Brigade of Midshipmen Life

Chances are the living arrangements at the Academy are different from anything you have experienced. The day begins with reveille and ends with lights out. You stand watches, march to meals and wear uniforms to almost everything you do. You and your roommates must keep your room ready for a military inspection at any time and keep your uniforms in regulation condition. Demerits are awarded for a room or uniform that is not in proper order or not "squared away."

On their first day at the Academy, plebes begin learning a whole new vocabulary of nautical and Naval Academy terms. Before long, the floor is the deck, the wall is the bulkhead and the restroom is the head. Likewise, Midshipmen seniority is stated in a way different from traditional college terms.

All Naval Academy students, men and women, are called Midshipmen. This is a rank between Chief Warrant Officer and Ensign in the Navy. A Midshipman first class, or "firstie," is a senior. A second class Midshipman is a junior and those Midshipmen known as "youngsters," or third class, are sophomores. Of course, the freshmen are called plebes and their rank is Midshipmen fourth class. The student body is called the Brigade of Midshipmen, and the naval service often is called the fleet.

All Midshipmen live in Bancroft Hall, a huge dormitory complex. You are assigned to a room with one or more classmates of the same gender and live in close proximity to about 130 other Midshipmen in your company. Male and female Midshipmen from all four classes make up each company. Each company has its own common area, called the wardroom, for meetings and recreation.

The company is the most important unit of the over 4,000-member Brigade of Midshipmen. Many of your most rewarding experiences at the Naval Academy are those you share with members of your company. You eat, sleep, study, drill, play and compete as teams with your company mates. You learn to trust and rely on each other, and pull together to get through tough times. The company experience also gives you an idea of how things work in the Navy and Marine Corps, where small-unit cohesion, teamwork and morale are as important in peacetime operations as in combat.

The Brigade is divided into 2 Regiments, each regiment has 3 Battalions, and 5 Companies make up each Battalion, making a total of 30 Companies.

1st Regiment
  • First Battalion: Companies 1 through 5
  • Second Battalion: Companies 6 through 10
  • Third Battalion: Companies 11 through 15
2nd Regiment
  • Fourth Battalion: Companies 16 through 20
  • Fifth Battalion: Companies 21 through 25
  • Sixth Battalion: Companies 26 through 30

Each company is divided into 4 platoons and there are 3 squads per platoon. Three fire teams make up each squad. There are approximately 12 Midshipman in each squad. The Midshipmen command structure is headed by a first class Midshipman chosen for outstanding leadership performance, the Brigade Commander, is responsible for much of the brigade's day-to-day activities, as well as the professional training of Midshipmen.

Fourth Class Regiment: during Plebe Summer, the plebes are organized into what is called the Fourth Class Regiment. The regiment consists of 2 Battalions, called the Port and Starboard Battalions. The Starboard Battalion has 8 companies and the Port Battalion has 7. Each company has 2 numbered platoons, for a total of 30. Each platoon has 3 squads with about 10-12 plebes per squad. There are 120 squads during Plebe Summer.

The year-long "color competition" among the 30 companies builds company spirit. Companies accumulate points for academic, professional and intramural excellence. The company with the most points is recognized at the Color Parade during Commissioning Week. Members of the winning company enjoys special privileges for the next year, including the honor of representing the Naval Academy at official functions such as presidential inaugurations.

Overseeing all brigade activities is the Commandant of Midshipmen, an active-duty Navy officer of Captain's rank or above, or Marine officer of Colonel's rank or above. Working for the Commandant, experienced Navy and Marine Corps officers are assigned as company and battalion officers.

Continue to Commissioning Week | Return to Plebe Life

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