Naval Academy's 1st Class midshipmen learn service assignments
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Tribune News Service) — More than 1,000 midshipmen in the Class of 2017 learned Thursday the path of their military career following graduation.
The first-class midshipmen, or seniors, submitted their service assignment preferences in late August. They may choose six preferences of the 24 career options in the Navy and Marine Corps. The assignments are dependent on a midshipman's aptitude and preferences, as well as requirements made by the Department of the Navy.
The areas range from surface warfare officers to submarines and Navy pilots.
Midshipman 1st Class Jose DeJesus was one of the handful who learned he will be a Naval flight officer. The midshipman said he's always "had a passion for the air."
He had the chance to fly this summer, and since then, he knew becoming a Naval flight officer was his top choice.
"It's very gratifying to see everybody mostly get their first choice," he said.
About 95 percent of the midshipmen received their first or second choices, the academy said. Of the 1,062 midshipmen in the Class of 2017, 246 people will be assigned surface warfare officers. Navy pilots and Marine Corps ground combat were the second and third largest groups with 240 and 173.
This year, the midshipmen learned of their assignments with their companies throughout Bancroft Hall, the academy's dormitory.
Each company handles the announcement differently; Some companies determine the order alphabetically, while others have midshipman pick walk-up songs. The playlist of songs is put on shuffle, and when the mids hear their song play they know they're up.
For the 29th company, the company officer announced the assignments in the group's wardroom, with many of their families watching through a live stream.
The mids took a photo with a Navy or Marine Corps football jersey and hat when hearing their assignment — like athletes in the NFL Draft.
As each mid was called, his or her fellow classmates yelled their nicknames. The seniors' cheers were followed by those of the underclassmen anxiously waiting outside of the room.
When one of the midshipmen found out he would be commissioned as a Navy SEAL, the room erupted in cheers. He was one of 36 mids to be selected for the SEALS.
"We've been with them through start and finish, it's good to be here," said Midshipman 1st Class Daniel Smart of his company.
"….it's been a long time coming," added Midshipman 1st Class Elizabeth Pecsok.
The younger midshipmen in the company planned celebratory activities following the announcements: The future Marines shaved their heads, the future submarines ate at Jimmy Johns subs and the future surface warfare officers ate doughnuts and coffee — an activity those officers are known to do.
After learning he'd be apart of Marine Corps Aviation, Midshipman 1st Class Carl Trampeanau was the first in line at the head shaving station, a tradition among those who receive Marine Corps assignments. He also got his face painted camo to celebrate the occasion.
"Seeing these guys, the underclass, who we helped train and develop, put this on for us, it really gives note to the family atmosphere of the company," Trampeanau said.
As company officer Capt. D.J. Green read off the last service announcement, he congratulated the mids for their hard work. He ended by stating one of the company's mottos:
"It's good to be us."
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