Thousands of family members and friends filled the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), Aug 11, for Plebe Parents’ Weekend.
Plebe Parents’ Weekend, August 10-13, provides an opportunity for parents to reunite with their plebes (freshmen) after an intensive six weeks of Plebe Summer training that paves the way to a midshipman's freshman year at USNA.
It has been six weeks since they said goodbye to their sons and daughters and turned them over to the upper-class midshipman detailers for Plebe Summer training.
“Just after that first phone call, he was already different,” said Amy Brothers, mother of Midshipman 4th Class Graham Brothers. “His voice was different, the way he spoke was different. He went from being a mumbling teenager to carrying a conversation like a man.”
Plebe Summer, which began with Induction Day, June 29, is a fast-paced, boot camp-style orientation that begins four years of preparing midshipmen to become commissioned naval officers. It challenges the new midshipmen to develop leadership ability, motivation, moral courage, teamwork and physical strength.
For the family and friends reuniting with their plebes, it can be shocking to see how much they have changed. Parents say that the new mannerisms their plebes have adopted make them seem almost unrecognizable. They stand taller and straighter, pivot around corners, address everyone as “sir" or "ma'am," and say things like, “where is the head?”
“When I saw him walking up today, I’m telling you, I can’t even explain the feeling of pride to see how much he has grown and matured,” said Mia Nelson, mother of Midshipman 4th Class Gj Nelson. “I’ve just missed him so much.”
During the four-day weekend, parents are able to see the plebes in a formal parade, tour the dorms at Bancroft Hall, and meet with faculty and staff members to get a glimpse of life at the academy, and learn what to expect for their plebes during the upcoming year.
The Class of 2021 is composed of 887 men and 327 women from all over the United States and includes 15 international students from around the globe. The class also includes 60 prior enlisted service members from the Navy, Marine Corps and Army.
The Class of 2021 is scheduled to join the Brigade of Midshipmen during reform, Aug. 16-18. At that point, the plebes will move to their permanent company spaces in preparation for the academic school year.
See more photos from Plebe Parents Weekend on the USNA Flickr page.