Life at USNA

Life in the Brigade

In this section, we will give you a general description of life at the Naval Academy. All Naval Academy students, men and women, are called midshipmen. The student body is the Brigade of Midshipmen, or simply ‘the Brigade,’ and the naval service often is called ‘the Fleet.’ The Brigade is divided into six battalions. Five companies make up each battalion, making a total of 30 companies. The midshipman command structure is headed by a first class midshipman, chosen for outstanding leadership performance to be Brigade Commander. He or she is responsible for much of the Brigade’s day-to-day activities as well as the professional training of other midshipmen.

All midshipmen live in Bancroft Hall, a huge dormitory complex. You and your roommates live in close proximity to about 150 other midshipmen in your company.

The Honor Concept of the Brigade of Midshipmen was established by midshipmen to urge everyone to carry out their duties with the highest sense of personal integrity and honor. It represents the minimum standard that midshipmen are expected to follow. Honor, integrity, and loyalty to the service, its customs, and its traditions, are fundamental characteristics essential to a successful naval officer. Lying, cheating, and stealing are intolerable in the brigade as in the Fleet, and may be cause for separation from the Naval Academy. The emphasis is on “doing what is right” rather than simply not breaking the rules.

The company is the most important unit of the more than 4,400-member Brigade of Midshipmen. Many of your most rewarding experiences at the Naval Academy are those you share with members of your company. You eat, sleep, study, drill, play and compete as teams with your company mates. You learn to trust and rely on each other. The company experience also gives you an idea of how things work in the Navy and Marine Corps, where small-unit cohesion, teamwork and morale are as important in peacetime operations as in combat. Each semester, companies compete for the title, ‘Color Company,’ the best in the Brigade. The semester-long color competition among the 30 companies is one way company spirit is built. Companies accumulate points for academic, professional and intramural excellence. The two companies with the most points for each semester are recognized at the Color Parade during Commissioning Week and then enjoy special privileges for the next year, including the honor of representing the Naval Academy at official functions such as presidential inaugurations.