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USNA Cadet I2357 (III) Thomas Phillips: Compares USNA & RMCC & Laura Locklin passes on some words of wisdom


The following two articles have been coordinated by – 26659 Danielle Andela – e-Veritas Sr. Correspondent


  • United States Naval Academy Cadet I2357 (III) Thomas Phillips: Compares USNA & RMCC; 

  • 24431 Laura Locklin passes on some words of wisdom


United States Naval Academy Cadet I2357 (III) Thomas Phillips

Second Class Midshipman Phillips is an aspiring Naval Aviator currently attending USNA. His program is Economics.

The biggest difference between USNA and RMC is obviously that we are just the Navy. Another one that goes with that is that you know your trades and we don’t. The big thing there is that all of our training is pretty much Navy wide whereas you guys in your summers, as far as I understand it, you go and do stuff for your trade. For us they try to show us a little bit of everything we can do so we know what to choose. You guys have a lot more freedom here, for sure. You have your one formup of the day, we have three. Morning quarters formation every day at 7, and then we have a formation every day at noon, we all eat lunch at the same time, and then a couple days a week we have evening mail formation as well.

I like how cadets are treated like adults at RMC.


That goes with the accountability thing, with three formups a day it’s just not necessary, so I like that they let you go out when you want and that you are on your own to study and manage your own time. We’re a lot more regimented so I think it’s better for future officers to have a little more responsibility. I like the fact that we don’t know our trades at USNA.  I kind of struggle to see what motivates you guys. If you want to be a pilot, why does it matter if you graduate with a 51% or 95% average? Since we don’t find out until our fourth year we are really competing so the biggest thing is our class rank is what goes into what trade we get and that’s what motivates me to get good grades. I’m hoping to be in Naval Aviation. It’ll be either pilot or naval flight officer who sits in the back seat.

Our version of FYOP is a little different because your FYOP is while school is still going on. For us we have “Plebe Summer” which is seven weeks long but it’s all during the summer, before the rest of the brigade is back. It’s just your fourth year mid-shipmen who are running it for the newcomers. I am a second class midshipmen. We’re backwards from you guys so we start out as 4th class and end as 1st class. Then we have drill and other fun stuff. Then the brigade comes back but you’re still a plebe and your life kind of sucks. I read what Foss told you there, what they do with minutes, we do but it’s called “Chow Call” and the menu is screamed in the hall. You have to run around the hall all year and turn corners at 90 degrees while yelling “Go Navy Sir” or “Beat Army Sir”, greet all the upper classmen etc., certain walkways you cannot use, however ours goes all the way until May.

Graduation is usually on a Friday and then we have Sea Trials Monday which is a 14 hour long beatdown, getting yelled at by staff, pushups, running and that kind of stuff. Then there are a couple more days where you are a plebe and then we do something called “Herndon” which is a really tall monument that looks like the Washington Monument and they grease it up with lard and as a class, all 1000 of us have to climb it and replace a cover on top. So we have to work together as a team to form rings and climb on top while they spray you with a firehose. Then you get on top and chant “Plebes no more” and you’re done. We have 30 companies of 120 people, our companies are like your Squadrons. We’re about 4400 in total.

The way our summers are separated into three training blocks. We have fleet crew training block where you actually go and do things with the Navy, then you have professional training which is leadership based and then you have a block of leave. My first summer I had my enlisted cruise which meant I was on a destroyer for 19 days. I flew to Guam, got on a ship, I was with the Koreans and Chinese and I got off in Okinawa and flew back home. We were doing an exercise with seven other Japanese ships. Then I switched over and joined the George Washington strike crew, on an aircraft carrier, and we were off the coast of Korea. Then the other thing I did for that summer was go to Alaska, kayaking for three weeks and that was the leadership thing. This past summer the leadership thing was as a weapons detailer which meant I was teaching the new freshmen how to shoot guns and how to shoot pistols as well as M4s which are your equivalent of C8s. The fleet cruise this summer was “Professional Training for Midshipmen” so I spent a month in San Diego and we spent a week with each community we could join. So we had submarine week, surface week, aviation week. We spent 24 hours on one of our ballistic missiles submarines and it was enough for me.

I am playing IM Hockey, I play hockey at the Naval Academy so I’m keeping it up. I have to play when I get back so I need to keep in shape for when I get back. The sports are really similar as far as the intramurals go, I think, I don’t do intramurals because I’m in the club hockey team but I think they’re pretty similar, everyone has to do it if they aren’t a varsity athlete. Obviously you guys don’t have a football team, but that’s a big one of us, “Go Navy, Beat Army” and all of that.

I was born in Ottawa so it was pretty sweet, two weekends ago, to go to Ottawa and go back home and have a beavertail for the first time in fifteen years. I like Kingston and I like the campus, it’s similar to Annapolis because it’s right on the water.

What would you say to any USNA Cadets thinking of coming to RMC?

Do it! Join a team or a club! Get involved with a close group of friends!


Captain (24431) Laura Locklin, Class of 2009: 1 and 13 Squadron

I am currently the Civil Engineering Cell Comd at 1 Engineer Support Unit (1ESU) in Kingston ON. 1 ESU is a high-readiness, deployable unit with specialist engineers, providing infrastructure, environment and force protection engineering services to the Canadian Armed Forces and other government departments, anywhere is the world. I oversee design projects for domestic and deployed operations. In my previous positions as a Construction Engineering at 19 Wing Comox, I did mostly flight level training and project management but at 1 ESU engineering officers have the opportunity to do more engineering design.

I had the opportunity to return to RMC recently as a sponsored post graduate student in the Civil Engineering Department. Despite all the construction work going on around the college, not much seemed to have changed. RMC was challenging but if you were struggling with course work or learning your second language or anything really, it wasn’t hard to find someone to help. I learned a lot at RMC but what I remember most is all the amazing friends I made during my four year of undergrad. I feel very fortunate that although we’re spread out across the country, we still manage to maintain those friendships.

Stay enthusiastic. You’re at the beginning of a new and great adventure. There is always more to learn, so ask questions and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.

One Comment

  • William Hughes

    November 2, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    You have made your judgements from the relatively short passage of just 6 years from graduation. I thought you would like to know that your class friendships will still be there many decades after graduation.

    3954, Bill Hughes, Class of ’57, Chem. Eng.