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1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/United States Naval Academy

< 1922 Encyclopædia Britannica

UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY (see 27.736). The expansion of the Naval Academy in the period 1910-20 began before the entry of America into the World War. In 1912 the six-year course (including two years at sea as “midshipmen”) was discontinued, and midshipmen were commissioned ensigns immediately upon graduation from the Academy. By Acts of Congress in 1916 and 1917, the number of annual appointments to the Academy allowed to each senator, representative, and delegate in Congress was increased from two to five; presidential appointments from 10 to 15, and appointments of qualified enlisted men from 15 to 100. Thus the total number of authorized appointments reached 3,126; and the number of midshipmen increased from 758 in 1910 to 1,230 in 1916, and in 1920 to about 2,200. Since 1920, physically qualified candidates have been allowed to enter either by examination or by certificate from a recognized school.

As a war measure, the class of 1917 was graduated in March of that year, and the class of 1918, after a period of intensive study, in the following June. The course was reduced to three years; but by cutting down examination periods, holidays, and reviews, and increasing the academic year to nine months, practically the same work was covered. In 1919 the four-year course was resumed. Between Sept. 1917 and Jan. 1919, five reserve officer classes, composed chiefly of former enlisted men who were graduates of technical schools, were quartered at the Academy for periods of about three months' training. In this way 1,622 officers were added to the service as temporary ensigns. The post-graduate school for officers, established in 1912 in the former marine barracks near the Academy, was suspended during the World War, but reopened in 1919 with about 50 student-officers. These spend a half-year or year at the post-graduate school before continuing their studies in civilian technical institutions. To provide for increased attendance, in 1918 two wings accommodating 1,100 additional midshipmen were added to Bancroft Hall, an extension to the Marine Engineering Building was completed in 1919, and a new Seamanship Building in 1920. In this period, the discipline and the course of studies were modified progressively to meet changed requirements. In 1919 the civilian corps of instructors was reorganized with increased pay and systematic promotion. The staff of the Academy increased from 146 officers and civilian instructors in 1910 to nearly 300 in 1921. (A. H. S.)