Congratulations To All Newly Commissioned Ensigns and USMC 2nd Lieutenants Who Just Graduated From the USNA

Shout Out To

 the 2014 graduates of the US Naval Academy. 



ANNAPOLIS, Md. (May 23, 2014) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus and Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) Chuck Hagel pass out diplomas and shake hands with honor students during the U.S. Naval Academy graduation and commissioning ceremony for the class of 2014. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Armando Gonzales)


When I saw these pics of midshipmen graduating and receiving their commissions I thought of how hard these young men and women who had just graduated. What an accomplishment to graduate from the US Naval Academy or any of the service academies.

I have never wanted to make military history. I just want to write about it. So fortunately, while my mother wanted me to attend the US Naval Academy, instead I registered and graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans.  Given my raucous behavior, had I attended the naval academy, I would have been stood up against a wall and shot–or whatever the equivalent is.

I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to actually graduate from the Naval Academy since I have read that you have to go to study, attend class, keep your quarters clean, turn your lights out at a certain time and get up early in the morning. You also have to march everywhere. (I think).

When I was a student at Tulane, admittedly in the 1970s, I never studied, except for reading my history books, I never attended class (not a requirement in those days), and I didn’t keep my quarters clean.

I never got up early and Lord knows I kept the night hours of a vampire. On a regular basis, say three or four or five times a week  I either smoked dope or got drunk which I have read in the newspaper are activities looked down on at the USNA. I also never marched anywhere. Full disclosure: I had a traumatic childhood and was a very troubled young man in college. Most of the dope I smoked and alcohol I drank was to “self-medicate” as is said today.

I did read a lot of novels, however.




Brigade of Midshipmen

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (May 22, 2014) Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert reviews the Brigade of Midshipmen as they march by during the U.S. Naval Academy Color Parade at Worden Field at the Naval Academy. The time honored tradition was established in 1867 and comes with great anticipation as it is the last full dress parade for graduating class members who will receive their commissions the next day and go on to serve as leaders in the Navy or Marine Corps. (US Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Peter D. Lawlor)





ANNAPOLIS, Md. (May 23, 2014) Newly commissioned officers from the Naval Academy Class of 2014 celebrate the conclusion of their graduation and commissioning ceremony with the traditional hat toss at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. (US Navy photo by MC Spec 2nd Class Armando Gonzales)


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the plebes also get to celebrate at the end of the academic year


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (May 19, 2014) Naval Academy freshmen, or plebes, climb the Herndon Monument, a tradition symbolizing the successful completion of the midshipmen freshman year. The Class of 2017 plebes must use teamwork, strategy and communication to climb the 21-foot-tall monument and replace the traditional plebe cover at the top with a midshipman’s cover. The class of 2017 completed the Herndon Climb in 2:19:35. ( U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Nathan Wilkes/Released)



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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: