Commissioning Week: Traditions, Folklore and Pranks


Perhaps a little known tradition during Commissioning Week is the jumping of the graduating class, at least the stripers, into Santee Basin. Photograph to right appeared in The Lucky Bag 1912.

Why do the midshipmen jump into Santee Basin? It may have its origin in the tradition (Reef Points, 1904-05) that the editors of The Lucky Bag, once the yearbook was published, were thrown into the Severn River.

If not, the custom came from the fact they the First Class no longer needed their uniform as there last parade is done. It is a uniform only worn at the Academy. A second reason is because they do not like parade, at all. It is a celebration, a release. Why Santee Basin? Because it is the only body of water the Academy will let them jump into. The fountain between Michelson and Chauvenet was used until some midshipmen were injured. Now the Academy orchestrates the Santee Basin jump. The First Class go in the basin in an orderly manner. Once the stripers turn left to head toward Stribling and Mahan, they are allowed o break ranks.

The stripers from the First Semester enjoy the same tradition after their last parade in the Fall.

To the right Stripers from the 24th Company break ranks, and start clowning around.
Other stripers are picked up and joyously carried by their classmates to Santee Basin.