
has four squads with about 10-12 plebes per squad.
As the summer progresses, the new midshipmen rapidly assimilate
basic skills in seamanship, navigation and signaling. Infantry drill,
shooting of 9 mm pistols and M-16 rifles, sailing and handling Yard
Patrol craft all contribute to making each midshipman a proudly
A rigorous physical conditioning program, including calisthenics,
running, pull-ups, sit-ups, swimming, wrestling and boxing takes
up only a small part of the daily regimen. Team spirit and the desire
to win are developed through competition in activities ranging from
athletics to dress parades and seamanship drills.
Plebes also receive instruction and indoctrination in the Brigade
of Midshipman's Honor Concept. The character development program
stresses that each individual has the moral courage and the desire
to do the right thing because it is right, not from a fear of punishment.
There will also be additional training for plebes in human relationships
and concepts of equal opportunity.
On Aug. 10, at the end of the sixth week of Plebe Summer, Parents'
Weekend begins. Approximately 5,000 family members and friends are
expected to visit during this three-day weekend. Parents can choose
to sail with the midshipmen, watch a dress parade and sports exhibitions,
dine in King Hall (where all 4,000 midshipmen eat their meals at
the same time during the academic year) and meet with faculty and
staff members of the academy.
An appropriate quote worth remembering during Plebe Summer:
"Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm"
6:00 - 7:30 a.m.
7:30 - 8:45 a.m.
8:45 - 11:45 a.m.
11:45 - 12:00 p.m.
12:00 - 12:50 p.m.
1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
4:00 - 5:50 p.m.
6:00 - 6:50 p.m.
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
9:10 - 9:30 p.m.
9:30 - 9:45 p.m.
10:00 p.m. Physical Training
Taps / Lights Out
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Tho' you think you're tough and hard
On the day you hit the yard
You soon find the Navy life's not what you thought it.
First they shave off all your hair,
Strip your pride, leave you bare,
And there's a sickness called self-doubt; you just caught it.
So it's a bulkhead not a wall,
A companionway not a hall,
And a rack is now what used to be a bed,
And "Reef Points" is your bible.
But it's more'n likely liable
They'll only ask you the parts you haven't read.
For it's Chop! Chop! Chop
"Where's my Brasso? Get the mop!"
Life's a livn' hell when you're a Plebe.
They herd you around like sheep
Yet there's lots of time for sleep
If you can figure out how to do it standin' up.
"No excuse, sir" or "I'll find out,"
Your confidence is in full rout.
And you feel you're three ranks lower'n a mongrel pup.
Plebe summer's bad; but just the start.
You can't know they saved the part
That'll make you doubt if you've got the guts to face four years.
Tours, demerits, and getting fried
Test your heart, your soul, your hide.
And the closest you get to salt water is your tears.
And it's regs, regs, regs
You're a maggot with arms and legs
Life's a living hell when you're a Plebe.
"Push it up, suck it in,
Pop that chest, hide that chin!"
And no-one gives a damn when you feel cruddy.
But miss one little rate;
You'll learn what they mean to hate.
And don't expect they care there's no time to study.
Tho' they did their best to break me,
In the end they couldn't make me
Pack it in: I stayed tru-blue Navy to the core.
Now every flamin' Upper Class
Stand aside and let me pass,
'Cause it's Herndon and there ain't no Plebes no more.
Yes, it's a name to grow to hate
But let me tell you mate,
It takes a hell of a lot of guts to be a Plebe.