Yard Gouge: We get some great gouge at the last Council of Class Presidents meeting, so I took lots of notes! Topics include the recent drug busts, the 7th Fleet collisions and training, and some interesting stats about how admissions have changed. Check it out in “Yard Gouge:

Football Season and ’89 Tailgaters! Regardless of whether you have tickets or you just want to hang out with classmates for a few hours, we’re looking forward to seeing you this fall! Keep an eye on www.usna89.com, our Facebook group, or our listserver for gouge on our home game festivities! Let me know if you want to volunteer!

Alumni Mentoring Program: Remember to sign up if you haven’t done so, yet! Be a mentor to a fellow alum, or even consider being a protégé! Learn more and sign up here

Virtual Memorial Hall. We’re looking to “fill in the history” of our fallen classmates. Go to the Virtual Memorial Hall and just follow the instructions (register at the site or e-mail Patrick McConnell ’02) to submit some of your memories and help us remember our lost friends.

Shared Interest Groups: The Alumni Association has accepted three shared interest groups (USNA Women, Run to Honor, and the USNA Minority Association) as enduring Alumni Association Programs. Navigate here to learn more.

Share your Sea Stories! This is a cool feature that the Alumni Association put in place to help us document and share our stories from our USNA and Fleet experience. 1989 is currently empty (although I just submitted one), so let’s tilt the scales in our favor! Let me know when you publish something and I’ll help get the word out! Click here to publish yours!

Distinguished Graduate Award Nominations. In the past, I’ve taken a soft approach to the Distinguished Graduate Award process, but now that we are getting a little long in the tooth, I think it’s time that we began formalizing our process of considering and putting forward nominations. At this point, I’d like to put out a call for a volunteer who would be willing to spearhead our nomination process. E-mail or call me if your interested! Click here to learn more about the DGA.

Class/Alumni Watch Project. Thanks for taking our Class / Alumni Watch survey a few weeks ago! We’ve got an updated survey based on those results – please click this link to learn more and take the new survey. It’s much shorter than the last one (just a couple of minutes) and it closes 8/24.

30th Reunion: click here to read the latest update

Class Gift: click here to read the latest update

Homecoming Golf (2018). Anyone interested in playing golf with classmates at Homecoming this year? Learn more here and let Craig Washington know if you’re interested in putting together / joining an 89 foursome.

Hey Classmates, here’s  a host of gouge about the latest at USNA from the last Council of Class Presidents Meeting

Recent Drug Ring news: Many of us have heard about Midshipman Zachary Williams who was charged with distributing illegal drugs. Superintendent VADM Ted Carter told us that the investigation by NCIS has been going on for awhile, and it was brought about by a midshipman turning someone in. There were about 7-8 users and 1 distributor (I’m assuming that MIDN Williams is the one who is being charged with being the distributor). Most of those involved were Youngsters and Plebes.

Investment in Midshipmen / Cost of Being Separated. The cost of being separated can be pretty large. Depending on the circumstances, a firstie can wind up owing the federal government $202K. Two firsties who were separated for DUI recently owed that much.

The total burdened cost of graduating a midshipman is $428K. Total burdened cost includes stuff like USNA housing, maintenance, utilities, etc. – basically taking the entire budget allocated to USNA and dividing it by the number of midshipmen. USAFA costs $160K more and USMA is 17% more. The cost difference is not necessarily because we’re more awesome (which we are) – it’s driven by our smaller campus, our smaller staff, and more graduates.

There’s a great deal of construction underway or planned!

Rickover Hall. Believe it or not, RIckover Hall is OLD, so a $52M overhaul is scheduled to begin in 2019. That overhaul doesn’t include the labs just yet, but those will be an additional $10M (if I’m reading my notes right).

Ricketts Hall. I’m not even sure we should still be calling this building Ricketts Hall, because it is completely different from the barracks and football offices we had when we were mids. Anyway, it’s been under construction again and should be done by 2019.

McDonough Hall. Remember this building was being renovated when we were plebes? Well it’s going through another facelift inside. It’s our most used athletic building! Didn’t know that.

Chapel Dome. The base of the dome will go through $7M-$8M of repairs to fix leaks and mold problems.

Hopper Hall. The primary focus of our class project, Hopper Hall should complete its $106M construction in late 2019 (if we’re lucky, it will be in time for our reunion, but no promises!). Here are some stats:

  • It’s a little smaller than Rickover
  • When complete, most engineering will move there
  • Power grid connection is a challenge because the grid is OLD
  • It will have a robotics pool (that’s cool – a place for cyborgs to hang out, I guess)
  • It will have a big SCIF capable of hosting meetings, and no other service academy will have that scale of capability
  • Not building related – our Cyber program recently received “zero” comments while being accredited by ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). Ours was the first Cyber program to be accredited and – apparently – no one ever gets zero comments during the inspection process.

Parking Garage. There’s been quite a bit of drama surrounding this new structure, but it’s finally open and SAFE to use. There are 374 spots in the garage, resulting in a net increase of 60 spots, even after the loss of the “waffle lot.”

Naval Academy Bridge. This is the “new” bridge completed in the 90s that replaced the old Route 450 drawbridge  across the Severn. The lights used on it have always been an issue, so USNA fixed them using lights that we use on Stribling Walk. Apparently they’ve been a great success.

Sports.:Last spring was the best season EVER for Navy with a 70% winning percentage. Men’s Tennis won the Patriot League and played ultimate National Champion Wake Forest in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Navy’s Triathlon Club won the overall club title at the collegiate club national championships with the men finishing first and the women finishing third. Read more: https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Triathlon/News/Articles-and-Releases/2018/April/28/US-Naval-Academy-Wins-Overall-Club-Title-at-USA-Triathlon-Collegiate-Club-National-Championships

2nd Class Noah Song pitched a 9 inning shutout against Army in Fenway Park.

The direct-to-pro athlete program is no longer in place – we’re back to the David Robinson model of at least two years of active duty before having a chance to go pro.

There’s a chance that the 2023 Army game will be at Gillette stadium in Foxborough, MA.

The Showtime program, A Season with Navy Football (editorial note: which is thankfully over), is up for 2 Emmy Awards.

2017  Seventh Fleet collisions: There’s been a great deal of discussion over whether USNA can help the Navy improve basic seamanship. Here’s some gouge:

  • YP and SeaNav training for OCS and NROTC: NROTC is viable given the summer schedule; OCS is problematic with scheduling.
  • Moving MoBoards up to plebe year (didn’t we have MoBoards plebe year?) so that Youngsters can start looking at application during summer cruise.
  • We are getting a new fleet of 12 YPs.

Applications / Admissions / Graduation: All colleges are seeing decreasing applications, and so is USNA, but we are seeing a BIG increase in the number of applications we receive from women and minorities. We got about 16,000 total applications for the class of 2022, which is more than USAFA (10K) and USMA (12K).

There are 1185 spots in an incoming class. Of those 16,000 applications, about 3500 are fully qualified for those spots. You may notice that that number is smaller than the number of spots we had on I-Day (what was it, about 1360?). The reasons for this are:

  • Faculty quality
  • Admissions process – we are better at deciding who should get an appointment
  • Academic Center of Excellence – tutoring / additional classroom work.

When we were there, the expected attrition rate was about 21%, 6-8% of which were academic. Now attrition is about 11-12%, and most of it is voluntary (1.5% is academic). In Plebe Summer, only about 10 midshipmen separate.

Average Brigade size is 4400.

99% of midshipmen get there first and second choice for service selection, and submarines have once again become a hot ticket (things were a little dicey about a decade or so ago).

Here’s some interesting analysis from the Academic Dean (Dean Phillips):

Nationwide, there are 1474 schools that offer 4-year degrees and graduate 100 or more people a year. Of those, only 41 graduate 50% or more with STEM degrees (Only 41! Yikes!). Of these schools, USNA has the highest graduation rate in 4 years – 88.8% — and most of those other schools use 6 years for their graduation rate. In other words, we do more in 4 years than they do in 6. In 4 years, the average graduation rate for those schools is 29%, and it’s 59% in 6 years. Interesting to note that those 41 schools DO NOT include Army or Air Force – less than 50% of their graduates are STEM majors.

  • Class of 2021 stats are
  • 73% male / 27% female
  • 37% are members of a racial/ethnic minority
  • 14% are the first in their family to attend college
  • 11% are first generation American (like me!)
  • 5% are prior enlisted
  • 62% were in the top 10% of their class (seems low?)
  • 92% were Varsity Athletes in high school
  • 90% were active in Community Service
  • 66% were student body leaders
  • 30% had significant work experience
  • 16% were Boy/Girl Scouts

The USNA Class of 1989 has a unique opportunity for those who are retiring at the point of 30 years of commissioned service – to retire under Navy regulations at 30 years to the day of commissioning. That can only occur if a class commissions on the last day of a month, which is rare for a service academy. To take advantage of this, CAPT Francis Spencer and CAPT Edwin Henderson are spearheading the effort for a group retirement (mini-reunion) event at USNA (probably Memorial Hall) on 31 May 2019. A reception will follow at the USNA O’club on the Yard.

So far interested officers include CAPTs Spencer, Henderson, Joe Shipley, Chris Brunett, Scott Russell and Larry Vincent. More info will be posted here and on the class FB page in the coming months as the coordination continues.

If interested in participating in either or both events (event cost involved only with the reception), contact Francis or Edwin at:


Personal cell: (901) 581-1444

Personal e-mail: francis.e.spencer.iii@gmail.com



Personal cell: (360) 969-2697

Personal email: edwin.henderson89@gmail.com