Michael A. Cullen, a Newport native and graduate of Bishop Hendricken High School, was inducted into the Naval Academy Class of 2025 Wednesday, June 30, and will begin six challenging weeks of basic midshipman training as part of Plebe Summer.

Approximately 1,200 candidates are selected each year for the Academy’s “plebe” or freshman class, and each student is required to participate in Plebe Summer, according to a press release from the United States Naval Academy. Last year the Naval Academy received over 16,000 applications for the Class of 2025.

Michael A. Cullen, son of Elizabeth “Beth” and Michael J. Cullen

During this time, the Naval Academy says that plebes have no access to television, movies, the Internet or music, and restricted access to cell phones. They are only permitted to make three calls during the six weeks of Plebe Summer.

The pressure and rigor of Plebe Summer is carefully designed to help plebes prepare for their first academic year at the Naval Academy and the four years of challenge, which awaits them. 

As the summer progresses, the new midshipmen rapidly assimilate basic skills in seamanship, navigation, damage control, sailing, and handling yard patrol craft. Plebes also learn infantry drill and how to shoot 9 mm pistols and M-16 rifles.

Other daily training sessions involve moral, mental, physical or professional development and team-building skills. Activities include swimming, martial arts, basic rock climbing, obstacle, endurance and confidence courses designed to develop physical, mental and team-building skills. Forty hours are devoted to the instruction of infantry drill and five formal parades. 

Founded in 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy today is a prestigious four-year service academy that prepares midshipmen morally, mentally and physically to be professional officers in the naval service. 

Cullen is the son of Elizabeth “Beth” and Michael J. Cullen.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).