Since my father was in the Marine Corps for 32 years, I have a certain affinity for the military. So I recently decided to take off for Annapolis, Maryland to shoot a project on personal time – Induction Day at the United States Naval Academy. I figured if nothing else, my agency, would be able to sell some images from the event.
Induction Day is the official name for the first day of Plebe Summer at the Academy. Held in late June or early July, this is the day on which the newest Naval Academy class arrive and begin the transition from civilian life.
Midshipmen begin the day by reporting to Alumni Hall where they receive their first orders: “From now on the first and last words out of your mouth will be ‘Sir’ or ‘Ma’am’. Do you understand?”
Midshipmen then go through medical screening and tested for substance abuse. Then they are sent to a makeshift barbershop for a haircut where all new male midshipmen receive identical crew cuts. Women have their hair cut short above the shoulders.
Midshipmen are fit for their new uniforms and issued a substantial portion of their necessary equipment, such as professional publications and field gear.
Before they leave Alumni Hall, they are taught basic military decorum, such as saluting. They then board buses and are transported to the midshipman dormitory.
Bancroft Hall was off limits to the press so I went into the city for lunch. From what I understand the new midshipmen meet their Plebe Summer Cadre and transport their new gear and uniforms to their dorm rooms. They are shown how to mark and stow all equipment and spend considerable time arranging their rooms appropriately. Midshipmen must also formally sign their “Oath of Office” papers, which commit them to Naval Service.
After having lunch and spending much of the afternoon editing the mornings images, I went back to the campus to photograph the swearing-in ceremony in Tecumseh Court.
Parents and families of the new Plebes are encouraged to attend this event. Following the swearing-in, the plebes are allowed to visit with family and friends. There was a lot of emotion when parents saw their kids with the haircuts and Plebe uniforms. After a couple of hours they returned to Bancroft Hall. They will not be allowed to meet with family again until the end of Plebe Summer in mid-August.
The day was great and weather was perfect. It was a fun event to shoot and I feel I got some pretty nice images.