You are correct, GLMA changed with the times and requirements. All cadets that attend are on a license track and focused on sailing as an officer on the Great Lakes or oceans after graduation.
I’m not sure what that has to do with anything being discussed.
For me, the first four quarters of calc weren’t bad at all. I never had a problem with math from Grad School to High School (Algebra, Analytical Geometry, etc. . . until that 5th quarter of calc, intro to differential equations. . . .lost me completely. . . could have been teaching me Greek for all I knew. I never worked harder in my life to get a C. . . .
My experience was the opposite. I struggled through 4 semesters of calculus, but did better with Diff EQs and better still with fluid and thermodynamics. Having a more apparent application of it made a difference for me. I had frequently said I have never needed to calculate the area under a curve, but I a friend pointed out that I did that in grad school statistics. Burt since then, no.
I did okay with Thermo. . had a lazy professor, though. I did like Fluid, though. You are very much correct about seeing the application of math making it a more interesting subject, though.