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Three things to know about the Naval Academy's first-year superintendent

Vice Adm. Sean S. Buck, right, salutes Vice Adm. Walter "Ted" Carter Jr., left, as he relieves him as superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy during a change of command ceremony at Annapolis, Md., July 26, 2019. In the center is Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson.

KEN-YON HARDY/STARS AND STRIPES

By ANGELA ROBERTS | The Capital | Published: September 26, 2019

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Tribune News Service) — After a morning of weepy and joyful reunions at the U.S. Naval Academy, as first-year midshipmen saw their families for the first time in over a month, the new superintendent thought back to his own Family Weekend when he attended the school in the 1980s.

Vice Adm. Sean Buck and his roommate had done everything as a unit with their parents — bringing them to restaurants in the city and teaching them how to sail.

Now, Buck’s mother and father are buried alongside each other on the academy’s grounds.

“I have family here,” he said. “That’s why I consider [becoming superintendent] coming home.”

As Buck adjusts to his new role — he took over the job in July — he shared three other bits of information people might not know about him.

1. The tennis court is his happy place.

Since Buck’s mom and dad introduced him to tennis when he was 7, he’s loved the sport. He was on the Navy tennis team during his time at the academy, and still tries to find time to play and compete as much as he can.

It’s not only a physical release for him, but also a mental and emotional one, Buck said.

“Tennis is a great life sport, something that can be played from the time you're 7 to the time you're 95,” he said.

Now, Buck is trying to figure out just how often the daily schedule of a Naval Academy superintendent will let him get out on the court, but he said he’s looking forward to hitting with the school’s tennis team.

2. His 1968 Ford Mustang Coupe is his pride and joy.

Growing up in Indianapolis, Buck’s friend drove him to school every day in a Ford Mustang so he wouldn’t have to ride the bus. These commutes sparked Buck’s love for classic cars, and he bought a Mustang of his own when he pulled together the money.

But when it came time for Buck to make a down payment on his first house, he didn’t have enough money. So, he parted with his first Mustang and went about 15 years without one.

Then, all of a sudden, he got the itch again. He dispatched a team of his Navy buddies, who scoured the East Coast for the perfect car for their friend.

After about four months, Buck said he got the call: They had tracked down a 1968 Mustang in Maine with no rust and an engine that checked out. Buck came to an agreement with its owner, and just like that, he had a classic car in his garage again.

“She’s got a good roar to her,” Buck said, grinning — even though the speed limit on the Naval Academy grounds doesn’t exactly lend itself to fast driving.

3. He has roots in Annapolis.

Buck’s ties to Annapolis trace back 80 years, when his mom was born in a house along West Street.

And his ties to the Naval Academy stretch back even further: His grandfather was stationed at the academy as a senior chief petty officer in the Navy. Buck’s own father also graduated from the school, with the class of ’48.

Decades later, Buck himself attended the academy, where he fell in love with his wife, a travel agent in the city. They were married in the chapel on the academy’s grounds, the same place where both of his children were eventually baptized.

“So it just feels like home,” he said.

©2019 The Capital (Annapolis, Md.)
Visit The Capital (Annapolis, Md.) at www.hometownannapolis.com
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