Naval Academy welcomes Class of 2026 on Induction Day
The Capital June 30, 2022
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Tribune News Service) — A new class of Naval Academy midshipmen arrives at the academy this week as the institution holds Induction Day.
Roughly 1,200 members of the class of 2026 began arriving in groups at 6:30 a.m. Thursday at Alumni Hall where they were to go through stations to receive a uniform, a haircut and be taught how to properly salute.
Induction Day, known as I-Day, will culminate with inductees participating in an oath of office ceremony at 6 p.m. in front of Bancroft Hall. After the ceremony, plebes, the term used for new midshipmen, will say goodbye to their families until Plebe Parent weekend Aug. 11 to 14.
One of those 1,200 new midshipmen who will take the oath is Jackson Nguyen, 18, of Huntsville, Ala.
Nguyen is the son of retired Army Col. Thomas Nguyen a 1986 graduate of Annapolis High School who went on to serve nearly three decades in the Army.
“I’m just so proud to be able to carry on a lineage of service that’s been going on in my family since World War II,” Jackson Nguyen said in an interview ahead of I-Day.
Nguyen has spent much of his life moving between military bases with his family. He said he was excited to follow in the footsteps of his father, mother and sister all of whom have served or are currently serving in the Army.
“I knew I wanted to do something different than the Army so getting into the Naval Academy gave me an opportunity to fulfill my goal of service at the highest level,” he said. “Being here [in Annapolis] just resonates with me.”
Nguyen’s family immigrated to America in 1975 during the Vietnam War just weeks before the capital of Saigon fell. Thomas Nguyen was eight years old. The family ended up in Annapolis.
After graduating from Towson University in 1990, the elder Nguyen was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army and retired as an Army colonel with 27 years of active duty service.
Now it’s his son’s chance to serve his country, Thomas Nguyen said, though he never required Jackson to do so.
“There was never any pressure for my children to join the military but I’m extremely proud of Jackson deciding to go to such a great institution and I can’t help but reflect on how amazing life is in coming full circle,” Thomas Nguyen said.
And the depth of this moment hasn’t been lost on his son either as Jackson Nguyen understands how much the military has given his family.
“An opportunity to give back is such an honor in my opinion,” Nguyen said. “I know that my family came from tough beginnings, so it’s awesome to give back and to do it here is such a blessing.”
Nguyen is as prepared for this next stage of life as he could be. Not only has he seen the military life first hand but he is reporting to the Naval Academy after spending the last year at the Peddie School, a college preparatory school in Hightstown, New Jersey.
“I don’t think I can ever truly be ready but I’m certainly prepared,” Nguyen said.
Once he gets situated Nguyen also plans to run cross country as he did in high school back in Alabama. Ultimately he, like so many other midshipmen, wants to end up in a cockpit flying fighter jets but concedes even if that doesn’t work out the Navy has copious opportunities that would satisfy him.
Though the family now lives in Alabama, they try to return to Annapolis each year. The waterfront city will always be home to him, Thomas Nguyen said, now it has even more meaning.
“I come back here once or twice a year, when I can anyway, because it’s where my heart is but now I have extra incentive to visit the city since Jackson will be here,” Nguyen said with a smile.
I-Day concludes Thursday when plebes muster on Stribling Walk and are led into Bancroft Hall. The grueling six-week Plebe Summer then officially begins.
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