Alpha Inspections

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Mongo, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    1,444
    Likes Received:
    0
    Questions always come at the wrong time. I just got back from tailgaiting with an entire company and spending the weekend with three recent graduates. Now, someone emails me and asks what is an Alpha Inspection. I've blocked all the bad memories and don't remember. Can someone help me?
     
  2. PositiveThinking

    PositiveThinking Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    333
    Likes Received:
    2
    Plebe son said he and his roommates were planning on spending all Sunday evening cleaning for it. Inspectors are evidently uber picky - check for dust/grime inside the air vents and open up the windows to see if window sills are clean. :eek:
    On the last one they were counted off for two books not being exactly lined up on their shelf, and a permanent chipped spot on their sink that had probably been there since 1974. Gotta love it! :thumb:
     
  3. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2010
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    368
    shudder

    Alpha Inspection, back in the day, usually happened right before Navy-Army in December. It was the white glove/black sock inspection that went with company zone inspections. It will surprise no one that plebes had much of the responsibility for scrubbing, cleaning, polishing, sweeping, polishing, cleaning and polishing some more. Obviously there was the room inspection component, but we were also responsible for the p-ways and company wardroom.

    I believe what you're blocking out, Mongo, is that it was toward the end of the semester, e.g. crunch time with academics: papers due, presentations to prep, exams to study for on top of the normal academic crush; plus there was Navy-Army prep to do; plus if your company's IM team was in playoffs you still have that commitment; and oh by the way in your spare time, clean every square inch of your company's space - decks, bulkheads, heads, wardroom, boards etc. usually multiple times. I was so worried about upcoming Alpha Inspection over Tgiving leave that I barely ate and didn't enjoy my family. (In hindsight, the great lesson here was, deal with the fire that's burning your feet and let the other ones burn until you get to them. Like many USNA experiences, I hated learning this lesson and am eternally, deeply grateful for it.)

    The real PITA was, in early December, there is a staggering amount of dust in Bancroft. No matter how often we cleaned and dusted, literally moments later it could be unsat. I don't know whether it's still the case, but a single unsat in one area (e.g. one's room, the wardroom) rendered the entire area unsat. The scores for Alpha Inspection went to Color Company competition scores.
     
  4. MomoftheMagik

    MomoftheMagik Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    403
    Likes Received:
    2
    Oh great...one more thing to make my once-cheerful Plebe a big grouch! :rolleyes:
     
  5. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    1,444
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks, LAP. Starting to shudder also so it must be coming back. Did it not also include a seabag inspection (Check to see if everyone has the mandatory quantity of ALL of their required uniform items)and one had to present the spaces in an immaculate uniform of the day which was also inspected?
     
  6. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2010
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    368
    It did indeed. It's all coming back. [shudder] I was short two blue rims, and the Midstore was out because every other plebe in Bancroft was apparently short two blue rims in medium, too. In the days before email I had to scrounge two unmarked mediums from shipmates just in time. Then, on the appointed day and time, we waited in our rooms in SDBs, periodically wiping everything, including the soles of our shoes, straightening one another's collars and insignia, picking single fibers and IPs off uniforms, smoothing every hair, as firsties from other companies made their way down the p-way. Oh, I also recall my roomie and I neither slept in our bunks the night before and did not shower that morning, lest we have to spend 20 minutes making our racks and scrub every inch of the shower stall again. I didn't care so much, but she didn't like that at all. Lot of cranky, sleepy, slightly "funky" plebes that day.
     
  7. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    1,444
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't remember being responsible for common areas. The mokes did that. And since we were never allowed in the wardroom, I guess we could not be asked to clean it either. Other than that, I think we agree.
     
  8. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,509
    Likes Received:
    459
    I don't remember this at all.:confused: Either they didn't do it in my day, I'm getting old, or I'm repressing the memory.:rolleyes:
     
  9. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,829
    Likes Received:
    595
    I was actually having a conversation on this topic with some other grads the other day, as well.

    My take is there needs to be a re-focus of the Zone Inspection (white glove/black sock) and place more importance on materiel matters vs Alpha inspection...i.e. broken overhead tiles, cracked tiles, etc. vs. being able to eat of the deck. The focus on the Fleet is more on equipment parts, conditions, etc. and not strictly cleanliness (though, this is important). The Zone Inspection would not be as stressful and time consuming if it was done with a gradual strain versus, a pull at the end of semester. This can be accomplished by better planning on behalf of the 1/C WITH proper company officer guidance (which was nonexistent in my day).
     
  10. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Messages:
    1,234
    Likes Received:
    136
    Mokes! Funny! I had almost completely forgotten that term. I don't think they use it anymore.

    I thought it was spelled MOC - as in Marine Officer Candidate. :smile:
     
  11. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    1,444
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, I was riding the bus up to the Army game last year and making small talk with the nephew of a friend. When he said he worked at the Academy, I asked him what he did. His reply was that he was the moke on X-3. Of course his dad graduated a few years before you and he knew I was a grad. So some do know. Common knowledge? I have no idea.
     
  12. osdad

    osdad Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    28
    My Plebe reports that they passed Alpha with only a minor ding...dirty clothes in the locker. Let's see laundry is on Tuesday and Friday and the inspection was on....oh well they passed.

    Now as part of training for 1/C year, I'm going to ask her to perform an Alpha on her bedroom when she's home for TG break. :eek:
     
  13. jbowman55

    jbowman55 USNA Parent 2014

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would do that too but first I would have to clean up all the junk I've stashed in her room since she's been gone.:rolleyes:

    My plebe said they 100% on their Alpha inspection. Having lived with her for her first 18 3/4 years, this amuses me to no end. :eek:
     
  14. AmeFre

    AmeFre New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh, I guess that means they've already had alphas? I haven't heard yet.
     
  15. slammy01

    slammy01 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Alphas

    1st Reg did their alphas last month on 18OCT, 2nd Reg just did theirs last Monday 15NOV.

    I really think that people get too stressed out over Alpha Inspections, the best thing to do is just go down the chit and check everything in the room off. This is the same thing that the inspector will be doing. The things which take the longest are stripping and waxing the deck as well as cleaning the shower and shower curtain. My room got 44/45, we got hit for having some dust on some of the harder to reach top blinds.

    Dusting is almost always a losing battle, our rooms accumulate so much dust that it is almost impossible to get it all.

    There are 3 auto failures that are worth taking time to do right.

    1.) Mold on the Shower Curtain- This is a health concern more than anything else, but it also takes a solid 30 minutes of cleaning to make sure that every single little speck of mold and mildew is gone.

    2.) Not properly stripping and waxing the deck- As long as you do a decent job and look like you put effort into stripping and waxing no one will bother you. This is not something that can be done last minute, it really takes almost an entire day to get done between putting down coats and letting them dry.

    3.) "excessive laundry, odor emanating"- I sent most of my clothes into laundry to get cleaned regardless of how clean they were. In my company laundry goes out on Thursday and comes back the next Tuesday so I could get rid of most of my clothes to make my locker look good and get rid of any smell that might be there.

    It is also worth pointing out at this time that the better smelling rooms tend to do better on inspections, a 1/C may come into a room that smells "off," and will assume either consciously or unconsciously that something is wrong with the room and look around until they are bound to find something to hit you on. We burn a Yankee Candle (I'm a fan of Orchard Pear right now) in my room almost all the time or have a window open. When we get inspected more often then not it will consist of someone walking in, looking around, seeing that almost everything is how it should be and then walking out.
     
  16. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,829
    Likes Received:
    595
    slammy01,

    Great observations -- seems like you have prioritization down!

    There are many phrases about first impressions (i.e. lasting impressions, you don't get a "do-over," etc.), but another great point is about overall appearance -- it normally says a lot about discipline, organization, and smartness. Believe it or not, the inspection starts when they look at you in your uniform -- a poorly worn or improperly worn uniform might be indicative of the same effort you placed into the room, and as you stated, if the room smells foul, then the inspector might start "wondering" AND wandering.

    It works the same exact way in the Fleet. Specifically, with INSURV (Inspection and Survey), the President (CAPT, O-6), specifically went out of his way to mention that he/she will know how the inspection will play out within the first 15-20 mins of walking aboard the ship (whether his/her arrival is properly announced, the ship is cleaned and stowed, the crews' body language, etc).

    44/45 is typical, especially as a plebe -- some 1/C think plebes can't "earn" perfect scores, no matter how perfect the room is.
     
  17. subvet

    subvet Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    0
    Curious: When did they do away with cruise boxes? I know I'm talking the a long time ago (40') here but just curious.
     
  18. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    1,444
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think they still give them out. Only now they are made of very heavy duty cardboard. A very poor substitute for the wooden ones made in the carpentry shop, I know at least up into the '70s. I actually used mine as a pattern and made a few more.
     
  19. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Messages:
    1,234
    Likes Received:
    136
    The ones we got were made of thin, gray metal. They looked like small coffins. I still have mine in my attic. I have no idea what is in that box to this day. Great for storage!
     
  20. marvin7794

    marvin7794 Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    0
    I thought all the smart kids just went and got new shower curtains before alpha inspections. That would seem the most logical course of action. I recall once that the alpha was scheduled during the late NFL game on a Sunday. As long as the game was on in the rooms I was inspecting, they passed.
     

Share This Page