US Naval Academy Class Ring

Founding Year: 1845

Mascot: Bill the Goat

Colors: Navy Blue & Gold

The US Naval Academy was born during the American Revolution when it became apparent that the country needed a naval force that could match the Royal Navy. However, right after the Revolution, an economy-minded congress demobilized the Continental Navy in 1785.

The American seapower was dormant for almost a decade but due to the effort of President George Washington in 1794, the congress was convinced to authorize a new naval force to fight the growing nuisance of piracy on the high seas.

“For the formation of scientific and accomplished officers,” President John Quincy Adams presented a proposal for the establishment of a Naval Academy to Congress in 1825. Congress noted that the proposal had a worthy motive, but it took them 20 years to take action on it.

Through the efforts of the Secretary of the Navy, George Bancroft, the institution was founded as the Naval School on 10 October 1845 without Congressional funding. The campus was established at a 10-acre Army post named Fort Severn in Annapolis, Maryland, with a class of 50 midshipmen and seven professors. Chemistry, English, French, natural philosophy, mathematics and navigation, gunnery and steam were included in the curriculum.

The name of the Naval School was changed to the United States Naval Academy in 1850. Along with the change of identity came a revamp of the curriculum. Midshipmen were required to study at the Academy for four years with actual “aboard ship” training during each summer.

The Academy expanded as the US Navy grew over the years. The original campus of 10 acres was increased to 338. The initial student body of 50 midshipmen multiplied to a brigade of 4,000. The old wooden structures of Fort seven were replaced with modern granite buildings.

In 1993, the Congress authorized the Naval Academy to award Bachelor of Science degrees to their graduates. Later on, the Academy replaced the curriculum with a core curriculum plus 18 major fields of study, a wide array of elective courses and research opportunities and advance study.

As America advanced culturally and technologically so has the Naval Academy. In fact, the development of the United States Naval Academy reflects the history of the country.

In only a few decades, advance high-tech fleet that has nuclear-powered submarines and surface ships and supersonic aircraft replaced the fleet of sail and steam-powered ships. The academy was not left behind in the transformation. They now provide state-of- the-art professional training that prepares young men and women to become effective professional officers of character and compassion in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.


Through the years, the USNA class ring had been a symbol of the successful and honorable completion of the Naval Academy course of instruction and the receipt of its diploma. Graduates accept their rings as a representation of honor, loyalty, and devotion to duty in keeping with the highest traditions of Naval service and high standards required of its Officers.

The crest for the USNA class ring centers on the idea of man vs. sea. The United States Navy and Marine Corps revolve around the midshipmen’s ability to overcome the inherent defiance of a marine environment — men were not intended for seafaring, nevertheless we prevail. The depiction of a sail-driven ship battling Poseidon symbolizes the midshipmen’s willingness to fight the seas and set sail in service to their country.

Other components of the crest are classic symbols of the country and their service. An eagle with the American flag featured prominently behind symbolizes the great nation. To the left is a classic naval sword carried by officers in the Marine Corps.

Finally, the chain links in the upper corners of the crest represent the Academy’s historical link in the in the chain, the Class of 1986, while the inclusion of a twisted six and eight in the rope surrounding Poseidon’s trident speak to the future Class of 2068.


One gold ring and one combat ring may be purchased by each midshipman for their personal use. Naval Academy rings may only be worn by first class midshipmen, graduates of the Naval Academy, and second class midshipmen after attending their ring dance. This policy shields the sacred legacy and traditions of the Naval Academy ring and the sacrifice of those graduates who wear them. The USNA class ring is designed and contracted by the Class Ring and Crest Committee.

Starting in 1869 and every year since then, a committee is formed during the midshipmen’s plebe year to design their own class ring crests. Each class ring has two common characteristics; the class year and class crest which symbolizes a connection to the classmates of previous and future years.

Courtesy of US Naval Academy


Herndon Monument Climb

Each year, 1,000 enthusiastic plebes run eagerly towards the greased 21-foot gray Hearndon Monument, a memorial dedicated to Commander William Lewis Herndon, who lost his life to save his ship and men. To reach the top, the plebes have to work together but only one can make it to the top to replace the white plebe “dixie cup” hat with an upperclassman hat. To make the climb challenging, upperclassmen put more than 200 pounds of lard on the monument

Bill the Goat

USNA’s first mascot was the Navy Monkey, because it was the U.S. Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft’s favorite animal. Bill the Goat only appeared 1893 and has replaced the monkey ever since.

The Tecumseh Statue

At the Naval Academy yard, you can see a bronze figurehead statue called Tecumseh. It’s been there since 1866, and was also known by other names like Powhatan, King Phillip, and Tecumseh.

The figure was brought to the academy after it was salvaged from the wreck of the old ship of the line “Delaware”. The figurehead was intended to portray Tamanend, Delaware’s great chief, a lover of peace and friend of William Penn. Each year before special occasions including commissioning week, Tecumseh gets a fresh coat of war paint.

Ring Dance

The USNA Ring Dance is formal affair that started in 1925. This event officially gives Second Class Midshipmen the authority to wear their class rings. During the dance, each ring is blessed by dipping it into a bowl of water collected from the seven seas, also known as the “waters of the seven seas.” This is a symbolism of a Midshipman’s marriage to the Navy.

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