Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Brawny77, Jul 6, 2016.
How long do they get to talk on the first phone call home?
Depends. One year is never exactly the same as any other. Have a note pad and pen handy for requests. Be prepared for a range of emotions. Don't dwell on how much you miss them. You know your own DD/DS. Ask easy questions that don't add pressure, such as "how do you like your roommates" or "what's the silliest thing they have you do/funniest thing that's happened." Deeper conversations can happen at PPW or in unrushed settings. Assure him/her of your complete love and confidence they will succeed. If you will be there for PPW, tell them to focus on that, a day at a time, or an hour at a time, if the going gets tough. Ask for any special requests early on, in case they have to bail.
I think we had 30 minutes last year.
Be prepared for frustration with poor cellular connections. Hundreds of simultaneous calls in a concentrated area can overwhelm the network.
Last year, I recall DS' first call home was cut a bit short, we had about 20 minutes. Had to do with the delay in handing out their cell phones and finding a spot with good reception (+1 OtB). I remember we crowded around the phone at the specified time (make sure you account for the difference in time zones!) waiting for it to ring. You'll be tempted to ask questions, but let your Plebe talk. Enjoy that first call home! Fast forward one year and DS called home several times while on his first summer cruise but no one was home to pick up! Finally had a long chat with him this past Sunday and just listened as he told us about his cruise. He was excited, he was having fun ... said he took lots of pictures in port and will share them with us when he's home 3rd block!
30 mins, according to the parent info meeting on IDay.
Wow, I would kill for 20-30 minutes USMA New Cadets got 2 minutes for the first phone call.
That's why I said "Depends." It has varied over the years with the leadership philosophy.
I'm really not stalking the USNA board (seems I'm posting more on this board last few days than the USMA board), but us West Point 2020 parents just got our first call from our New Cadets at Beast. They ranged anywhere between one and two minutes; just enough to confirm they were OK. The call my wife and I got was pretty good. My son confirmed he was healthy, liked his squad leader and platoon Sgt., and his roommate. Has blisters, and things are real hard, but that he is fine, and told us not to worry. Unfortunately, many parents got bad calls too. I think this is pretty typical, and most kids are able to stick it out. Each academy wants the kids to be successful I think. It is tough, and maybe harder on the parents, whose time isn't as occupied as the kids. It was great hearing from my son though.
Phone call intel:
Fresh from an unnamed source (an exhausted 2/c sponsor daughter detailer who has just arrived and collapsed on our sofa, hoarse of voice and full of stories, who's here overnight for a bit of rest away from Bancroft): "The plan is first call on the 10th. Twenty minutes. We will do our best to get the phones out fast and steer them towards good reception."
Not too many chit-surfers. (the ones who exaggerate an injury to get out of stuff)
- Her priors are great, helping their company mates.
- Yes, some appointees did not take their oath and left on I-Day.
- There were some medical turn backs.
- Black flag yesterday and today. Detailers watched carefully for dehydration and adjusted the physical schedule appropriately.
- Chaplains are zooming around doing chaplain magic.
- They had burgers for lunch and dinner on the Fourth, and got to see the fireworks.
- As they always do, the plebes are starting to figure things out by working together.
- Tango Company opens up on Training Day 10. If a plebe really wants to leave, they can go to Tango Company as of that day. They are counseled and allowed to decompress a bit, and the situation remains fluid. Sometimes they continue with out-processing, sometimes they ask to go back to their company.
She is now sound asleep, with port and starboard boxer dogs asleep with her, awaiting dinner.
Edit: We had a good laugh over the perennial stories of the plebes who call their BF or GF first, and run out of time to call mom or dad. I only say this because it does happen. I hope it does not happen to any parents reading this!
GF is coming to our house so we can share the call...I wasn't risking it!!!
BEST POST EVER, Capt MJ!
I'm scrapping for any information I can find--this was super. Okay. . . I can go make dinner now. Breath.
Glad to hear NO mention of the plebe hack (plebe hack = sickness [cough, sore throat, etc.] that spreads among the plebe class during plebe summer). Parents...don't worry...detailers and brigade medical monitor/treat such conditions.
Smart idea...make it a "joint" phone call.
Update from same 2/c detailer sponsor daughter, now in the kitchen with another sponsor daughter making 6 dozen chocolate chip cookies (I am at the counter as consultant): "No plebe hack yet. It's coming. We tell them to wash their hands for the Happy Birthday song time, but we expect a room full of coughers at the next big brief. We will take care of them." The cookies are for the nightly detailer meeting after the plebes are in bed, and any detailer who had a night off the Yard is expected to bring in a treat.
Over the years, we have observed the sponsor sons and daughters who have served as detailers are focused, engaged, serious, conscientious and care deeply that their plebes succeed.
Can you speak a little more about Tango Company. I received a call from my DS stating that he wanted to resign and could do so on day 10. Why day 10? Why don't they make them stay for the entire summer? Why don't they let them have a longer conversation with home once they have decided to do this. He had 10 minutes to call me and tell me what is plans were. I didn't have time to be motivational and tell him to stick with it and that he could do it. Now I am panicking trying to get a letter to him, but I don't know if he will get it before it is too late. I sent it overnight and should be there tomorrow at noon, but who knows when the detailers will get it to him.
Is this common? How often do the plebe's decide to stay and continue once moving to Tango Company. Any words of wisdom or advice would be helping. I am freaking out here. Thanks.
Tango Company is where Plebes who decide to leave go to out process. Plebes are required to stay 10 days before they can enter Tango (unless they are showing severe mental distress or physical harm). When they go Tango they will have Detailers who help them think this through and out process. For some they might remain there and mull this over for days and decide to return. They will talk to Chaplains, officers, Mids, call home, etc. USNA doesn't want a Plebe to make a rash decision and leave without this being well thought out. The Tango environment is very different from the regular Plebe Summer environment and is relaxed. If he decides to go to Tango he will have the opportunity call again. Technically USNA can't make anyone stay, he hasn't signed any commitment papers until Junior year. They due 10 days to try and make Plebes give it a legit shot and let the initial shock wear off.
My guess is your DS was wanting to quit and since he isn't at Day 10 yet he can't go to Tango, but the Company Officer decided it was best for a short call home before going back to his duties. He will get a lot of counseling from Mids, officers and senior enlisted in the coming days. To be honest with I Day on Thursday then Sunday being the easiest day of the week and 4th of July being a non-normal PS day, many Plebes had a wake up call the last few days as the pressure was ratcheted up, it got much hotter and there isn't donut hour or 4th of July. Hopefully he will settle in these next few days and this will just be a passing moment.
Bottom line from someone who has lived in Mother B and chopped those halls, he can do this. Every kid there right now can make it. He has to dig deep and believe in himself. You will talk to him again. He just won't go to Tango and no communication, but he is an adult and if he doesn't want to call home they won't make him. Support him, reassure him and tell him to stick it out. I tell all parents they need to stay one semester. And if they still want to leave after that fine, but they should have a Plan B ready to go.
Could you please tell me if they have loaner phones for plebes to use for their phone calls? Our son shattered his iPhone the night he left for Annapolis, so he didn't take it with him. He read that phones would be available for them to use, so I am hoping that is true. Thank you.
Excellent, excellent comments and insight.
The USPS mail gets picked up and detailers distribute it at night. They are not allowed to withhold mail. If it's in, he'll get it.
A small crumb of comfort - thousands and thousands of plebes (and upperclass) have thought about resigning. They talk about it out loud. Thousands and thousands of parents have been at the other end of that gut-sinking phone call or letter. Most times, they figure out how to get through the next day, the week, to PPW, the first semester, the first year. This is a hard, hard path. Introverts occasionally have trouble finding the quiet moment/place to re-charge. Only children occasionally have trouble adjusting to roommates and people being on top of them constantly and sharing one shower and one sink. Former big fish from smaller ponds run smack into bigger fish. A lot of them. They fail, as individuals and as groups. They have zero control over anything, which is a shock to most. They are sweaty, uncomfortable and in a foreign environment.
The detailers, the PS staff officers and senior enlisted leaders, the chaplains - all have massive experience wth this. They know how to listen, ask the right questions, assess whether this is transitory or on e of the expected attitrition cases when the fit was truly not right. The staff will do everything they can to retain a plebe, but in the end, the plebe reported voluntarily, and can elect to leave.
Plebe Summer is not like the rest of Plebe Year. Plebe Year is not like the other three years. They just can't see that right now.
Take a deep breath and gather your best coaching skills and confidence-building speech.
I am sure if he makes it known to his chain of command, someone will ensure he has a phone.
Wow!!! Thank you all so much for your valuable insight. I should have come here immediately. I pray he will make the right decision.
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