Commissioning Week

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by inzane99, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. inzane99

    inzane99 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2008
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0
    Received packet in the mail this week for son's graduation and while filled vital information there were still some questions. (How many tickets ?) Found some additional info on the web so here it is..

    USNA Commissioning Week Advice

    Commissioning Week has many events. Schedule will be posted in early January. For those with rental houses for the “week”, suggest arriving on Sunday and departing on Sunday am. Use Saturday for packing, clean up, etc. Some Battalions and Companies will be assigned Sunday evening as their “Supe’s Garden Party” night. The Dedication Parade will be held on Monday. Blue Angels rehearse on Tuesday and Wednesday. There is a Graduation Ball on Wednesday night. Check with your mid if they will be going (includes family as well).

    Arrive at the stadium early (7:00am – 7:30am) if you want the best seats. If not, you can arrive by 8:45am. Concession stands were open and not too expensive.

    Consider packing cooler water, soft drinks, bagels, fruit and veggies for before and after event in parking lot. It takes a long time for the parking lot to clear after the ceremonies. Port-a-potties and trash cans available, but still bring trash bags. Stadium will have rules about what can/can not be brought in. Generally, NO large camera bags, purses, backpacks, etc will be allowed in. Never really know about umbrellas. Bottled water is generally not allowed to be brought in. However, you can buy cold water and some breakfast items in the stadium after you arrive. There is PLENTY of time during the ceremony to go to the snack concessions and get something to eat or drink. It takes a few hours to get through almost 1,000 names.

    Generally, nobody can leave stadium once in and then get back in. Yes, someone can go into stadium to save seats.

    Podium will be erected at the South end, where the mids march in and is visible from every single seat. Stadium is NEVER full for graduation…seats for all. BRING BINOCULARS and cameras with good zoom lenses!!

    Graduation tickets are distributed the week prior to Commissioning so your Firstie should be looking for them. They will receive the number of tickets requested. Get the tickets from your Firstie as soon as you arrive for Commissioning Week so you can distribute to your guests. Nobody gets into the stadium without a ticket! For outdoor, each mid gets 6 reserved seats in the company seating area (Company seating arrangements done in draw to make it fair for the best seats) and as many general admission tickets (farther away from stage than reserved as they request. In the unlikely event that it is moved indoors they will be limited to 4 seats! All seating is FREE.

    Every 1/C will receive the following tickets: Parking Pass for use at the Stadium: 1…other cars will have to pay the $5/day); Color Parade: 4; Graduation: 6 reserved; Indoor Graduation: 4. These are the tickets that the 1/C Mid may request in addition to those listed above: Outdoor Graduation: unlimited General Admission (farther way from stage than reserved); Wheelchair: Submit the number of guests who will be in a wheelchair. Maximum of 2 (Mid will also receive a ticket for a family member/friend to sit near them.);

    Mids are given 6 “assigned seats” and will be in your son/daughter’s company area which is changed every year to be fair to all companies. Those company seats will be in the upper and lower decks closest to the podium on both sides. The 2/C, 3/C, and 4/C mids will sit on the same benches on the BLUE (West) side where they sit for football games.

    If you have special family seating needs, such as a member with a wheelchair or a walker, these tickets need to be requested at that time as well. A wheelchair member will be expected to have a family designee with him/her. The wheelchairs are positioned above the company area seating under the overhang (and out of the sun and rain). The assisting family member sits in the last row just in front of the wheelchairs.

    State Parent Club Presidents and their spouses, parents of the highest ranking midshipmen in the class, and other designated guests will be seated on the field, behind the graduates. If parents fall into one of these categories, they will still receive another 6 “assigned seats” in the Company area.

    A professional photographer will take a picture of every single mid as she/he gets degree and commission, and these will be closer-up than any picture you can take from the stands. The names are called VERY close together, so pay attention!

    Be prepared…pack both rain gear (ponchos are great) and sun protection (hats,
    sunglasses, sunscreen).

    Allow for time on the field after graduation for taking pictures, placing new shoulder boards, first salute, etc. You will be holding your Mid’s new Ensign cover with you in your seats. Your mid will be wearing his Midshipman cover and will be throwing that in the air. After the ceremonies, he will be looking for you to put on his new shoulder boards and ensign cover, becoming eligible to receive his 1st salute (then giving the Silver Dollar). (Here is a tip: make sure you tape that 1st Salute Silver Dollar inside the new cover so it will be available to give out.) Officers are saluted only by other active duty military personnel and only by those that they outrank (in this case, ensigns or 2nd LT’s only outrank other midshipmen, enlisted of any rank, or warrant officers) and only when in uniform. Be sure to keep an eye on that beautiful new cover. The kids who try to get a Midshipman cover as a souvenir after the ceremony don’t always know the difference between that and a new officer’s cover. They have been know to disappear while everyone is gathering on the field in preparation for pictures.

    Allow for EXTRA time for party/lunch at house, restaurant, etc after the ceremonies…it will take longer than you think to get out of the parking lot.

    Your Firsties have to be out of Bancroft no later than the MORNING of Commissioning. In years past, they have been permitted to spend each night with you if they choose but, again, this could change. They have been told to pare down the contents of their rooms to only what will fit inside a sea bag since the Academy doesn’t want 1,000 Firsties trying to move everything out on the morning of Commissioning.

    This has been the same policy for the past eight Commissionings. Plan on your Mid wanting to get lots of their possessions out of their room during the week so that they are down to their Choker Whites or Dress Blues and Whites plus a fresh change of underwear and toiletries for that morning.

    Firsties MAY stay in Bancroft up to and including the night before Commissioning IF THEY CHOOSE. Firsties MAY also move out of Bancroft after their last exam and never set foot into Bancroft again, also, IF THEY CHOOSE. In other words, Firsties are NOT required to remain in residence at Bancroft Hall for all of intercessionals and Commissioning Week. They MUST have all of their possessions removed from Bancroft Hall PRIOR to reporting to the stadium for Graduation and Commissioning. This has been the policy for many years.

    Things to consider ordering for your Firstie: sword (Mid Store), diploma frame (Mid Store and Alumni Association) -Mid will receive graduation diploma and commissioning certificate, Ensign box (Mid Store), new Ensign Cover (Johnson’s clothing store on Maryland Ave).

    Book hotels EARLY…may even consider BWI and Bowie locations.

    Send mass email to family and friends early in process to see who might be interested in coming.

    Rental houses can be found early or even at the last minute. Might consider looking during Firstie Parent Weekend. Annapolis Accomodations specializes in this….consider size of your party, distance from stadium and grocery and liquor stores, parking availability, etc. Be aware of requirements from renting…deposit, clean up, pets, mail, paper, plants, etc…consider cleaning service if required, 1st floor or 2nd floor bedrooms for older guests. Other items to ask about…towels and linens, air conditioning,cooking supplies, coffee pots, toasters, closet space to hang up clothes, refrigerator space, kitchen use, # of beds, showers. Suggest arranging with homeowner NOT to have to wash all towels and linens and make up beds before you leave. Just strip beds and put towels/linens in pile if you can.

    You can’t possible attend ALL the parties…let your Mid decide what to attend. Might consider having your party early in the week. Really wouldn’t consider a party on Graduation Day. After Wednesday, it gets pretty crazy.

    There will be many functions scheduled during the Commissioning Week…parades, Supe’s garden party, family picnic, graduation ball, etc. The required “dress/attire” will be dictated by the Academy. There are 3 types: informal, formal, and casual. Here is an explanation of each:

    Informal:
    • Military women and men: Summer White (Officers of other services will wear the corresponding uniform of their service.)
    • Civilian women: Suits; street length, mid length long skirts or dresses as current styles dictate; pantsuits.
    • Civilian men: Business suit
    • Children: Attire to correspond with adults

    Formal:
    • Military women and men: Dinner Dress White Jacket (Officers of other services will wear the corresponding uniform of their service.)
    • Civilian women: Long formal gowns, dressy cocktail suits, dressy cocktail dresses
    • Civilian men: Black Tie; tuxedo
    • Children: Attire to correspond with adults


    Casual:
    • Military women and men: Summer White (Officers of other services will wear the corresponding uniform of their services)
    • Civilian women: slacks, walking shorts, capri pants, sporty skirts, sundresses
    • Civilian men: Khakis, polo or sport shirts, walking shorts
    • Children: Attire to correspond with adults


    Don’t rely on just 1 rental car if you are staying outside Annapolis between airport runs, grocery store, trips to the Yard for your mid for early parade practice, etc.

    Sam’s Club has pre-made USNA cakes with logo and you can have your mid’s name added. Sam’s has great sandwich making items or Famous Dave does a great BBQ catering.

    For Supe’s Garden Party, wear comfortable shoes and have your camera ready so you can have picture of you and your mid with the Supe.

    At the Color Parade on Thursday, you might see shoes left on the Parade Grounds. They say it is a custom for the Firsties to leave their shoes behind after their last parade as a reminder of the shoes that the younger classes have to fill.

    Drink lots of water and have comfortable shoes at ALL TIMES!!

    Wheelchair Rental places:
    ​- Weems Creek Pharmacy​410-266-1177 ​$30/week
    ​- Advanced Home Oxygen Supplies​410-841-5540​$45/week
    ​- Annapolis Healthcare Supplies​410-295-7300​$50/week
    ​- Roberts Home Medical​410-267-7588​$55/week
     
  2. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,511
    Likes Received:
    461
    Great gouge!

    One note of advice . . . President Obama is the scheduled graduation speaker this year which means there will be extra security. BE EARLY. VERY EARLY. They will not hold the ceremony b/c you're still standing in the security line.

    Also, for older grads who haven't been to a graduation lately, two things hyave changed. First, the graduation ceremony is basically in the end zone rather than being in front of one set of bleachers. Thus, everyone has an angled view from the stands and guests fill both sides of the stands. Which means that, if you arrive late, you will be higher or further back and have a harder time seeing anything. It also means that there is a virtually unlimited number of seats for each mid b/c they can fill almost every stadium seat (other than the end zones). And, I'm not sure the view from behind the grads is that much better than a close seat in the bleachers b/c you're on the grass so no elevation. Just saying . . .

    Second, the mids walk in two-by-two from the "closed" end zone down to their seats on the grass. I believe they come by company but you do have to pay attention with them coming two at a time.

    Definitely bring binoculars -- if you don't, you won't see much of anything. Cameras . . . well, be sure you have a zoom lens or you'll simply get a sea of black and white (USN/USMC uniforms).

    That said, don't overpack, especially with the increased security.
     
  3. lovethenavy

    lovethenavy Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    1
    Excellent posts! Thanks for this info. DS is a 2/C and we rented a house already for next year. My husband tried to book rooms for next year last month and could only find one hotel in DTA that would book a room for less than 300 a night with a cancellation policy. We quickly booked 2 hotel rooms for extra guests not staying in the rental house.
     
  4. time2

    time2 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,059
    Likes Received:
    270
    At graduation last year, you were NOT allowed to carry any food/beverages into the stadium and bags were being inspected....but things can change from year to year. Getting there VERY early (hours ahead of time) was not necessary, however, there would obviously be added security since the President is expected this year.

    A family member who does arrive early could save a row of seats for the others who arrived later. It was VERY hot last year, so need to plan accordingly. There was plenty of avilable seating in the non-reserved areas.
     
  5. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Messages:
    2,868
    Likes Received:
    237
    Great post by OP. They graduate by Company so you may have to wait a long time for 26, 27, 28 etc.. East side of stadium has some good shade for most of the day get high and you can be shaded for most of the graduation. As 1985 said with the President there security will be a nightmare. Go Early. I think they come in from the "open" end by the monuments and the stage is at the "closed'" end?
     
  6. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,634
    Likes Received:
    1
    And might be able to use as a senior thesis @ USNA! At least the introduction to "My Mercurial Life as a Midshipman: To Sea or Not to Sea! That Was the Question!" :confused: :thumb:
     
  7. time2

    time2 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,059
    Likes Received:
    270
    The mids march into graduation from the side where the 'grassy knoll' is. That is the OPPOSITE end of the stadium from where they march on for football games.
     
  8. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Messages:
    2,868
    Likes Received:
    237
    DD answer was "to sea or not to sea?" was MC.:biggrin: Hated summers on ships.:thumb:
     
  9. MIDNDAD

    MIDNDAD Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Messages:
    357
    Likes Received:
    1
    Excellent Post!

    So many things to plan for and it goes so fast. One of the things we under estimated was the chaos of trying to find your now ex-mid on the field for pictures. Agree on an easy meeting place on the field with your mid before graduation.... Cell phones do not work well because of the volume of people inside the stadium.

    Being there to pin those shoulder boards on and see them give their first salute is as they say priceless.
     
  10. USNA13DAD

    USNA13DAD Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    16
    Time Question

    Trying to plan post grad/commissioning meal, based on previous years at about what time do the activities end, figure time for picture taking etc. and how long to leave the stadium? I know there are a lot of variables but based upon best guess.
     
  11. greeneagle5

    greeneagle5 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Messages:
    304
    Likes Received:
    16
    USNA13DAD,

    As I recall , last year's ceremony wrapped up early to mid-afternoon.....photo sessions and salutations inside the stadium (on the field and off) took another hour+...many of our new Ensign's Company-mates found each other to congratulate and say goodbye ( and of course let parents take more photos).....when we left the stadium, (approx. 90 minutes after the ceremony concluded) there was still plenty of bumper to bumper gridlock in the parking lot. We were staying at the nearby Westin and simply walked back the 4 blocks to the hotel.....older guests in our group rode the hotel shuttle bus. We had a post-graduation dinner reservation for 6:30PM....which gave us ample time for a greatly appreciated shower after the hot, humid and exciting day in the sun, a 20 minute nap for us" old folks" and a few celebratory toasts at the bar before walking across the street to the restaurant.. btw- I used the excellent online "Open Table" reservations service to book many of our meals around DTA during CW, months in advance......very easy to modify or cancel if plans and/or group size change.:thumb:
     
  12. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Messages:
    2,868
    Likes Received:
    237
    If I remember correctly there are some white tents at the open end. Tell them to meet you there. Easily recognized and found. We went to Baltimore and Fogo De Chao in the harbor. Drive wasn't bad and the food was great.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  13. time2

    time2 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,059
    Likes Received:
    270
    My recollection of the time was about the same as greeneagle5. I do NOT recommend trying to host a big party (if renting a house) AFTER graduation since most everyone is exhausted after a long day in the sun and just wanted to relax. It was extremely hot and the only place to be in the shade was behind the grandstands near the concession stands. Stadium seats were in the sun all day long. Holding the party the night before graduation works out much better.

    After graduation is over you could walk onto the field as someone mentioned, but during the ceremony only those with the correct type of ticket could do that. Also not sure what other security arrangements may be in place when the president attends, so plan your post-meeting based on what works for this year.
     
  14. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    122
    I told my family (and first salute) to meet me at a specific battle. Worked out well.
     
  15. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Messages:
    2,868
    Likes Received:
    237
    At a specific monument might be a better Idea as there will be less people at that specific point on the grounds. The field is a nightmare trying to find your Plebe. Good Luck To All.
     

Share This Page