Area residents complete preparations for U.S. Naval Academy

graphic courtesy of USNA
graphic courtesy of USNA

Navy Midshipmen Michael P. Salinas of Spring City and Paul M. Whalen of Limerick recently completed ‘Plebe’ Summer at the U.S. Navy Academy.

Whalen is the son of Sharon S. Dohner of Woolwich, Maine and John F. Whalen, of Limerick, and a 2013 graduate of Morse High School of Bath, Maine.

Salinas is the son of Paula E. and Miguel A. Salinas of Spring City, and a 2013 graduate of Malvern Preparatory High School of Malvern, Pa.

The pressure and rigor of Plebe Summer, seven challenging weeks of basic midshipman training, is carefully designed to help “plebes” prepare for their first academic year at the Naval Academy and the four years of challenges leading to graduation and commissioning as a Navy or Marine Corps Officer. Plebe Summer is run by upper-class midshipmen who are specially trained in their leadership roles to effectively develop plebes into successful midshipmen.


Plebe Summer activities include swimming, martial arts, basic rock climbing, obstacle, endurance and confidence courses designed to develop physical, mental and team-building skills, as well as 40 training hours devoted to the instruction of infantry drill and formal parades.

Throughout the summer, new midshipmen rapidly gain general knowledge of seamanship, navigation, damage control, sailing and handling yard patrol craft. Plebes also learn how to use 9mm pistols and M-16 rifles.

Approximately 1, 200 candidates are selected each year for the Academy’s plebe or freshman class, and each student is required to participate in Plebe Summer. This year the Naval Academy received over 17, 500 applications for the Class of 2017.