CNO speaks to the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2024

CNO speaks to the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2024

by U.S. Navy
U.S. Navy

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday visited the United States Naval Academy and spoke to the Class of 2024, Aug. 7, 2020.

Gilday told the new midshipmen that every Sailor is expected to exhibit professional competence and be men and women of character.

“America expects us to be the very best at what we do,” Gilday said. “We must act with integrity and demonstrate our values in everything we do. That is what sets us apart from our adversaries.”

The Naval Academy class of 2024 consists of 1,194 midshipmen who come from every state, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, as well as 15 foreign countries. The Class of 2024 includes 364 women and a total of 424 minority midshipmen, and 80 former enlisted Sailors and Marines.

“This race you’re in, it’s a marathon and you are on mile one,” Gilday said. “Keep your eye on the prize, be humble, and learn all you can here.”

All midshipmen begin their four-year program at the Naval Academy with Plebe Summer, which is designed to transform civilians into midshipmen. Plebe Summer typically lasts six to seven weeks and tests incoming midshipmen physically and mentally. But due to COVID-19, the induction period was shortened to four weeks to accommodate a two-week restriction of movement period to monitor the incoming midshipmen for signs of the virus. The Class of 2024 is wrapping up their final week of training before beginning the fall semester of school.

Cmdr. Kelly Laing, the Naval Academy’s Officer-in-Charge of Plebe Summer, said this year’s Plebe experience is different from previous classes.

“This year has been a challenging year for this nation, and those challenges were significant for these Plebes as their entire traditional Plebe Summer was upended,” he said. “But they fulfilled every mission area we focused on to indoctrinate them morally, mentally, and physically, and it helped the class develop stamina, discipline and grit.”

Gilday echoed similar sentiments.

“Plebe Summer is tough enough without a pandemic, but the mental strength you have gained and the perseverance you’ve displayed will help propel you through the next four years at the Naval Academy,” Gilday said. “You should be proud of yourselves, I know I am.”

Founded in 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy is a four-year service academy that prepares midshipmen morally, mentally, and physically to be professional officers in the naval service.

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