Sunday, January 19, 2014

Naval Science & Etiquette

Catching up with friends from the USNA Alumni Association in La Jolla
Last week I spoke with a former US Navy officer who graduated from the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, Long Island. The goal of the Academy is to graduate merchant marine officers, although some choose to be commissioned in the military such as the Navy or Marine Corps. My fellow former naval officer made an interesting observation about the differences between Kings Point and Annapolis. Although he could turn a large ship on a dime, and give you nine cents change, he didn't get much training on naval science and etiquette. He knew the procedure for boarding a ship (salute the American flag and then ask permission to come aboard) but he didn't have a deep indoctrination on naval science and etiquette.

Etiquette is a funny thing – it seems very basic once you're taught it, but until that happens you seem rude. The first etiquette I was taught at Annapolis was to put my napkin on my lap and to always pass the pepper along with the salt. The most important etiquette tip I learned during plebe summer, that still serves me well, is to mail out thank you notes within 48 hours. In today's world of everything electronic, a hand written thank you note, sent through the mail, stands out.

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