Naval Academy announces Commissioning Week cancellation with graduation and ceremony moved online WASHINGTON (WAVY) — All public events scheduled for the Naval Academy Commissioning Week 2020 have been canceled as a result of the coronavirus.
The week-long celebration was originally scheduled to run from Friday, May 15 to Friday, May 22. While the public events have been canceled, the midshipmen graduation and commissioning ceremony will move to virtual streaming, according to a statement released on April 10.
Commissioning Week is a tradition designed to honor the four years of hard work that the First Class midshipmen put in at the academy as they transition to join the fleet. Typically, family and guests join for the week where they participate in dinner events, Blue Angels’ flight demonstrations, the Color Parade, special awards ceremonies, and musical performances.
“This was a very difficult decision to come to,” said 63rd Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean Buck, “but due to the national impact of the coronavirus, I have canceled our traditional Commissioning Week public events in order to safeguard the health and welfare of the entire Naval Academy family and the local community, which has been my number one strategic priority since the onset of this pandemic.”
In addition to the week-long events, the academy has been forced to cancel other traditions that would break the social distancing and gathering directives if they were to persist. These include the Herndon Climb and Ring Dance which are considered class milestones.
“There are certain rites of passage unique to the Naval Academy that every graduate reflects positively upon and thus helps to define and strengthen the Naval Academy experience,” said Commandant of Midshipmen Capt. T.R. Buchanan. “Even if not held this May, our midshipmen still deserve the opportunity to enjoy those milestone events.”
Aside from the Naval Academy, other significant military graduations have been canceled.
On April 10, the Naval Service Training Command announced the cancellation of all in-person ceremonies and events at its Naval ROTC units around the country. Naval Academy announces Commissioning Week cancellation with graduation and ceremony moved online
“I regret that this was necessary,” said Rear Adm. Jamie Sands, NSTC Commander. “But having groups of midshipmen and their families, many of whom are already away from their schools due to the virus, travel and gather together is not worth the risk to the welfare of them and our communities, which remains a priority for not just NROTC, but the Navy as a whole.”
The NROTC midshipmen will still commission via virtual events coordinated by their commands.
On March 9, the Navy suspended boot camp public graduation ceremonies due to coronavirus.
“This action is being taken out of an abundance of caution, to both ensure the welfare of Sailors and that RTC can continue its essential mission of producing basically trained Sailors,” according to officials. “RTC Recruits impacted by this change are being authorized to call home to directly inform their loved ones.”
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