NROTC Midshipman Attend Motivating Ship Naming Ceremony

SECNAV 19Sep16.jpg

Article by MIDN 1/C Huynh, Photo by SECNAV public affairs staff

 

Ten midshipmen had the amazing opportunity to attend the naming ceremony of the US Navy’s newest fleet replenishment oilers, T-AO 209 and 210. This service, held in the Boston Public Library, showcased the social reforms which have come to the US Navy under Ray Mabus’ direction. The Secretary of the Navy has named this newest class of oilers the John Lewis-class, after the civil rights activist Rep. John Lewis, and has declared that he would name all subsequent ships after those who fight for human rights. Notably, Secretary Mabus named T-AO 206 “USNS Harvey Milk,” after the LGBTQ rights activist who was assassinated while in political office.

The moving ceremony started off with the presentation of colors and national anthem by the USS Constitution staff. Secretary Mabus then rose and addressed the audience, commenting on the fact that all of the sailors from the USS Constitution staff — both men and women — were wearing the same uniform. Females in the military, he pointed out, were routinely separated from the rest of their comrades in both duties and uniform. But it is clear that he will not stand for this type of inequality in today’s Navy. He told the audience, “you weren’t looking at male sailors or female sailors. You were looking at sailors, and that’s the way it ought to be.”

The SECNAV announced the names for the two newest oilers, which further highlighted his dedication to gender equality and civil rights in the Navy. He named the new oilers the USNS Lucy Stone and the USNS Sojourner Truth, after historic female civil rights leaders.

Lucy Stone was a vocal advocate for women’s rights and the first woman to earn a college degree in Massachusetts. A strong, driven woman, Lucy Stone famously decided to keep her own name after marriage, which was nearly unheard of in the 17th century, and vocally pushed for legislation to abolish slavery and to promote women’s rights and suffrage.

Sojourner Truth was a black woman born into slavery in 1797. Originally born Isabella Baumfree, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth after her escape to freedom, and became an extraordinarily outspoken human rights advocate, known for her speech “Ain’t I A Woman.” She became the first black woman to win a lawsuit against a white man after she sued for custody of her son, who had been sold to a different master after she fled to freedom.

Secretary Mabus also announced the sponsors for the two newest ships during the naming ceremony. For the USNS Lucy Stone, he chose Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and for the USNS Sojourner Truth, he chose Marian Wright Edelman, the founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund.

Ms. Wright attended the ceremony, and spoke on the importance of women’s rights and civil rights activism. She read a quote from Sojourner Truth, which is inscribed on a pendant she wears around her neck: “If women want any rights more than they’ve got, why don’t they just take them and not be talking about it?” Wright exhorted the gathered crowd to take these words seriously, saying that “these are our marching orders.”

After closing remarks by SECNAV, and the reveal of the USNS Sojourner Truth and USNS Lucy Stone, the ceremony was over. The Midshipmen in attendance had the opportunity to talk with some of the former military members in the audience, and then snagged a photo with the Secretary himself (shown above).

The BU-MIT Midshipmen left the ceremony with pride in the tenets which their uniforms represent. MIDN 2/C Henzer of Tufts University commented that “hearing the SECNAV’s explanation of why these ships were receiving these names was extremely important in terms of acknowledging the ideals we fight for, especially given that these women were leaders outside of a military context.” Of course, he also admitted, “getting to see the SECNAV himself was an amazing opportunity, and we all left feeling much more motivated about the service.”

Fourth Class Participate in USS Constitution Heritage Weekend

20160917_122551.jpgBy MIDN 3/C Daniel Kelly, Photo by USS Constitution Public Affairs

Freshmen from the Boston NROTC Consortium traveled to the USS Constitution, “Old Ironsides,” this past weekend, September 17th and 18th, for a lesson in US Navy tradition and interactions with enlisted sailors. The USS Constitution, the Navy’s oldest commissioned warship, is a working naval command as well as a historical site. The crew are all active duty members of the US Navy who participate in outreach events and ceremonies for the mission of educating people on the rich history of the USS Constitution. The incoming 4/C had the honor of taking part in some these events.

Early Saturday, the freshmen and supporting staff arrived at the Constitution ready for a full day of training events and naval history. The weekend started with a trip to Bunker Hill and a lesson on the history of the “Battle of Bunker Hill,” one of the early battles of the American Revolutionary War where the famous order “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes” was given. Then the 4/C engaged in an informative lesson in drill with Gunnery Sergeant Askew. Afterwards, the freshmen spent time at various stations where they actively participated in evolutions that the crew of the Constitution in the 19th century would have done as well.

The first of three groups started at the cannon firing station. Midshipmen gained proficiency in the workings of loading and firing a cannon, trying to attain the shortest cycle time. Another group wen to the pike station where they learned how to wield and fight with pikes. The pike, a long staffed weapon with a blade on the end, was used by the Marines on the Constitution to prevent the ship from being boarded. The last of the groups would be at the rowing station, during which the freshmen were able to work as a team and row around the Boston Harbor in gigs designed to resemble ones used by Constitution in the 19th century.

Saturday night the freshmen helped clean the warship and polish her brass, then took part in a tour of the whole ship where they were told the history of the ship and ghost stories from Old Ironsides’ crewmembers. Getting the full experience, the 4/C spent the night under the stars on the top deck of the ship. MIDN 4/C Pilepich said “I gained a true appreciation for the history and the traditions of the Navy. There is nothing quite like spending a night aboard the oldest commissioned ship in the Navy to teach someone that.”

The next morning all of the midshipmen and staff had the opportunity to run along part of Boston’s Freedom Trail all the way to historic Faneuil Hall. The ship’s crew led the formation run and taught the midshipmen to sing cadence. The few hardy Bostonians we met along the route cheered and wished us well as we ran by.

After the run and a quick cleanup, the midshipmen went back to the gunnery station to compete for the fastest time. Team 3 won the event and received “Master Gunner” certificates and spent shell casings from the Constitution’s 40mm ceremonial cannon as their prizes. After cleaning and polishing the ship’s spar deck one last time and enjoying a hot breakfast in the galley, the midshipmen enjoyed an entertaining presentation about the ship’s history and restoration in the USS Constitution Museum and etched their names into the copper plating that will line her hull for the next 20 years.

Overall, it was an amazing learning and team-building experience, and we are thankful to the crew of the USS Constitution for this unique opportunity.

Boston NROTC Consortium Change of Command

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Photo by Ms. Phyllis Norwood

Article by ENS Robert Conkey

On Friday June 10th the command of the Boston Navy ROTC Consortium formally changed hands from CAPT Steven M. Benke to CAPT James E. Horten in a change of command ceremony.  With an 18th floor view from Boston University’s west campus, downtown Boston and the Charles River were a perfect backdrop for CAPT Benke to finish out four great years in Boston.

After both CAPT Benke and CAPT Horten were piped aboard, the crew of the USS Constitution presented the colors for the playing of the national anthem. ENS Conner Love then gave the invocation to pray for both the incoming and outgoing commanding officers.  From there, CAPT Benke gave his remarks thanking his friends, family, and staff for their hard work and support over four years.  He spoke of how rewarding he found the job to mentor, lead, and grow Midshipmen from high school graduates and commission them as Naval officers.

Following CAPT Benke’s remarks, he was awarded the Legion of Merit for his leadership and success in meeting the NROTC mission and accession goals. He was also presented a framed picture of the Boston Battalion, with the frame made of wood and copper from the hull of the USS Constitution.  From there, each Captain read his orders and CAPT Horten formally accepted total responsibility, authority, and accountability from CAPT Benke.  CAPT Horten followed with his concise remarks, stating that he is ready and looking forward to assuming command and taking on the role of Commanding Officer of the Boston NROTC Consortium.  After a closing benediction from ENS Love wishing them good will in their future endeavors the Captains were piped ashore and everyone enjoyed a reception in the back.

CAPT Horten’s last duty station was Commanding Officer of Cornell University’s Naval ROTC unit. From Boston, CAPT Benke’s next tour of duty will be in Norfolk, Virginia working with Submarine Forces Atlantic.

 

Four New Officers Commissioned at Boston College

BC Commissioning 2016By ENS Jasper Burns

Boston Consortium NROTC commissioned four Boston College graduates into the Navy and Marine Corps last Sunday, May 22nd. ENS Longest, ENS Rogers, ENS Spata, and 2nd LT Hamilton all commissioned in a joint ceremony with BC army cadets on the Bapst Lawn.

The Master of Ceremonies was Army Cadet Robert Chesler, who introduced the commissionees and introduced the Professor of Military Science, LtCol Timothy Ferguson. Following LtCol Ferguson’s remarks, were those by the Guest of Honor, Major General James F. Pasquarette, Commanding General of United States Army Japan, who had flown in from Japan the previous night for the sake of this commissioning.  He noted that being at the ceremony was not a burden, but an honor.

After his speech, each commissionee came up in turn to take their oath. 2nd Lt Connell of BC Army said some words as class speaker, and then all the new officers received their first salutes in front of BC’s Golden Eagle.

MIDN 1/C Reid noted that “One of the best parts about this ceremony was that it brought BC’s Army and Navy units together, which is something that doesn’t happen too often. As a result, there were many jokes regarding the age-old rivalry between the two branches, but the guest speakers also spoke about joint operations between the two and the importance of each branch by itself.”

ENS Longest and ENS Rogers will be reporting to Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton as Navy Nurses. ENS Spata is going to Naval Aviation Schools Command in Pensacola as a Naval Flight Officer, and 2nd Lt Hamilton will be headed to The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia for training as a Marine Officer.

BU Commissions 9 New Officers Onboard USS Constitution

BU commissioning 2016Photo by Phyllis Norwood and Article by ENS Ashley Potts

On May 16, 2016 the nine 1/C Midshipmen of Boston University became commissioned officers in a ceremony onboard the Navy’s oldest commissioned warship still in active service, the USS Constitution. Eight are headed into the US Navy, while the other is headed to the US Marine Corps. 6 Midshipmen also volunteered to help with the ceremony as sideboys – MIDN 1/C Koch, MIDN 1/C Reid, MIDN 2/C Lopez, MIDN 2/C Ladine, MIDN 3/C Haley, and MIDN 3/C Kierstead.

Ensign Love, chosen by his class to be the class representative, gave the opening speech. In his speech, he talked about the bonds the 1/C-now Ensigns- shared, and how they were proud to be joining an organization as rich and full of tradition as the US Navy. ENS King stated that his speech was “incredibly motivational”.

RDML Danelle Barrett, Deputy Director of Current Operations at U.S. Cyber Command and graduate of Boston University NROTC, was in attendance to read the 1/C their Oath of Office. In her keynote address, she made remarks about each of the seniors, encouraging each of them to make their mark.

ENS Sternstein said that “it was awesome having all of our families there to celebrate with us the culmination of 4 years of hard work, and our entrance into the naval service” while ENS Burns noted that “it was great for my non-military family to finally see me in uniform and experience a commissioning full of naval tradition and on the oldest commissioned ship in the Navy.” MIDN 1/c Reid, a sideboy at the ceremony, said of the ceremony itself that “seeing all the seniors that I have known for three years in ROTC commission and become Ensigns was humbling and inspiring and really made me excited for our class next year.”

2nd Lt Frayne-Reixa will be going to TBS in Quantico, Virginia. ENS Conkey, ENS Sternstein, ENS Love, ENS Guerra, and ENS Grissino will be heading to Naval Aviation Schools Command in Pensacola, Florida to become Student Naval Aviators. ENS Burns and ENS Potts will also be heading to Naval Aviation Schools Command in Pensacola, Florida as Naval Flight Officers.  ENS King is going to Navy Propulsion Training Command in Charleston, South Carolina to train as a Submarine Officer.

Spring 2016 Change Of Command

Photo By MIDN 4/c Savannah Clarke and Article by MIDN 4/c Mary Kierstead

In lieu of the usual Leadership Lab, midshipmen donned their summer whites last Wednesdays to participate in the Change of Command Ceremony.  A change of command is a military tradition that represents a transfer of responsibility.  In this case, it signified the turnover of the duties of Midshipmen Battalion Commander from MIDN 1/C Pushaw  to MIDN 2/C Koch.  The ceremony began with the guest speaker, Colonel Penzola, who imparted words of advice to the current and future battalion commanders.  He ended his speech with a quote from John Boyd, a former Air Force Fighter Pilot.  Boyd refused to compromise his morals for advancement:

“And you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go.” He raised his hand and pointed. “If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments.” Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed another direction. “Or you can go that way and you can do something — something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won’t have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference.”

Colonel Penzola concluded by challenging midshipmen, “To be or to do, which way will you go?”

Following the speech, MIDN 1/C Carolyn Pushaw relinquished her responsibilities as Battalion Commander to MIDN 2/C Brendan Koch.  MIDN Koch realizes the challenges the midshipmen will face next semester, “but I am confident in each midshipman here to meet those experiences with diligence and as opportunities for development.”  As the first class commissions, the underclassmen are looking forward to another year of growth and development as leaders.

Following the Change of Command, the midshipmen headed inside for an awards ceremony.  Several first class midshipmen were recognized for their outstanding performance in the battalion.  MIDN Carolyn Pushaw received the Harvard ROTC Aviation Award and the Marine Officer’s Sword.  MIDN Carolena Ruprecht received the Surface Navy Association ROTC Award.  The Professor of Naval Science Award was given to MIDN Longest and MIDN Nonnamaker.  MIDN King and MIDN Holcomb were both awarded the Naval Officer’s Sword.  Other company level awards were given out to recognize the hard work and accomplishments of the midshipmen this semester.  MIT 2nd Platoon received Honor Platoon and MIDN 3/C Kellner and MIDN 3/C Mule were awarded Midshipman of the Semester.

The ceremony was followed by breakfast where the midshipmen celebrated another successful year in ROTC.

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