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The Blue & Gold


My father is a retired career Navy man, a Naval Academy graduate, just as his father before him. The first comment my grandfather said when I was born was “USNA class of 2017.” I had experienced the Navy life- moving every two years and attending eight schools before age
eleven- nevertheless I was always attracted to that hallowed institute in Annapolis. Or so I
thought.

While I have three Naval Academy graduates in my immediate family, the Midshipman with the most profound impact does not share my blood- but is part of my family. The Delta Family.

I spent five short days at USNA’s Summer Seminar, where a special bond was forged between the members of Delta Company that couldn’t be broken.

Those bonds were smithed by _________, Delta Company Commander.

Over the course of that week, he pushed us that little bit harder- that push from competent to excellence. When the other companies walked to meal, we would run. When the other companies watched movies, we had extra drill practice. When other companies ran, we ran faster.

But one-upping was not what Delta was about. CC, we affectionately called him, was about upholding the creed all armed forces embrace. One works harder, one pushes oneself that little bit more, and one sacrifices that extra amount for the person on either side. Loyalty. Camaraderie. Motivation. These values revealed themselves in everything Delta did- and we bought in 110%.

The last full day of Seminar is Sea Trials. A day starting at five and consisting of ten straight hours of log lifting, pushups, running, and boat carrying, Sea Trials is the Seminar attendee’s equivalent to Hell on Earth. Trials ended with crawling through the sandy banks of the Severn River, and as we all stood waist-high in its salty banks, _________, master orator, simply said, “We did it, Delta.” We hugged whoever was next to us, not minding we were sopping wet. We were a Family. That moment in the Severn, I achieved the greatest accomplishment of my short life.

That night, CC had a special surprise for us. He led us to the cemetery. My grandfather was buried there, and I knew he’d been watching me throughout the day, hopefully proud of what I had accomplished. Illuminated by the moon, the graves shone in the pale light. CC gave a speech, at the end asking us to make a solemn promise to the men buried here to uphold the standard the deceased had set for the Academy. But I froze. CC brought out in me something I didn’t know was there. My true calling was somewhere else.

Standing in the cemetery of the fallen, my grandfather buried so nearby, I vowed to my grandfather I would not attend the Academy, but rather chase my real dream, law and politics, and to serve my country in a different way. _________ made me realize something even I couldn’t understand, but more importantly changed the course of my life.



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