That screaming banshee on the far right, the one holding his grandfather’s dress sword and leading his detailers (essentially his management team), followed by about a hundred awed plebes, is none other than Kilo Company Commander MIDN Lt Carl Chadwick Kolon. This is what he said to his detailers before these practice parades began:
Today is our first practice parade. Whether or not you think it develops you as a Naval Officer (I do!) parades are a valuable experience. They are one of the only things at the Naval Academy that is not all about you. I hear other Midshipmen complain a lot about parades and they say things like “how will this develop me as a Naval Officer”? It doesn’t matter, because we’re not out there for ourselves.
We’re out there for the moms and dads in the stands. We’re out there for the taxpayers, to prove that the Naval Academy actually does teach discipline. We’re out there for the one kid watching who dreams about coming here. We receive an entire education on the dime of others. Think about parades as the 5-hour-a-semester job which pays for it.
Despite the occasional cynicism, I know that everyone here feels a deep pride for this place. Performing well in a parade is how we show that pride to other people, without the arrogance or individualism of knocking our class ring on the table. When we perform as one precise unit, when all the bayonets flash at once, and when we march back to T-court in step all the way, we will have displayed the most important emotion we should all feel: gratitude. If you don’t buy that, try this: a key part of military discipline is performing enthusiastically no matter what the mission.
And we can’t perform well in a parade without performing well in a practice parade. So let’s kill it today.
Carl, I wish I was one of your detailers.