Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Class of 2018 Commits to Active Service

By MC2 Tyler Caswell

The 1,053 midshipmen of the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2018 celebrated their commitment to five years of service after graduation at the annual Commitment Dinner Aug. 23.

Photo by MC2 Tyler Caswell

For the first two years of their education at USNA, midshipmen have the option to leave the Naval Academy without committing to active duty service.

When they return for their third year, however, the second-class midshipmen must make the serious decision of continuing their service for seven more years – two at the academy and five in the Fleet as naval or Marine Corps officers. This is when they sign their "2 for 7" agreements during a formal ceremony for each company in Bancroft Hall.

“Plebes come in on Induction Day and they make a big commitment in front of everyone,” said Lt. Mike Wallace, 4th Company Officer. “Over the course of two years, they truly develop into budding leaders that understand the gravity of why they are here and the purpose they are here for.”

The “2 for 7” agreement is more personal, said Wallace.

“Now they make the decision to continue on as individuals. They are committing to serve on active duty, and to lead Sailors and Marines honorably and with distinction,” he said.

After spending two years at USNA committing to professional and personal development, many midshipmen felt the commitment was an easy decision for them to make.

Photo by MIDN 1/C Dylan Prenda

“For me, the 2 for 7 was an affirmation to a commitment I’ve already had,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Adam Oster. “It really wasn’t a question of whether or not I would sign. I’ve been inspired by the experiences I have had with individuals who have attended and are attending USNA. The exemplary character, the success they have in service and in their civilian life, and the demeanor in which they treat others around them made me want to continue to be a part of the Navy.”

In addition to signing their individual service contracts, the mids collectively as a class sign the “Honor Scroll,” which they presented Commandant of Midshipmen Marine Col. Stephen Liszewski at the Commitment Dinner.

“Tonight is a night to do three things,” said Liszewski during his remarks at the dinner. “The first is to remember, the second is to reflect, and the third is to renew. Remember what it was that brought you to USNA, reflect on what you have accomplished in the two years you have been here and most importantly renew your faith. You have fantastic careers and futures ahead of you.”

Members of the Class of 1968, also known as the “Link in the Chain” class for graduating 50 years prior to the Class of 2018, were in attendance. Retired Adm. Mike Mullen – a member of the Class of 1968 – delivered the keynote address.

“The 2 for 7 commitment is a big deal,” said Mullen. “Someday you will be called to active duty to defend your country and potentially die for your country. You are an incredible minority and at the same time hold up a wonderfully strong pillar in our country. Never underestimate what you are and what you will do.”

4 comments:

  1. Very fine article, Petty Officer Caswell, documenting an inspiring evening at the Naval Academy for both the Classes of 2018 and 1968. Well done.
    Sincerely, Capt. Gordon I Peterson, USN (Ret), Corresponding Secretary, Class of 1968

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    Replies
    1. The recent establishment of the "Link in the Chain" ceremonies and interactive camaraderie was a phenomenally great ideal. What an honor it would have been for Capt Peterson and me to have been able to meet with members of the Class of 1918 during our tenure at the Naval Academy. Definitely an opportunity lost! Jeff Dumas, Boulder, Colorado

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