Almost three years ago, I interviewed Logan Cameron, a then-MHS senior, who had just learned of his appointment to the United States Naval Academy (USNA). Excitedly, he spoke of the adventures and opportunities in his future. A few weeks ago, over Thanksgiving break, I was able to sit at Grounds for Coffee in Morgan with Midshipman Cameron, who has finished 2.5 years of his schooling, and learn how his once-future adventures have become reality and much more. This three-part series will explore his daily life as a midshipman, his adventures beyond Annapolis and his recommendations on how to apply to a military academy.
After two and a half years in Annapolis, Maryland, Midshipman Logan Cameron knows his way around. The 2016 Morgan High graduate can navigate the DC Beltway like Old Highway Road and has traveled all along the eastern seaboard. The once seemingly foreign routine and locale of the Naval Academy is now home, and he is very pleased with his choice and current situation in life.
“I can’t believe this is my third year already,” he begins the interview. “Everything has gone by so quickly.” Cameron, who entered the Academy interested in nuclear power, has now switched his major to robotics and control engineering.
“I have received an awesome education at the Academy. My largest class has 20-22 students, and I am able to get one-on-one time with all of my professors,” he commented. “I get one-on-one lessons with Captains, Lieutenant Colonels, MIT professors with 30 years of experience, professors from London, Greece and all over the world. “It is a world-class education,” he concluded.
Daily, Cameron must line up at morning formation at 0700 hours and attend classes from 7:55 to 11:55, although he prefers to rise about 5:30 to get a good cardio workout in to start the day. He then meets at 12:05 for noon meal formation after which the midshipmen march into the dining hall. Noon meal is mandatory and served family style to Cameron and his squad. Each semester his squad changes so he is able to meet a variety of people and learn from different senior squad leaders.
After lunch, classes resume from 13:20-15:20 followed by a sports period from 16:00-18:00. “This is the time that all of the varsity, NCAA, and club sports practice. Each of us are allotted two hours to work out or work on our sports,” Cameron related. After dinner and trainings, which take place from 18:00-20:00, midshipmen are to use 20:00-23:00 as their study periods. At 23:00, Taps is played, and it is lights out. The lights out rule is enforced for plebes (first-year midshipmen) unless one gets permission for “late lights” to stay up and do homework.
This daily schedule continues five days a week, and freshmen and sophomores must wear their uniforms at all time. When asked about wearing a uniform, Cameron shrugged and equipped, “I never have to pick out an outfit.” As juniors and seniors, midshipmen are allowed to wear “civilian clothes” during liberty (weekends) and authorized leave.
As freshmen, plebes are only allowed time off from noon to midnight on Saturdays. They can earn more time off by their good conduct and are given more and more freedom as they advance through the years. As a sophomore, midshipmen can have four to six weekends and earn even more while juniors start with eight and earn more. Seniors receive unlimited weekends.
But the Academy isn’t only book learning, there are mandatory physical requirements. Twice a year each midshipman must complete physical testing including a 1.5-mile run, sit ups and pushups. Depending person’s future service such as Marines, SEALS or E.O.D., the testing can be much more extensive to determine fitness for a certain career choice.
“Each midshipman has to do a sport,” Cameron explained. “Everyone must do three years of swimming as well as boxing, wrestling and martial arts. Beyond that there are so many choices. I have done boxing and wrestling but am now involved in the body building team. We compete against other schools as a team from the Academy.” At a recent competition, Cameron placed seventh individually out of 18 competitors.
“There are so many clubs and sports at the Academy—everything from arts, writing and photography to martial arts and the Navy Beats DJ club,” he detailed. “Everyone can find something he or she likes.”
Although some might find his choice to attend a military service academy restrictive, Cameron disagrees. “I highly recommend the Naval Academy. My experiences here outweigh anywhere else you can go. I have been challenged academically and physically; everyone will be challenged who attends the Academy. It’s not easy, but definitely worth it.”
“Most of all,” he eagerly emphasized. “I am extremely grateful for the exposure to the world that the Academy has given me geographically and culturally. The people I have met at the Academy have taught me so much.”
Check back next week to see how Cameron’s Academy experience and summer trainings have expanded his world view, increased his leadership abilities and helped him determine his plans after the Academy. To find out more about the United States Naval Academy, visit www.usna.edu