Plebe Summer

 

Plebe Summer is the first military training evolution for most members of the incoming class. It is a time-intensive training period and is rigorous both physically and mentally. 

 

I-Day 

It begins with Induction Day (I-Day) when Plebes take the Oath of Office and begin the transition from civilian or enlisted life to officer candidate status. Plebes receive indoctrination and training in proper military discipline, courtesy, requirements and traits of special trust and confidence, teamwork, and personal accountability. 

They are also provided basic training in seamanship, marksmanship, military drill, watch-standing, and customs and traditions of the Naval Service. Plebe Summer ends with the reform of the Brigade at the beginning of the academic school year.

Physical Education Program

The Physical Education Program (PEP) is a progressive six-week exercise regime designed to enhance the fitness level of the newly inducted plebes. 

PEP is an integral part of the fourth class development process. It is a CONTROLLED, SUPERVISED exercise program, which supports USNA's mission of physical development of midshipmen. Upon completion of PEP, the plebes will have:

  • Experienced safe and enjoyable exercise habits and developed a sense of physical pride. 

  • Experienced unit/class unity, spirit, and pride as a result of joint participation.

  • Be able to successfully complete the PRT to Naval Academy standards.

Effecting a lifestyle change is most important because this will significantly reduce the probability of a midshipman failing to meet the Naval Academy's Physical Education (PE) requirements and increase his or her future effectiveness as an officer. Members of the Class of 2007 affectionately refer to PEP as the "Plebe Extermination Program".

Induction Day (I-Day)

With an appointment to USNA, and Induction Day (I-Day) close at hand, it is an exciting time for you, your Midshipman and family. It's the beginning of a new chapter in your son's or daughter's life. As a parent, it can be an anxious time. Your Midshipman will be leaving home – not just for college – but for a much more demanding four years at one of the nation's military service academies. Induction Day (I-Day) begins your Midshipman's introduction to the Academy, and punctuates the start of their US Navy or US Marine Corps career.

Plebe Summer...

Inductees into this year's class come to the Academy with a history of superlative performance: academically in the classroom; athletically on the field of play; and as leaders in their communities. Your Midshipman will find themselves in the company of young men and women committed to high standards of honor, integrity and excellence. During their Plebe Summer your Midshipman will be asked to test their commitment, and to measure the limits of what they believe they are capable of. It is both difficult and demanding; but it affords your Midshipman the opportunity to examine their resolve to devote the next four years to study at the Academy. It will be a time during which your Midshipman will build relationships with their classmates that will see them collectively through their Plebe Summer and ultimately their Academy experience.

What To Expect As A Parent...

As a parent, having a Midshipman at the Academy will be very different from the experiences of other parents whose children attend a civilian college or university. During their first (Plebe) year and for much of their time at the Academy, Midshipman have significant extracurricular demands placed on their free time and are limited in the amount of personal time they have away from the Academy. These restrictions are typically a requirement to be on campus (The Yard) during the day and in residence (Bancroft Hall) overnight when term is in session; limited authorization to be off-campus (off The Yard) during the week (Liberty); and very specific times to be away from the Yard between terms and summer training blocks (Leave). Restricted access/communication with the world outside of USNA (no cell phones, no music, no television, and no electronics) and other limitations on personal freedom are typical of the Plebe Summer experience, and are an introduction to the discipline expected of your Midshipman when they take their future place in the US Navy or US Marine Corps.

A Journey To Be Shared...

The ride on which you and your Midshipman are about to embark promises not only big challenges but also huge rewards. And this journey is meant to be shared, not only with your family, but also with your new extended family (members of the USNA Parents' Club of Central Florida). Our club members want to share the experiences of their Midshipman currently studying at the Academy, or, having recently graduated, are serving as Officers in the US Navy or US Marine Corps. Being part of the club will give you the opportunity to learn more about the opportunities ahead for your Midshipman and to share their experiences (and yours) with a community of other USNA parents. You will be joining an engaged group of parents and alumni who are genuinely interested in seeing your Midshipman succeed – and will be there to support you over the next four years while your Midshipmen attends the Academy – and into the future when they serve. We provide a network of supportive parents and junior officers, close to home, who have experienced the frustrations and triumphs of our own Midshipman's experience – and we're here to assist you.

We welcome your entire family into our USNA family. We share your pride, excitement and enthusiasm.  We wish your Midshipman the best of success. We are here to help you support your Midshipmen in this endeavor.


Highlights of Your Plebe's Summer

Physical Education Program (PEP)

The Physical Education Program (PEP) is a progressive six-week exercise regime designed to enhance the fitness level of the newly inducted plebes.

PEP is an integral part of the fourth class development process. It is a CONTROLLED, SUPERVISED exercise program, which supports USNA's mission of physical development of midshipmen. Upon completion of PEP, the plebes will have:

  • Experienced safe and enjoyable exercise habits and developed a sense of physical pride.

  • Experienced unit/class unity, spirit, and pride as a result of joint participation.

  • Be able to successfully complete the PRT to Naval Academy standards.

Effecting a lifestyle change is most important because this will significantly reduce the probability of a midshipman failing to meet the Naval Academy's Physical Education (PE) requirements and increase his or her future effectiveness as an officer. Members of the Class of 2007 affectionately referred to PEP as the "Plebe Extermination Program".

Close Order Drill

Originated to provide simple formations from which various combat formations could readily be assumed and used to teach discipline, responsibility, accountability, and teamwork as well as building unit cohesion, multiple Close Order Drill (COD) sessions provide an opportunity to handle individual weapons, instill discipline through precision and automatic response to orders as well as increasing the leader's confidence through exercising command of drilling troops.

Movements from the USNA drill manual will be learned and demonstrated during formal parades and Platoon Drill Competition.

Weapons Training

Each and every Plebe will undergo rigorous military indoctrination training during the summer. Some of the most rewarding will be their hands on training and qualifications in the operation and firing of both the Berretta 9mm pistol and the military's M-16A2 combat rifle.

The Plebes will learn in depth the safety rules and requirements for the weapons range; memorize and understand the firearms components, safety features, and firing options; and after hands-on, one-on-one training, they will attempt to qualify on both weapons with live fire exercises.

Plebes achieving a score of Marksman or Sharpshooter will be awarded the Navy's Pistol and/or Rifle Ribbon while those achieving Expert scores will be awarded the Navy's Expert Pistol and/or Expert Rifle Medal with corresponding ribbon. Self discipline, hand-eye precision and pride in one's self are just a few of the attributes the Plebes will take away from their Plebe Weapons Training experience.

Character/Honor Education

Fourteen hours of training during Plebe Summer sets the foundation for character development as a midshipman.

Eight honor lessons are presented on topics such as moral courage, integrity and loyalty, the meaning of honor, and the basic mechanics of the honor system.

Six human relations classes address issues such as discrimination, conflict resolution, stress management, alcohol abuse and sexual assault prevention.

Plebe Summer culminates with an Honor Affirmation ceremony, during which plebes formally affirm their allegiance to the Honor Concept and Honor Treatise of the Brigade of Midshipmen during Parents' Weekend. During the moving ceremony, the plebes also reaffirm their oath as midshipmen.

A Day in the Life of a Plebe...

Time Activity

0515 Get up, put PT gear for PEP (Physical Education Program)
0530 Reveille, fall out into the passageway (a.k.a. The P-way)
0540 Formation for PEP after making rack
0600 PEP for 1 hour 
0700 Shower, get dressed, memorize Navy rates, days menus, and several newspaper articles
0745 Morning formation and breakfast 
0845 First training evolution of the day 
1145 Recite Navy rates for Squad Leader upon demand
1210 Noon meal formation and lunch 
1300 Begin afternoon training evolutions 
1600 Begin intramural/varsity sports practice 
1800 Evening meal formation and dinner 
1900 Begin evening training evolution 
2110 Personal time 
2145 Blue & Gold 
2200 TAPS (lights out)

Helpful Hints for First Time Plebe Parents

The most important thing you can do for your Plebe during Plebe Summer — and the rest of their four years at USNA — is send MAIL, MAIL, MAIL! Pictures of the family, including the family pet, are always welcome. Get all your relatives to write to your Mid. Warn them not to expect mail back! 

Give your Plebe a small supply of self-addressed, stamped post cards or a form letter with self addressed stamped envelopes. Plebes are too tired to write at the end of the day and they are only permitted to make phone calls at the pre scheduled two week intervals ones after they have been there for a few weeks. Going to your neighborhood card store and buying stacks of funny, encouraging cards (none that sing or play music, at least during Plebe Summer). Once you get them home, stamp and address all the envelopes. Since our lives tend to get busy, by doing this ahead of time you can grab one of those cards, jot a quick note and mail it rather than setting aside time do so and forgetting. There is nothing lonelier than no mail during Plebe Summer Mail Call or an empty mailbox once they begin the academic year!

The Changing of the Guard

Halfway into the summer your Plebe one or two important changes occur.

Plebe Summer Detailers (these are upperclassmen who are in charge of training the Plebes) work in 3 week blocks). The Midshipmen's summer is divided into 4 blocks of time, your Plebe will spend two of them in some kind of professional training. At the end of the first three weeks, not only will your Plebe get a whole new training staff, they may also change roommates.

Either or both of these can be traumatic, or the best thing that has happened since they arrived! Plebes are given a chance for a "new start" with these changes.

Care Packages

You may have heard that one of the more important things you must do to support your Plebe during the summer is to send care packages; while this is still true it should not be done to excess. Besides space being limited, so is time, your Plebe is in training and there are expectations of each of them in this new environment.

A former officer in charge of summer detail stressed the importance of NOT sending junk foods, medicines, vitamins/supplements, cutesy and other items not in keeping with the Spartan environment they are trying to create for Plebe Summer Training. Several of the reasons for discouraging care packages are:

  • Your midshipman is entering a profession of arms. Being a warrior is about self-sacrifice, self-discipline, self-reliance and independence. Asking them to forego a few luxuries from home is but a small taste of the demands that will be placed on him or her yet it still provides a sense of self-denial that will facilitate their professional, military and moral development.

  • One of the aims of plebe summer is for the incoming midshipman to make the transition from civilian/enlisted status to officer candidate status. Doing without some of the niceties they've been used to for much of their lives up to this point will help them focus on the issues at hand.

  • An additional reason for not sending snacks is that we want the plebes to eat balanced meals under the training atmosphere provided in King Hall. Having a food waiting for them in their rooms may entice some plebes to forego nutrition in search of a less pressured environment, thereby not being able to adequately maintain their energy reserves. You can be assured, the plebes will be given ample opportunity to consume all the food they need or want.

  • Finally, the small sacrifices we are asking for will give the plebes a better appreciation for parents, loved ones and the comforts of home. I believe this will, in a small way, contribute to a better awareness of why we may ask them to go in harm's way some day in the future.