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The Anatomy of a Canteen

What does it all mean?

The Plebe Summer canteen. It does not look like much, but it is very informative. Let's look at it closely.


The white stick on label

"Thomas" is the midshipman's last name. I deleted the first name for security reasons.

"Alpha" stands for the midshipman's identification while at the Academy. It is used for everything, but not after the four years at the Academy.

EXAMPLE: M231234

"M" stands for Midshipman. The letter would be before "23." I deleted it for security reasons.

"23" is the year the midshipman graduates.

"1234" is found after the "23."

"CO:" stands for the Company. To avoid miscommunication, as many letters sound alike, this alphabet is used.

A: Alpha / B: Bravo / C: Charlie / D: Delta / E: Echo / F: Foxtrot / G: Gulf / H: Hotel / I: India / J: See below / K: Kilo / L: Lima / M: Mike / N: November / O: Oscar / P: Papa


Canteen LabelCanteen Label

There is no J Company. Myth has it that it is not used because it was Custer's Company. Not true. It is not used because "I" and "J" look so much alike.

Important to know. During Plebe Summer the companies are designated with an alphabet letter. A thru P. Each company is comprised of about 80 Plebes, and it is further divided into two platoons. These two platoons complete many "evolutions" (events) together, and are considered "sister" platoons. During the academic year. The Platoon numbers will become your Plebe's company as he/she joins the 30 companies in the Brigade


The Purell bottle
About three years ago I started seeing this bottle attached to the canteen. Maybe it was when COVID arrived. It is used but according to Plebes not much. A good example of how c areful the Naval Academy is. Canteen PurellCanteen Purell


The Blue Band

The blue band is very important. It is the Plebe's Ability Group, which is determined during the IST, or Initial Strength Test. More about the IST in another WALDO NEWS. During a PEP run, the Plebe will run with other Plebes who have the same color band. The band is removed from the canteen and placed on the Plebe's wrist.

This band appeared about eight years ago, when the Academy discovered that the Plebes would not "run" with their ability group, but with a slower group in order to have an easy run. More about the "runs" in another WALDO NEWS.

Canteen Blue BandCanteen Blue Band