This year, like most others, incoming fourth class midshipmen are beginning to understand the basics of NROTC structure, protocol, and tradition. Taking a new direction, initial freshmen training was consolidated into one weekend in lieu of a week and a half at Naval Station Newport. After Freshmen Indoctrination weekend, fourth class midshipmen will continue their training throughout the fall semester and into the spring semester through mentorship, breakout labs, and weekend events.
The challenge of this change has most impacted many of the first class midshipmen in leadership positions. The change presented unique challenges in creating a freshmen training plan. New procedures and methods were needed to teach as much as possible and imbue the values of the Naval Service within a different time-frame. Although some were skeptical, Gunnery Sergeant Romer reassured the training staff, “I’ve seen three completely different styles of indoctrination, and trust me, they all yield the same results, this is a different method, but it will work the same, they will turn out just like you.”
Fourth class midshipmen were challenged too, as they had to accomplish all of the same objectives as previous midshipman candidates while simultaneously beginning their first semesters of college. INDOC Weekend took place a week after classes had already commenced. Despite these potential distractions, both the fourth class and staff proved their dedication to training which resulted in a successful weekend. “It was incredible to see the huge change in professionalism, military bearing, and teamwork over the course of just 48 hours. It is a testament to the fourth class’s willingness to learn and the staff’s commitment to upholding standards of excellence” said MIDN Ross who observed the weekend training as Public Affairs Officer.
The weekend kicked off with opening remarks and a pizza social to introduce the fourth class to other members of the battalion, as well as provide an opportunity to ask last-minute questions. The next day was their first taste of an early morning with a 0600 iPFA. The day was filled with the typical INDOC components of drill, uniform instruction, inspection, gouge studying, sounding off, and of course hydration. After a long and busy day, the fourth class were dismissed and retreated to their dorms for the night. The next morning kicked off with a sunrise sailing instruction and Mate A qualification. After marching the length of Boston University’s campus on Commonwealth Avenue, the fourth class returned to Babcock Supply for a day of instruction. By the conclusion of Day 2, the fourth class had signed scholarships, passed inspections, and were sworn in.
Despite the challenges of change, the battalion has adapted in order to retain fourth class training effectiveness. A new battalion staff billet, Freshmen Training Officer, has been created to continue effective midshipmen training throughout the year. Fourth class midshipmen will be required to complete a PQS (Professional Qualification Standard) over the course of the semester. Qualifications will include drill, sailing, fitness, color guard, academics, and other evolution to enhance leadership potential and character of all midshipmen. Upon completion, they will stand in front of a board of midshipmen leadership to test their knowledge.
This new freshmen training plan is likely to remain as the indoctrination method for upcoming years. The staff is very excited to continue developing the training and integration of fourth class into the battalion.
Written by: Midn 3/c Frayne
Edited by: MIDN 1/c Ross, MIDN 1/c McCormick