No More Mister Nice Guy
Vice Admiral Jeffrey Fowler took over as the 60th Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy on 8 June; the place hasn't been the same since. Within weeks of his change of command, he dramatically tightened the rules governing the lives of the Academy's 4,400 midshipmen. Perhaps most telling, he made it mandatory for midshipmen to take all meals during the week in the Mess Hall, something that has been optional for the upper classes in recent years. For many older graduates, the Mess Hall lay at the heart of the crucible that is Plebe Year, a place of rolling demands and challenges that many thought they could never meet—until the day they realized they could.
Running a close second on the strictness scale of what might well be called Fowler's Rules was the admiral's dictum scuttling weeknight liberty, another privilege that midshipmen of an earlier day never even dreamed about. Combined with the relaxed regulations on drinking, weeknight liberty had resulted in a number of embarrassing episodes for the Academy.