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Alpha Inspections

events and traditions plebe summer Aug 05, 2017

If someone had told my mom years ago that I would know how to wax my floor and would be making my bed every day, she would have laughed. I was never the neatest guy, but attending the Academy forced me to change that. Really, alpha inspections forced me to change that.

Alpha Inspections are the white glove inspections at the Academy. And when I say “white glove inspections,” I literally mean that the upperclassmen commanding the inspections will put on white gloves to try to find a single ounce of dirt with their fingertips.

The purpose of Alpha Inspections is not only to force midshipmen to keep clean rooms, but also to reinforce the discipline and attention-to-detail that is necessary to succeed in the Navy. To give a visual, here is a video from Plebe Summer 2012 where they cover the purpose and basics of an Alpha Inspection:

 So what are they looking for?

I’ve included both an example Room Inspection Chit and an example Company Area Inspection Chit to show exactly what is being evaluated:

There is only one Alpha Inspection during Plebe Summer. However, if plebes fail, then they will be re-inspected.

So while there is only one official inspection, it is possible that they will have more than one.

There is often a rumor that circulates after Alpha Inspections that the detailers want to fail plebes. Having been a part of the Plebe Summer detail, I can assure you that is not true. The philosophy has been and will continue to be “firm but fair.” The detailers will thoroughly inspect their rooms, and ensure that they meet the “Alpha” standard, but if the plebes deserve to pass, they will pass.

As for the plebes’ academic year, there is one Alpha Inspection per semester: one in the fall and one in the spring. For these inspections, the same policies are true. If failed, plebes will be re-inspected. Otherwise, they are done for the semester.

One Insider Trick of the Trade

Now while there is no substitute for hard work, there are definitely a couple tricks that can be employed to help maximize energy and effort efficiency. For example, if you watch the video posted above, you will notice the detailer talking about the cleanliness of the shower curtain.  Now, you could bust your behind and spend hours scrubbing every inch of your shower curtain… OR in the academic year, you could stop by the Mid Store on the way back from class on the day of the Alpha Inspection, buy a brand spanking new shower curtain, and hang it up right before the inspection.  Why clean it when you can just buy a new one?

The Building of Good (Bad) Habits

While Alpha Inspections are very stressful and seem tedious, they are very important at the end of the day. As a result of Alpha Inspections, I have learned how to strip and wax a floor, clean a wide variety of surfaces, and shine bright works.  However, probably the most important skill of all, I have learned how to hide mass amounts of storage to give the appearance of a spotless room, because once again why spend the time organizing everything when you can just move it out of your room… energy efficiency!

If you have any other questions regarding Alpha Inspections or your plebe has had a good/bad/funny experience with one, let me know!  [email protected]