United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy (USNA) is an institution for the undergraduate education of officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The Academy is often referred to simply as "Annapolis" although naval officers normally refer to it in conversation as "the Academy", "the Yard" or "the Boat School". U.S. sports media refer to the Academy as Navy, and this usage is officially endorsed. ROTC and Officer Candidate School graduates as well as cadets from the Air Force Academy and the Military Academy at West Point (USNA's traditional rivals) often refer to the Naval Academy as "Canoe U."
Students at the Naval Academy are referred to by their military rank (midshipman). Upon graduation, Naval Academy Midshipmen are commissioned as Ensigns in the U.S. Navy or Second Lieutenants in the Marine Corps, and must serve a minimum of five years after their commissioning.
There is no graduate school directly associated with the Naval Academy. Instead, the Navy operates the Naval Postgraduate School and the Naval War College separately. The Naval Academy Preparatory School is the official prep school for the Navy and Coast Guard Academies.
- Nimitz Library (housing the departments of Language Studies and Political Science, as well as the library collection itself);
- Rickover Hall (housing the departments of Mechanical Engineering, Naval Ocean Engineering, Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering);
- Maury Hall (housing the departments of Weapons and Systems Engineering as well as Electrical Engineering);
- Michelson Hall (housing the departments of Computer Science and Chemistry);
- Chauvenet Hall (normally housing the departments of Physics and Mathematics, but closed for renovations beginning the summer of 2004);
- Sampson Hall (housing the departments of English and History);
- Mahan Hall (containing a theater along with the old library, which has now been converted into a lounge and meeting room);
- The chapel;
- Alumni Hall (capable of holding the entire Brigade of Midshipmen and hosting various sporting events, such as basketball);
- Bancroft Hall (the midshipmen's quarters and the world's largest dormitory); and
- The Officers' and Faculty Club and officers' quarters spread around the Yard.
Supervision of the Academy
The academy was placed in 1850 the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography, but was transferred to the Bureau of Navigation when that organization was established in 1862. The academy was placed under the direct care of the Navy Department in 1867, but for many years the Bureau of Navigation provided administrative routine and financial management.
As of 2004, the Superintendent of the Naval Academy reports directly to the Chief of Naval Operations.
The faculty is roughly evenly divided between civilian professors and military instructors. The civilian professors nearly all have a Ph.D. and can be awarded tenure, usually upon promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor. Very few of the military instructors have a Ph.D. but nearly all have a Master's degree. Most of them are assigned to the Academy for two or three years only.
Permanent Military Professors (PMP)
A small number of military instructors are designated as Permanent Military Professors (PMP) and all of these have a Ph.D. The PMPs remain at the Academy until statutory retirement. Most of them are commanders in the Navy; a few are captains. Like civilian professors, they seek academic promotion to the rank of Associate Professor and Professor. However, they are not eligible for tenure. Additionally, there are Adjunct Professors, hired to fill temporary shortages in various disciplines. The Adjunct Professors are not eligible for tenure.
The Naval Academy's sports teams are called the Midshipmen, or Mids for short. Midshipmen find the term "Middies" to be highly derogatory, and therefore are called this only by outsiders. They participate in the NCAA's Division I-A as an independent in football, and in the Patriot League in many other sports. The football team competes with the other academies for the Commander in Chief's Trophy and plays in the Army-Navy Game. The mascot is a goat named 'Bill'. Participation in athletics is mandatory at the Naval Academy, and Midshipmen not on an intercollegiate team all must participate actively in intramural sports. Midshipmen also have the opportunity to participate in a broad range of extracurricular activities including performing musical groups (Drum & Bugle Corps, Men's Glee Club, Women's Glee Club, Gospel Choir, and even a bagpipe band, the Pipes & Drums), religious organizations, academic honor societies, Campus Girl Scouts, the National Eagle Scout Association, a radio station, Navy and Marine Corps professional activities (diving, flying, seamanship, and the Semper Fidelis Society for future Marines), and a broad range of non-NCAA club sports including rugby, hockey and even a completely unofficial (but previous National Champion) croquet team.
The institution was founded as the Naval School in 1845 by Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft. The campus was established at Annapolis on the grounds of the former U.S. Army post Fort Severn. The school opened on October 10 with 50 Midshipmen students and seven professors.
Originally a course of study for five years was prescribed, but only the first and last were spent at the school, the other three being passed at sea. The present name was adopted when the school was reorganized in 1850, being placed under the supervision of the chief of the Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography, and under the immediate charge of the superintendent, and the course of study was extended to seven years; the first two and the last two to be spent at the school, the intervening three years to be passed at sea. The four years of study were made consecutive in 1851, and the practice cruises were substituted for the three consecutive years at sea. The first class of Naval Academy students graduated on June 10, 1854.
The Civil War years
At the outbreak of the American Civil War the three upper classes were detached and were ordered to sea, and the academy was moved to Fort Adams, Newport, Rhode Island in May 1861, but it was brought back to Annapolis in the summer of 1865.
From the Civil War to World War I
The Spanish-American War greatly emphasized the academy's importance, and the campus was almost wholly rebuilt and much enlarged in 1899–1906.
During the latter half of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th, the Naval Academy was the primary source of U.S. Naval officers. Naval Academy alumni thus represent many of the U.S. Navy's most famous names.
- Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840–1914), Class of 1859 – theorist of sea power
- Rear Admiral Winfield Scott Schley (1839–1911), Class of 1860 – commander in Spanish-American War
- Rear Admiral William T. Sampson (1840–1902), Class of 1861 – commander in Spanish-American War
Civil War to 1900
- Admiral William Sowden Sims (1858–1936), Class of 1880 – World War I commander; President of the Naval War College
- Rear Admiral William A. Moffett (1869–1933), Class of 1890 – pioneer of Naval Aviation; first Chief of the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics
1900 to World War II
- Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King (1876–1956), Class of 1901 – Chief of Naval Operations in World War II
- Fleet Admiral William Halsey, Jr., (1882–1959), Class of 1904 – World War II commander
- Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz (1885–1966), Class of 1905 – World War II commander; post-war Chief of Naval Operations
- Admiral Hyman G. Rickover (1900–1986), Class of 1922 – Submariner and Engineering Duty Officer; "Father of the Nuclear Navy" as Director of the Naval Reactors Branch in the Bureau of Ships (1949–1982); served 64 years of active service
- Admiral Arleigh A. Burke (1901–1996), Class of 1923 – World War II carrier commander; Chief of Naval Operations (1955–1961)
- Vice Admiral Eli Thomas Reich (1913–1999), Class of 1935 – World War II submariner – the only one to sink a Japanese battleship during the war. A 3 time Navy Cross recipient, 2 time Navy Distinguished Service Medal recipient, and also Legion of Merit and Bronze Star Medal recipient.
- Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. (1920–2000), Class of 1942 – Chief of Naval Operations during Vietnam War (1970–1974)
1945 to Present
- Vice Admiral James Stockdale, (1923- ), Class of 1946 – Vietnam-era Naval Aviator & POW; Medal of Honor recipient; Vice-presidential candidate (Reform Party, 1992)
- President James Earl Carter, Jr., (1924- ), Class of 1946 – Post-WW II submariner; Governor of Georgia; 39th President of the United States, 1977-1981
- Admiral William J. Crowe, (1925- ), Class of 1947 – Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff 1985-1989, Ambassador to the United Kingdom 1994-1997.
- Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), (1936- ), Class of 1958 – Vietnam-era Naval Aviator & POW; U.S. Senator
- LtCol Oliver North (1943- ), Class of 1968 – U.S. Marine and Vietnam veteran, White House aide (famous for his role in the Iran-Contra affair), author, host of FOX News' "War Stories," and talk radio host
- James H. Webb, Jr., (1946- ), Class of 1968 – U.S. Marine and Vietnam veteran; Assistant Secretary of Defense; Secretary of the Navy 1987-88; noted American novelist
Graduates famous outside of the Navy
- Roger Staubach (1942- ), Class of 1964 – NFL Hall of Fame quarterback with the Dallas Cowboys, 6-time Pro Bowler, 2 time Super Bowl winner (1972, 1978). Awarded both Heisman Trophy and the Maxwell Award in 1963, his junior year at the Naval Academy.
- David Robinson (1965- ), Class of 1987 – Former NBA great with San Antonio Spurs; Rookie of the Year in 1990, MVP in 1995, played on NBA championship teams in 1999 and 2003
- Robert A. Heinlein (science fiction author) (1905-1988), Class of 1929. Winner of several Hugo and Nebula Award prizes for groundbreaking science fiction.
By an Act of Congress passed in 1903, two appointments as Midshipmen (as the students have been called since 1902; "naval cadets" and "cadet Midshipmen" were term used at various times in the latter half of the 19th century) were allowed for each senator, representative, and delegate in Congress, two for the District of Columbia, and five each year at large. Currently each member of Congress and the Vice President can have five appointees attending the Naval Academy at any time. When any appointee graduates or otherwise leaves the academy, a vacancy is created. Candidates are nominated by their senator, representative, or delegate in Congress, and those appointed at large are nominated by the Vice President. The process is not political and applicants do not have to know their Congressman to be nominated. Congressman generally nominate ten people per vacancy. They can nominate people in a competitive manner, or they can have a principal nomination. In a competitive nomination, all ten applicants are reviewed by the academy, to see who is the most qualified. If the congressman appoints a principal nominee, then as long as that candidate is physically, medically, and academically found qualified by the academy, he will be admitted, even if there are more qualified applicants.
Additional sources of appointment are open to children of career military personnel (100 per year); 170 appointments per year are for active duty Navy and Marine Corps enlisted personnel; 20 appointments per year are provided for Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps Midshipmen; and 65 appointments are available to children of military members who were killed in action, or were rendered 100% disabled due to injuries received in action, or are currently prisoners of war or missing in action. Typically five to ten candidates are nominated for each appointment, which are normally awarded competetively; candidates who do not receive the appointment they are competing for may still be admitted to the Academy as a qualified alternate. If a candidate is considered qualified but not picked up, they may receive an indirect admission to either a Naval Academy Foundation prep school or the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport; the following year, these candidates receive direct appointment to the Academy.
Additionally, children of Medal of Honor recipients do not need an appointment but only need to qualify for admission. To be admitted, candidates must be an American citizen between seventeen and twenty-three years of age upon entrance, unmarried with no children, and of good moral character. The current process includes a university application, personality testing, standardized testing, and personal references.
Congress authorized the Naval Academy to begin awarding Bachelor of Science degrees in 1933. The Academy later replaced a fixed curriculum taken by all midshipmen with the present core curriculum plus 20 major fields of study, a wide variety of elective courses and advanced study and research opportunities. Information Technology was added in 2001 as the newest major.
Women at the Naval Academy
The Naval Academy first accepted women as Midshipmen in 1976, when Congress authorized the admission of women to all of the service academies. Women comprise about 15–17 percent of entering plebes—or freshmen—and they pursue the same academic and professional training as do their male classmates.
Items of Interest at the Academy
- Japanese Bell. This was brought back to the United States by Commodore Matthew Perry following his famous mission to Japan in 1851. The bell is placed in front of Bancroft Hall and rung whenever the Navy wins the Army-Navy Game (football).
- Tecumseh Statue. This statue is a bronze replica of the figurehead of ship-of-the-line USS Delaware. It was presented to the Academy by the Class of 1891. This bust, one of the most famous relics on the campus, is commonly known as Tecumseh. However, when it adorned the American man-of-war, it commemorated not Tecumseh but Tamanend, the revered Delaware chief who welcomed William Penn to America. The original wooden figurehead is in the Naval Academy fieldhouse. The bronze replica is a good-luck "mascot" for the midshipmen, who throw pennies at it whenever they want a 'favor', such as a sports win over West Point, or spiritual help for examinations. It is painted in colorful war paint before sporting events against West Point and during Graduation Week.
- Battle ensigns. Famous flags of the U.S. Navy and captured flags from enemy ships are diplayed throughout the academy. The most famous, perhaps, is the "Don't Give Up the Ship" flag flown by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry at the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813; it bears the dying words of Captain James Lawrence, captain of the USS Chesapeake. It is displayed in Memorial Hall, which is in the portion of Bancroft Hall open to the general public.
- Herndon Monument. Every year as part of the year end festivities, this monument with covered with lard and "Plebes" (freshmen or Fourth Class Midshipmen) attempt to climb the monument and put a hat on top. (See the photo at the top of this page...) This symbolizes the successful completion of their first year. The Monument was commissioned by the Officers of the U.S. Navy as a tribute to Commander William Lewis Herndon (1813–1857) after his loss in the Pacific Mail Steamer "Central America" during a hurricane off Georgia on September 12, 1857. Herndon had followed the long time custom of the sea that a ship's captain is the last person to depart his ship in peril. It was erected in its current location on June 16, 1860 and has never been moved even though the Academy was completely rebuilt between 1899 and 1908.
- Some public domain text from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica. Update as needed.
- The United States Naval Academy's official Web site
- NAVYLAX – Navy Lacrosse – Players, Family, Friends & Fans
- Naval Academy Links from Homeport: the United States Naval Academy Alumni Online Community