From the first athletic competition played on the gridiron in 1879 to Navy's recent triumphs of the past year, several events, people, rivalries and personalities have shaped the entire Navy athletic program into one of the most storied traditions in all of college athletics.
Below is an alphabetical summary of just some of the traditions of the Navy athletic programs and the Naval Academy as a whole.
Students at the Naval Academy can select one of 43 different majors within the following 19 fields of study:
Division of Engineering & Weapons
Aerospace Engineering, Electrical Engineering, General Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Naval Architecture, Ocean Engineering, Systems Engineering
Division of Math & Science
Chemistry, Computer Science, General Science, Information Technology, Math, Oceanography, Physics, Quantitative Economics
Division of Humanities & Social Science
Economics, English, History, Political Science
In addition to graduating with a Bachelor's of Science, students can also attain a minor in one of seven different languages.
"Anchors Aweigh" was written by Lt. Charles Zimmermann, Musical Director of the Naval Academy in 1906, with the lyrics provided by Alfred H. Miles of the Class of 1906, as a fight song for the 1907 graduating class instead of the usual class march Zimmermann had composed for previous classes. The song made its debut at the 1906 Army-Navy game, and when the Midshipmen won the game, the song became traditional at this game. It gained national exposure in the 1920s and 1930s when it was heard on the radio and was in a number of popular movies. In 1997 a one-hour documentary on the history of Navy football, titled "Anchors Aweigh for Honor and Glory", was produced by NFL Films. The film was deemed a success by both critics and fans alike. Here are the words:
- Stand Navy down the field,
- Sails set to the sky,
- We'll never change our course,
- So Army you steer shy.
- Roll up the score, Navy,
- Anchors Aweigh,
- Sail Navy down the field,
- And sink the Army,
- sink the Army Grey
Annapolis Visitors Bureau
The capital of Maryland, Annapolis is the home of the Naval Academy. Annapolis is located 30 miles east of Washington, D.C. and 25 miles south of Baltimore.
Named after former Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft, the Hall is home for the entire Brigade of Midshipmen. It contains 1,873 midshipmen rooms, nearly five miles of corridors and about 33 acres of floor space, making it one of the largest single dormitories in the world. All of the basic facilities midshipmen need for daily living, and many for recreation, are found in the Hall.
The Navy's oldest continuing musical organization, the Naval Academy Band was formed in 1852 with 13 musicians. Now numbering 63 members, the band includes the wind ensembles, rock band, big band, woodwind and brass quintets, tuba and trombone quartets and the percussion ensemble. The band provides musical support to the Brigade of Midshipmen in parades and performances, and entertains members of the Academy family and civilian community throughout the year.
Bill the Goat
The first recorded use of a goat mascot for Navy athletic teams was in 1893 when an animal named El Cid (The Chief) was turned over to the Brigade by young officers of the USS New York. El Cid helped Navy to a 6-4 triumph over Army that year. Two cats, a dog, and a carrier pigeon have also enjoyed brief reigns as the Navy mascot, but goats have served without interruption since 1904. Bill XXXII and XXXIII and XXXIV are the current mascots. They are taken care of by 15 goathandlers made up of five midshipmen from the first, second and third classes. The goathandlers undergo rigorous training prior to handling Bill on the field.
Blue and Gold
Audio (Quicktime Needed To Listen)
This song was written in 1923 by CMDR Roy DeS. Horn, USN (Ret.) with music composed by J.W. Crosley. Following every home athletic competition, the team faces its fans with their hands on their heart and sings the following notes.
- Now, colleges from sea to sea
- May sing of colors true;
- But who has better right than we
- To hoist a symbol hue?
- For sailors brave in battle fair,
- Since fighting days of old,
- Have proved the sailor's right to wear
- The Navy Blue and Gold
Brigade of Midshipmen
The 4,200-member student body at the Naval Academy is called the Brigade of Midshipmen.
From the bridge of the famed World War II aircraft carrier, it has been a part of the Naval Academy tradition since 1950. The late Admiral Harry W. Hill, then Superintendent, was instrumental in bringing the "E" Bell to Annapolis. It rings when the Academy observes Morning Colors and also during special ceremonies when Navy scores a majority of victories over Army in any one of the three sports seasons. The bell also rings during Commissioning Week for those teams that beat Army and have not participated in a previous bell-ringing during the academic year. The bell is stationed in front of Bancroft Hall.
The bell is an exact replica of the 1456 casting brought to this country by Commodore Matthew C. Perry following his expedition to Japan in 1854. The original bell, donated to the Naval Academy by Commodore Perry's widow, was returned by the Navy to the people of Okinawa in 1987. Like the original bell, the replica is rung to celebrate football victories over Army. The bell is stationed in front of Bancroft Hall.
Naval Academy graduates have the opportunity to select a career in the U.S. Marine Corps. Those who do enter the Marines as a 2nd Lieutenant. Their service options are as follows ...
- Aviation -- air command and control, anti-air warfare, aviation
maintenance, aviation supply, pilot, naval flight officer.
- Ground -- armor, artillery, communications (information systems),
engineering, financial management, infantry*, logistics, military police
The word midshipman first appeared in English in the 17th century in the form of the word midshipsman to designate those men who were stationed "amidships," i.e. in the waist or middle portion of the vessel, while on duty. By 1687, however, the second 's' had been dropped to give the current form of the word. Midshipmen were originally boys, sometimes as young as seven or eight, who were apprenticed to sea captains to learn the sailor's trade.
In the early days of the American Navy, midshipmen trained aboard ship until they were eventually commissioned as ensigns. With the founding of the Naval Academy in 1845, it became possible, as it still is, for a midshipman to enter the Navy directly from civilian life. The name of students at the Naval Academy changed several times between 1870 and 1902, when Congress restored the original title of Midshipman, and it has remained unchanged since.
Graduates of the Naval Academy entering the Navy (as Ensigns) have the following service options available to them ...
- Aviation -- flight officer, pilot
- Nuclear Propulsion -- ships, submarines
- Restricted Line and Staff Corps -- civil engineering,
cryptology, intelligence, maintenance, medicine,
- Special Operations -- explosive ordinance disposal, explosive
ordinance management, mine countermeasures, operational
diving and salvage
- Navy SEALs
- Surface Warfare -- conventional, nuclear powered
Navy's sports teams are referred to as the Midshipmen or Mids. The term "Middie" is inappropriate.
Members of varsity teams who qualify for their varsity letter receive an N-Star if they participate in a victory over Army in any sport designated "Star" competition. Navy has dominated the series of late against West Point, winning the N-Star competition 12-consecutive years.
Navy adopted Navy Blue and Gold as its colors back in 1892. At that time, each class at the Naval Academy had class colors. The Class of 1890 first used Navy Blue and Gold. In 1892, the minutes from the Naval Academy Auxiliary Athletic Association meeting reported, "The Committee reported favorable results of a conference with Naval Cadets as to the probability of adoption of Navy Blue and Gold as Academy colors."
Summers remain a busy and challenging time of year for midshipmen. Their initial tenure at the Naval Academy begins around July 1 prior to the start of the freshman year at the school with "Plebe Summer." Instead of taking academic classes, plebes receive military indoctrination and learn basic seamanship and sailing.
The summer following plebe year is spent aboard various ships to gain knowledge and experience of the workings of the Navy. Included in this time is a three-week cruise aboard either a 44-foot Naval Academy sailboat or a Yard Patrol craft traveling on the East Coast.
Portions of the summer before the start of a second-class year is spent visiting bases of both the Navy and the Marine Corps. That leads up to the next summer when midshipmen join an operational unit of the Navy or Marine Corps for several weeks. In addition, rising firsties also begin to accept leadership roles at either the Naval Academy for plebe summer, the Naval Academy Prep School (Newport, R.I.) or aboard a yard patrol or sailing cruise.
The familiar Native American figurehead facing Bancroft Hall and Tecumseh Court has been an Annapolis resident since 1866. Originally, the figurehead of the USS Delaware was meant to portray Tamanend, the great chief of the Delawares. It developed that Tamanend was a lover of peace and did not strike the fancy of the Brigade. Looking for another name, Midshipmen referred to the figurehead as Powhatan and King Philip before finally settling on Tecumseh, the fierce Shawnee chieftain who lived from 1768-1813. The original wooden statue was replaced after some 50 years in the open weather by a durable bronze replica, presented by the Class of 1891. Before Army-Navy competition in any sport, Tecumseh gets a fresh coat of war paint. He is also the target of left-handed salutes and a shower of pennies - offerings for victory.
The Yard, as the Naval Academy campus is called, features tree-lined brick walks, French Renaissance and contemporary architecture and scenic vistas of the Chesapeake Bay. The Bancroft Hall dormitory complex, the Cathedral of the Navy and other 82-year-old buildings make the Academy a National Historic Site. Originally just 10 acres, The Yard is now 338 acres.