The U.S. Naval Academy inducted more than 1,200 new members to its ranks Thursday, marking the start of Plebe Summer.
Vice Admiral Michael Miller offered the new recruits words of encouragement before taking their oaths of office.
"If you weren't smart enough, strong enough, or motivated enough, you would not be here today," Miller said. "We will teach you to overcome, preserve and meet adversity head on."
He said the Class of 2016 should feel extra proud because the academy had a record-breaking 20,601 applications, making the acceptance process even more rigorous.
"In order to succeed here and make it to graduation day in 2016, you will have to work as a team; individuals will not prevail."
Dan Dishart and his wife Carol Dishart traveled from Wexford, PA, to watch their son, Addison, take his oath of office.
Dan Dishart is retired from the Marine Corps and said, "The fact that he is here right now is overwhelming. He's so perfectly suited for this that there is no need for melancholy or sadness."
Carol Dishart said she warned her son that she would cry when he took his oath, but "it's not because I'm sad."
To get to that moment in front of Bancroft Hall, the incoming freshman spent an entire day transforming to U.S. Navy plebes.
All incoming male plebes get their hair buzzed off, and female recruits get a straight cut that hangs just below their ears.
Leroy Evans has been cutting hair for the Naval Academy for 30 years.
He said he's seen a number of new recruits cry while sitting in his chair.
Evans talked about the Celtics as he cut Boston native Marius Bernotas' hair. Bernotas only winced when the clippers turned on. He said he hasn't had hair this short since the second grade.
"It feels a little funny right now," Bernotas said. "But you know what I like about this hair? When you put your hand on it, it's really fuzzy. It's fun to play with."
Unlike most college freshman, plebes don't have to decide how many pairs of shoes they will need, or which roommate will bring the television. All their needs—down to the bedsheets—are provided by the Naval Academy.
"For them, they show up with their civilian clothes and maybe a bag of some basic items they needed the night before," Ensign Dave Galluch said during a campus tour. "You do pay for it, but it's pretty much over the course of the four years. It's something called the Ace Loan, which covers all of your immediate expenses on arrival."
Learning to Salute
The last stop for a plebe on Induction Day is the courtesies and customs introduction where incoming freshman learn to salute.
Galluch said this is the first time the plebes meet their detailers, the men and women who will spend the summer training them to be ready for fall semester.
"It can be a little unsettling for some of them," Galluch said. "It may be the first time anyone has really yelled at them."
See Also: Watch members of the Class of 2016 learn to salute by clicking here.
Galluch said he enjoyed watching the plebes throughout the day.
"It's kinda fun to see how I probably looked four years ago, and to see where I am now," Galluch said. "I consider myself lucky to have gone here."
Some facts about the U.S. Naval Academy's Class of 2016:
- 4.6 percent of the class have at least one alumni parent.
- 222 come from the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, RI.
- 47 are enlisted in the Navy and 8 come from the Marine Corps.
- 24 percent of the Class of 2016 is female, up 5 percent from 2015.
- There are 17 international students, including one from Korea.
- Only 87 have completed some college before coming.
- For the next six weeks they get no television, music or Internet. They cannot leave the campus and are only allowed three phone calls.