And it wasn’t the Caine. I went to the Military Academy, founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1802. Although Jefferson tended to be anti-military, he accepted the need for a standing army. And if the nation was going to have one, he felt it should be officered by a cross-section of America, from every part of the country.
Interestingly, while I was at the Academy, little was made of Jefferson being the father of the Academy. There’s a big statue of George Washington in front of the mess hall, overlooking the Plain. We’ve got statues of Eisenhower and MacArthur flanking the barracks facing the Plain, which are named after the same.
But Jefferson? Not a big deal. Even among the loads of plebe ‘poop’ we had to memorize our first year, including such important information as “How’s the cow?”, we didn’t have to memorize that Jefferson founded the Academy.
That’s been rectified with the new Library being named after the author of the Declaration of Independence.
Back to the midshipmen, or squids in the vernacular. (Air Force Academy people are zoomies). I didn’t know why the Naval Academy was founded until I writing some historical novels about West Point, starting in the early 1840s and following cadets through the Mexican War and into the Civil War.
Turns out Annapolis was founded because prior to the Academy, midshipmen were trained on the job at sea. These young men, teenagers, served aboard a ship. In this case, the training ship was the USS Somers. Note in the image of the ship to the left there are some bodies hanging near the flag. I write in detail about what happened on the Somers in my Duty, Honor, Country series– the first book is permanently free on all ebook platforms, and the second is free today through the 16th of December– so I won’t go into detail here.
That’s called a teaser.
But really, it’s kind of simple. Put a bunch of, essentially, boys, on a ship, with little adult supervision and you have, well, the Naval Academy.