Ole Brook grad enters Naval Academy’s Plebe Summer

Published 11:30 am Friday, July 5, 2024

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Bryce Crawford Smith, a graduate of Brookhaven High School was inducted into the Naval Academy Class of 2028 on June 27th, marking the beginning of six challenging weeks of basic midshipman training during Plebe Summer. Following the formal Oath of Office Ceremony on I-Day, his aunt, active duty, Maj. Kelli Nichols, led him in a personal swearing in ceremony witnessed by Bryce’s parents, Brett and Erin Smith. 

Approximately 1,200 candidates are selected each year for the Academy’s “plebe” or freshman class, and each student is required to participate in Plebe Summer. During this time, plebes have no access to television, movies, the internet, or music and restricted access to cell phones. They are only permitted to make three calls during the six weeks of Plebe Summer. 

The pressure and rigor of Plebe Summer is carefully designed to help plebes prepare for their first academic year at the Naval Academy and the four years of challenge that awaits them. As the summer progresses, the new midshipmen rapidly assimilate basic skills in seamanship, navigation, damage control, sailing, and handling yard patrol craft. Plebes also learn infantry drill and how to shoot 9 mm pistols and M-16 rifles.

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Other daily training sessions involve moral, mental, physical, and professional development and team-building skills. Activities include swimming, martial arts, basic rock climbing, and obstacle, endurance, and confidence courses designed to develop physical, mental, and team-building skills. 

Forty hours are devoted to the instruction of infantry drill and five formal parades. Founded in 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy today is a prestigious four-year service academy that prepares midshipmen morally, mentally, and physically to be professional officers in the naval service. 

More than 4,400 men and women representing every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries make up the student body, known as the Brigade of Midshipmen. In 2024, U.S. News and World Reports rated the Naval Academy as the #1 public school, #3 national liberal arts college, #5 undergraduate engineering school. Midshipmen learn from military and civilian instructors and participate in intercollegiate varsity sports and extracurricular activities. 

They also study subjects such as leadership, ethics, small arms, drill, seamanship and navigation, tactics, naval engineering and weapons, and military law. Upon graduation, midshipmen earn a Bachelor of Science degree in a choice of 26 different subject majors and go on to serve at least five years of exciting and rewarding service as commissioned officers in the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps. 

The Brigade of Midshipmen is comprised of approximately 4,400 students from every state in the union and a handful of international students. This year, approximately 1,187 young women and men were admitted to the Naval Academy’s incoming class. The Naval Academy received 15,146 applications for the Class of 2028. For more information about the Naval Academy, please go to our website usna.edu and Facebook page.

Bryce is the son of Brett and Erin Smith of Brookhaven. His grandparents are Hamp and Sherra Smith of Brookhaven, Gloria Williamson and the late Edward Williamson of Philadelphia, and Steve and the late Judy Grimes, originally of Georgetown.