On Friday I had the privilege to attend a Council of Class Presidents meeting in Annapolis. We received presentations from the Superintendent, our Athletic Director, our new Alumni Association President/CEO and members of his staff.
Here are a few items I want share with you:
From the Supe…
Admiral Buck will be relieved on July 7 by RADM Yvette Davids , ‘89, a SWO who commanded USS Curtis, USS Bunker Hill, and Carrier Strike Group 11. She is married to RADM Keith Davids, ‘90, Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command. If she is confirmed by the US Senate, she will be promoted to VADM and become the new Supe in July. She and her husband are the first wife and husband Admiral team in the 249-year history of the US Navy.
Admiral Buck spent a lot of time discussing sexual assault at USNA. Recent DOD-wide surveys show reported unwanted sexual contact has gone up at all the Academics, but Navy has the highest at 23%. This survey had an 85% response rate; a very high response rate for any survey. Most troubling is the fact that Navy’s sexual assault prevention training has been judged as the best amongst the Academies.
His approach has been to “listen, belief, and care” for those assaulted and to hold perpetrators accountable. Over 65% of incidents are alcohol related, down from 72% in the last survey.
The Supe is working to identify for the Mids what “right looks like.” He has made lunch meal mandatory for all Mids. After announcements on Wednesdays or Thursdays,before eating, they have a 4-minute “drill” or discussion with an open dialogue on difficult topics. Topics such as situations with alcohol, honor violations and sexual assault. Each table is armed with a senior midshipman moderator that has the “gouge” to separate “fact from myths” concerning these topics. So far, he thinks the feedback has been very good, and gave an example of a recent incident in town where Mids took appropriate action based on a recent discussion they had had at noon meal.
Yard infrastructure update
USNA has a 40-year infrastructure plan to protect the Yard from flooding which is becoming more and more prevalent every year. This long term plan will be completed in phases and it has already started. The Farragut Field sea wall is being rebuilt and raised 2.5 feet. Work near Trident light is underway.
MacDonough Hall is being gutted and rebuilt into a state-of-the-art training facility in support of the physical mission. It is currently 22% complete.
The current Columbarium was constructed as modules and can be moved. The plan is to move the current Columbarium up the hill into the cemetery and to add Columbarium space in two places: 1) as you enter Gate 8, on the left is a row of houses near the old hospital that are to be torn down due to asbestos. New columbarium spaces will be added in that area 2) additional columbarium spaces will be added on the hill next to Beach Hall overlooking hospital point and the Severn River. The plan is being developed now and philanthropic support will be needed to complete this project.
USNA has divided academics into three schools; Engineering & Weapons (Hopper Hall & Rickover Hall), Mathematics & Science (Chauvenet & Michelson), and Humanities & Social Sciences (Carter & Mayan). Luce Hall remains centered on Character and Leadership Development. There are also two new majors: Foreign Area Studies and Data Science.
Our athletic Director, Chet’s Gladchuk, after being asked by a class president in open forum, discussed what really happened with Coach Ken following the Army/Navy game last December. This is the back story.
The last year of Coach Ken’s contract was 2022. Before the season started, Chet and Coach Ken met to discuss expectations for the season. Normally, Chet’s expectations are to beat AF and Army and win 6 games to be bowl eligible. Coach Ken wanted this in writing in an effort to get an extension. Chet was reluctant but agreed to Coach Ken’s terms. The conversation in the locker room after the Army loss, and the team had departed, was basically Chet saying, “sorry it did not work out as you hoped. Talk to you tomorrow.” He did not say “you are fired.”
From other sources, we know that Coach Ken spoke to the press, including Billy Wagner, reporter for the Annapolis Capital Gazette, who he either told he was fired or Billy Wagner assumed that and reported that to the public. Chet said he never, never said “you are fired” as Coach Ken’s contract had expired. He simply did not renew his contract. This is very different than what was reported on national sports media. BTW, Billy Wagner later modified his statement about Coach Ken being fired.
USNA now has 36 NCAA Division I sports with the recent addition of Women’s Triathalon. Chet Gladchuck’s motto is to support the physical mission through competition to develop character and leadership to prepare Midshipmen for their Navy mission.
Navy sports currently are 14-7 this year in the N Star series with the final 3 contests this weekend with men’s baseball, women’s lax (at Army) and men’s lax in Annapolis which is on national TV at 7pm EST Saturday.
Men’s rugby, in their first year, are 16-0 and in the semi-finals Saturday. Good chance they will play next Saturday for the national championship in Houston.
Jeff Webb ‘95, USNA Alumni Association & Foundation CEO/President
Jeff is taking a hard look at all Alumni Association programs and focusing on what should our Association really be doing. Currently, the Association supports 94 different programs and activities with 102 Alumni chapters, 77 classes, and 78 Parents’ Groups. Our Class Presidents organization volunteered to participate in Working Groups to assist in this review.
For the Naval Academy, our Foundation provides $20-30 million to USNA each year supporting things like professor chairs, leadership programs, athletics excellence, as well as $2 million annually for the Superintendent to use as he needs for unexpected or underfunded programs such as international programs for the Mids.
The new Alumni Center is on track for a July move-in and going operational. It is a beautiful facility of which we all will be very proud to call home. The carpet has been laid and furniture arrived last week.
Finally, I had the opportunity to attend the P-rate on Friday afternoon. Here is how parades are different from “back in our day.”
First, the USNA Parachute Club performed by jumping onto Worden Field landing just in from of the Supe’s tent. Awesome! Several Mids had over 300 jumps.
Next, the USNA Silent Drill Team performed. Sharp, precise, and discipline. Not.A.Single.Mishandled.Rifle.
Finally, when the parade started, the bagpipes led the way. Again, awesome!
Overall, the Mids looked very sharp.
Remember, 45th Reunion signup starts on June 19. We will send signup instructions a few days before then.
President, USNA Class of 1978