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Attached are a series of accomplishments/details about a 1921 Naval Academy graduate. They are listed immediately below a brief biography:

usna accomplishments 1921

For Google's sake, they are:

Two Stripes;
Clean Sleeve;
Buzzard (2);
Class Football (2); Numerals (2);
Crew Squad (4);
Wrestling Squad (2);
Water-Polo Squad (1).

Some of the information is straightforward (e.g., sports participation) but the others require additional context I do not have (Two Stripes, Clean Sleeve, Buzzard and Numerals).

What did this person accomplish at the US Naval Academy that is worth detailing in their graduating yearbook?

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+1 just for kbd. :P – American Luke Dec 4 '12 at 23:24
up vote 8 down vote accepted

It looks as though a Clean Sleeve at a military academy is a form of negative evidence.

See ARMED FORCES: The Quiet Ones (Time, Monday, Aug. 29, 1960)

At West Point, he was a "Clean Sleeve" —neither scholar, nor athlete, nor class leader. "No one." says a classmate, "would have expected him to become the first general in his class, or any general at all, as far as that goes."

Read more:,9171,939168,00.html

The number of Stripes would indicate rank (or within Annapolis, the class for that year).

Two stripes would indicate he was a MIDN 2/C. (This would not equate to years of college as originally suggested {In civilian college terms, a Junior?} because officer cadets had rank within their year class as well as within the broader structure of the Navy.)

See the badges of rank illustrated at

In academic life ashore Numerals would have been called "Letters" and won for sports

Close attention is paid to athletic instruction and physical training, all kinds of indoor and outdoor sports being indulged in. To those who excel in the various events the traditional yellow
"N" and class numerals are awarded. The baseball and football schedules include a series of games with all nearby colleges, the culminating games being with the Military Academy.

from Military and Naval America Harrison Summers Kerrick, Doubleday, Page & Company (n.d.)

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Not that it is necessarily authoritative, but this page describes a "clean sleeve" as a cadet private: – fbrereto Dec 4 '12 at 17:51
While I know some military terminology is shared among branches, is it not also true that some terms differ in their definition from branch to branch? My concern is that an Army "clean sleeve" may not be the same as that in the Navy. – fbrereto Dec 4 '12 at 17:52
As to "Numerals" being analogous to Letters, that would make sense given that "Numerals" is on the same line as the football accolades. – fbrereto Dec 4 '12 at 17:53
As far as I know the yearbook from which this was taken was the person's graduating year, 1921. If that's the case I am not sure "Junior" is an appropriate parallel. From the picture that accompanies the biography the anchor collar device can be seen on his left side, so that would corroborate the Two Stripes rank. – fbrereto Dec 4 '12 at 17:59

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