Class of 2017 Commits to Serve
POSTED ON: Friday, August 28, 2015 3:32 PM by MC2 Tyler Caswell
During the first two years at the Naval Academy, midshipmen have the option to choose a different path for their education and career. They can leave the academy, free and clear of any obligation to serve on active duty.
Upon entering their third year, however, 2nd class midshipmen are greeted with a serious long-term decision: to continue their studies as midshipmen for two more years and commit to at least five years of active duty service.
The 1,132 midshipmen of the Class of 2017 signed their “2 for 7” agreements Aug. 21. The term “2 for 7” indicates their decision, after two years of academy training, to devote the next seven years to the Navy or Marine Corps.
“As a company officer you see that they go from the hopeful young enthusiastic plebe to the mature, serious second class who realizes the gravity of the situation,” said Marine Maj. Richard Ruiz, 3rd Company officer. “They realize that all they have worked hard to achieve over the course of two years has amounted to this one moment that will change their life forever. The choice to dedicate their life to the Navy of Marine Corps becomes real.”
Through professional training, studying, athletics and extracurricular activities, the transformation starts to take hold and the midshipmen inevitably look forward to their futures.
“One of the largest changes I see is a sense of purpose derived from both maturity and the decision to commit to something much larger than oneself,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Chosnel J. Raymond, 2017 class president. “As plebes, yes, service was at the forefront of our minds, but the reality of commitment and all that it entails was not there.”
The academy celebrated the “2 for 7” signing at a commitment dinner Aug. 25. The mids presented the massive scroll, signed by each midshipman, to Commandant of Midshipmen Col. Stephen Liszewski.
“The commitment you have made for a life of honor is important for many reasons, but mostly because of what you will do after you graduate,” said Liszewski, addressing the mids. “You will most likely operate in a realm of the harshest circumstances known to man. In order to be followed in that environment, you have to be men and women of honor and leaders with character. By vowing to live by those principles here at USNA, you are preparing yourselves for what lies ahead.”
Members of the Class of 1967 – the “Link in the Chain” class that graduated 50 years ahead of the Class of 2017 – attended the dinner, including keynote speaker retired Vice Adm. Norbert R. Ryan Jr.
“The decision and commitment you have made to be a leader in an all-volunteer force will give you tremendous opportunities in your careers, but will also give great satisfaction and sense of purpose,” said Ryan. “This is just the beginning, and looking out at you all in uniform reminds me personally of why I served and why this country is great.”