First Class Midshipmen Uphold Naval Academy Traditions, Celebrate Service Assignments

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The U.S. Naval Academy holds the fourth swearing-in event for the Class of 2020.
The U.S. Naval Academy holds the fourth swearing-in event for the Class of 2020 on May 18, 2020. The Class of 2020 will graduate approximately 1,000 midshipmen during five swearing-in events and one virtual ceremony. (Stacy Godfrey/U.S. Navy)

By the end of the spring, there will be 294 new naval aviation officers.

The Naval Academy released its service assignments for 1st class midshipmen Thursday afternoon, with the largest percentage of midshipmen entering naval aviation.

Of the 1,098 midshipmen in the Class of 2021, 240 received pilot service assignments, with 54 receiving naval flight officer assignments.

This follows the trends of the two previous graduating classes, each sending about 27% of midshipmen to aviation assignments.

The majority of midshipmen will commission into the Navy. And approximately a quarter of midshipmen will commission into the Marine Corps, following the same trend as the classes of 2020 and 2019.

Just over a quarter of firsties will go into surface warfare, following trends set in 2020 and 2019. Typically, midshipmen going into surface warfare will select their first ships in January, but Ship Selection Night has not been scheduled yet due to COVID-19, according to a news release from the academy.

The remaining midshipmen commissioning into the Navy received assignments for submarine warfare (13%), special operations (4%), medical corps (1%) and Navy restricted line and staff corps (4%). The Navy restricted line and staff corps includes those not qualified for unrestricted line duties or those who elected to specialize in cryptologic warfare, intelligence, supply corps, civil engineering or oceanography.

Midshipmen took to social media, including Twitter and Instagram, to share their assignments.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed much of the year at the academy, with selection day being no different. But the global crisis did not put a damper on all celebrations, as midshipmen celebrated with their companies.

Firsties received their assignments in folders —blue for Navy and red for Marine Corps. Each of the firsties donned black masks with 2021 printed on the front. Those who received Marine Corps assignments were still able to get their head shaved, fulfilling the tradition.

King Hall was ready for the commitment dinner, with the south wing decorated to be as special as it could be under COVID-19 restrictions, according to a post from the dining hall's Instagram account.

Commandant Capt. Thomas Buchanan sent out a special service assignment edition of the Dant Daily on his Instagram, encouraging everyone to congratulate the midshipmen on their assignments.

"We're excited for them, for their families and the future that this represents as they understand and get their warfare specialties so that they may continue the final preparations as we accelerate toward the finish line in May 2021," Buchanan said.

Approximately 93% of 1st class midshipmen received their first or second assignment choices, according to the news release.

This article is written by Heather Mongilio from The Capital, Annapolis, Md. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

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