Fulfilling the Commitment
Regarding Paul Stillwell’s October “Looking Back” column, “From Annapolis to the Pros” (p. 62), when young men or women enter any of the military academies, from the day of their induction they know that upon graduation, they have a service commitment. I believe the current commitment at the Naval Academy is a minimum of five years’ active duty, with a follow-on obligation in the Reserves. In spite of this, the best and brightest of our young people are applying for admission to the academies, and the odds of them being accepted are getting longer. The complement of the Brigade of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy is being reduced, and the number of appointed applicants is shrinking. I’m a member of the class of 1974, and we started out with more than 1,500. According to a Naval Academy publication (Wavetops, July 2016), the class of 2020 had 1,184 midshipmen sworn in and more than 17,000 applicants.