A car allows them to exercise their
new found freedoms...
Pros: They want a car! Having a car has it's advantages. Mids can get home and back easily if they live within driving distance. You may actually see them more often. You will meet their friends too because now they can easily invite a whole group of Mids to come with them. You don't have to worry about how they will get to the airport. You won't have to buy them tickets to come home. They love having wheels. Whether or not they use them enough to "justify" the expense is a valid question, but they now have the right to a luxury in their lives that they can access and enjoy regularly. Sometimes it's hard to live in a situation that has almost nothing in common with their outside peers. Cars seem to even the score. Mids are not just Mids. They are young Americans and nothing defines Americans like our love affair with the automobile. Mids belong to our culture and although they live in a decidedly different culture than most young people they share the desire for a vehicle. The biggest pro to helping your Mid get a car may well be: because they really want one.
Cons: Having a car may tempt them to make some bad judgments, or to spend less time on their studies. 2/C year is very tough academically. Wires, thermo, boats and major course studies increase in difficulty. Any Mid who thinks they can deviate from their study and course preparation regiment may see their grades dip. Additionally, the stakes, and expectations, are now different. Getting terminated at USNA now results in recoopment of the cost of the education ... and the SUPT/CMDT will not be as lenient when reviewing the records of those that make mistakes. These two factors suggest that caution is appropriate!!!!!!!
Parking is always a hassle. They move their cars around constantly as they try to find the best parking spot. If it snows, they need to go shovel their cars out. Sometimes they have to walk a mile or more just to keep the snow off their cars. If their car is parked on the street, they run the risk of having it damaged or broken into. Annapolis residents have no patience for midshipmen who take valuable and scarce parking spaces just to leave a vehicle sitting all week. Mids regularly pay parking fines--even getting their cars towed which is very expensive.
Parking is available at commercial lots--with a looooong walk each way. They may not mind the walk, but it sure is a pain in the rain and snow, not to mention hauling laundry, books, or anything else to and fro. The parking fees are in addition to absurd insurance costs (in Maryland--be prepared for a male under 24 to shell out serious $$), gas, maintenance, etc. Maintenance is another problem. If the car breaks down, they are not free during the day to take it to the shop or pick it up when it is done. They won't have much left in weekly pay after covering all their bills. Mids with cars are often too broke to go anywhere.
During summer break the Midshipmen are off to all parts of the globe. Where are the vehicles being stowed, you might ask? You guessed it, on the street, in a paid lot, at a sponsor's house. If it gets towed and the Mid has to pay storage fees, it adds up very quickly! You won't believe what a tow and two weeks of storage will cost after a return from summer cruise.
Some people say: Suck it up and wait until 1/C year (or at least until after Xmas). It seems like cars are more trouble than they are worth.
Some 2/C park their cars at the stadium. Monthly permits are available.
Although the stadium is owned by the Naval Academy Athletic Association,
the monthly parking program is run by Towne Park. Their phone number is
410-267-6111. Parking is $25/month or $60/3 months but there is a list
of rules and regulations that must be followed. For example, the cars
must be removed from the lot no later than 6:00 pm on the day before stadium
events such as football games. There are also two additional parking options
in downtown Annapolis that are run by Towne Park. Monthly passes are available
in the back lot at the Loews Annapolis hotel or in the West Garrett Garage
(275 West St) for $80/month. These locations do not carry the special
events restriction on parking. Call Carrie at Towne Park for more information.
To open a printable file with all the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium and Towne
Park information, rules and regulations, as well as a contract to sign
and mail in, click here.
There is a county parking garage (Whitmore) located at the intersection
of Clay and W. Washington Streets at 37 Clay Street also managed by Park
America at (410)269-0014. This garage is a bargain at $4/day. Monthly
parking permits are allowed only for county and some state employees.
So there are definitely reasons not to have a car in Second Class year! The primary one being cost, but the distraction of having something other than academics as a focus of attention may ultimately prove to be the more significant reason to hold off on the purchase of an automobile.
The summer after their Youngster year is called Second Class Summer. It shows midshipmen all the various options available to them after graduation. Midshipmen are introduced to life as an enlisted sailor by being paired with a work center supervisor aboard ship. They also get some time off to come home or to travel. As they move up the ladder of USNA experiences they mature and dream bigger. You may not be seeing them as often as when they were Youngsters.
PROTRAMID - If not assigned to Plebe detail second class Mids attend PROTRAMID. It consists of three weeks of training, which includes an in-depth introduction to the aviation, submarine, and Marine Corps communities.
SURFACE CRUISE - Assignment to a surface cruise entails living and working on a Navy ship. second class Mids on cruise wear dungarees and are assigned to a petty officer running mate who will expose them to the duties and responsibilities of the junior enlisted. They rotate between the ships departments, including engineering, combat systems, operations, deck and navigation/admin. During their cruise, they gain insight into the daily shipboard routine which includes standing under instruction watches, both inport and underway, as well as participating in any special evolutions such as underway replenishment, gunnery exercises, small boat operations, engineering drills, damage control drills and anchoring.
SUBMARINE CRUISE - Assignment to a submarine cruise entails living and working on either a fast attack or ballistic missile submarine. Second Class Mids are assigned a petty officer running mate who exposes them to the duties and responsibilities of the junior enlisted. It is likely that they will rotate between the ships departments, including engineering, weapons, and navigation/operations. While in each department they gain insight to the daily shipboard routine, maintenance, work center organization, and division officer administration. Additionally, they are expected to stand under instruction watches, both inport and underway, as well as during any special evolution such as engineering drills, and surfacing and submerging the boat.
CSNTS - Sailing training block. For those on the sailing team, they can
choose an incredible option to sail for one of their training tours.
The "Point of No Return," is called Two for Seven, meaning
two years down and seven more years to serve - two more at the Academy
and 5 more in the fleet after graduation. This is a big decision made
at the begining of the Second Class academic year. Many Mids consider
both options - to stay and to leave. Midshipmen can leave at the end of
their Second Class summer training without incurring any further military
obligation. They walk away with two years of undergraduate study completed
and no debt owed. However, the hardest years are behind them. They have
seen and understand the many career options available to them and they
have experienced the teamwork and pride of belonging to their company,
their class and to the Navy. They sweat the committment to what seems
to be a very long time in their young lives. Once the decision is made,
they relax and feel comfortable with their choice, but crossing that line
looms large for some.
Second Class year is generally acknowledged as the toughest year academically. It provides detailed study in major courses, and professional subjects to enchance the leadership skills and technical competence of the Second Classman in preparation for their assuming command of the Brigade after Commissioning Week.
Second Class Mids have the responsibility of training the Plebes coming
up behind them. They take this job seriously. They have been known to
talk about how much easier it is on the new Plebes than when they
were Plebes. They may contemplate strident corrections of out of line
Plebes. By experiencing it, they learn how to lead, how to correct someone,
and what works and what doesn't work. It's a new experience being the
Upperclassman in charge of properly guiding the younger Mids. The training
of an incoming class looks different from the top than the bottom! They
learn how hard it is to lead and they learn how to do it properly. Just
like with Plebe year, it has it's frustrations, but maturity does lend
the advantage of a wider vision of what is happening.
All Second Class Mids must pass the "Tower Jump" and the "40
Year Swim" to graduate. The "40 Year Swim" means swimming
one half mile in 40 minutes, fully clothed.
Each year, in the February/March time frame, the Academy holds a Bankers
Open House. At this open house financial institutions (USAA, Navy Federal
Credit Union, and Navy Mutual this past year) are invited to present their
package of products and services to Second Class midshipmen. During these
presentations there will be an opportunity for the Second Class to, among
other things, set up what is called a starter loan. It is an unsecured
loan that permits midshipmen to contract with a bank or credit union for
an amount of money that this year was as high as $20,000. The money can
be used for a variety of purposes and is payable over 48 months at a low
interest rate (1.75% fixed APR w/ NFCU for example). While interest does
accrue the loan payments do not begin until 3 months after commissioning.
There are other basic requirements for each financial institution, so
encourage your Mid to be sure to read all the print.
The class ring is a huge deal for the midshipmen. The rings come in all shapes and sizes, with every type of stone and setting you can imagine. What they all have in common is their class year and class crest. It represents the connection to the Academy and to their classmates. Every year the Midshipmen design their own class rings, a custom that started with the Class of 1869. They will wear their rings with pride and distinction throughout their military career and probably for the rest of their lives. Many long retired Navy officers wear their class ring next to their wedding bands. Often wedding bands are custom made to fit next to the class ring. The sides of their ring may get really worn down--the bottom of the
Every year, a contract is signed with one company to produce that year's ring. The jeweler who wins the contract is the only one who may reproduce rings for that class year. On occasion, other jewelers who bid for the contract that class year may make crest pins and/or miniatures for that class year. Naval Academy rings are to be owned solely by Naval Academy Graduates and the families of deceased graduates. Please note that the jewelers are under contract not to make rings for non-graduates or collectors.
If you need to have a ring replaced or repaired please contact:
For additional service/stones/jewelry items, including miniatures & wedding bands, please contact:
For interesting stiories about lost and found USNA Class rings, click
The Ring Dance for the Second Class is as much a right-of-passage as Herdon is for the fourth-class. At this very special event, Second Class Mids officially receive their class rings and have them blessed by dipping them into the "waters of the seven seas," a bowl of water collected from all seven seas. As the tradition now unfolds, Navy chaplains gather and mix water from the seven seas, then dip each ring into this water which symbolizes the mids being "wedded" to the Navy. It is a solemn tradition that the midshipmen take very seriously. Here, at this formal dance at the end of their junior year, Second Classmen are officially permitted to wear their class rings.
The Ring Dance itself is more akin to a "dining-in" than a prom, although if you have never been to a dining-in, a prom is a close analogy. The dance is a formal affair. Anyone in attendance will see the midshipmen at their spit-and-polish formal mess-dress best. The gowns worn by the ladies are breath-taking--very elegant and sophisticated. The dance begins with a dinner (with entree choices like filet mignon, chicken breast, grilled tuna, or grilled portabello mushrooms). After dinner, there is the dipping ceremony and dancing. If weather is favorable, the dance is held outside on the landing between Rickover and Nimitz . If the weather is not cooperative, it is moved inside of Dahlgren Hall. To conclude the dance, they have a spectacular fireworks show.
The Ring Dance was established as an Academy tradition
in 1925. It replaced a more rowdy custom where the Second Classmen put
on their rings after completing their final navigation examination.
As the Second Class left the classroom building, the Firsties grabbed
them and dragged them to Dewey Basin where they were then thrown into
the Severn River. Unfortunately, in 1924 a Second Class midshipman named
Leicester R. Smith did not come to the surface after being thrown into
the water. He had apparently hit his head on the seawall and no one
noticed that he did not come up. Midshipman Smith's drowning prompted
the Academy to change the manner in which the midshipmen received their
Second Class Mids spend one day doing a battery of tests to determine which career paths are open to them. Their body fat index is determined and this number can qualify or disqualify them from Marines. Their vision, height and arm reach numbers determine whether they will be allowed to pursue an aviation career. At the end of the day they are checked off for options available. It isn't until the pre-commissioning physicals that Mids really know if they can be a Marine or a pilot. A lot depends upon the measurements and resulting option checks of this day.
The scope of operational opportunity for a marine is vast: A marine can serve in the pentagon, in an attack aircraft, in a Bradley or Abrams, on a an artillery or mortar crew, as a cook, a paymaster, an instructor, or chaplain. Recon marines drive boats, make parachute jumps, and don scuba gear. What makes them different from any other service is that at any instant they can drop their pencils or trombones or soup kettles and pick up a rifle and engage and kill the enemy with a skill not equaled by any other force on the planet. There is no single element more deadly than a marine and his rifle.
Others in the Navy may call them Jarheads, and they may call Navy personnel Squids, but others dare not call any of us either, for together they will both rise up and deliver a powerful case of whoop-ass, back to back. They are our brothers in arms, our mean green fighting machine, our few, our proud, our Marines.