Sean O’Dowd begins Plebe Summer at US Naval Academy

From left: Salem Lakes Trustee and retired US Navy Bill Hopkins, Pat O’Dowd (grandmother), Sean O’Dowd and Doug O’Dowd,(father) / Submitted photo

Sean O’Dowd a graduate of Wilmot Union High School in Wilmot,
was inducted into the Naval Academy Class of 2024 Wednesday, July 1, and will begin six challenging weeks of basic midshipman training as part of Plebe Summer.

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. Last year the Naval Academy received over 16,000 applications for the Class of 2023.

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, which 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.

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

The Brigade of Midshipmen is comprised of approximately 4,400 students from every state in the union and a handful of international students. Each year, approximately 1,200 young men and women are admitted to the Naval Academy’s incoming class.

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