Commander William Earl Fannin, Class of 1945, Capstone Essay Contest
Despite reciting the poem “How Long Have You Been in the Navy” countless times over the course of Plebe Year, I have yet to use a marlinspike. Four years on the Severn River have made me brackish at best, but certainly not salty. Yet the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2011 surface warfare selectees will now enter the Fleet expected to lead a division while operating in increased conflicts overseas with a constrained budget. Although all communities are affected by world events and budget setbacks, young surface ensigns have only 30 days of basket leave before they have to lead, think critically, and contribute to the mission and goals of the U.S. Navy. Raised in a society unaccustomed to resource shortages, we must now learn to use thrift and creativity to effectively and efficiently solve problems. But the budget shortfalls affect not only the technical proceedings of the ship—they also affect personnel and their careers within the division. Are we ready to tackle these challenges? Absolutely.