Faces of USNA: Angela Bailey
POSTED ON: Tuesday, August 16, 2022 8:35 AM by 2ndLt Duncan Stoner
The U.S. Naval Academy welcomed Angela Bailey as the new protocol Advisor to the commandant of midshipmen and social instructor to the Brigade in 2019, but her story with the Naval Academy, its traditions, and its people extends years before her first day on the job.
Photo by MC1 Jordyn Diomede
Bailey’s story with the Naval Academy begins in May of 1997 in Dahlgren Hall at the Class of 1998’s Ring Dance, a formal celebration for all second class (junior) midshipmen. Her date was a midshipman she had met at a wedding in Carmel, California, over the previous winter break, who happened to have the same last name (no relation) – then Midshipman 2nd Class Nate Bailey.
Impressed by the manners and courtesies of the midshipmen, she was curious about how they were trained to be young professionals. Nate Bailey then explained to her who the woman responsible for pioneering the USNA etiquette program was, Mary Emma A. Marshall, and how all midshipmen were subject to protocol training. Unknowingly, this was the first time Bailey would hear about the position she would later return to hold. Sharing the same last name was a launching point for her and Capt. Bailey’s relationship, eventually leading to their marriage and return to Annapolis in 2007.
Bailey graduated from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California, earning a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a minor in vocal performance. Her knowledge of etiquette and professionalism that she is known for across the yard was obtained through finishing school as a high school student and later perfected as the etiquette program supervisor at Rockbridge Academy in Crownsville, Maryland, where she taught K-12 students the art of social graces and civility until a job opportunity opened up at the Naval Academy in 2019. She most recently graduated from The Protocol School of Washington in 2020.
In the Spring of 2019, Bailey was welcomed aboard to the Naval Academy team where she began teaching etiquette to a variety of Academy groups including plebes, upperclassmen, VIP escorts, midshipmen traveling to foreign countries, and any other members of the community hoping to refine their social skills. This includes hosting meals that simulate fine dining situations where she coaches midshipmen on what silverware to use, how to properly present toasts, and how to conduct themselves in the presence of a senior officer at the table.
Photo by MC1 Jordyn Diomede
Aside from dining etiquette, Bailey’s job also includes teaching the courtesies linked to different cultures, email etiquette, and basic manners. Since her arrival to the Naval Academy, she has been an invaluable supporter of the Brigade of Midshipmen, faculty, and staff. Her work has been praised by the Superintendent, often expressing his appreciation and love for the protocol program, who considers Bailey “the new Mrs. Marshall” as he reflects on the impact the original social director once had on him as a young midshipman under her instruction years ago.
Bailey’s favorite part of the Naval Academy is Induction Day (I-Day), and jokingly says, “There’s nothing quite like the smell of fear and fresh commitment,” in reference to the smell of the new White Works Echo the Plebes wear for the Swearing-In ceremony. In seriousness, Bailey finds I-Day humbling as it symbolizes young women and men choosing to commit to something greater than themselves.
The Class of 2023’s graduation in May will mark the first graduating class that Bailey has mentored from Induction Day through Commissioning Week, and to which she feels the most connected.
When asked about what she hopes the midshipmen remember from her training, Bailey said "Civility goes a long way. As Augustus C. Buell wrote back in the 1900s about the qualifications of a naval officer, ‘He should be well a gentleman of liberal education, refined manners, punctilious courtesy, and of the nicest sense of personal honor.’ That really sums it up. As a naval officer, one should be comfortable doing the hard work alongside Sailors and Marines, and equally comfortable dining with the brass where policies are discussed and debated."