Nate Bullard: Born on the Crest of a Wave

Tim Corrigan of Chesapeake VA was the runner-up in the Nate Bullard writing contest. There are several classic lines from his story including the following: When Roger Staubach set the obstacle course record, it was only because Nate Bullard was running backwards in front of him, imploring him to push harder, until he stopped and gave Roger the final swat on the butt to get across the finish line.

Born in the Crest of a Wave

The Nate Bullard Legend

By Tim Corrigan

The United States Naval Academy is one of America's most beautiful and storied campuses. Its programs of academic and athletic excellence have filled an alumni base with Naval heroes, a president, 54 astronauts, Heisman Trophy winners, basketball legends, Navy and Marine Corps leaders, and leaders of industry. The undergraduate university for the United States Navy is steeped in history and tradition. In most cases, the two are intertwined. But in some cases, there are gaps. But if one examines those gaps closely enough, they will find the answers to those mysteries can be summed up with the universal answer of a man you will not find in the registers, but whose legend looms large…Nate Bullard.

Nate Bullard is not a person on whom you will find volumes written. The reason? Nate Bullard only needs sentences to describe him.

Time, Tide and Formation Wait for No Man…except Nate Bullard (and he would never make them wait).

No one can pinpoint down when Nate was at the Academy. For nearly everyone, he was there right before they were, or just after they left. Sometimes both. Nate Bullard is omnipresent. Nate Bullard is omniscient. The word omni is derived from Nate Bullard. Therefore the only true statement is: Nate Bullard is omni omni.

There are some that believe Nate Bullard pre-dated the academy. Nathaniel Bullard told James Lawrence, "DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP!" He later repeated the words that became James Lawrence's final words to Oliver Hazard Perry. Every forgetful, Perry had a flag made to remind him of the directive.

Nate Bullard is the epitome of midshipman. Nate Bullard was 4.1 midshipman in bearing, academics and athleticism. Like all midshipman, Nate's time at the academy began the same as all midshipmen, with plebe summer and plebe year. And like so many plebe summers before, there was uncertainty, feelings of wanting to quit and yes, even some soft crying in the rack at night. Nate's upper-class finally pulled it together and made it to ac year. Nate did not learn plebe rates, Nate Bullard's answers to questions became plebe rates. How long have you been in the Navy is the Nate Bullard biography. In fact every non-attributed quote in Reef Points is a Nate Bullard quote.

During academic year, Nate was the prototypical plebe. One day while trying to get to evening meal formation from the Crew House, Nate heard his upper-class wonder aloud what time it was and what was for dinner. The chow call was invented. Steel plates are at every p-way intersection in Bancroft Hall because Nate Bullard's corner squaring destroyed too many tiles. (Editor's note: Nate Bullard does not think it is funny to pledge those plates and watch the plebes come back from class. Neither do some company officers.)

Nate Bullard ate a dozen cannonballs and hard sauce at a single seating. He not only earned carry on, but that is origin of the term "gross". Later that night Nate provided the inspiration for Neeb's loaf.

During youngster cruise, Nate Bullard swam out to his ship in the Atlantic and met it just in time to come on board for the mid-watch as the ship transited the Straights of Gibraltar. The captain gave Nate the deck, the conn, the helm and lee helm. It was the best sleep the CO got.

There was a week of peace during Nate's second class summer. All nations called a truce when Nate Bullard was at Quantico out of fear he would mobilize his midshipmen platoon. It is still classified, but a small country was overthrown that week. Nate Bullard's MRE always contains a seven course Emeril Legasse prepared meal including, at a minimum, filet mignon and two lobsters. Nate Bullard made four flight instructors throw up during his week in Pensacola. One of them never even left the ground with him. Nate Bullard flew lead with the Blue Angels during second class summer. After an angles and dangles demonstration on a boomer, Nate Bullard pulled off the only known loop de loop in a submarine.

Nate Bullard qualified and earned gold pins in every warfare area during first class cruise…including the weird SOSUS one. Nate Bullard is authorized to wear all his warfare devices. He does in one row above his ribbons. With creative placement of a trampoline, Nate Bullard earned his gold jump wings on his first jump. Every service selected Nate Bullard on service selection night. Nate accepted them all.

Nate Bullard's Weapons' bottle rocket brought down Skylab.

Gouge did not exist before Nate Bullard. It was invented when his old tests were found. The most pure form of gouge is still referred to as Bullardian.

There used only be Wires before Nate Bullard. Nate Bullard doesn't use wires, he uses cables.

The anchorman collected $100 from everyone in his class to give Nate. Nate gave it back to the anchorman.

As peerless as a professional midshipman and scholar as Nate was, it is his physical prowess - which all remember. Built like a lawn dart, Nate Bullard's physique inspired the midshipman tuck.

When Roger Staubach set the obstacle course record, it was only because Nate Bullard was running backwards in front of him, imploring him to push harder, until he stopped and gave Roger the final swat on the butt to get across the finish line.

Obstacles get out of Nate Bullard's way.

Nate Bullard did a triple lindy for his tower jump.

Nate Bullard used to get up early to work out before Heinz Lenz during plebe summer.

Nate Bullard outraced a red corvette during plebe summer.

Pull-up bars were actually another foot higher before Nate Bullard used each one.

Nate Bullard never got the Halsey Hack, and would not tolerate others who did.

Nate Bullard was only allowed to shadow box for plebe and youngster boxing. His shadow scored over 300 knockouts against unlucky classmates.

Nate Bullard ran wind sprints on the seawall.

Hospital Point was named that because after four seasons of rugby out there, that is what Nate's opponents referred to it as.

Nate Bullard is still omni omni. Some swear he is a current mid. Others feel he has graduated and returns to provide help, inspiration and motivation for the midshipmen.

Nate Bullard provided the wind at this year's SMU game.

Nate Bullard has all access…on everything.

One can only wonder, how is it that Nate Bullard is not in the record books? And how is it that Navy could lose to Army? Or why does Nate not stop bad things from happening? The answer is simple, and complex: Because he chooses not to. Nate Bullard is not a savior. That does not make midshipmen stronger. Overcoming adversity, rising above your limitations, defeating the odds through perseverance and commitment…that is what makes strength and character. Nate Bullard is motivation, inspiration, an ideal to strive to be, and the one who gets it done when no one else knows why or how. Nate Bullard is strongest when others rise to fill his shoes.

Looking directly at Nate Bullard's polished leather shoes without a welder's mask will cause permanent blindness.

When Nate Bullard received his degree, he immediately folded it eight times.


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