ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- For the 1,206 men and women entering the U.S. Naval Academy's Class of 2017, summer break is ending early.
The academy's newest plebes reported to Annapolis for Induction Day June 27 to begin the arduous six-week indoctrination period called Plebe Summer.
"Induction day is a first step ... a critical step in the process of re-infusing the U.S. Navy with our very best and brightest," said Cmdr. Valerie Overstreet, Plebe Summer officer-in-charge. "Starting today, we make these individuals part of the team where we infuse dignity, respect and honor into everything they do. It is a special day for USNA."
More than 17,600 students applied for this opportunity. The new class includes 18 international students from 17 different countries, including Cambodia, a first for the academy. There are now 59 international students across all four classes, the most the academy has had at one time.
A third of the students come from minority backgrounds, and 23 percent are women. Sixty-three students in the Class of 2017 formerly served as enlisted sailors and Marines.
Among the academy's newest plebs is Charlotte Asdal, one of four sisters who have now attended the Naval Academy. Asdal is preceded by her sisters Ashley (USNA '09), Lindsey (USNA '10), and Kirsten who graduated this year.
It is a day marked by family traditions. The grandson of former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Frank Kelso also joined the Class of 2017
During Induction Day, or I-Day, the incoming plebes receive uniforms and military haircuts, undergo medical evaluations, learn to render a salute and complete their registration.
They each receive a copy of "Reef Points," a 309-page handbook of information about the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, the Naval Academy's history and traditions, their administrative chain of command, and the general orders of a sentry. New midshipmen are required to memorize virtually all of the facts that are outlined in the book.
I-Day concludes when the midshipmen take the oath of office in front of their family, friends and new classmates during a ceremony in Tecumseh Court at 6 p.m. After the ceremony, plebes say goodbye to their families who will not see them again until Plebe Parents Weekend, Aug. 8-11.
With the conclusion of I-Day, Plebe Summer officially begins. During this time, plebes start each day at dawn with mandatory physical training. The remainder of each day is packed with drills and instruction on the military lifestyle and more physical training. The plebes are allotted minimal leisure time.
During Plebe Summer, the plebes are led and trained by upperclass midshipmen. Instruction includes seamanship, boat handling, navigation and small arms training. This indoctrination period is designed to help plebes develop discipline, honor, character, self-reliance and organization, providing them with the foundation to become midshipmen and successful military leaders.
For more news from U.S. Naval Academy, visit www.navy.mil/local/usna/.