USNA/Navy Terms


  • 1/C: A Senior Midshipman at the Naval Academy – Also see Firstie
  • 2/C: A Junior Midshipman – Also see Second Classman
  • 3/C: A Sophomore Midshipman – Also see Youngster
  • 4/C: A Freshman Midshipman – Also see Plebe
  • 2% Club: The percentage of Mids who graduate while still being involved with the same Girlfriend they had on I-Day.
  • 2 for 7: Two for Seven – A reference to the signing of Committment papers (the formal contract between the Navy and the Mid) which must be signed before the beginning of the Mid’s Second Class year at USNA.  It commits the Mid to SEVEN more years in the Navy in total in exchange for the remaining TWO years at USNA.  Hence 2 for 7.
  • 22 Mile Limit: The geographical limiting distance (as the crow flies) from the Academy Chapel Dome which Mids may venture while on Liberty.  22 Nautical Miles = 25.31 Statue Miles – See Map


  • AARUGHA – Theoretically this is the verbal equivalent of a dive horn. Shouted on long runs as a motivational chant.
  • AC Year: The Academic Year which runs from Mid-August to early May.
  • Academic accountability – Requirement that Midshipmen attend all their classes (and be on time) unless they have valid excuses; unexcused absences and/or tardies lead to conduct action.
  • Academic Board – Academic discipline board that convenes at the end of each semester to review poor academic performance and to determine separation or retention.
  • Academically deficient – A term decreasing in use, giving way to the more prevalent unsat: a Midshipman with a cumulative quality point rating (CQPR) below 2.0 is academically deficient and must undertake corrective study measures as outlined by his or her Company Officer.
  • ADEO – Alcohol and drug education officer; a Midshipman in each company who deals with alcohol- and drug-related affairs.
  • Aero – short for aeronautical engineering.
  • Affirmative: A “yes” response.
  • Airedale: Anyone permanently involved in Navy Air.
  • All-Calls – A punishment for Plebes requiring them to recite the daily menu (Chow Calls) more often than usual.
  • Alpha Code – A Midshipman’s Service Number while at the Academy.  A six-digit identification number that is given to all Plebes on I-day. The first two numbers indicate their graduation year and a unique four digit number for each Mid.  Midshipmen keep this number throughout their stay in Annapolis. It is printed on everything from clothing to medical paperwork.  After Plebe Summer, the number is also used in each Mid’s email address; example:
  • Alpha Inspection: A White Glove Formal Inspection.
  • Anchorman – The graduating Firstie with the lowest order of merit in the class. Traditionally he/she gets a dollar from each classmate. The anchor is also the center point of King Hall where prayers are given, announcements are made and the meal is begun with the ringing of a bell.
  • AOM: Academic Order of Merit – Ranking of each Midshipman within their class based solely on grades.  See OOM below.
  • API – Aviation Pre-flight Indoctrination. Initial flight-training for aviation students held in Pensacola, Florida, fol-lowed by primary training in either Pensacola, Florida or Corpus Christi, Texas
  • AQT/FAR: Aviation Qualification Test/Flight Aptitude Rating.  A test required for all 2/C Mids considering an aviation career path.
  • Army Week: The week preceeding the annual Army/Navy Football Game – Complete with pranks played on and by Exchange Students from the opposing Academy and outrageous bets forced upon Plebes by Upper-Class Mids.
  • Article – Plebes are required to read and recite from articles in the local paper. They usually have to be able to explain at length the contents of several articles every day. Parents sometimes get frantic requests for current events. It’s not that they are trying to keep up with the outside world. They are just trying to fulfill the required article count.
  • ARUGAHHH! – A Marine yell. Also heard as HOOO-YAAAH! and OOOO-RAAAH!
  • Aye or Aye, aye: Yes (I heard the order, I understand the order, and I intend to obey the order).
  • AWOL: Absent Without Leave; See UA, which is the preferred usage.


  • Baby Birdfarm: An Iwo Jima-Class helicopter carrier.
  • Bancroft Hall: The world’s largest Dormitory where all Mids live while attending USNA.
  • Barn: A single room inside Bancroft Hall with four racks.  These are few and far between.
  • Basket Leave: A 30 Day Leave granted to Mids following Commissioning and must be taken within 3 months of graduation.
  • Battalion: 1/6th of the Brigade of Midshipmen.  Each Battalion consist of 5 Companies.  (See Brigade)
  • Bennie: A treat or reward, derived from “Benefit”.
  • Bilge: The lowest part of a ship, below the engines where fluids like used oil and sea water gather.  A very nasty location.  As a verb: To Put Someone Down
  • Bilger’s Gate: The passenger gate at Gate 3 of teh Academy which were traditionally used by Midshipmen to leave the Academy after being separated.
  • Bilge Rat: Someone who works in the engineering spaces.
  • Billet: An assigned position within a command. A Permanent Job Assignment.
  • Bill the Goat: The Naval Academy Mascot
  • Birdfarm: Aircraft carrier.
  • Birth Control Glasses (BCG’s): Nearly indistructible Standard Navy issue frames and prescription lens worn by Plebes, primarily through Plebe summer, said to be so ugly that any Plebe wearing them will never need worry about needing Birth Control.
  • Birthday Ball: A Formal Ball celebrating the founding of the US Marine Corps on November 10, 1775
  • Black Flag Day: A day in which weather is too extreme for outdoor activity; signaled by the flying of a Black Pennant (flag) in T-Court.
  • Black N; Said to be awarded under the table for Mids who accumulate 100 or more demerits.
  • Black Shoe: Any “Surface Navy” personal. See also Brown Shoe
  • Blue and Gold: The Official School Colors of the Naval Academy and also the Alma Mater of the Academy. (See Navy Blue and Gold)
  • Blue and Gold Officer (BGO): An Academy trained individual working with High School students to assist in the application process to USNA.
  • Bluenose: An individual who has crossed the “Arctic Circle”.
  • Blue Rims: The traditional blue collared T-shirt of the Plebe PE Uniform.
  • Boards: Bulletin boards in the Company area – Maintained by the Plebes in the Company
  • Boat: Small enough to be carried on a ship, unless a submarine, which is always called a boat.
  • Boats: a sailor in the Boatswain’s Mate rating.
  • Boomer: Missile Submarine
  • Boondockers: Combat Boots issued during Plebe Summer
  • BOW: Battalion Officer of the Watch (sometimes referred to as the Bow Wow.
  • Brace: To stand stiffly at attention, chest out, chin tucked in hard against the upper chest and eyes fixed squarely ahead.
  • Brag Sheet: A Self-Evaluation presented to the Chain of Command during Performance Evaluations
  • Brassard: A colored cloth arm band worn to advertise a temporarily assigned additional responsibility such as OOW or OOD.
  • Bravo Zulu: Originally BZ – a signal meaning “Well Done”.
  • Brig: Jail.
  • Brigade: The entire student body of the Naval Academy  The Brigade is divided into 2 Regiments with 3 Battalions each. A Battalion consists of 5 Companies of approx. 140 Mids.  (See Company)
  • Brown Shoe: Any Navy Air personnel. Refers to the brown shoes previously worn exclusively by the Navy Aviation community.  Has since become outdated with the authorization to allow all officers and Chief Petty Officers (Chiefs) to wear brown shoes.  Wearing brown shoes is rarely done by non-aviation personnel.
  • BSA: Brigade Support Activity such as D&B, Cheerleaders, Silent Drill Team, etc.
  • Bubblehead: A Membor of the Submarine Service community.
  • BUDS: Basic Underwater Demolition School – now known as Seal Training
  • BUPERS: Bureau of Personnel in the Pentagon
  • Bug Juice: Kool-Aid-like beverage in dispensers on the mess deck.
  • Bulkhead: Wall.

C  (

  • Cadre’: The Firsties assigned to Leadership Training of the Plebes during Plebe Summer.
  • Cake: Something which is easily accomplished as in “It’s a piece of cake.”
  • Cammies: The standard Camouflage Fatigues including high top boots and web belt.
  • Canoe U: United States Naval Academy
  • Captain’s Mast: Navy term for Non-judicial punishment.  Depending on the rank or position involved, the name of the procedure may change, i.e. Admiral’s Mast, OIC’s Mast.
  • Carry On: An verbal order given by a superior to a subordinate to resume what they were doing.  Plebes are granted Carry On by the upper-classmen in their company near the end of Plebe year which relaxes all of the choping, chow calls and other forms of general harrassment imposed upon Plebes by Upper-Classmen
  • CDO: Company Duty Officer (A Firstie acting as head of the duty section) or Command Duty Officer (A Commissionied Officer assigned Main Office watch for the day with the OOW)
  • Chain of Command: The strict order/hirearchy from the least ranking individual up to the highest ranking individual within a particular command.  Otherwise known as the official pecking order on board a ship or duty station.
  • CHENG: Chief Engineer
  • Chest Candy: The Ribbons, Insignia and Awards worn on the Uniform
  • Chit: Name given to the document a sailor fills out to make various types of special request
  • Chokers: (Choker Whites) the Officer’s Dress White Uniform with the high, tight collar
  • Chop: A required method for Plebes to march within Bancroft – While chopping a Plebe will raise his knees so that his thighs are above horizontal, arms will swing in an exagerated manner – bending at the elbows, all the while with shoulders square and eyes fixed straight ahead.  While chopping all corners must be squared with a full right or left face maneuver involved.  All at top speed just short of a run.
  • Chow: Food.
  • Chow Calls: The rapid recitation from memory of the menu in King Hall (including all elements of each meal down to the condiments) for the next three meals; the next formation location, the uniform of the day, the names OOW and OOD, the week’s Professional Topic and any major events for that day.  See Rates.
  • Chow down: Eat.
  • Chow hall: Dining room.  At the Academy, it is named King Hall and can seat the entire Brigade of Midshipmen at one time for three meals each day.
  • Cinderella Liberty: Liberty that expires at midnight.
  • Civvies: Civilian Clothing
  • Color Company: The company judged to be the best company within the Brigade each year.
  • Color Parade: A Commissioning Week Parade during which the Color Company passes the title to the next year’s Color Company.  The Company Commander of the current year’s Color Company selects someone (usually a Girlfriend/Boyfriend) to pass the Company Flag to the next year’s Color Company while dressed in a formal Antibellum style gown or tuxedo.  Very Impressive Spectacle.
  • Colors: The American Flag; Also the raising, lowering or presentation of the American Flag.
  • Come-arounds: One on one training/quizing of a Plebe by an upper-classman which may result in the written evaluation of the Plebe’s performance.
  • CMOD: Company Mate of the Deck – A Plebe or Youngster standing watch in the company area
  • Commandant: The Commandant of Midshipman is the second in command at USNA and is considered the “Dean of Military Affairs” at the Academy, overseeing Discipline and Military Training.
  • Commandant’s List: The lesser of two other “Dean’s Lists” at the Academy. Requires a 2.9 Academic GPA for the Semester, an A in Conduct and a B in Military Performance and PE.
  • Commissioning Week (CW): The week of Graduation and Commissioning.  Previously called June Week.
  • Company: One of 30 groups of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy (1st thru 30th Company) comprised of ~140 Mids in approximately proportional numbers from each of the four classes (4/C – 1/C).  Lead by a 1/C who is Company Commander and several other 1/C Mids who act as Company XO, Company Training Officer, etc.  A Commissioned Officer (either USN or USMC) and one Senior Enlisted are also assigned to each company to act as counselors and senior members of the Chain of Command within the Company. Each Company is further divided into 4 Platoons of 3 Squads each.
  • Cover: Hat
  • Coffin Locker: A personal storage area located underneath a sailor’s rack (see below).
  • Conduct Board: A Review Board of superiors convened to review conduct infractions of Midshipmen.  The Conduct Board may recommend separation.
  • Conn Locker: (Confidential Locker) A lockable closet/storage locker in your quarters.
  • Crabtown: Annapolis, Maryland
  • Crow: The Eagle Sleave Insignia for Petty Officer Rank

D  (

  • D&B: The USNA Drum and Bugle Corps
  • Dant: The Commandant of Midshipman is the second in command at USNA and is considered the “Dean of Military Affairs” at the Academy, overseeing Discipline and Military Training.
  • Dant’s List: See Commandant’s List
  • Dark Ages: The period between Holiday Leave and Spring Break when the day are short and Academics are intense, generally causing a Gloom and Doom to settle over the Yard.
  • Dean’s List: Mids with a 3.4 GPA or higher for the semester with no failures in any class.  Recipients wear a Bronze star on certain uniform collars.
  • Deck: Floor
  • Deep Six: Obsolete term for throwing something overboard; refers to the “deep six”, the lowest fathom (six feet) before the ocean floor. Has been mostly replaced by Float Checking (see below).
  • Demerits: Recorded points for Conduct Violations
  • Detailers: At the Academy: Former term for Cadre’; In the Fleet: The person responsible at BUPERS for personnel assignments for Sailors and Officers.
  • Dive School: Five week instruction which takes place each summer (limited to 2 Plebes, 3 Youngsters, and 4 Second Class).  Participants compete to be included in this introduction to SEALS or EOD).
  • Dixie Cup: The round visorless canvas white cover (hat) worn by Plebe Midshipmen and Enlisted Sailors.
  • Dolphins: (Submarine Service) Submarine Qualification Device, called dolphins because of the dolphin fish used in the design.
  • Drop: To instruct a Plebe to drop and perform push-ups, etc.
  • Drop a Chit: The act of filling out a chit.


  • EE: Electrical Engineering
  • EI: Extra Instruction – Private tutoring given in off hours
  • EAWS: Enlisted Air Warfare Specialist. Often pronounced “A-wis”.
  • ESWS: Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist. Often pronounced “E-swas”.
  • EOD: Explosive Ordinance Disposal
  • Eyes in the Boat: The command given to remind Mids to keep their vision focused squarely Straight Ahead when marching or in formation.

F  (

  • Fair Winds and Following Seas: A salutation meant to wish good fortune.  In the days of sail, it was fortutous for a ship to experience Fair Winds (which were blowing in the direction the ship wished to sail) and Following Seas (which are ocean currents traveling in the direction the ship is traveling and are thus said to be “following.”)
  • FPW: Firstie Parents’ Weekend (See below)
  • Firstie: A Senior at the US Naval Academy (Also Midshipman First Class)
  • Firstie Parents’ Weekend: A special weekend for Parents of Firsties (1/C) in September when Parents are encouraged to spend the day with their Firstie in classes, attend a home Football game and take part in many special events.
  • Flag Deck: command level on large ships for Admirals (flag rank, because they are entitled to show a flag with appropriate number of stars on a car, ship, etc. if they are present)
  • Flattop: Aircraft carrier.
  • Flight Deck Buzzard: chicken (food).
  • Float Check (also Flotation Testing): Deliberately throwing something overboard to dispose of it.
  • FOD Walk Down: A periodic, organized search on an aircraft carrier flight deck looking for debris that a jet engine might injest. FOD = Foreign Object Damage
  • FDB’s: Full Dress Blues – The Midshipman’s Dress Uniform commonly worn at Parades consisting of either Navy or White Pants and a Navy Jacket with a double row of brass buttons to the collar and no shirt showing.
  • Formation: The assembly of Mids by Company several times during the day in which Mids are accounted for as in “All present and accounted, Sir.”
  • Fraternization: Dating or other social interaction between a subordinate and a superior.  It is strictly forbidden between Plebes and any Upper-Classman and also between Companymates within a particular Company.
  • Frog: The spring clips which hold name tag pins on a uniform from the rear.  Usually two per name tag/ribbon/medal or one per tie tack.


  • Gator-Freighter: Ship used in amphibious warfare, or generally the transportation of marines and their equipment. Especially, a carrier-like vessel (amphibious assault ship).
  • Galley: Place where food is prepared for consumption.
  • Gear adrift: Loose or unsecured gear or equipment. Also a less-than-flattering assessment of a sailor “Seaman Jones is gear adrift!”
  • Geedunk: Candy, or a place much like a civilian Convenience Store (which sells candy).
  • General Quarters: (GQ) Every sailor has an assigned duty station to be manned during an emergency.
  • Ghetto: Open-bay barracks, usually reserved for single sailors who are in transit or otherwise temporarily assigned there.
  • Goat locker: Lounge or galley for the exclusive use of Chiefs.
  • Golden Dragon: A sailor who has crossed the Prime Meridian or the International Date Line into the Eastern Hemisphere.
  • Golden rivet: Folklore that every ship is built containing a single, commemorative golden rivet
  • Golden Shellback: A sailor who has crossed the equator at the 180th Meridian
  • Gold Star: Worn by Midshipmen who qualify for the Supe’s List for the semester.
  • Gouge: the real story behind rumors and stories which may or may not be accuarate. (As is “Have you heard the Gouge on _____ ?”)
  • Green Scrubby: Mildly abrasive scouring pad.
  • Grinder: The exterior paved area of any Military compound used for Formations.
  • Gundeck: to juryrig something; falsifying or misrepresenting records and reports.
  • Guns: a sailor in the Gunner’s Mate rating.


  • Halfway-Night: (Submarine Service) Party night on pre-determined 1/2 length of boat’s patrol. Tenderloin and lobster, frozen, but good.
  • Hatch: Door.
  • Head: Bathroom (The term comes from the days of sail, because wind would blow from the rear of the ship foreward the bathroom would be located at the front “Head” of the ship to carry the foul smell of excrement away from the crew).
  • Herndon: The gray, granite obelisk – 21 feet high (48″ Square at bottom) with matching gray, granite base, (71″ Square) located across the street from the Academy Chapel.  Each year the Plebe Class concludes its Plebe Year by scaling the greased monument without ladders or other devices to replace a Dixie Cup with a Midshipman’s Cover thus signifying the end of their existance as Plebes and their entrance into the Brigade as fellow Midshipmen having earned their place at USNA.
  • Hot Racking: Submariners share racks. When one goes off, the other takes his place. (Three men share two racks)

I  (

  • I-Day: Induction Day for the new class of Plebes – The first day of Plebe Summer usually occuring on the last days of June or the first days of July.
  • ID10T: Pronounced “Eye-Dee-Ten-Tango.”  An inexpensive way to derive enjoyment from inexperienced personnel. “Recruit, go get me an ID10T form, and step on it!”
  • IM: Instant Messenger – A free computer program that allows two individuals to communicate FOR FREE via the Internet using their computers by either typing back and forth or by talking (including video) using mikes and headsets.
  • Irish Pennant: Loose thread on uniform.


  • Jarhead: U. S. Marine.
  • Johnny: A Student at St. John’s College in Annapolis. A rival school in each year’s Lawn Croquet Match held on the lawn of St. John’s campus.


  • King Hall: The dining hall attached to Bancroft Hall in which the Mids eat their meals at USNA.
  • Knee-knockers: A passageway opening through a bulkhead. The lower lip of the opening sits at shin height.
  • Knuckle Buster: A pneumatic tool for removing perfectly good paint from steel.

L  (

  • Ladder: Stairs. (This is a holdover from when all climbing was done by ladders.)
  • LANTPATRAMID: AtLANTic Professional Afloat TRAining for MIDshipman Program – Summer Cruises on the Yard Patrol Ships (YP’s). Cruises usually occur between Youngster and Second Class year and go from Annapolis to Newport, Boston and NYC while others go to Norfolk, Charleston, and points south.
  • Leatherneck: 4 week Marine training at TBS (The Basic School), in Quantico, VA.  High Scores are required for consideration for Commissioning as a Marine Officer upon graduation from USNA.
  • Leave: The Navy equivalent to a civilian vacation.  Mids on Leave may travel outside the 22 Mile Limit.  Each year there is Holiday Leave, Spring Break and Summer Block Leave. (Also see Liberty below)
  • Liberty: A brief period of excused absence from one’s assigned duties.  Think of it as Military equivalent of an evening off work.  There are several types of Liberty…
    • Town Liberty: Liberty in which a Mid is permitted to leave the Academy Grounds but must remain within the 22 Mile Limit
    • Yard Liberty: Liberty in which the Mid is excused from assigned duties but must remain on the Academy Grounds.
    • Weekend Liberty: Liberty (almost exclusively reserved for Upper-Classmen – particularly Firsties) which does not require a Mid to report back to the Yard to sleep on Saturday nights
  • Lifer: a name given to both officers and enlisted men who have made the Navy their Life Time Career.
  • LMO: Last Military Obligation – A Mid’s last duty assignment before the beginning of Liberty or Leave.
  • Love Chit: A request for transfer to a different company by a Mid who wishes to date a companymate which is normally prohibited as Fraternization.
  • Lucky Bag: The USNA Year Book

M  (

  • March On: The Brigade’s entrance to a Football game in which each company marches onto the playing field and stands in formation for the presentation of Colors and the playing of the National Anthem.
  • MAPR: (“may-per”) Midshipman Academic Performance Report – written by a professor on a Mid who is struggling in a class (D or F); when written for Outstanding Performance it is called a Positive MAPR.
  • Meatball: Fresnel Lens Optical Landing System, a visual landing aid used by naval aviators landing on a carrier.
  • Mess or Mess Deck: Dining Hall aboard ship or at a shore facility.
  • Mess Dress: The Officer’s Uniform with short waist jacket, and cumberbund. (The equivalent of a Tuxedo in civilian wear.)
  • Mid-Rats: Short for midnight rations.  A meal prepared for those who work strange hours and require a full meal after work.
  • Mid-Watch: Watch from 0001-0400, usually results in no sleep before or after this watch.
  • Mini-BUDS: A shortened version of Basic Underwater Demolition School for Midshipmen considering Seals as a service selection.
  • MOM: Military Order of Merit – A Midshipman’s class ranking on Military Performance.
  • Mustang: An Officer who came from the Enlisted ranks.
  • Muster: Roll Call; The act of falling in to a formation.
  • Mutany: The gathering of more than 4 Plebes in a room is said to allow for the planning and execution of a Mutany by the Plebes in the room unless there is an American Flag displayed – usually a small (3″ x 4″) desktop flag.


  • NFO: Naval Flight Officer – flies alongside the pilot as weapons officer and/or navigator.
  • Navy Shower: not a form of punishment. While underway, fresh water must be manufactured. A common-sense way of saving it is to wet down while taking a shower and then TURN OFF THE WATER. Lather up and wash. Finally, TURN ON THE WATER to rinse off.
  • Navy Blue and Gold: The Alma Mater of the US Naval Academy.
  • Non-skid: A rough epoxy coating used for grip on weather decks.
  • Nuke: Anyone in Nuclear Power – either in Subs or on Nuclear powered surface ships.

O  (

  • O Dark Thirty: A reference to 1/2 hour after some point really early in the morning, like 0400 (pronounced oh-four-hundred)
  • Old Man: The Commanding Officer on Admiral in command, referred as such regardless of gender. Term is usually used when CO has gained respect of subordinates.
  • Old Salt: Naval veteran.
  • OP-INFO: A program where Midshipmen may be permitted to visit high schools near their home during the week before Thanksgiving giving lectures and answering questions about USNA.
  • OOD: Officer of the Day or Officer of the Deck; Officer in charge of the ship or the command at that time
  • OOM: Order of Merit – An overall class ranking which takes into account Grades, Military Performance and Physical Conditioning.
  • OOW: Officer of the Watch – Highest ranking watch billet for a Midshipman
  • Ouija Board/Wee-Gee Board: Flat board with small airplanes, bolts, etc. that can be moved around to indicate aircraft position and status on an aircraft carrier
  • Overhead: Ceiling.


  • Passageway: A hallway
  • PCR: Professional Competency Review – Annual Test of Professional Knowledge.
  • PEP: Physical Education Program – Early morning exercises held at 0600 each day during Plebe Summer
  • Piece: rifle, as used in manual-of-arms (rifle drill)
  • Platoon: 1/4 of a Company at USNA.
  • Plebe: A Freshman at the US Naval Academy.  Also referred to as a Fourth Classman (4/C)
  • Plebe Parents’ Weekend: A special three day weekend at the end of Plebe Summer during which Plebe Parents are permitted to spend time with their Plebe for the first time following I-Day. Beginning with the opportunity to attend PEP at 0600 on Friday and concluding with Yard Liberty on Sunday. A “not-to-be-missed” event for Parents.
  • Plebe Summer: The Naval Academy’s Boot Camp for incoming Midshipmen.  Beginning on I-Dayin late June, Plebe Summer runs for approximately 50 days until Reform of the Brigade which is usually the third weekend in August.  Plebe Summer consists of intense Physical and Military Training for the incoming Midshipmen (Plebes).
  • POD Plan of the Day – An official document issued by a command that states all activities going on that day, from 0000 to 2359. Also states the Uniform of the Day for all personnel.
  • Pollywog: An individual who has not crossed the Equator, who must go through rituals to become a shellback.
  • Port: Left side of the boat or ship (when facing the bow). Left side of an aircraft when facing the nose from inside. Place of arrival for ships.
  • Port and Starboard: A rotation of two duty sections or watch teams, one designated port, and the other starboard.  12 hours on duty and 12 hours off duty.
  • PPW: Plebe Parents’ Weekend (See above)
  • Priors: Midshipmen who were in the Military prior to entering the Academy.
  • PROTRAMID: PROfessional TRAining for MIDshipmen. – A four week summer program to expose Midshipmen to the Aviation, Submarine and Surface Warfare Service Communities with Mids serving onboard different commands during their summer training.
  • PRT: Physical Readiness Test. A sailor is required to perform a certain number of situps, pushups, and a 1.5-mile run in a given time (which varies based on age and gender).
  • PT: Physical Training. A required exercise regimen.


  • QPR: Quality Point Rating – A Midshipman’s GPA with Professional Knowledge and PRT scores factored in.
  • Quarters: Living spaces on board a ship or in a barracks

R  (

  • Rack: Bed
  • Rates: Military Knowledge required to be committed to memory by Plebes.  Must immediately be repeated at the request of any Upper-class at any time.  Knowledge includes the complete menu for the next 3 meals to be served in King Hall including all items on the table down to the condiments. Also included are the names of all Midshipmen serving on watch duty at that time. See Chow Calls.
  • Red Beach: The Red Tiled plaza behind Bancroft Hall, above King Hall, which serves as additional space for Formations.
  • Reef Points: The Handbook of Plebe Knowledge – Required reading for all Plebes – Revised Annually – The FIRST item issued to Plebes on I-Day.
  • Reform: The arrival of the Brigade following Summer Cruises/Leave periods – Approximately the 3rd weekend of August.
  • Regiment: Half of the Brigade of Midshipmen. (1st and 2nd Regiment)
  • Ring Knocker: A graduate of USNA
  • Roger That: A term of understanding and acceptance when given an order or other information.  Can be used with varying inflection and tone without consequence to signify enthusiasm or disgruntledness without stepping outside the bounds of professionalism.


  • Salty: Old and experienced.
  • SAT: To be Satisfactory
  • SDBs: Service Dress Blues – Officer’s Service Dress Blue Uniform with full length dark Navy Jacket, white shirt and tie.
  • Scullery: Place where dishes and flatwear are scraped and washed.
  • Scrambled Eggs: Gold embroidered decoration on a Commander’s/Captain’s cover.  Admirals have Double Eggs.
  • Scuttlebutt: Rumor
  • Sea and Anchor Detail: Every sailor has an assigned duty station to be manned when the ship is either pulling into or out of port. On submarines it’s called the Maneuvering Watch.
  • Second Class Loan: The very low interest loan made available to 2/C which is repaid following graduation by payroll deduction.  Often used to buy a new car or invested to provide a “Starter” investment for Mids upon graduation.
  • Semper Gumby: Always Flexible – The modern day mantra of Mid Parents in all things.  Everything Navy is subject to change – so staying flexible in your planning is the best solution.  Also it’s great advice to those parents who tend to micro-manage and over-plan.
  • Service Selection: The submission by 2/C Mids of their preference of Service Communities (aka Aviator, Surface Warfare, Subs, Intel, Spec Ops, Marine, etc.) and the subsequent Assignment by the Navy to a particular service.
  • Second Class: A Junior attending the Naval Academy. Also 2/C.
  • Secure: In general, to prepare something for stormy travel — to secure a window is to shut it.
  • Shellback: An individual who has crossed the Equator.
  • Sherwood Forest: (Submarine Service) missile area, on a boomer
  • Shinbuster: Same as knee-knocker.
  • Ship over: re-enlisting
  • Ship, Shipmate, Self: The priority of action by anyone in the Navy.  Your first obligation must be to the safety of the ship (or command) – Then to your fellow shipmates and lastly to yourself.
  • Shipmate: Any fellow Sailor; Also the monthly magazine of the Naval Academy Alumni Association.
  • Shotgunning: A practice wherein Plebes of one Company are reassigned to to various other Companies at the end of Plebe Year.  Similar to blasting them widely throughout the Bridage as though blasted from a shotgun. (Also – see Shuffling)
  • Shuffling: A practice of reassigning Plebes en masse from one company to another company at the end of Plebe year wherein all the Plebes from a company are transferred to the another company.
  • Shutterbug: A Photographer’s Mate (PH)
  • Sick in Room (SIR): (also SIQ – Sick in Quarters) When a Midshipman is too ill or incapacitated to perform his duties, he is thus required to report to his rack (quarters), where he will remain until healthy again.  Only qualified medical personnel can recommend SIR, and only the command can authorize it.
  • Sig: (Navy Nukes) A signature on a qualification card. There are many, many “qual cards” in the Sub Service, especially if you’re a Nuke. (see “Nuke” above).
  • Skate: Getting around the Rules or Anyone who avoids work in general while not being detected
  • Skater: Sailor who gets around the rules or gets away with doing no work.
  • Skimmer: Surface sailor
  • Skipper: Term used in reference to the Commanding officer of any Ship, Unit, Platoon, or Detachment regardless of rank. Generally only applied to someone who has earned the speaker’s respect.
  • Skittles: Sailors who work on the flight deck of a carrier. So named due to the jerseys they wear.
  • Skivvies: underwear.
  • Skylarking: Messing around or not doing assigned work. Skating.
  • Sliders: hamburgers/cheeseburgers.
  • Snipes: Sailors assigned to the Engineering rates, ie; Machinist, Boilerman, Enginemen, Pipefiters.
  • SOP: Standard Operating Procedure
  • Sparky: Radioman.
  • Sponsor Parents: A volunteer local family who agrees to open their home to a Plebe on Town Liberty during the AC Year.  Sponsors must reside within 22 Nautical Miles of the Academy.
  • Spoon: The practice of an Upper-classman granting permission to a Plebe to call him by the Upper-classman’s first name, for all time thereafter.  Usually done one Plebe at a time, near the end of Plebe year.
  • Squad: The smallest unit within a Company at USNA. It consists of approx. 12 Midshipmen.  There are 3 Squads per Platoon and 4 Platoons per Company.
  • Squid: A surface warfare sailor, as opposed to one of the other warfare communities.
  • Starboard: Right side of the boat or ship (when facing the bow). Right side of an aircraft when facing the nose.
  • Steel Beach Picnic: Celebration on the weather decks of a ship. Usually involving near beer and barbecue.
  • Stribling Walk: The long Brick Walk extending from T-Court on the south end to Mahan Hall on the north end – along which Parents meet their Plebes on several occassions.
  • Striker: Sailor receiving on-the-job training for a designated field (or rate)
  • Striper: A Firstie who has assumed the responsibilities of a leadership postition within the Brigade such as Company Commander or Brigade XO.
  • Summer Whites: The White Summer uniform equivalent to SBD’s
  • Superintendent: The Superintendent of the US Naval Academy is the highest ranking individual at the Academy and is in charge of all aspects of its operation and security.
  • Supe’s List: The higher of two other “Dean’s Lists” – requires a GPA of 3.4 with no grade below C and an A in Military Performance and Conduct, and at least a B in PE.  Those qualifying wear a Gold Star on certain uniforms.
  • Swab: A Mop or the act of mopping.  Also a surface ship sailor.
  • SWO: Surface Warfare Officer – An officer assigned to the fleet of surface ships within the Navy.


  • TBS: The Basic School – Marine Officer Training Boot Camp
  • T-Court: Tecumseh Court. The brick courtyard at the main entrance to Bancroft Hall between 1st and 2nd Wings.
  • Target: submariner term to describe the surface fleet.
  • Tango Company: A special Plebe Company established during Plebe summer to which Plebes considering leaving the Academy are transferred to allow them time to reconsider their decision to leave.  Special counseling is made available and contact with parents is permitted for those in Tango.
  • Tecumseh: The large Bronze Statue of Tamanend (a Delaware Indian Chief) located at the entrance to T-Court at the south end of Stribling Walk.
  • Tin can: Destroyer (a small, fast ship that seeks out submarines and is sunk by them).
  • Trident: The weekly newspaper of the US Naval Academy published every Friday except during the month of June.
  • Tours: A disciplinary punishment whereby a Mid walks “Guard Duty” style (either indoors or outside) for a prescribed amount of time.

U  (

  • UA: Unauthorized absence; the Navy’s term for AWOL
  • UNODIR: UNless Otherwise DIRected; enables TRUST-based management by exception (MBE)
  • Unsat: Unsatisfactory performance reflecting a GPA below 2.0 or any grade of D or lower
  • Upper-Classman: Any Midshipman other than a Plebe.


  • Validate: To test high enough upon entrance to the Academy in a certain subject to allow a Plebe to skip the introductory course and proceed directly to a more advance level.
  • Very well: Senior to subordinate acknowledgement.


  • Watch: Sentry Duty in an assigned area.  A period of duty, usually of four-hours duration. The day at sea has long been divided into watches, which are called: midwatch (0000 to 0400); morning watch (0400 to 0800); forenoon watch (0800 to 1200); afternoon watch (1200 to 1600); and the first watch (2000 to 2400).
  • Wardroom: At the Academy it is the common area for Upper-classmen within a Company area.  Plebes rarely have Wardroom privileges.  Onboard ship, it is the Officers’ mess, or dining room.  Use to collectively refer to all the officers at a command. Ready Room is the equivalant in the aviation community.
  • White Works: The White Jumper, Neckerchief and Bellbottom Pants worn by Plebes as a common training uniform.
  • Working Party: When there is loading of supplies, the Quarter Deck will call for a “working party” to be manned by each division of the ship, the number depending on the task.


  • XO: The Executive Officer of the ship, command, unit.  Second in command.


  • The Yard: The Naval Academy Grounds inside the walled perimeter in Annapolis Maryland. Does not include the Stadium and surrounding parking lot.
  • Youngster: A Sophomore attending the Naval Academy. Also a Third Classman (3/C).
  • YP’s: Yard Patrol Ships. 108′ Steel Hulled Ocean-going Ships Click Here for Image


  • Zoomie: An Air Farce Academy Cadet.



SOURCES:;; Wisconsin Parents’ Guidebook