Tri-Service Ball 2016

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Photo by MIDN 4/C Savannah Clarke

Post by MIDN 4/C Ellen Gantenbein

This past weekend Army, Air Force and Navy ROTC units from various schools around Boston gathered for the annual Joint Service Ball. The event was hosted at Boston University’s George Sherman Union. The evening began with hor d’oeuvres, allowing Midshipmen and Cadets to socialize with each other and officers. After the cocktail hour everyone gathered in the ball room to stand for the posting of the colors and playing of the national anthem. Following colors, Cadets and Midshipmen representing each branch service – Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps – marched in carrying covers to represent Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action (POW/MIA). The empty table is symbolically set in honor of fallen veterans. Guests were then led in a moment of reflection and a toast to the President of the United States and the Secretaries of each branch of service. Following the ceremonies, dinner was served accompanied by live jazz music.

After dinner came to a conclusion, the significant accomplishments of each ROTC unit were recognized. Midshipman 3/C Mykaela Coughlin announced the service assignments of each NROTC first class Midshipmen, who will commission as Second Lieutenants in the Marine Corps and Ensigns in the Submarine, Aviation, Surface Warfare and Nursing communities. The dining portion of the evening was concluded with the retiring of colors. Midshipmen and Cadets finished the night with dancing to music by DJ Alex. Midshipmen enjoyed the night, and the opportunity to converse with members of our sister ROTC units.

USS Constitution Chairman’s Dinner

constitutionby MIDN 1/c Jimmy Castano

The USS Constitution Chairman’s Dinner is an event held annually to honor the Navy’s oldest commissioned ship. Alongside her crew, attendees were mostly donors to the museum representing a wide range of professions, but with the common goal of continuing the legacy of the oldest active warship afloat. This year, a total of 9 midshipmen where invited to partake in the celebration.

Launched on Oct. 21st, 1797, the USS Constitution went on to serve with distinction in both the Quasi War with France and the Barbary Wars, winning every engagement she fought in. During the War of 1812, she battled with the HMS Guerriere, and as cannon balls bounced off her oak hull, one of the crew shouted “Huzzah! Her sides are made of iron!” It was from this moment that the USS Constitution earned the nickname “Old Ironsides.” Recently, the USS Constitution is noted to be the only American commissioned warship still afloat that has sunk an enemy ship in combat, a testament to the level of peace our Navy has managed to maintain on the high seas over the past few decades. A symbol of American resilience, even today she continues to serve her Navy and community.

The goal of the Chairman’s Dinner is to raise awareness about the USS Constitution and her place in U.S. history, and to raise funds for the USS Constitution Museum, which generates all its funds from donations. Growing up just a subway ride away from the Charlestown shipyard, as a child I remember visiting the museum and the ship itself to learn about naval history. At this dinner, I learned that the museum also commits to teaching children about math, physics, and engineering, in addition to history. These lessons are all done through the lens of a crewman 200 years ago, serving on the USS Constitution.

Donors were excited to hear about our lives as midshipmen, many having family serving or who have served in the Navy or in another branch of the military. Being mostly MIDN 1/c in attendance, it felt great to reflect on how far we have come since we started the program. I felt pride telling others what the NROTC program has done for me.

Following the reception, we were provided with dinner as the recipients of the Charles Francis Adams Award, for service to the community, and the Samuel Eliot Morrison Award, for artful scholarship and the desire to preserve our past, were recognized. Thanks to the sacrifices and goodwill of those in attendance, the USS Constitution no doubt will continue to serve us for many more years to come.

PNS Corner – Fall 2015

CAPT-Benke

Greetings from Boston!

This week was our last leadership lab of the Fall 2015 semester and our Battalion Change of Command Ceremony.  It has been a great semester.  The Battalion Commander, MIDN Steven Holcomb (MIT, Mechanical Engineering), developed a command vision for the semester and his staff executed a comprehensive training plan that was interactive and effective.  The BU Company Commander, MIDN Conner Love (BU, Business Administration), and the MIT Company Commander, MIDN Grace Cassidy (MIT, Electrical Science and Engineering), both did an excellent job at leading their companies.  Bravo Zulu to the outgoing leadership!

In addition to our weekly leadership lab, numerous events kept the Midshipmen very busy this semester.  This included a visit by Admiral Howard, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, who challenged the Midshipmen to be transformational leaders in the cyber domain.  Also at the end of the semester, several Midshipmen had the opportunity to attend a private lunch with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.  The annual Navy/Marine Corps Birthday Ball was held on the BU campus this year and included BU alum Commander Jason Williamson, XO of VP-45, as our guest speaker.  Balancing academic work, extracurricular activities, and NROTC events can be challenging, but our Midshipman have been very successful with their schoolwork while at the same time developing the time management skills that will serve them well after they commission and start their military careers.

I am very excited about the Spring 2016 semester.  The incoming Battalion Commander, MIDN Carolyn Pushaw (Harvard, Human Evolutionary Biology), has already briefed me on her vision for the semester and the detailed training plan.  A lot of great activities are planned for the spring, including our Joint Services Military Balls and ending with our commissioning ceremonies.  Hopefully we won’t have mountains of snow to deal with this year, but regardless it is going to be a great semester!

Be sure to routinely check back with our Boston NROTC Sea Dawg blog and our Battalion Facebook page to stay up to date with all the great things our Midshipmen are doing!

All the best,

Steven M. Benke
Captain, United States Navy
Commanding Officer
BU – MIT Naval ROTC Consortium

“For in this modern world, the instruments of warfare are not solely for waging war. Far more importantly, they are the means for controlling peace. Naval officers must therefore understand not only how to fight a war, but how to use the tremendous power which they operate to sustain a world of liberty and justice, without unleashing the powerful instruments of destruction and chaos that they have at their command.”

Admiral Arleigh Burke, CNO, 1 August 1961, Change of command address at Annapolis, MD

Sea Dawg – PNS Corner – Fall 2015

SECDEF Meets with Boston NROTC Midshipmen

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By LT Chuck Daniel

Boston, MA-On 2 DEC 2015, four midshipmen from the Boston NROTC Consortium were presented with a tremendous opportunity to participate in a roundtable lunch with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.  Secretary Carter, a Harvard alumnus, had spent the previous day speaking at Harvard’s campus.  In addition to meeting the midshipmen and cadets of the MIT ROTC units, he conducted meetings at the MIT Media Lab.  The NROTC representatives were MIDN 1/C Jasper Burns (BU ’16), MIDN 1/C Adam Gracia (Harvard ’16), MIDN 2/C Vardaan Gurung (MIT ’17), and MIDN 2/C Lauren Mandaville (Harvard ’16).

During the lunch, which took place on the fifth floor of the Media Lab, Secretary Carter held an informal roundtable with the cadets and midshipmen.  MIDN Burns remarked, “It was incredible to have the chance to speak off the record with the Secretary; there are hundreds in the Pentagon who scramble to get five minutes with him, and we were afforded almost an hour!”  Secretary Carter discussed the importance of STEM majors in the military and his vision for the force of the future.  Each cadet and midshipman received a SECDEF challenge coin.  It was an unforgettable and unique experience, and the participants sincerely appreciated it.

Marine Midshipmen Get Realistic Training During Overnight Field Exercise

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By MIDN 4/C Savage, Photos by MIDN 3/C Zhu

Fort Devens, MA-The lights of suburban Massachusetts soon faded into the dark treetops of Fort Devens, and the Midshipmen (MIDN) of the Marine Platoon were ready to enter the field. The pilots of our two Blackhawks executed a series of steep banks, plunges, and high-altitude climbs before dropping us off at the insert point. As soon as we were inserted and the helicopters had exited over our heads, we traveled with our assault packs toward the bivouac site. The platoon sergeant, MIDN 2/C King, made sure to keep us moving with intensity in order to set up our tents and maintain accountability for the two squads of four fireteams that made up our platoon. However, we were not alone in the woods. Several Midshipmen disappeared behind the pine trees after the Cadre simulated attacks and “captured” several of them. Security teams had to keep watch and find the “missing” personnel so that the platoon could safely finish the bivouac evolution before starting the real challenges of the year’s first field exercise.

By this time, everyone was accustomed to the dark tactical environment, and we were ready to step off on our 6-mile hike with rifles in hand. The squad leaders, MIDN 2/C Murray and MIDN 2/C Noviello, were constantly checking on the status of their fireteams as the heavy packs began to weigh down on our feet several miles in. Even with the challenge, we continued to keep each other motivated as we tackled hills and progressed back to camp.

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The cold Halloween air eventually crept up on us after we had stopped sweating from the hike, but there was one more evolution to complete before resting for the night. Land navigation was the next challenge, and the wooded terrain obscured with darkness did no favors for the Midshipmen. Armed with compasses, the seven pairs all made it back after two hours traversing the course from point to point. We had earned a few hours of sleep and watch rotations every 60 minutes until morning, but the platoon had completed a good amount of the training.

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Soon enough, the tents came down, even faster than they had gone up, and the Platoon had exited the bivouac site without leaving any trace that we had been there. Some managed to have a few bites from their MREs, but we were quickly moving to the final evolution of the weekend. The Fire Team in the Offense (FITO) training took our four-man units and put them through several missions in hostile territory, testing many of the skills we had worked on. The upperclassmen got their teams briefed and ready before navigating woods, swamps, and hills en route to the objectives. Always on the alert, we faced multiple ambushes and assaulted the Cadre positions until the FITO course finally reached an end. This last phase concluded our training for the weekend, and the cold, exhausted Midshipmen loaded up in the vans to reach the extraction site. As we waited in an open field for the Blackhawks, the Cadre took the time to build a terrain model out of sticks and stones, showing the Platoon how to thoroughly brief a mission plan. Before long, the blades of the helicopters kicked up the dust and tore apart the grass of the landing zone along with the Cadre’s work on the terrain model. Once again, the platoon was good to go and gone in minutes.

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Boston University Company Pass in Review

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by MIDN 3/c Abraham

This past Saturday, the NROTC Boston University Company joined with cadets from Air Force and Army ROTC for the 33rd annual Pass In Review. The Pass In Review is a long-standing military ceremony that ensures battle readiness of troops, and recognizes the commitment and dedication graduating midshipmen and cadets have demonstrated throughout their involvement in ROTC. The ceremony also introduces the future generation of servicemen and women to the established traditions and customs of the armed forces.

Though the morning was at first frigid and windy, by the time Major General Craig Olson took the podium as the guest speaker, the sun was shining and Nickerson Field was beginning to warm. General Olson spoke of the experiences he has encountered and the people he has served for and alongside throughout his 33 year career in the United States Air Force. His assertion that throughout his career he has never actually worked a day in his life expresses his true passion and commitment to serving his country, and it is a perspective that Midshipmen and Cadets should attempt to emulate in their future military careers.

The Company Commander, MIDN 1/c Connor Love, along with Platoon Commanders MIDN 1/c Jason Grissino and Sean Spata led the Midshipmen in formation for the duration of the ceremony, which ran smoothly and timely.

The Pass in Review ceremony took place over Boston University’s Parents weekend and offered many mothers and fathers the opportunity to witness their son or daughter participate in this memorable event. After the Pass In Review, Boston University held a reception inside Agganis Arena for the attendees, the students and their families.

Hail To LT Daniel

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Written by MIDN 3/C Jackson Graves

The Boston NROTC Consortium is excited to welcome aboard LT Charles Daniel to the Battalion this semester. LT Daniel joins us as the 1/C and 2/C Advisor for the year. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy with the Class of 2009 and commissioned into the quiet but mighty submarine community.

After completing power school and prototype in Charleston, SC, LT Daniel reported to his first duty station aboard the USS HAMPTON, SSN-767, in December of 2010. After a CENTCOM and a WESTPAC deployment aboard the ship under as the Reactor Controls Assistant and the Assistant Engineer, he detached in November of 2013. One month later, he checked in with Destroyer Squadron 28 as the Submarine Operations Officer. In that position, he was in charge of operational and logistics planning for the USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN-75) Carrier Strike Group. In June of 2015, he arrived in Boston to begin working with the Boston NROTC Consortium.

As the 1/C and 2/C Advisor, he teaches Naval Ship Systems and Seapower & Navigation to the upperclassmen in order to prepare them for the rigors of a highly technical career in a highly-sophisticated Navy. As an effort to help the upperclassmen prepare for life in the Navy, he gives them helpful advice in the form of “Ensign 101.” One such example is to “Always try to learn. Use every opportunity as a learning opportunity.”

LT Daniel is excited to get to work with the talented people and Midshipmen of the Boston NROTC Consortium. He hopes to have a positive impact on their lives as a result of his work here. The Battalion is honored to have LT Daniel and is excited to learn from his wealth of fleet experience.

Welcome to the official blog of BU, BC, MIT, Harvard, Tufts, and Northeastern Naval ROTC. Thank you for your support! Please direct any questions to seadawgpao@gmail.com.

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