Midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy’s Class of 2020 endured 14 hours of rigorous physical and mental challenges during the annual Sea Trials training exercise May 16.
Sea Trials is modeled after the Marine Corps’ Crucible and the Navy’s Battle Stations recruit programs and is a “capstone” event for the plebes.
“The goal of Sea Trials is to build teamwork,” said Midshipman 1st Class Hanna Gillcrist, this year’s Sea Trials executive officer. “We want to build that camaraderie between classmates right before they go to their summer training.”
The day started at 3 a.m. with a physical training warm-up to help get the plebes ready for the strenuous activities ahead of them.
After the warm-up, the day was filled with events such as emergency re-supply, shore defense, combat fitness test, military operations, damage, aquatics challenges and endurance, water tactics, hill assault, a two-mile regimental run, ground fight, stretcher relay, land navigation, survival skills, tug of war, endurance course, obstacle course, pugil stick jousting, riverine operations, a rucksack run and casualty evacuation.
The exercises took place at different locations throughout the Yard and Naval Support Activity Annapolis. Events included a variety of physical challenges that simulate situations naval and Marine officers might encounter in the fleet.
“Being on the other side of things now has really allowed me to see just how the different events and exercises shape the camaraderie and teamwork of the plebes,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Nene Yutakum, a company executive officer.
The overall exercise is designed to test the plebes' teamwork and reinforce their bonds as a company and class, while also providing a leadership challenge for the upperclass midshipmen who lead each station.
Each year, the company of plebes who demonstrates the top unit performance through endurance and spirit during Sea Trials is recognized with the Iron Company award at an evening ceremony. This year, the award went to 29th Company.