Parents, new Naval Academy mids reunite indoors after plebe summer
The Capital, Annapolis, Md.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Midshipman Fourth Class Caroline Zotti looked frantic, exhausted and lost. Not since June 28 has the former Archbishop Spalding High School graduate seen her family and friends and she still couldn’t find anyone she knew inside Alumni Hall.
Because of threatening rain, the Naval Academy held noon meal formation indoors Friday. Along with the change of venue came a shift in what areas families and plebes were to meet — one last obstacle for the summer.
But Zotti, 18, of Crownsville, finally spotted her family. Weaving right and left through a sea of embracing families, she found them and grabbed a hold of them. And then a tear fell down her face.
Earlier this summer, Zotti and 1,210 plebes traded most of their belongings for military-issued garb and a training regimen that has kept them busy from 5:30 in the morning until about 10 at night. Zotti and the rest of the fourth class regiment spent about 135 hours, or about 32 percent of their time engaging in physical fitness and athletic activities.
“About a month ago, I was like ‘oh my God’ when will this be over,” Zotti said.
Zotti was one of 1,191 plebes who made it.
Her father, Steve, who graduated from the Naval Academy in 1983 and is an active duty Marine, commended his daughter for following in his footsteps.
“I’m proud she’s choosing to serve her country and making such a commitment to this institution,” he said.
Midshipman Fourth Class Trey Townsend, of Broomfield, Colo., entered the Naval Academy on I-Day as one of the older plebes at 21. He originally enlisted in the Navy out of high school and was stationed in Charleston, S.C., before he decided he wanted to go to the academy.
“I wanted to get a education, to better myself,” Townsend said.
No stranger to intense workouts, Townsend said plebe summer tested his perseverance.
“It’s just a matter of getting through it, sticking with it,” he said.
The limited contact during plebe summer is what is hardest for parents, said Lisa Marvel, of Cordova, whose son was the first of the family to attend the academy.
Midshipman Fourth Class Kevin Marvel, 18, who attended the McDonough School and will wrestle at the academy, is one of two sons in the Marvel family. His mother spoke three times with her son over the phone since June 28.
“Just the everyday conversation, being able to see how his day was,” is what she missed most, she said.
She and Kevin’s father, Ron Marvel, now get some time with their son. Not to mention there’s Nelli, the family’s Chesapeake Bay retriever who is going to go crazy when she sees Kevin — assuming he isn’t asleep.
“I’ve got a feeling he’s gonna sleep all week,” Kevin’s father said.