Midshipman 4th Class (freshman) Ross Gilchriest of Silsbee had the honor of throwing the first pitch at the 14th annual Navy Night at Bowie Baysox baseball game Friday, Aug. 2, in Bowie, Md.
Gilchriest was chosen to throw the pitch after recently winning the Naval Academy’s “rates” competition during plebe summer, a rigorous, six-week program designed to turn civilians into midshipmen. “Rates” are Naval Academy facts ranging from naval history, Naval Academy songs, Naval Academy slang, professional and nautical knowledge, and even daily meal menus.
The Bowie Baysox, located at the Prince George’s Stadium in Bowie, Md., are a minor league baseball team and have been affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles since their creation in 1993.
Founded in 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy today is a four-year service academy that prepares midshipmen to be professional officers in the naval service. More than 4,400 men and women representing every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries make up the student body, known as the Brigade of Midshipmen. U.S. News and World Reports has recognized the Naval Academy as a top five undergraduate engineering school and a top 20 best liberal arts college. Midshipmen learn from military and civilian instructors and participate in intercollegiate varsity sports and extracurricular activities. They also study subjects like small arms, drill, seamanship and navigation, tactics, naval engineering and weapons, leadership, ethics and military law. Upon graduation, midshipmen earn a federally funded Bachelor of Science degree in a choice of 23 different subject majors and go on to serve at least five years of exciting and rewarding service as commissioned officers in the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps.