This page is an introduction to a book I am writing about pranks at the Naval Academy. I am eager to talk to any graduates interested in recounting, in good spirit, any pranks while at the Academy. Being a photographer, any photographs are greatly appreciated. You can remain anonymous if you wish. Please read below more information.
The history of the Naval Academy is, without its pranks, I believe only a half history. From the Midshipmen who in the late 1840s stole the gas lights from the lamp posts of Annapolis to the 15 members of the Class of 1990 who stole four well-guarded Army mules from West Point, the lore and lure of pranks is unequalled. It has, until the fall of 2016 when a "Rules of Engagement for Pranks" was issued, been tolerated, --even encouraged-- by the Academy. Pranks were believed by the Academy to cultivate creativity, ingenuity, and persistence -- all traits needed in the world of military recons.
Larry Thornton has, for the last five years, been collecting these pranks for publication. As has been suggested by many who know him, he is the only one who could write such a book. His father was in the Class of 1939, but never made it pass through Plebe Summer. At the end of the summer, for health reasons, he was confined to Sick Quarters. he didn't like it much so he stuffed a few pillows under his bed sheets, and escaped into town. He was caught, reprimanded and ordered to obey orders. Assigned once again to Sick Quarters, he again got restless and repeated his crime. As a result he had to resign from the Academy -- and 15 years later would die from the same disease.
Since 1980, Larry Thornton has been photographing/videotaping Plebe Summer for the parents of the incoming class. From 2000 to 2011 he was endorsed by the Naval Academy through the Alumni Association.
He also taught English for 35 years at a local high school where, in the process of teaching he honed his own writing skills.