Vail Mountain School graduate earns appointment to Naval Academy

Camille Johnson joins the class of 2026 at Annapolis

Naval officer John Krueger officially awarded Camille Johnson her appointment at the Vail Mountain School Class Night on Tuesday, May 23, at Vail Mountain School.
Courtesy photo

Camille Johnson, a recent graduate of the Vail Mountain School, will be inducted into the Naval Academy Class of 2026 on Thursday, June 30. From there, Johnson will begin six challenging weeks of basic midshipman training as part of Plebe Summer.

Johnson is a lifelong Eagle County local who has grown up exploring the outdoors. Whether it was on the ski mountain, the biking or hiking trail, or the soccer pitch she always “sported awkward tan lines and scabby knees,” she said.

“I am truly ecstatic about and honored by the opportunity that has been presented to me through this appointment. This has been my dream since middle school and I am grateful and excited that it all came together,” Johnson said.

Johnson plans to focus on foreign area studies and to continue to pursue her curiosity with languages and the ways they connect us.

Although the East Coast and the ocean are unfamiliar terrain, Johnson feels as though growing up in the mountains has taught her a grittiness and confidence that will allow her to thrive wherever she goes.

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Naval officer John Krueger officially awarded Johnson her appointment at the Vail Mountain School Class Night on May 23 at the Vail Mountain School.

In his presentation remarks, Krueger emphasized the highly selective nature of the appointment.

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. In the past year, the Naval Academy received over 16,000 applications for the Class of 2026.

During Plebe Summer, plebes have no access to television, movies, the internet or music, and restricted access to cell phones. They are only permitted to make two 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.

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 Report 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 such as leadership, ethics, small arms, drill, seamanship and navigation, tactics, naval engineering and weapons, and military law.

Upon graduation, midshipmen earn a Bachelor of Science degree in a choice of 25 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.

“I am deeply honored by this opportunity and grateful for all of those who have supported me in achieving this goal,” Johnson said. “I will do my best to represent our wonderful mountain community well at the Academy and in my military service beyond.”

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