What New Navy Plebes Go Through On Their First Day At Annapolis


On a sweltering Thursday in June, over 1,100 incoming freshman, or plebes, arrive at the United States Naval Academy, where future officers
prepare to be commissioned into the US Navy and Marine Corps. Beth Regoli: To be accepted
into the United States Naval Academy, it’s a
very rigorous process, it’s a very competitive process. Officer: How are you? Narrator: We were there for day one, known as Induction Day, or I-Day, which marks the beginning
of their time at Annapolis. Plebe: I knew I wanted
to serve my country, so I knew I wanted to join the military. Plebe: I just wanna do
something bigger than myself. Woman: I’m just so proud of him. We have worked really long
and hard for this moment, and we just feel like all
the hard work pays off. Officer: Morning, welcome aboard. Narrator: I-Day kicks off Plebe Summer, a challenging six-week
basic-training program that all future midshipmen
are required to complete. Rob Mathewson: It’s a difficult program designed to be that way, because what we’re developing here, the leaders that we’re developing, we expect to be enduring leaders. Narrator: Just over 7% of the
more than 16,000 applicants were admitted to the Academy. Twenty-six percent of the
incoming class is female. Plebe: It’s pretty amazing
to go in with my twin sister. We’ve always had a really special bond. Narrator: And 40% is
represented by minorities. Regoli: This incoming class is probably one of our most diverse in recent years. We want everybody to be on
the same, even playing field, so that we can build a common foundation for them to continue to grow upon. Narrator: Located just
32 miles from Baltimore, the Academy is situated on the
banks of the Chesapeake Bay. It was founded in 1845 by Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft. Newsreel reporter: Annapolis graduation and ship assignments for fleet duty go out to 384 new ensigns. So, it’s goodbye to midshipmen
days, and into officer-hood. Then, to the seven seas, the call of duty for these new
officers of a mighty fleet. Chaplain: Good morning,
big guy, what’s your name? Plebe: Matthew Newton. Chaplain: Where are you from?
Plebe: Alabama. Narrator: Once inside Alumni Hall, the plebes follow a green line that takes them through 23
different processing stations. Officer: Line up by your last name, Permit to Report packet out. Narrator: The second
station gives the plebes one last chance to discreetly dispose of any fake IDs, alcohol, or drugs. The plebes are breathalyzed and screened by medical personnel. Officer: 68! Narrator: Female plebes have
to take a pregnancy test. Woman: Here you go, enjoy.
Plebe: Thank you. Narrator: Each plebe is
issued a 225-page book called “Reef Points” that introduces them to the
Navy and the Naval Academy. Plebes are expected to memorize more than 1,000 facts in the book. Woman: You’re gonna love it. Narrator: Which they’ll be tested on throughout the summer. Before they get their uniforms, all plebes have to make one
more stop: the barbershop. Barber: There you go. Narrator: Male plebes shave their heads. Plebe: Oh, my God. Narrator: Female plebes
can wear their hair in a tight bun. Otherwise, it must be no
longer than chin-length. Then, it’s time for the
plebes to get their gear. After uniform issue, they transfer all of their belongings into a single bag. (drum cadence) Officer: So, the first basic
response, repeat after me, is, “Sir, yes sir.”
Plebes: Sir, yes sir. Officer: “Sir, no sir.”
Plebes: Sir, no sir. Narrator: Before leaving Alumni Hall, they learn the Navy’s basic
customs and courtesies, including the proper way to salute. After that, the plebes head to their dorm at Bancroft Hall. Detailer: What’s your company? Narrator: And assemble on
an area known as Red Beach. Detailer: Charlie! Charlie! Plebe: Charlie Five. Detailer: Charlie Five? Whoa, whoa, whoa, Charlie
Five’s down there. Detailer: What do you keep smirking for? You really think this
is a game or something? Narrator: A select group
of third-year midshipmen are known as detailers. Detailer: No running, just walk fast. Narrator: And are tasked with teaching proper protocol to the plebes. Detailer: Now, study, and know the entire chain of command, do you understand me? Plebe: Sir, yes sir. Narrator: And to correct
them when necessary. Detailer: Your left hand, what do you think is wrong with it? That’s right, I don’t even
have to tell you, right? ‘Cause you knew it was wrong. So don’t let it happen again. Don’t shake your head. Zachary Willford: These
detailers have a genuine concern for every single one
of these men and women coming into our class, because these are the members that are gonna be part
of our family, come fall. Detailer: Tuck it in,
get it away, get it away, Sir, aye, aye, sir.
Plebe: Sir, aye, aye, sir. Willford: These are the ones
that we’re gonna serve with in the future, and they want them to be the best that they can possibly be. Narrator: Tuition at Annapolis is free, but midshipmen commit to five years of active-duty service after graduation. While at Annapolis,
midshipmen receive a salary of $1,087 per month. After graduation, the money they save will be waiting for them. Family members gather for one last look at the class of 2023
before Plebe Summer begins. Everything the plebes learn on I-Day culminates in the Oath Ceremony, held in Tecumseh Court.
Officer: Face! Officer: Class of 2023, please rise. Do you solemnly swear that
you will support and defend the Constitution of the United States? And that you will well
and faithfully discharge the duty of the office upon
which you are about to enter, so help you, God? Plebes: I do! Narrator: After taking the oath, the plebes get 45 minutes to
spend with their families. And to eat, since this is
the last meal they’ll get that isn’t cooked in
the Academy mess hall. After 45 minutes, the
plebes have to say goodbye. Willford: Regiment, a-ten-hut! Narrator: The 1,100 new plebes march into Bancroft Hall. And when the doors close, their journey to becoming
midshipmen officially begins. (crowd cheers)

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