Plebe Summer and Plebe Year


Jun 15, 2006
I propose a continuing thread where we can capture the parent's impressions of plebe summer and plebe year. Parents, tell us what your plebes are going through, both the good and the bad.

I will start with a few observations. We didn't have I-Day. We showed up alone the day before, bunked in the Field House, went out into town for our last night's hurrah, and low and behold, In Harms Way was showing on Theater Circle.

There was a PPW but no Sea Trials. Herndon was no big deal which we demonstrated thoroughly in setting the record for longevity only to be broken a few years ago.

Back then Plebe year was easy. If one was physically fit, had a sense of humor, and could blend in, things were fun. Everything was physical and not standardized at all. Plebe summer PT was done by platoons however the 2/c saw fit.

Physically fit:
The ability to do 69 pushups at will, again and again.

The ability to shove out for the length of a meal. Shoving out is sitting at the table braced up with no chair. Should an officer walk by, by all appearances, everything was normal.

The ability to rig a M-1 Rifle for an hour or so. Rigging a rifle entailed holding it at arms length horizonal to the ground, usually while shoved out.

The ability to rig a full gallon pitcher of water. Same procedure except at a meal while serving the upper class with the other hand. Again, usually while shoved out. For 'major' infractions, rigging two pitchers was probable.

The ability to hang around and listen to music. Involved hanging from the upperclassman's shower bar indefinitely while listening to his stereo. Sometimes involved being dressed in full wool uniforms under raingear with the shower running on full hot.

Two come arounds each day. Reported to upperclassman's room 30 minutes before both morning and evening meal in PT gear and usually secured at the 5 min call. Come arounds were for infractions. The infraction could be something so serious as not previously having a come around for that period. Therefore, smart plebes gave themselves comearounds to the easiest upperclassman. Since PT had to involve the upper class in the hallway and they were lazy, comearounds could take two extemes. First, see the above hanging arounds, shoving outs, and rigging rifles. The other involved uniform races where often imagination and creativity ran rampant. Sometimes going and harrassing other upper classmen was involved, hoping the harassee would find something 'productive' for the plebe so he wouldn't come back until the 5 min call. Another favorite trick was to send a plebe to the furtherest extremes of Bancroft to check on who lives in a certain room or some other inane task. Sometimes one could go all of 10' at a time before being dropped for pushups. There are probably still classmates of mine roaming the halls looking for room # 8586. Mids now probably think they are MOATs.

Needless to say, a sense of humor was important. Went a very long way. Me being 6' 5" and having a Southern accent that could not be cut with a knife made it difficult to blend in, but it was possible.

My impressions are that my son ('98) had a much more difficult plebe summer and an easier plebe year. Plebe summer is much more mental now and procedures are more standardized and sophisticated. They learn to make choices and know the consequences of those choices a lot more than we did. My favorite example was every Sunday morning when he called, he knew he was going back to the results of an impromptu room inspection where everything would be on the floor. Those who didn't call did not have their rooms inspected.

Okay, who's next.
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I'll comment on "the sense of humor" as an ESSENTIAL element to survive Plebe Summer. My daughter liked to talk in "pirate talk" mimmicking Pirates of the Carribean-speak. She used to do it at home at times with her 'hardy, har, har' and have us all in stiches.

Well the Cadre got wind somehow that she could talk pirate so they made her recite rates and especially "How long have you been in the Navy?"'s rate....and even in the worst of the rating, come-arounds, etc last summer, even in the hottest, most awful humidity - whenever she went into pirate-speak everyone loved it - she felt better and did such a perfect job reciting her rates that the Cadre had no problem with it. It must have been funny to see her screaming at the top of her lungs, with a perfectly solemn face, eyes locked straight ahead, no emotion whatsoever on her face....this sweet young lady speaking 'pirate' during recitation of rates.

You never know what is going to keep you sane during Plebe summer - but this one thing that happened to her.
Great story and example. Had she thought they were making fun of her and not be able to laugh with them and at herself, she would probably claim that she was harassed out of the Academy.