Spring 2018 Change of Command

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The Change of Command ceremony is a time honored tradition in the Navy. Representing a formal transfer of authority from one person to another, the ceremony ensures that the unit and its sailors are never without leadership, or uncertain as to who their leader is. As Midshipmen, the biannual Change of Command ceremony is, for many, the first time they will bear witness to such an event. However, this is by no means the last time they will see one.

Looking sharp in summer whites, all of Boston Consortium NROTC, Midshipmen and officers alike, watched as MIDN 1/C Brewer exchanged command over the Battalion with MIDN 2/C Singley. With the simple words of “I am ready to be relieved,” spoken by MIDN 1/C Brewer, the transfer of authority over the Battalion began. The transfer to MIDN 2/C Singley’s authority was signified by the passing of a flag from the former Battalion Commander to the new.

The new Battalion Commander, MIDN 2/C Singley, spoke briefly on his goals next semester for the Battalion following the ceremony. He plans to continue some of the changes implemented by MIDN 1/C Brewer in the previous semester, but will be making changes of his own, ones he believes will lead the Battalion in an even better direction than before.

Awards were given to select Midshipmen following the Change of Command ceremony to celebrate the their accomplishments during the semester. Special guests representing many different groups honored Midshipmen with gifts such as scholarships, novels, and dress swords.  

This Change of Command ceremony signaled the end of the year for Midshipmen and the start of a well-deserved vacation, and for many, summer cruise. Change of Command is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the Battalion, and look forward to what will come next. Food and refreshments were served after the ceremony concluded, allowing Midshipmen had one last opportunity to say goodbye to their friends and classmates before they went their separate ways for the summer.

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Written by MIDN 4/C Pavón, photos by Ms. Phyllis Norwood

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Drill Competition

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It was astonishing to see the progress made by our platoons from the start of the semester up until the battalion drill competition on Thursday, 19 April. MIT first platoon kicked it off with a strong performance. I had continuously watched them during drill practice and placed them in the top two spots of the Battalion watch list to who would be taking home the drill competition victory. MIT second platoon, my platoon, was up next. I’m going to be honest I have seen us kick drill a little bit better during practice, but no senior on the bench was going to count practice points that morning. Our fearless leader, MIDN Luerman, called an impeccable drill card, but I felt as though we were off step when passing the CO and the rest of the first class, when perfection mattered . There were two more performances that drew loud applause from the scoring panel, BU second platoon rose the shadows, not even ranked, to what I felt was one of the best performances of the day. Their right oblique was something to marvel at, and their squad leaders were almost robotic in their technique. Bravo, BU, bravo. Then came Marine platoon, the first overall seed, and the fan favorite. MIDN Carroll and I were placing our bets early. I wish I could say I was surprised with the result from the Marine platoon, but I won’t even go into details. They deserved to win through and through, and I was glad to see my fellow 4/C shipmates, MIDN Braunegg and MIDN Craig, take home gold on this one. Overall it was a day of pleasurable surprises, but not one of heartbreak. I would not count any platoon out of the running for honor platoon. Everyone showed fantastic improvement and arrived fearless and prepared. Sometimes though, you just can’t beat the best. Congratulations, Marines.

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Written by MIDN 4/C Singley, photos by MIDN 4/C Hubbard

Senior Spotlight: Jacob Holmes

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MIDN 1/C Jacob Holmes

Hometown: Watertown, CT

School: Boston University

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Service: Surface Warfare – Engineering Duty Officer

Written by MIDN 4/C Bab

 

Why did you want to join the Navy?

The tradition of service in my family must be carried on.

 

What has been your most meaningful Billet?

The most meaningful was definitely Mustering Petty Officer. I was essentially a CPO but for platoon commanders. It was a great way to really dive into leadership.

 

What has been your favorite school project you have worked on at BU?

My Capstone Project, which I am working on with MIDN Gozdur and MIDN Dwyer. We are consulting for Rolls-Royce in their manufacturing process.

 

What would you say are the keys to successful leadership?

Be yourself. If you aren’t authentic, your people will realize and lose respect for you.  Also, remember that you’re not your sailors’ friend. Keep It professional. Finally, learn from your mistakes and don’t take professional criticism personally.

 

Do you have any funny ROTC mistakes?

My freshman year there was a guest speaker at lab that I was asked to take photos of. However, I was not given a camera nor was anyone informed that I would be doing it outside of the midshipman who was running the blog. I therefore pulled out my phone and proceeded to go and take pictures. Upon doing this, I was yelled at by the CPO and had to awkwardly explain myself in front of the company and unit staff.

 

How do you spend your free time?

I am involved in one of the fraternities at BU. I also enjoy being an amateur bodybuilder. Finally, I play videogames and even participated on the BU Hearthstone Team with reasonable success.

 

Any advice for MIDN outside of ROTC?

Don’t stress over exams. You either know it or you don’t.

 

What are you most excited for after commissioning?

I am excited to deploy to MCM 6, the USS Devastator in Bahrain.

 

What is your favorite song?

You Make Me Like Charity, by The Knife.

 

Favorite part of BU?

The top notch engineering facilities.

 

What has been the most rewarding part of ROTC?

Giving me structure in my moral growth.

 

What will be your favorite memory from ROTC?

Participating in the Levi Challenge up in Norwich University my freshman year.

 

What was your favorite cruise?

My first class SWO cruise. It was an invaluable learning experience.

 

What are you going to miss the most?

The relaxing days in college where you could sleep in until noon and not start homework until 22:00.

Senior Spotlight: Chandler Dwyer

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MIDN 1/C Chandler Dwyer

Hometown: Shamong, NJ

School: Boston University

Degree: Mechanical Engineering

Service selected: Pilot

Written by MIDN 3/C Ofer

 

What has been your most meaningful billet?

I most enjoyed being platoon commander.  Mainly because the leadership is real.  It is the first time you are responsible for a group of MIDN.  Helping underclassmen get the hang of ROTC and seeing them succeed was the most rewarding part for me.

 

What are some keys to leadership?

Listening to the people below you to actually figure out what they are communicating to you.  Empathy and caring are really important, as well as being able to put yourself in the shoes of the people below you.  All of these things will help make you more effective.

 

What advice you would give to underclassmen?

Volunteer for anything new or interesting.  “Don’t knock it till you try it”

 

Why did you join?

I joined because I really wanted to do something that was meaningful in my life.  There is also a strong tradition in my family.

 

Fun ROTC story

Favorite story is from INDOC, when then MIDN 1/C Paul Kim convinced us that Taylor Swift had died.  As 4/C, we believed him.  We didn’t find out till the end of the week that he was just messing with us and it gave us all something to laugh about at the end of the day.

 

How do you spend your time outside of ROTC?

I like to read, hang out with my friends/girlfriend, play video games, and play racquetball.

 

Why did you select Aviation?

I really just wanna go fast.  I like their missions along with the lifestyle.

 

What do you think the most rewarding part of ROTC has been?

Being a positive influence on the MIDN that you lead and seeing them improve over the semester.  It makes the hard parts of leadership worth it.

 

What are you going to miss?

I’m going to miss Boston and the close friendships I have made in the battalion.

 

What do you look forward to most in your career?

I’m looking forward to positively impacting the sailors I am going to lead.

Senior Spotlight: Benjamin Brewer

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MIDN 1/C Benjamin Brewer  

Hometown: San Diego, California

School: Boston College

Major: Economics

Service Selection: Marine Corps

Written by MIDN 2/C Singley

 

Why did you want to join the Marine Corps?

I could never imagine myself sitting behind a desk from 9am-5pm after graduation. I wanted to go out and do something meaningful, ideally with physical activity involved… and obviously the Marine Corps perfectly fits the bill. I chose the Marines because I wanted to be with the best. I’m extremely competitive and I enjoy how everything in the Marine Corps is a competition, making yourself and those around you better.   

 

What has been your most meaningful billet?

Battalion Commander. It is a privilege to lead midshipmen. The effort and enthusiasm they bring everyday is great. I am honored to help from them into leaders.

 

Do you have any keys to leadership?

Industriousness and enthusiasm. Industriousness behind the scenes…working out, reading sitreps and taking notes, attending as many events as possible, commanding BattStaff, etc. Enthusiasm in front of the battalion. If I bring enthusiasm to everything I do then it will trickle down into the ranks of the midshipmen. If I show up to PT tired, the midshipmen will see that and it will have negative effects. I have to be enthusiastic in my billet at all times or I am only hurting the battalion.

 

Any advice for the underclassmen?

Be a professional at all times. As future officers, your professionalism should never be in question. Appearance is reality. If you look sloppy, out of shape, etc, your leadership will be less powerful.

 

Any funny NROTC mistakes?

At OCS I once rolled my sleeves so badly the a Sergeant Instructor told me, “It looks like Helen Keller rolled them with her mouth.”

 

Outside of Drill PT, how do you spend your time?

There is nothing for me outside of drill PT. Drill PT is life.

 

Is there anything in particular you’ve learned at school outside of NROTC you’d like to share?

Social interactions make college worthwhile so don’t neglect your social life. You need to have balance in all things, otherwise you will become burnt out and miserable.

 

What are you most excited for after commissioning?

TBS with my peers. I am excited to do tactics and shooting, along with spending time with other 2nd Lieutenants. I am also excited for this summer in Boston.

 

Weird obsession, favorite celebrity?

Tom Hardy. He is the man. Specifically in the movie ‘Warrior’.

 

Favorite Song?

Marine’s Hymn, oorah.

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Senior Spotlight: Steven LaDine

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MIDN 1/C Steven LaDine

Hometown: Whitinsville, MA

School: Boston University

Major: Business Management & Admin

Concentrations: Organizational Behavior, Operations and Technology Management

Service: Marines (Maybe Logistics MOS)

 

Describe your childhood:

My childhood was very free range. As a kid I spent a lot of my time outside with my brother and sisters and parents.

 

Why the Marines? Do you see yourself doing 4 years, or 30?

Of course the main reason is the standard cliché: I want to serve my country. I didn’t have any prior contact with the military before ROTC through family or anything. The way I see it, I am of able body, able mind, and able spirit, so it is my duty to get out there and serve the nation I love.

 

What is the most important lesson you have learned since joining the Naval ROTC?

I don’t know about any one big lesson; it was more of a lot of little lessons. In ROTC, the military and life in general, one of the most important things you can do is know yourself and seek self- improvement. Always strive to be better and set goals for yourself. But as a leader, it’s no longer just about you. It’s about the team. As a leader, your job is to ensure that the whole team is growing and developing with your mentoring and guidance. Ideally, these things should be complementary. If your team is improving, you should be too. For example, take this past semester’s emphasis on drill. MIDN Brewer, MIDN Coughlin, and I have been instructing the battalion in drill: sound off, do it again, fix it, repeat. I know that to the midshipmen it seems like I’m being picky or harsh, but teaching drill has forced us to learn it more proficiently ourselves as well. It’s a learning experience for everyone.

 

Do you have a role model?

Gunnery Sergeant Askew has been my role model throughout ROTC over the past 4 years. There were times when I doubted how badly I wanted to pursue this, but GySgt Askew would always energize me and make me more enthusiastic. Aside from his dedication to the Corps, exceptional bearing, and intimidating physical ability, GySgt Askew was the definition of selflessness. He could always make time for me or another Midshipman in his day—personal time on weekend mornings or late weeknights included.

 

Do you have a favorite thing about Boston? Any hidden gems?

I will miss running up Summit Ave. and along the Charles river.

 

What do you do in your spare time?

There’s no such thing.

 

What would be your first question after waking up from being cryogenically frozen for 100 years?

I would want to know how America is doing… Whether or not the Constitution was still intact.

 

Tell us about your study abroad experience.

I studied in Sydney, Australia the fall of my Senior year. I flew out just two days after graduating OCS. I turned twenty-one in transit right as we crossed the international date line, so I never actually had a twenty-first birthday. It was immediate culture shock, but a fantastic opportunity. I had a blast and it was a great break from regular college life and ROTC obligations.

 

Is there any wisdom that you want to pass on? Something you wished MIDN 4/C LaDine had known?

Take advantage of all of the parts of college life that won’t be around when you graduate. You’ll always have a gym, you’ll always be able to lay around on your couch and watch TV. But what you won’t have is the chance to talk to professors and students from all over the world. There are so many extracurricular opportunities to learn and experience new things that just don’t exist outside of a college campus. Famous guest lecturers come and speak on very niche topics, and you can find a club for just about any activity that exists. In the real world, this is the type of stuff that people would drive hours and pay good money to experience. Don’t box yourself in. Don’t waste weekends holed up in your dorm room nursing the after effects of a night out when you could be out enjoying life.

 

CONCLUSION:

Soon to be 2nd Lt. LaDine will soon be saying his good-bye to this battalion this May. He brings incredible dedication and competence to the fight, and any future command will be lucky to have him. Although his absence will leave a void, he has passed on his wisdom through his mentoring, and imbued his subordinates with the grit needed to succeed. The time has come for him to pass the torch.

Yale Leadership Conference

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On the weekend of April 6, 2018, midshipmen from the Boston NROTC Battalion had the opportunity to attend the third annual Yale Leadership Conference in New Haven, Connecticut. The conference focused on examples of leadership in the context of global affairs and a rapidly changing technological environment.

Following opening remarks, The Honorable Susan Gordon, Principal Deputy Director of Intelligence, addressed the crowd of midshipmen and cadets from around the country. Deputy Director Gordon spoke of the importance of culture in accomplishing long-term goals, and her four leadership pillars: expertise, will to succeed, humility, and kindness. Director Gordon stressed some critical shifts in intelligence including Russia as a counter-terrorism fighter, the Chinese military changing due to the movement of technology and globalism, and North Korean nuclear armament and cyber warfare capabilities.

The midshipmen and cadets then attended interagency interfacing talks by either William F. Sweeney or Cynthia Miller. Mr. Sweeney is the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI New York Field Office and previously served in the U.S. Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer after participating in NROTC at Villanova University. He relayed the critical missions of the FBI which include protection from attack, counterterrorism, and corruption as well as some of the challenges of technology including online terror recruitment, counterintelligence and cyber intrusion.

The final event of the day was a panel presented by the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google from 2001 to 2011, and chair of the Department of Defense Innovation Advisory Board was joined by Dr. Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State and NSA Advisor under President Richard Nixon and President Gerald Ford.

Mr. Schmidt first outlined hypothetical examples of positive and negative uses of artificial intelligence and Dr. Henry Kissinger offered his reflections. Kissinger, who penned Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, which evaluated the relationship of technology and strategy in the nuclear age, gave a perspective on the current state of affairs. Kissinger asserted that “AI is much more complicated than nuclear arms control.” And that in the Cold War, “we had good estimates of Russia’s capabilities. With cyber weapons, it’s different. Not every country admits to using them.” Schmidt and Kissinger also spoke of the ethical consequences of artificial intelligence and answered questions ranging from the Russian cyber influence campaign leading up to the 2016 U.S. election, “killer robots,” and China’s national plan for artificial intelligence.

The second panel of the evening addressed cybersecurity leadership and strategy from the perspective of the Department of Defense. The Honorable Ashton Carter, former Secretary of Defense, said that strategy and dialogue are uniquely difficult when it comes to dealing with Russia. He shared his belief that “Putin’s goal is to thwart U.S. interests, [and] it’s hard to build bridges when that is the goal.” Secretary Carter also stressed the consequences of a more global technology base, rather than a US-dominated tech creation base, as well as modern technology and social media’s growth separate from the public purpose and the implications.

The night concluded with a social event where midshipmen and cadets in attendance were given the opportunity to bond.

The second day of the conference opened with skill seminars which allowed Midshipmen to explore a range of topics in smaller groups led by Yale faculty members and guest speakers. The workshops all sought to impart a base of knowledge to questions they could face during their service or broader questions about the outlook of national security. Topics included Conscience and Duty Conflict, Nuclear Deterrence and the Return of Great Power Competition, Corruption and Stability, and Current Issues in Military Justice.

The final panel of the day addressed US Naval power in the South China Sea. Dr. Isaac Kardon, an assistant professor at the Naval War College and member of the Council on Foreign Relations, led the panel. He gave background history on the South China Sea, the Chinese legal plan for the Nine-Dash line, and why China values sovereignty over large parts of the sea as a measure to seek control over adjacent seas, prevent access to Chinese coast and assert dominance after the “century of humiliation.” Dr. Kardon presented the basics of US action which will include an increase in FONOPs (freedom of navigation operations) under President Trump but professed his worry that the United States, despite the rhetoric, has not made the Chinese advancements enough of a priority.

RADM Dodgen, current Deputy Commander of U.S. 7th Fleet joined Dr. Kardon on the panel and described operational tempo in the South China sea being underway 50% more than the rest of the fleet. Admiral Dodgen stressed the importance of maintaining relationships with his people as well as with other countries and how the actions of enlisted sailors and junior officers can have an impact on those relationships. He concluded with his lessons on leadership including valuing everyone, building loyalty, becoming teammates, staying humble, continually learning, keeping poise, anticipating problems, removing negativity, and being a winner.

MIDN Barry (4/c Boston College), MIDN Dorchuck (4/c MIT), MIDN Ramirez (1/c Harvard), MIDN Bayer (4/c Harvard), MIDN Herrington (4/c Harvard), MIDN Braunegg and MIDN Carroll (4/c Tufts) were imparted with unique wisdom and profound questions to reflect on about leadership in a rapidly changing world with complex threats. The Yale Leadership conference is an outstanding opportunity for Midshipmen to expand their network of future officers, and explore the challenges of high-level leadership as future officers and on the global stage.

Written by MIDN 4/C Carroll

 

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