United States Naval Academy

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Blue Angels at Graduation 2009

The United States Naval Academy (USNA) is a four-year federally-funded university located in Annapolis, MD. The Naval Academy was the second of the United States Service Academies and supplies officers to the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps.


The Naval Academy is organized as follows:

1 Brigade (Brigade of Midshipmen)

2 Regiments (1st and 2nd)

6 Battalions (1st through 6th)

36 Companies (4 Platoons/Company and 4 Squads/Platoon)


The students of the Naval Academy are known as The Brigade of Midshipmen.

Midshipmen at the Naval Academy are classified by their class. There are four classes at any given time at the Naval Academy and they are classified as follows:

Freshman = Plebes (Fourth Class Midshipmen)

Sophomores = Youngsters (Third Class Midshipmen)

Juniors = Trainers (Second Class Midshipmen)

Seniors = Firsties (First Class Midshipmen)

The Naval Academy is considered to be a large leadership laboratory, each Midshipman will hold a number of different leadership positions in their four years before graduation. This allows Midshipmen to gain practical experience leading their peers, as well as, their subordinates. The most important leadership positions are held by Second Class and First Class Midshipmen.

Upon arriving at the Naval Academy (usually at the end of June following High School Graduation), prospective students are put through Plebe Summer, a sort of Basic Training or transformation into a Midshipman. Plebe Summer usually lasts around 6-7 weeks and consists of physical, mental, and practical training. Plebes will go through weapons qualifications with the M-11 and M-16 service weapons, sailing qualifications on Naval Academy Sailboats, Obstacle Course, Endurance Course, Confidence Course, and swimming qualifications. Once this training period is over the Plebe Class is integrated into the Brigade of Midshipmen during Reform. Even after the initial training the Plebe Class is continuously trained throughout the academic year.

Third Class Midshipmen (Youngsters) consist of those Midshipmen who have succeeded in finishing Plebe Year. Youngster year is a welcome relief to most Midshipmen as Youngsters do not hold significant positions yet they are allowed a significant amount more freedom than Plebes.

Second Class Midshipmen are in charge of training the Plebes throughout the academic year. Second Class year is the first year that Midshipmen are allowed to drive cars in Annapolis and leave campus in civilian attire.

First Class Midshipmen are in charge of leading the Brigade of Midshipmen. First Class have a significant amount more freedom than all other classes, but along with that freedom comes a significant amount of responsibility. The First Class are, more or less, a liaison to the Officer Leadership at the Naval Academy.

Graduation Week

Graduation Hat Toss

Graduation Week is arguably the most exciting and rewarding week in the life of a Midshipman. This week signifies the end of a four year journey that began with Induction Day (I-Day) or the First Day of Plebe Summer. Graduation Week is a week where parents, friends, and relatives flock to Annapolis to be with their Midshipman and their friends. The week is full of air shows, parties, award ceremonies, parades, and last, but not least, graduation. Graduation is the day that every Midshipman looks forward to throughout their four years at the Academy.