By Sean Streicher

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Plebe Summer is officially over for 1,200 Midshipman of the United States Naval Academy, Class of 2023.

For the past six weeks, the young men and women going through their Plebe Summer have only been able to speak to their family three times.

Friday, they were reunited with their loved ones.

The Thomas family waited in anticipation.

“It was tough at first,” Sheila Thomas said. “The first call wasn’t great.”

But each call got better, and the letters helped, as Plebe Summer is officially over. The past weeks filled with training, drills and preparing for life as a Midshipman.

“I couldn’t be prouder,” a parent said. “When he was in middle school, he said he wanted to do this and I said it’s really hard to get in. Once you’re there it’s going to be hard to make it through. And he got in, and right now he’s persevering and I couldn’t be prouder of him.”

That feeling of pride radiated from the crowd of 3,000 family members and friends.

“I’m very proud, I’m prior service as well.” “I just don’t have the words, I’m just so proud of him and all the other Plebes.”

While there is still a long way to go to their 2023 graduation, it’s the first step on the long journey.

“It was very hard at first a lot harder than I expected but I’m very happy I persevered and got through this first step,” Jack Thomas said.

The Plebes will have the weekend to spend with their family before returning to prepare for the academic year.

Sean Streicher

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