Contact Us

Hello Night

events and traditions plebe summer Aug 17, 2017

As a plebe, there are few moments scarier than the seconds before Hello Night, or as my detailers constantly said, HELL-o Night. During the summer of 2013, as I stood inches away from the bulkhead staring at the wall, the rumbling of the over 100 upperclass midshipmen was cause for serious anxiety. Many of your plebes will be experiencing the same nervousness as they wait for Hello Night to begin.  

So is it Hello Night or HELL-o Night?

Much like everything at the Naval Academy, it depends on the Company and the current leadership authorities. Hello Night, at its core, is an event in which the plebes are introduced to their academic year company. However, how the plebes are introduced is completely unique to each company.  

In the past, some companies make it an evening full of “physical fitness training,” which can be pretty hellish. Some have made it a professional and instructional introduction, and some have made it relatively ridiculous and honestly just absurd, which is much more “hello” than hell.  

My Hello Night

On my Hello Night, I had a huge pit in my stomach because I was anticipating what was about to happen. While a handful of companies send the upperclassmen in waves, 3/C (sophomores) first for about 10 minutes, then 2/C (juniors), then 1/C (seniors), my company did it differently.

One of the detailers told a plebe to ‘about face’ (turn around) and walk into the center of the P-way. Alone and skeptical standing by himself, he then sees a midshipman running at him with a mini basketball in hand. 

What is going on? 

As I assume it was probably moving in slow motion for this plebe as his life flashed before his eyes, the upperclassman took off and soared through the air as one of his friends had snuck out of a room and was now standing behind the plebe, with a mini basketball hoop in his possession.  

So how did Hello Night start for us?

With a Plebe getting dunked on in a very similar fashion to this:

Once the dunk had been made, it was the signal that Hello Night had started, and rather than coming in waves, all 110 upperclassmen rushed the P-way at the same time. What then commenced was MASS CONFUSION.

My Hello Night fell into the ridiculous and just honestly absurd category.

Upperclassmen tasked plebes with ridiculous requests, and on your way to complete those tasks you were stopped by another upperclassman telling you to do something different, and quite frankly you weren’t sure whether you were having fun or you were scared out of your mind.

With that being said, plebes were soon moving through the halls in “White Works Jesus,” or a made-up construct where bed sheets are used as a robe, completed with the shower shoes as sandals, and a broom in hand to be used as a walking stick, as they were carrying inside joke messages from upperclassman to upperclassman.

At this point, hundreds of people were in one hallway, people were screaming, music was blasting, and I HAD NO IDEA WHAT THE HECK WAS GOING ON… and for some companies, Hello Night was simply about mass confusion.  

At one point, the music was cut and we were instructed to enter the Main P-way where we were to be addressed by our new academic year company commander. 

And after a minute of waiting, who comes cruising down the hallway other than some random guy in a speedo, unbuttoned flannel, and to really top it off…  roller skates.

“Good Evening, class of 2017, I am your company commander,” he shouted. 

DUDE.  I was just in Plebe Summer an hour ago, and now there is a half-naked man rolling around the P-ways telling me about the Academic Year.

To be fair, he was an amazing company commander, just a total goofball and future member of the special operations community (no surprises there), but I tell the story to express the absolute shock and sheer confusion we felt.

Now I’m not promising that your plebe will experience anything similar, but it is possible that there will be good stories that come from the night, so be sure to ask your plebe about their Hello Night.


However, while my Hello Night and many others in the past fell into the absolutely ridiculous and absurd category, that constantly led to problems of hazing as people got out of control. In order to prevent those situations, and use Hello Night as a means to allow midshipmen in leadership positions to address their squads and platoons, a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) was issued in 2016 by the Commandant for the execution of Hello Night.  It provided an in-depth instruction of the refined purpose of Hello Night and ensured that every company fell into the professional and instructional introduction category.  

So what’s this mean for my Plebe?

So again, it depends.  With a new leadership, it’s possible that it goes back to giving more autonomy to the Company level leadership to determine how they want to do Hello Night. However, it’s also very possible that the SOP will be very similar to 2016, and Hello Night across the Brigade will be structured, professional, and informative. I’m not going to comment on which is better or which is right, but rather just inform you of  possible ways the night could go for your plebe.

No matter the case, the plebes will get their phones back after this event, so be sure to ask them about how Hello Night went!

Author’s note: I want to reiterate that my articles are my own opinion and do not reflect the official stance of the Naval Academy.  I am not endorsed by, or work for the Naval Academy, and I simply want to provide my opinion and share my experience in hopes that it can help you understand what is going on in the life of a midshipman.