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Sea Change at Annapolis

The United States Naval Academy, 1949-2000

H. Michael Gelfand and John McCain

Publication Year: 2006

Since 1845, the United States Naval Academy has prepared professional military leaders at its Annapolis, Maryland, campus. Although it remains steeped in a culture of tradition and discipline, the Academy is not impervious to change. Dispelling the myth that the Academy is a bastion of tradition unmarked by progress, H. Michael Gelfand examines challenges to the Naval Academy's culture from both inside and outside the Academy's walls between 1949 and 2000, an era of dramatic social change in American history. Drawing on more than two hundred oral histories, extensive archival research, and his own participatory observation at the Academy, Gelfand demonstrates that events at Annapolis reflect the transformation of American culture and society at large in the Cold War and post@-Cold War periods. In eight chapters, he discusses recruiting and minority midshipmen, the end of mandatory attendance at religious services, women's experiences as they sought and achieved admission and later served as midshipmen, and the responses of multiple generations of midshipmen to societal changes, particularly during the Vietnam War era. This cultural history not only sheds light on events at the Naval Academy but also offers a novel perspective on democratic ideals in the United States. Gelfand provides a comprehensive study of the U.S. Naval Academy between 1949 and 2000, an era of dramatic social change in American history. He highlights how the Academy's traditions have been challenged from within and from the outside, including chapters on recruiting and minority midshipmen, the end of mandatory attendance at religious services, women's experiences as they sought and achieved admission and later served as midshipmen, and the responses of multiple generations of midshipmen to societal changes, particularly during the Vietnam War era. Even as it has responded to significant social changes over the past fifty years, Gelfand argues, the Academy remains an instructive measure of federal and American societal goals as it fulfills its educational and training missions. Dispelling the myth that the U.S. Naval Academy is a bastion of tradition unmarked by progress, Gelfand examines challenges to the Academy's culture from both inside and outside the school's walls between 1949 and 2000, an era of dramatic social change in American history. In eight chapters, he discusses recruiting and minority midshipmen, the end of mandatory attendance at religious services, women's experiences as they sought and achieved admission and later served as midshipmen, and the responses of multiple generations of midshipmen to societal changes, particularly during the Vietnam War era. Since 1845, the United States Naval Academy has prepared professional military leaders at its Annapolis, Maryland, campus. Although it remains steeped in a culture of tradition and discipline, the Academy is not impervious to change. Dispelling the myth that the Academy is a bastion of tradition unmarked by progress, H. Michael Gelfand examines challenges to the Naval Academy's culture from both inside and outside the Academy's walls between 1949 and 2000, an era of dramatic social change in American history. Drawing on more than two hundred oral histories, extensive archival research, and his own participatory observation at the Academy, Gelfand demonstrates that events at Annapolis reflect the transformation of American culture and society at large in the Cold War and post–Cold War periods. In eight chapters, he discusses recruiting and minority midshipmen, the end of mandatory attendance at religious services, women's experiences as they sought and achieved admission and later served as midshipmen, and the responses of multiple generations of midshipmen to societal changes, particularly during the Vietnam War era. This cultural history not only sheds light on events at the Naval Academy but also offers a novel perspective on democratic ideals in the United States.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-xii

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Foreword

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pp. xiii-xiv

In 1845, Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft set out to create an academy that would provide the United States with a naval officer corps unmatched by any seafaring nation. Bancroft envisioned these officers as men whose sense of duty, honor, loyalty, and character would be unparalleled. ...

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Preface

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pp. xv-xxiv

This book examines challenges to the Naval Academy’s culture and traditions, from both inside and outside the Academy’s walls, between 1949 and 2000. The manner in which the Naval Academy has responded to these challenges disproves the common claim that the Academy is ‘‘a hundred and sixty years of tradition unmarred by progress.’’1 ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xxv-xxxii

The community of people who have facilitated the creation of this book is vast, and I thank everyone who has supported me and had faith in this project. ...

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1. An Introduction to the United States Naval Academy

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pp. 1-36

Formal military education in the United States originated in the creation of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1802.1 President George Washington advocated the establishment of a formal military school in 1790, the same year that Miami tribal leaders led the defeat of the U.S. Army. ...

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2. The Higher Ideals of Democracy: Race and Recruiting through 1964

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pp. 37-56

As the dawn broke on the morning of 1 January 1955, the rain that had drenched New Orleans for several days finally ended. The Gulf sun dried the city that Saturday, and football fans from across the nation tuned their television sets to ABC affiliates for the 12:45 kickoff of the 1955 Sugar Bowl. ...

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3. The Right Thing to Do: Race and Recruiting since 1964

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pp. 57-78

In his first speech as United States attorney general, Robert F. Kennedy indicated in 1961 his intention to enforce federal court and Supreme Court rulings on school desegregation.1 Later that year, when his brother, John F. Kennedy, spoke at the Naval Academy’s graduation ceremony, the president ‘‘noted that there were practically no black faces in the graduating class.’’ ...

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4. The Spiritual Ball Game: Anderson v. Laird and the End of Mandatory Chapel Attendance

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pp. 79-108

Underneath the vast dome of the United States Naval Academy Chapel, with its carvings of the unified races of humankind, Senior Chaplain John J. O’Connor delivered his usual Catholic mass to the assembled midshipmen, officers, and guests on the morning of Sunday, 7 January 1973.1 ...

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5. The Seeds of Revolution: Women at the Naval Academy through 1976

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pp. 109-134

On Wednesday, 28 May 1980, underneath a clear, warm sky, members of the class of 1980 walked across a stage in the Navy–Marine Corps stadium and, one by one, received their Naval Academy diplomas.1 Among the 947 graduates that day were 55 women, the first female graduates of the Academy. ...

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6. Revolutionary Change at Evolutionary Speed: Women in the Class of 1980

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pp. 135-162

When three women, Janice Buxbaum, Amber Hernandez, and Lynn Vostbury, arrived at the Naval Academy Preparatory School (NAPS) in Newport, Rhode Island, in January 1976, they became the first female Napsters in the school’s history.1 Women’s experiences at NAPS served as a forecast for what would later take place at Annapolis. ...

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7. A New Mystique: Women at the Naval Academy since 1980

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pp. 163-190

About six months after the first graduation ceremonies to include females, Superintendent William Lawrence told Kathy Slevin that ‘‘you and your fellow women in the Class of 1980 can be immensely proud of your achievements at the Academy. I know there were many frustrations and occasional unpleasantness, but you fully proved the soundness of admitting women to the Academy. ...

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8. That Inescapable Trait of Midshipmen: The Creation of the Honor Concept, Protests, Pranks, and Other Remarkable Activities

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pp. 191-212

After contemplating a topic for his senior paper for the English/History/Government Department in January 1953, midshipman H. Ross Perot decided to examine the manner in which previous generations of midshipmen had treated the notion of honor. Perot wrote to the secretaries of surviving graduate classes and asked for their recollections of honor offenses. ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 213-220

When plebes stand in the corridors of Bancroft Hall and in the course of daily announcements recite, ‘‘Time, tide, and formation wait for no one,’’ they are not just politely telling the upperclassmen to hurry up. They are inadvertently proclaiming a fundamental truth: change is inevitable and forthcoming. ...

Note on the Sources

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pp. 221-230

Statistical Appendix

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pp. 231-238

Notes

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pp. 239-348

Bibliography

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pp. 349-364

Index

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pp. 365-382


E-ISBN-13: 9781469605449
E-ISBN-10: 1469605449
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807830475
Print-ISBN-10: 080783047X

Page Count: 416
Illustrations: 13 illus., 8 tables, 1 map
Publication Year: 2006