Easel on Stribling
paintings telling the story of USNA



"Pass In Your Shoes" is a blog about the United States Naval Academy by a former midshipman, who also happens to be an artist. It’s a visual journey, with a few words here an there, of the military, from an artists perspective.

Guide The Platoon On Line (or at least I think that’s what they were saying)

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Did you know that Midshipmen Regulations requires females to wear a bra? 


Not that I typically walk around without one, of course... but it came up one day amongst my roommates when one of us discovered this rather invasive rule.  


Yes, I get it. Good order and discipline. It covers everything from being on time to proper greetings, and, apparently, the positive presence of undergarments. I wonder if they care if it’s pink. I know I’m not the only one who enjoyed being a bit flamboyant with her underwear as a way to feel unique under identical Johnny Cash’s. Which is really cool and all until you wind up forgetting to waltz into a more subtle pair before slipping into the mildly transparent summer white pants. I think it’s phase every recovering female plebe goes through, and my husband just suggested the males may do it too. 


I digress. Bras. They are required.


Well one day, I decided to challenge that rule.  


But first, I need to share a little more information. When the company lines up to take its place on the parade field, a guide, typically the tallest member of the platoon, runs ahead to mark the corner to where the company is to line up.


It was fall of my firstie year and it was one of the first parades of the season. I guess our usual guide had found a coveted excuse to skip parades for the season, and nobody was filling the spot. To this day, I’m not sure what compelled me to roger up (“I thought it’d be fun!”) on the day I also decided to quietly defy the rules and be free underneath the Full Dress Blues jacket. That jacket is as stiff as cardboard, you really can’t tell. 


When you know you are getting away with something which would likely only lead to humorous consequences if found out, it can be hard to hide the glee. But this is serious, people, it’s a parade. People are watching. There are mids dancing to bagpipes and that Leuitenant who has to count the canons to make sure the admiral drops his salute at the right time. I was doing my job well, keeping the company a few paces behind the commander and feeling a little extra sweaty in unusual places. 


We stepped onto Worden, It was game time. No room for error, but really, it’s Navy, not Army, expectations are well managed. I knew my moment was fast approaching. I hope I find the marker and don’t wind up running zig zag looking for it. 


Then we turned. Our company commander bellowed, “GUIDE THE PLATOON ON LINE!” And, in the loudest response I could muster because I learned years ago it’s always better to shout with abandon the first time, “AYE AYE SIR!” And off I darted, focusing really hard on not letting the 6 foot something guy from 25th company catch up to me. That would be embarrassing!


And as I started to run, I realized there may have been an actual purpose to that little bra rule.


The girls leapt for joy of their freedom with rhythmic unison in every bound. Yippee! Yippee!! Yippee!!! We’ve never seen Worden with such unbridled liberty!  Thank goodness they were barely B’s because I may have had to ice my chin after if they were any larger. 


I feel like it’s worth mentioning I was able to keep “guy from 25th company” from catching up to me, despite two extra cheerleaders riding along. 


I did so well, in fact, that I earned that job for parades for the rest of the year. 


I wore a bra for those, though.