By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Wilkes, U.S. Naval Academy Public Affairs
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- During a recent visit to the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) laundry facility, Midshipmen 1st Class Jeremy Duruji, Dane Oshiro, and Jesus Arrambide found something more than the uniform items they were originally looking for.
Amongst a pile of assorted uniforms and midshipman clothing, the three midshipmen found a full dress blue jacket that originally belonged to retired Rear Adm. Edward K. Kristensen when he was a midshipman at USNA.
"We knew that there was something different about the jacket as soon as we picked it up," said Arrambide. "It's heavier than the normal full dress blue jackets that we wear today and the material has a different feel."
Kristensen is a 1965 Naval Academy graduate and shares the 50-year Link in the Chain connection with the midshipmen who found his jacket. The Another Link in the Chain program is a USNA tradition that forms bonds and relationships between current midshipmen and members of the 50-year class counterpart throughout the four years on the USNA yard and beyond.
"Rear Adm. Kristensen is our link in the chain and the Class of 1965 has done so much for us," said Arrambide. "We felt that it was now up to us to do something for them and we wanted to return this amazing memorabilia to his family, so that they can continue to look up to such an inspirational man."
In honor of the 50-year connection that his class shares with the Class of 1965, Duruji thought it would be a poignant tribute to wear the jacket during this year's Color Parade, May 21, and present it to Kristensen.
"It feels great to wear a piece of history and I truly appreciate the chance to pay tribute to the Class of 1965," said Duruji. "When we found it in the laundry we immediately knew it was different but I could have never imaged that it would have been so special."
After the parade, the three midshipmen had the opportunity to meet with Rear Adm. Kristensen and discuss the discovery and future of the jacket.
"It's amazing to see it in such great condition after so many years," said Kristensen. "My hope is for the Class of 2015 to keep it, preserve it, and one day present it, to the next link in our chain, the Class of 2065."
"I'm extremely proud of these guys for recognizing the significance of the jacket and coming forward with it," said Capt. Bill Byrne, commandant of midshipmen. "It is a piece of the Naval Academy history and tradition, two things that make this place so great."