Thursday marked Induction Day and the official beginning of Plebe Summer at the U.S. Naval Academy.
About 1,200 men and women from around the country reported to Alumni Hall to officially become part of the Class of 2023 — all very excited to get started with their naval careers.
“Because I play football, I visited in October, so that’s around when I knew I wanted to come here. On signing day, a few days before then, I knew this was going to be the place. So since February, I’ve been looking forward to coming here,” said Jacobi Rice, a plebe.
“My brother went to West Point, so I got introduced to this whole academy thing, and I just looked into the Naval Academy, and I thought it was the best pick for me,” said Lillian Baumgartner, a plebe.
The incoming plebes, or freshman, said their final goodbyes to family for the summer and were processed through various stations, including uniform issue, medical exams and the ever-famous haircuts.
“With everything going on, emotions are high, anxiety is high. They can be really overwhelming just to think about especially being away from your family,” 2nd Lt. Ashleigh Fairow said.
Navy officials said it can sometimes get a little overwhelming for the men and women, many of whom have never been away from home.
“It’s very strenuous trying to find the balance between military life and academics because it’s their first introduction to the military,” Fairow said.
And then there are the parents.
“We’re excited for her. We’re very proud of her. She has worked very hard for this, and we just hope she does well,” said Robert Burnes, a parent.
Many of the parents were just as nervous as the plebes.
“(I’m) a little sad, a little nostalgic, but that’s part of life. You have to let go for him to be able to fly and do great things,” said Fausto Padilla, a parent.
The plebes were set to take the oath of office at 6 p.m., say one final goodbye to their families and then it will be time to get to work.
Good luck to the Class of 2023!