Newsletter "Four Years By The Bay" / May 12, 2022


Between now we will be sending out information about Commissioning Week and its traditions. We hope you enjoy the information. Enjoy Commissioning Week and Graduation.


Pranks, since 1845, have exist at the Naval Academy. The very first recorded prank was in the 1850s several midshipmen, returning from some imbibing in downtown Annapolis, decided to "prank" the street lights. They were gas lights.

Pranks perhaps have come full circle about 2018 when the Academy issued its 

Rules of Engagements for Pranks

The rules included:

1) Pranks has to be carried out after 2200 HRS.

2) They had to be removed or "cleaned up" by 0800 HRS the next morning.

3) Animals could not be use din pranks.

4) You could not damage US property.

5) You could not ridicule or put down a fellow midshipmen.

There are others.

LATE 1880s /  Philo McGiffin


No midshipmen can beat Philo McGiffin, 1860-1897. Most midshipmen do not even know he is is. The Preble Hall museum does. There is a special section devoted to Philo and his pranks while at the Academy.

While at the Academy, he rolled cannonball down the steps of Bancroft Hall. Confined to the Santee (where misbehaving midshipmen were placed in the late 1800s). he convinced a guard to let him off the Santee. He proceeded to 




Phil youngoPhil youngo


Right before Commissioning Week, some midshipmen convinced a female Annapolitan to dress up as a midshipman and move in to Bancroft Hall. She slept there and had meals in King Hall. No one knew it, or no one cared.

A popular target for pranks are the Formal Dress Parades.

In one case, the sword of a midshipman was cut off about 4 inches from the handle. When the midshipman pulled out his sword, all he found was a four inch sword. The prank was originally seen in Buster Keaton's movie The General. Here I thought midshipmen were creative and clever.

Buster Keaton 2Buster Keaton 2 The GeneralThe General



The sword pranks do continue. One underclassman poured red nail polish down the swords scabbard of a Firstie. When the sword was withdrawn, low and behold---blood.

Another drilled a small hole at the top of the scabbard and placed a screw through the scabbard and sword.



There was a not too well known informal group at the Academy during the 1960s. They were self-named, The Night Crawlers. One night, of course, they went to the parade field and switched on the company markers. If you are not a midshipman, an explanation is needed. You know how the companies forms up in a perfectly straight line on he parade field. Well, there is a 12 inch square white plate with the number of company on it. As the company approached the marker, the Guide On Bearers run to the mark and stands right next to it. The company follows so the result is a perfect line of companies. Well, the Night Crawlers moved the markers. Some were moved forward a couple feet. some back a couple feet. It was quite a sight to behold, so I am told. 
Another night excursion by The Night Crawlers was to rearrange these markers on he parade field. Company 1 was switched with Company10, and so on. The poor Guide On Bearers
During the last ten years some midshipmen have gotten in trouble for leaving their shoes on the parade field. A brief is usually given right before graduation. Do not do this. DO not do that. If you do, you will not graduate.