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7/6/08

Class of 2012 Reports to Naval Academy


By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Edward Kessler, U.S. Naval Academy Public Affairs

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- Nearly 1,260 young men and women from around the nation arrived at the U.S. Naval Academy for Induction Day on July 2, taking the first step in the four-year journey to becoming Navy and Marine Corps officers in the class of 2012.

Induction Day, or I-Day, was the first day of Plebe Summer, the six-week process of transforming civilians into midshipmen. The plebes, or freshmen, cycled through 19 different stations ranging from medical examinations to uniform issue during this day-long evolution. Station 1, the initial entry point, served as the plebes' introduction to military life.

"This is where they first learn to say, 'sir, yes sir' or 'ma'am, yes ma'am,'" said Lt. Bralyn Cathey, I-Day coordinator.

Following a green tape line, plebes wound their way through the Academy's Alumni Hall like a maze, where they received the basic sea bag of uniforms, fresh military haircuts and a copy of Reef Points, the official handbook of the Brigade of Midshipmen.

Reef Points provides basic information on the mission and history of the Naval Academy; moral, mental and physical development; military rank; basic seamanship; and more. Throughout Plebe Summer, midshipmen are tested on information in Reef Points, which serves as the foundation for their educations as military officers.

"If [the plebes] know that thing from cover to cover, then it will alleviate lots of stress for the upcoming academic year," said Cathey.

From the moment the prospective plebes arrived for I-Day, they were under the leadership of junior officers and senior midshipmen. For hundreds of parents, much of the day was spent peering through the windows, watching from a distance.

"This is the point where [the parents] need to let them go," said Cathey. "We are here to help build and motivate them, not to tear them down."

While the plebes went through in-processing, parents attended an orientation with Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Jeffrey L. Fowler and other academy officials, including the commandant of midshipmen, athletic director, academic dean, command master chief and the director of the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership.

I-Day culminated with the oath of office ceremony in Tecumseh Court. Parents and plebes reunited briefly to say their goodbyes.

More than 10,960 young men and women applied for a spot in the Class of 2012, and the class includes 69 prior enlisted Sailors and Marines and 14 international students.

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