Paradise Valley resident Tanner Hamilton recently accepted an appointment to join the United States Naval Academy’s class of 2026 and row with the academy’s lightweight crew team, starting June 30.
Hamilton is a graduate of Phoenix Country Day School and raced in various rowing regattas throughout the U.S. for Tempe Junior Crew during his four years of high school, according to a press release.
He had applied to the USNA his senior year of high school, but broke his foot before he was able to complete a physical which disqualified him from receiving an appointment to the class of 2025.
Upon graduation from PCDS, he opted to study engineering at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania while rowing for the Penn Athletic Club’s high-performance team on the Schuylkill River.
While he enjoyed his experience in Philadelphia, the release stated, he decided to reapply to the USNA in order to fulfill his dream of living a life of service as an officer in the U.S. Navy.
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. Last year, the Naval Academy received over 16,000 applications for the class of 2026.
During this time, plebes have no access to television, movies, the internet, and music and also have restricted access to cell phones. They are only permitted to make three calls during the six weeks of Plebe Summer.
According to the press release, 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 challenges that awaits them.
As the summer progresses, plebes rapidly assimilate basic skills in seamanship, navigation, damage control, sailing and handling yard patrol craft. They also learn infantry drills and how to shoot 9mm pistols and M-16 rifles.
Other daily training sessions involve moral, mental, physical and professional development as well as team-building skills. Activities include swimming, martial arts, rock climbing and obstacle courses for endurance and confidence. Forty hours are devoted to the instruction of infantry drills and five formal parades.