1,200 plebes to be inducted into the Naval Academy Thursday: ‘I’m looking forward to becoming a better leader’

Jordan Mueller was sitting at a Navy football game in 2021 during her junior year of high school when she decided she wanted to attend the U.S. Naval Academy.

Despite the freezing weather and the Mids losing, Mueller, 18, of Crofton, remembers all the midshipmen in the stadium standing up to sing “Navy Blue and Gold,” the academy’s alma mater.

“That was the moment where I realized … these are the people I want to be with like even if it absolutely sucks,” she said. “Everyone’s still cheering for each other, and everyone’s still doing it together.”

Mueller, alongside about 1,200 first-year students, will be inducted Thursday into the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Throughout the day, plebes will be issued uniforms, get medical examinations and haircuts and learn lessons on saluting, according to a news release. Once registered, the plebes will take the Oath of Office.

On Thursday, Navy’s class of 2027 starts an intensive program known as Plebe Summer, a six-week indoctrination that aims to prepare students for their time at the academy. During the training, plebes will gain a basic understanding of military protocols, weaponry and seamanship, according to the academy’s website. The summer also entails rigorous physical training.

Families will get one last chance to see their inductee after the Thursday ceremony, but won’t see them again until parents weekend on Aug. 10.

Vice Adm. Sean Buck, the superintendent of academy, called induction day an “exciting time of year.”

“We have a great group of candidates from across the nation and across the world, and although they are about to enter a challenging program, I have no doubt that through hard work and perseverance they will succeed during Plebe Summer, and during their four years here, as they prepare to become Navy and Marine Corps officers,” he said in a statement.

Known for its intensity, plebe summer is the first part of a nine-year commitment. After graduation, midshipmen must commit to five years of active duty in the Navy or the Marines.ExpandAutoplay

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Ali Polidori of San Diego, CA, hugs her mom Sara before starting Induction Day processing. The Naval Academy welcomed 1187 incoming freshman, or what they call, plebes, during Induction Day, Thursday, June 30, 2022, to begin their plebe summer. (Jerry Jackson/Capital Gazette)

Mueller, a recent Crofton High School graduate, will be a second-generation midshipman as her father graduated from the academy in 1998 and is on active duty at the Naval Yard in Washington, D.C.

She said the relationships her father has built as an active service member influenced her decision to attend the academy.

“Everyone has been so wonderful about this decision,” Mueller said. “That it’s something that’s incredibly special.”

Incoming plebe Alyssa Dougherty began dreaming of attending the academy after a fourth grade field trip.

“It’s kind of been a lifelong thing,” she said. “And I’m really glad that it worked out in the end.”

The 17-year-old Millersville resident said she explored other service schools but chose the academy because of her grandfather, who served in the Navy, and the school’s proximity to home.

“I’m definitely nervous and excited,” Dougherty said. “I think that’s a general statement from everyone going in. But I think the thing I’m most excited for is just meeting everybody and being around like-minded people.”

While also anxious, Mueller said she’s mostly eager to see how the summer changes her. She hopes to make a difference during her service years.

“I’m looking forward to becoming a better leader and then using that to make changes in the world,” she said.