USNA-Net Parents' Handbook

Academic Year



Sept. - May

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The Brigade Reforms

Following Plebe Parents' Weekend, The Brigade of Midshipmen reforms.  This is the time when the rest of the Midshipmen return to the Yard and begin the new Academic Year.  For Plebes it means that Plebe Summer is over - finally finished.  It also means that the number of Upper-classmen with whom the Plebes must interact goes through the roof.  The number of Detailers is a very small percentage of the Upper-class.  Where before, a Plebe might have to contend with a few hundred Detailers on the Yard, the Brigade will now be at full strength with Three Thousand Upperclass Mids in close proximity.  For many the Plebe year is more demanding than Plebe Summer. Along with academic studies there will be come-arounds, rates, athletics, watches, marches, room inspections and on, and on...    We didn't say it would get easier.  We just said the Summer was over.

The Organization of the Brigade

Following Reform, the Brigade of Midshipmen is organized as shown below...

Computers and Email

At the beginning of the Academic Year, each Mid is issued a Computer and an email account.  Since you cannot place telephone calls to your Mid except in the most extreme emergencies, this will be your main means of communication with your Mid for most of the year.

If you haven't done so already, get a computer set up in your home that will be able to access the Internet and send and receive email.  If money is an issue (and when isn't it?), you can find a suitable machine in the local classifieds or in the regional "Trader" magazines.  You don't need an especially new or powerful machine, just one that can send and receive email.  You'll also need an Internet Service Provider (ISP).  This will involve a POP3 account (like another monthly telephone bill) and generally runs between $10 and $20 per month depending on the ISP.  Since you're reading this electronic version of the Handbook, it's assumed that you already have most of this setup and running.

Some parents have reported success using "Chat" software which enables two way typing conversations between you and your Mid.  It requires both parties to be "online" at the same time and to be hooked up in a chat room.  Voice communications over the Internet are also possible but the Academy frowns on this for Mids and especially for Plebes.  Be aware that your Mid will have very little time for chatting with the folks back home.

It is not unusual for Mids to send VERY short, almost cryptic messages when they do send email but email allows you to keep in touch on a daily basis, sending news of home and the normal world to your Mid.  Just don't expect multiple page letters in return.  There just isn't time.

Academic Year Class Periods

Speaking of time, beginning with the Fall Semester 2004, the Academy will be operating using 7 class periods Monday through Friday. They are as follows...

5:30 Arise for personal fitness workout (optional)
6:30 Reveille
6:30 to 7:00 Special instruction period for plebes
7:00 Morning meal formation
7:10 Breakfast
7:55 to 8:45 - 1st Period
8:55 to 9:45 - 2nd Period
9:55 to 10:45 - 3rd Period
10:55 to 11:45 - 4th Period

12:05 - Noon meal formation
12:15 - Noon meal for all Midshipmen
12:40 to 1:20 Company training time
1:30 to 2:20 - 5th Period
2:30 to 3:20 - 6th Period
3:30 to 4:20 - 7th Period

4:30 to 6:00 - Varsity and intramural athletics, extracurricular and personal activities; drill and parades twice weekly in the fall and spring
5:00 to 7:00 Supper
7:30 to 11:00 Study period for all midshipmen
11:00 - Lights out for plebes
Midnight - Taps for upperclass

Mail, UPS and FedEx

To send Envelopes OR Packages via The United States Postal Service (Regular Mail) use the following format...

MIDN ___________- Class of 20__
Annapolis MD 21412-YYYY

Where the last four digits of your Mid's PO Box Number (XYYYY)
are also the last four digits of your Mid's zip code (YYYY).

To send Express Envelopes or Packages via FedEx, UPS or other package delivery service, you MUST use the address below with your Mid's name and company inserted...

MIDN ____________ M1xxxxx
XX Company
Bancroft Express Office    (410) 293-7704 *
United States Naval Academy
101 Buchanan Road
Annapolis, Maryland 21402

* - The Phone Number is required by some delivery services.  Please note the different ZIP for the Express Office.
The Mid's Alpha Number should be substituted for M1xxxxx and Company Number for XX.


Care Packages

Your Mid is permitted to receive packages of "Goodies" from home as often as you care to send them.  It is best to keep them on the small side (standard shoebox size) and send them more often.

We suggest the following items for almost any Mid...

For Plebe Summer...     No junk food !

  • Power Bars, Granola Bars, Dried Fruit
  • Water-packed Tuna (Pop-tops only)
  • Small Cans of Fruit or Applesauce (Pop-tops only)
  • Cup-o-Soup, Beef Jerky
  • Juice boxes
  • Rolls of quarters for the vending machines
  • Mole skin for blisters
  • Duct Tape (just because)
  • Bandages
  • Spray sunscreen
  • A Bar of their Favorite Soap
  • A small AMERICAN FLAG (4" x 6" with a small display stand) - See Mutiny below.
  • Cleaning Supplies
    White School Chalk to cover marks on White Uniforms
    Shout Wipes for stains, White-Out for quick toudh up on shoes
    Febreze (very important for Plebe Summer)

Re-package all items to make them as small as possible and make sure they are individually wrapped to allow quick and fuss-free, "grab-and-go" consumption.  The first care package should be packed in a resealable plastic container (shoebox size is best).  This will help in keeping all of their treats fresh throughout the year.

Your Mid's first care package can actually be mailed via US Mail to your Mid at the Annapolis Post Office before you leave at the end of I-Day.  (Packages may no longer be left at Bancroft Hall on I-Day!)  UPS and Fed-Ex packages require that an Upper-classman accompany your Mid to the Pick-up area to retrieve the care packages.  This is a real hassle and unnecessarily brings your Mid's care package to the attention of an Upper-class Detailer.  Not good.
Use the US Mail !

The hot, humid summer is hard on things that must stay dry and crispy such as popped popcorn and crackers.  Also, avoid anything that needs refrigeration or microwaving.  While Microwaves may be available in the Company Ward Room, this is the hangout of Detailers and the less your Mid is in contact with Upper-classmen, the better.

For the Academic Year...

  • All of the above are still good.
  • Gallon Jugs of Goldfish Crackers or Pretzels
  • Peanut Butter and Crackers
  • Favorite Snack/Junk Foods
  • Powdered Gator-Ade, Lemonade, Fruit Drinks
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Cup Size AC Heating Coil for heating soup and Chocolate
  • Replacement toiletries
Your Mid will let you know what else is needed.

Remember to send lots of small packages.  Especially after Christmas when morale runs to new low points during the Dark Ages.

Con Locker

Here is a picture of the Con Locker. Con is for Confidential. It's the only thing the Mids can (and must) keep locked. It is where ALL their "stuff" has to go, including care packges. As you can see, there isn't much room and a "shoebox" size fits nicely. To view a larger image, click onto the photo.

Prevention of Mutiny

Mutiny is one of the least known Mid traditions at the Yard.  A Mutiny will be declared if an Upperclass Mid discovers there are more Plebes gathered in a room than may legally reside in that room (i.e., there are more Plebes in a room than there are racks).  Upon an Upperclass Mid making the Declaration Of Mutiny, punishment for said Mutiny is then handed out.  The punishment may be just about anything that the Upperclass Mid deems appropriate and may even include a trip to the shower, fully dressed, timed to occur approximately two minutes before any Formation.

If, however, an AMERICAN FLAG is present and prominently on display in the room where the Plebes are congregated, then a Mutiny cannot be declared.  Therefore, it is strongly recommended that your Mid receive a small AMERICAN FLAG (4" x 6" with a small display stand) in one of your first Care Packages to be displayed in his or her room, so there can be no question that the Plebes in that room are not gathering to conspire in Mutiny.

Visiting USNA

Once the Academic Year has begun, you are encouraged to visit the Yard as often as you like.  Even Plebes have some free time on weekends.  There is a strict schedule of Liberty (or "time-off") for each Class and this varies with each new Academic Year.  A Mid can earn extra Liberty for good grades and special "extras" are given when Navy beats Army in a major sport.

  • Yard Liberty.  When Yard liberty is granted, midshipmen are authorized to visit specified areas or places within the Yard, plus Perry Circle, quarters on County Road near Perry Circle, Arundel Estates officers' quarters, authorized sailing areas and the USNA Golf Course.  Midshipmen must wear the uniform of the day during Yard liberty unless participating in athletic events.
  • Town Liberty.  When town liberty is granted, midshipmen are authorized to visit areas outside the Naval Academy grounds but must remain within the 22 Mile Limit.   Midshipmen must wear the uniform of the day during Town Liberty.  Town Liberty does NOT extend overnight.
  • Weekend Liberty (Overnight).  Plebes are not entitled to Weekend Liberty.  Upper-classmen have a predetermined number of Weekend Liberties.  The number varies with Class and Academic Standing.  Short Weekends extend from 1015 Saturday to 2000 Sunday.  A Long Weekend begins after the Mid's last Military obligation on Friday (not earlier than 1300) until 2000 on Sunday.  A 3 Day Weekend extends the time period 24 hours.
  • 22 Mile Limit.  When on Town Liberty all Mids must remain within a 22 Mile Radius of the Yard.   Click Here for a Map illustrating this Limit.
  • Taps.  At taps all midshipmen will be in their rooms in their company areas.  An accountability inspection will be conducted at taps.
  • Meal Formations.  At the "formation late bell," midshipmen must be in the ranks of their squads for meal formations.
  • Driving and Midshipmen
    Restrictions apply to the use of motor vehicles by a midshipman. This is necessary because parking space is very limited at the Academy and in Annapolis. These are the current rules:
    • Third-class midshipmen and plebes are not permitted to operate motor vehicles except when authorized leave, such as during Thanksgiving, Semester leave or Spring Break.
    • Second-class midshipmen may have a car but must maintain and operate it beyond academy grounds.
    • First-class midshipmen may drive a car in Annapolis and onto the Naval Academy and may park at the Academy.
    • No midshipman is permitted to maintain or operate a motorcycle within town liberty limits.
    Plebes and Youngsters may not operate a motor vehicle at any time (unless on leave).  They are authorized to make use of public transportation, including buses and taxicabs.  They may ride in private automobiles when driven by USNA staff or faculty members, official sponsors, the Plebe's parents or guardians, or the parents of other midshipmen.  First Class may drive 4/C midshipmen directly to and from a sponsor's home.  4/C may also ride in First and Second Class' vehicles to and from authorized official functions.  Exceptions may be approved by Company Officers on a case-by-case basis.  Midshipman must obtain a chit to ride in a vehicle driven by a sibling unless the sibling is registerd as a sponsor.

Give your Mid plenty of notice of an upcoming visit.  Studies must come first, at all times.  Your Mid will want to escape the Yard at every opportunity, especially for meals with the family.  There are many places in the area to go.  You set the budget and let your Mid decide the place.

Medical Treatment while on Leave

The following is quoted from COMDTNMIDNNOTE 1050 of March 2000...

4. Medical and Dental Care while on Leave. All Midshipmen who receive medical teatment must report to the Medical Records Department, USNA Medical Clinic within 48 hours after return to the Naval Academy to initiate the claims payment process.

     a.   Non-Emergencies:  -   Call Tri-Care at 1-888-999-5195 and obtain approval prior to receiving any treatment.

(1)  You will be directed to the closest military treatment facility, however, if a military treatment facility is not located near your vicinity, Tri-Care will direct you to seek treatment at a civilian medical facility.  Upon completion of medical treatment, call Military Medicine at NMC, Annapolis at 1-410-293-1758 to report your status.

(2)  Reimbursement for care of an elective, non-emergency nature is not authorized.

     b.   Emergencies  -  Proceed to the emergency room of the closest medical facility.  Call Tri-Care at 1-888-999-5195 within 24 hours upon comletion of treatment.   If hospitalized, immediately notify the Command Duty Officer, 1-410-293-2701/2702.   Provide your name, class, company, nature of injury/illness, and the name, address and phone number of the attending physician and/or hospital.   If unable to do so personally, midshipmen shall request his/her family or hospital authorities to make notification.   Report for an examination by a Staff Medical Officer immediately upon return to the Academy.

Death or Serious Illness in Family

For a death or serious illness in the family you can do one of the following:
  • Contact your Mid's Company Officer. Call Bancroft Hall at (410) 293-5001
  • Contact the Chaplain Center at (410) 293-1100 - they will help you with the details and even break the news to your Mid.
  • Contact your local Red Cross chapter to have them verify the death or illness and the exact relationship to the Midshipman.
    • The Red Cross will then contact the Academy directly to provide them with the "official" notice.
    • This will allow the Academy to begin to work with the Midshipman to issue emergency leave and provide necessary support as needed.
    • Once the request for leave is granted the Mid will be issued "emergency leave" papers. This, and a military ID Card, is all that will be needed at the airport to get the special rate most airlines give in this situation.

Christmas Break

Christmas Leave begins after the Mid's last semester exam and/or military obligation.  Stay in constant touch with your Mid to schedule his transportation for this Leave period.  It is especially important to allow extra time for the return trip in the event of weather related delays at airports across the country or when being driven back.  The Academy gives no quarter for a Mid being late when reporting back from Leave.  A Naval Officer is expected to plan for the unexpected and perform his duties regardless of unforeseen circumstances.

The Dark Ages

As the Mids return from Christmas Leave, they must settle in for the long, cold and depressing months ahead.  Traditionally, the months of January through March's Spring Break (03/09/01 to 03/18/01) represent the Dark Ages.  This is a time of shortened daylight, intense studies and little or no encouragement.  This is the time when most Mids will fall into depression of one degree or another.  As Parents, you must be prepared to write more often, send more care packages and generally be extra supportive and encouraging to help your Mid get past the winter.


A gray, granite obelisk - 21 feet high (48" Square at bottom) with matching gray, granite base, 71" Square.

The Herndon Monument was commissioned by the Officers of the U.S. Navy as a tribute to Commander William Lewis Herndon (1813-1857) after his loss in the Pacific Mail Steamer "Central America" during a hurricane off Georgia on September 12, 1857.  Herndon had followed the long time custom of the sea that a ship's captain is the last person to depart his ship in peril.  It was erected in its current location on June 16, 1860 and has never been moved even though the Academy was completely rebuilt between 1899 and 1908.

Beginning in the late 1920s, the Herndon Monument became the center of what is known today as Plebe Recognition Ceremony.  (Perhaps because it is the last rite of passage?)  The ceremony evolved from the custom of Plebes on departing graduation exercises in Dahlgren Hall of reversing their uniform jackets and hats and snake dancing through the yard singing the ditty "Ain't No More Rivers," meaning the official end of fourth class year.  Eventually the custom came to involve climbing various monuments in the yard and placing their hats on top.  The tallest challenge was the Herndon Monument.

As the ceremony evolved it became the only challenge and the only monument used in the ritual.  The legend developed that the student who got his hat on the pinnacle of the obelisk first would become the first Admiral of his class.  Although records have been kept in recent years, the legend has not proved true.  Beginning in the mid-1970s it became a tradition that the Midshipman who first reached the top is carried by his classmates to the Superintendent, who observes the ceremony from the Chapel steps, where the triumphant Midshipman is given a pair of Admiral shoulder boards.  When graduation exercises were held in Dahlgren Hall, the ceremony was among the last of the events of June Week (Commissioning Week).

After 1966, when the graduation ceremonies were moved to the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium, it was among the first of the events.  Beginning in the 1950s, the upper classes decided to make the task more difficult and started the custom of coating the granite shaft with grease such as lard and cooking fat and digging a mud pit around its base.  The latter custom has been discontinued, but the greasing continues.  At some point, too, it became a custom to glue and/or tape a Plebe's "dixie cup" hat to the top of the monument so that it had to be removed before their standard visored hat could be put in its place.

The monument climb is timed and a salute cannon is fired to signal the beginning of the ceremony and every fifteen minutes during the climb.  The record time of one minute, thirty seconds was set by the class of 1972 in 1969.   The longest climb was in 1995 when the Class of 1998 took four hours, five minutes and seventeen seconds.

Plebes No More!

With the completion of Herndon, the Plebe Year "officially" comes to an end and the cheer, "Plebes no more!!!" rings out loud and clear across the Yard.  Now officially Fourth Classmen (4/C), the Mids will become Youngsters at the conclusion of Commission of the First Class Midshipmen several days later.  There is, however, some debate that the 4/C does not advance until they sight the Chapel Dome upon returning from their Youngster Cruise.  It matters not. The Plebe Year is over and the celebrations may begin.  Congratulations to all Plebe Parents.  Your Mids are Plebes No More!!!



  • Surface Cruise - Assignment to a surface cruise entails living and working on a Navy ship. As a first class, you will be assigned a junior officer running mate, who will expose you to the duties and responsibilities of a junior surface warfare officer. As a second class on cruise you will wear dungarees and be assigned to a petty officer running mate who will expose you to the duties and responsibilities of the junior enlisted. You will rotate between the ship’s departments, including engineering, combat systems, operations, deck and navigation/admin. During your cruise you will gain insight into the daily shipboard routine which includes standing under instruction watches, both inport and underway, as well as participating in any special evolutions such as underway replenishment, gunnery exercises, small boat operations, engineering drills, damage control drills and anchoring.
  • Submarine Cruise - Assignment to a submarine cruise entails living and working on either a fast attack or ballistic missile submarine. As a first class, you will be assigned a junior officer running mate, who will expose you to the duties and responsibilities of a junior submarine warfare officer. As a second class you will be assigned a petty officer running mate who will expose you to the duties and responsibilities of the junior enlisted. It is likely that you will rotate between the ship’s departments, including engineering, weapons, and navigation/operations. While in each department you will gain insight to the daily shipboard routine, maintenance, work center organization, and division officer administration. Additionally, you will be expected to stand under instruction watches, both inport and underway, as well as during any special evolution such as engineering drills, and surfacing and submerging the boat.
  • Aviation Cruise - Assignment to a aviation cruise in most cases involves a four week experience with a shore based squadron. Midshipmen are also assigned to ships, with aviators assigned to ships company, such as a carrier or a large deck amphib. The goal is to understand the role of a junior aviation qualified officer. If assigned to a shore based squadron, flight time and exposure to the cockpit in highly encouraged, but not mandatory. There are many duties and responsibilities of the junior aviator, such as maintenance, training and administration that you will experience, that do not involve flying.
  • Leatherneck - Leatherneck is a four week program conducted by the Marines at The Basic School, in Quantico, VA. While there, you will learn the basics of amphibious assault and ground warfare. You will be given the opportunity to develop leadership skill as a member and leader of individual fire teams. Leatherneck is a prerequisite for Fleet Marine Force training.
  • Minibuds - Mini-buds is a physically rigorous three week training course at the basic underwater demolition school in Coronado, CA. Here midshipmen are exposed to the basics of the special operations, or SEAL community. In addition to the three week training course, midshipmen are assigned for a week to special operations unit. such as a SEAL team or small boat unit. Assignment to Mini-buds is only made after successful completion of a screening process.


  • Fleet Marine Force - After completion of Leatherneck, midshipmen can elect to spend an additional four weeks training with the Marine Corps. Midshipmen are assigned to a Marine ground unit for two weeks, followed by two weeks with a Marine aviation unit.
  • YP Cruise - YP cruise is a one week pre-underway training phase, followed by 2 weeks of underway training onboard one of the Academy’s 110 foot yard patrol crafts. As a first class, you act as a division officer, responsible for the third class midshipmen assigned to the YP. You will oversee the daily routine, and ensure training is progressing. As a third class, this is your first exposure to life at sea. You will get a chance to put navigation and ship handling fundamentals learned in the classroom to actual use. Each underway phase includes a port visit to New York City and Boston, MA.
  • CSNTS Cruise - A CSNTS cruise is spent onboard one of the Naval Academy’s 44 foot sailing vessels. You will sail up and down the east coast to ports such as Freeport, NY, and Newport, RI. As one of the two first class on board you will be responsible for a watch section of third class midshipmen. As third class you will be integral in the sailing and navigation of the vessel. Note that extensive training during the academic year is required for first class midshipmen.
  • PROTRAMID - If not assigned to Plebe detail, as a second class you will attend PROTRAMID. It consists of three weeks on training, which includes an in-depth introduction to the aviation, submarine, and Marine Corps communities.


    • SSN - A Seawolf, Los Angeles or Sturgeon Class attack submarine.
    • SSBN - An Ohio Class ballistic Missile submarine.
    • Cru/Des/Frig - A Ticonderoga Class cruiser, an Arleigh Burke Class, Spruance Class or Kidd Class destroyer or a Perry Class frigate.
    • Carrier - A Nimitz Class aircraft carrier.
    • Amphib - One of several classes of amphibious assault, troop and helicopter carriers.
    • Aux - Underway replenishment ships such as oilers and ammunition ships.
    • Spec Ops - Cyclone Class coastal patrol ships and minesweepers.
  • Aviation Cruises
    • Jets - F/A-18, F-14, EA-6B, and S-3 squadrons and Carrier Air Wings.
    • Props - E-2, P-3 squadrons.
    • Helo - SH-60, HSL, CH-46 squadrons.
    • NFO - E-2, P-3 squadrons.

PRT Tests and Scoring

During Plebe Summer and throughout their four years at the Academy, Midshipmen are required to maintain their physical fitness. To determine their state of fitness, a Physical Readiness Test (PRT) is administered - once during Plebe Summer and twice more before graduation.

The PRT consists of three parts which are equally weighted and are averaged together to determine a Midshipman's Grade in PRT. The grades are set up as A, B, C, D, and F as are all Academic Grades. The three parts and the minimum requirements to pass are...

  • Curl Ups - 65
  • Push Ups - 40/18 (M/F)
  • 1.5 Mile Run - 10 min 30 sec. / 12 min 40 sec (M/F)

A 500 Yard Swim is sometimes substituted for the 1.5 Mile Run.  The minimums given above are just that... MINMUMS.  Numbers of Curls, Sit Ups and times for grades between A+ and D- may be reviewed by CLICKING HERE.  Remember that each activity accounts for 1/3 of the PRT grade and the combined grade must be D- or better.  Passing the PRT is a requirement for Commissioning.

Conduct Manual

We have included a recent copy of the USNA Conduct Manual (COMDTMIDN INSTRUCTION 1610.2B) which was in effect for Midshipmen during the 2002-2003 Academic Year.  It is reproduced here as a REFERENCE ONLY for our members.  It is in no way to be treated as Official.   A current copy may include changes not reflected in this document.  For all official needs, be sure to obtain a current Official copy.

Press Release Text for Graduation Announcement for Local Newspaper(s)

Copy and Paste the document below into your word processor and substitute your information, selecting Ensign or Second Lieutenant and he or she where appropriate.  Send it along with a 5 x 7 photo of your Firstie to the local newspaper(s) on a single typewritten sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 paper.  Include a SASE if you wish them to return the photo.  Be sure to stick a preprinted return address label with your name & address on the back of the photo (DO NOT write on the back of the photo directly since this can mar the picture.) and paperclip it to the announcement.

U. S. Naval Academy, Annapolis MD.
Contact: {your name}
{your phone number with AC}

U.S. Navy Ensign/U.S. Marine Corps Second Lieutenant {First Name Middle Initial Last Name}, son/daughter of {parents' name}, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD on {graduation date} and was commissioned as an Officer in the U.S. Navy/U.S. Marine Corps.  Ens./2nd Lt. {Last Name} successfully completed four years of intensive academic, physical, and professional training, resulting in a Bachelor of Science Degree with a major in {academic major}.  As a graduate of the Naval Academy, Ens./2nd Lt. {Last Name} completed a four-year, total immersion program where a strong, balanced academic program, focused on the educational needs of the Navy and Marine Corps, is superimposed on a strict, professional military training environment emphasizing the development of leadership skills.  Following graduation, Ens./2nd Lt. {Last Name} has been assigned to {ship/school} where he/she will {continue studies/training in ________} and then proceed to {home port/duty station} where he/she will begin service aboard/with {ship/command}.

Considered one of the top educational institutions in the country, the U.S.Naval Academy was founded in 1845 and has graduated more than 60,000 men and women as Naval and Marine Corps Officers.  Its graduates include 4,000 Admirals and Generals, one President, 200 members of Congress, three Governors, 73 Medal of Honor winners, one Nobel Prize winner, and 40 Astronauts.

The Naval Academy currently has more than 4,000 students who comprise the Brigade of Midshipmen and who come from every state in the union.

Ens./2nd Lt. {Last Name} is a {HS Grad Year} graduate of {High School/Academy}, {City}, {State}.

Questions? Contact our