News Article Release
Fun Facts About I-Day and Plebe Summer
Posted on: June 20, 2013 09:00 EDT by Naval Academy Public Affairs
What is a Plebe?
Every year, approximately 1,200 candidates are selected to become midshipmen at the Naval Academy and are known as “plebes” during Plebe Summer and their first year at the academy.
- “I-Day” is the first day of Plebe Summer, and marks the day that a group of carefully selected applicants are transformed from civilians into fourth class midshipmen.
- I-Day begins at 6 a.m. when prospective plebes begin reporting to the Naval Academy’s Alumni Hall, where they cycle through medical examinations, uniform fittings, equipment issue, haircuts and administrative processing.
- The prospective plebes are introduced to the first class midshipmen (seniors), commissioned officers and senior enlisted personnel who will lead the Plebe Summer training program. They also meet their classmates, many of whom will become close friends by summer’s end.
- Incoming plebes take the oath of office at a ceremony at 6 p.m. on I-Day.
- When reporting for I-Day, plebes are expected to know verbatim, the Mission of the United States Naval Academy, the administrative chain of command, and the first three General Orders of a Sentry.
Each midshipman is given a copy of the book Reef Points on I-Day. This book serves as a thorough introduction to the Navy and the Naval Academy and includes its mission, history and traditions. Plebes will be required to memorize virtually all of the more than 1,000 facts that are outlined in this small, blue book of approximately 225 pages, so that their transition into military life is comprehensive and complete.
Oath of Office Ceremony
I-Day culminates during an evening ceremony when the new midshipmen take the Oath of Office in front of their family, friends and new classmates in Tecumseh Court. The new midshipmen pledge to “well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which (they) are about to enter.” The oath is reaffirmed at the conclusion of Plebe Summer.
Plebe Summer is a challenging seven weeks of basic midshipmen training.
- During this time, plebes have no access to TV, movies, the internet or music, and restricted access to cell phones. They are permitted to make only three calls during the seven weeks of Plebe Summer.
- The pressure and rigor of Plebe Summer is carefully designed to help plebes prepare for their first academic year at the Naval Academy and the four years of challenges which await them.
- As the summer progresses, the new midshipmen rapidly assimilate basic skills in seamanship, navigation, damage control, sailing, and handling yard patrol craft. Plebes also learn infantry drill and how to shoot 9 mm pistols and M-16 rifles.
- Other daily training sessions involve moral, mental, physical or professional development and team-building skills. Activities include swimming, martial arts, basic rock climbing, obstacle, endurance and confidence courses designed to develop physical, mental and team-building skills. Forty hours are devoted to the instruction of infantry drill and five formal parades.
Plebes receive instruction and indoctrination to the Brigade of Midshipmen's honor concept. The character development program stresses that each individual has the moral courage and the desire to do the right thing because it is right, not from a fear of punishment. There is also training for plebes in teambuilding, concepts of equal opportunity, sexual assault and harassment prevention and responsible alcohol use.
Plebes go through approximately 140 hours of physical education training during Plebe Summer, including 27 sessions of PEP (Physical Education Program) lasting one and a half hours, five days a week.
- Each plebe completes in excess of 3000 push-ups and sit-ups as well as a variety of core and leg exercises.
- Plebes run over 100 miles combined distance and interval training.
- At the end of Plebe Summer, each midshipman must be able to complete the Physical Readiness Test (PRT). PRT minimums include: 45 push-ups for males and 20 for females, 65 curl-ups, and a one and half mile run in under 10 minutes, 30 seconds for males and 12 minutes, 40 seconds for females. Many plebes will be able to double, or even triple, the numbers of push-ups and curl-ups.
Typical Plebe Summer Day
- 5:30 a.m. - Reveille
- 6-7:30 a.m. - Physical Education Program (PEP)
- 7:40-8:10 a.m. - Room clean-up/uniform prep/rate review
- 8:10–8:45 a.m. - Morning meal formation/meal
- 9 a.m.-noon - Morning training
- 12:10-12:45 p.m. - Noon meal formation/meal
- 12:45–6 p.m. - Afternoon training
- 6:15-7 p.m. - Evening meal formation/meal
- 7–9 p.m. - Evening training
- 9-10 p.m. - Mail call/Letter writing, journal entries, study time
- 10 p.m. - Each night, before taps/lights-out at 10 p.m., the plebes sing the Naval Academy Alma Mater, “Blue and Gold.”
Plebes consume over 4,000 healthy, well-balanced calories daily during Plebe Summer.
Approximately 3,000 family members and friends are expected to visit the Academy during this three-day weekend at the end of the sixth week of Plebe Summer. This is when parents have an opportunity to learn about their son/daughter’s new life as a midshipman at the Naval Academy. Parents can participate in activities such as:
- Touring the dorm rooms in Bancroft Hall,
- Eating a meal in the midshipmen cafeteria, King Hall
- Watch a dress parade on Worden Field
- Tour the Yard
- Meet with Naval Academy faculty and staff members.
Plebe Parents’ Weekend for the Class of 2017 will be held Aug. 8-11.