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2 for 7

events and traditions Aug 19, 2017

During the first two years of a midshipman’s time at the Naval Academy, he or she has the option to leave with virtually no consequence. Mids can “walk away” so to speak; if they feel the Academy is just not the right fit for them, they can resign, transfer to another university, and continue their lives outside the Navy.

However, at the start of midshipmen’s 2/C (junior) year, they are greeted with the decision of signing the ‘2 for 7’. After 2 years of training and development at the Academy, midshipmen are asked to make a 7-year commitment to the United States Navy: 2 more years at the Academy, and 5 years minimum in the Navy or Marine Corps.

Signing the 2 for 7 is not a decision to be taken lightly, as committing 7 years of one’s life to anything is a big deal. The 2 for 7 is also a big deal for the Navy, as it is investing its money into making each Midshipman a great future officer. Because of this, once Mids fill out the paperwork and sign that scroll, they must finish their time at the Academy and in the Navy.

The repercussions of leaving the Academy after signing the 2 for 7 are very harsh.

If one were to be separated from the Academy for misconduct, for example, he or she would owe the Navy all the money it invested into his or her education (which may be hundreds of thousands of dollars).

After the members of the Class of 2021 sign the 2 for 7, they will be invited to a celebratory dinner. Here, they will present the Commandant with the scroll containing all of their signatures and declaring their dedication to the United States Navy. The dinner will also welcome members of the class of 1971 – those that graduated 50 years ahead of the Class of 2021 – and a keynote speaker.

Whether or not each individual midshipman chooses to sign the 2 for 7 is entirely up to himself or herself. Like I’ve said before, everyone has their own reason for why they chose the Academy.  Similarly, all of us will have different reasons for why we choose to stay or leave, and every reason is a valid one.

While I often struggled to appreciate the Academy throughout my first two years, I ended up deciding that its mission was consistent with my own and that the type of person and leader that the USNA was making me into was one I would be proud of.

I was excited about the opportunity to study Cyber Operations, I had built friendships that I didn’t want to end, and I wanted to be in a profession of leadership.  

So if you know anyone in the class of 2021, make sure to congratulate them on making a big life decision!