In the four years it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree, the midshipmen of the Old Ironsides Battalion will also train to become officers and commission into the United States Navy or Marine Corps. To get from civilian to capable military leader, they undergo a rigorous and comprehensive training regimen, while at the same time being able to have the college experience.
A typical week will start off bright and early at 0600 on Monday with PT, or Physical Training. Some weeks, we are out at the track doing calisthenics and interval training, while other times we are rock climbing or doing swim relays. Midshipmen will then have Naval Science classes several times during the week. Freshmen, or 4/c (fourth class), will have Introduction to Naval Science on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for an hour and a half. Upperclassmen take a variety of courses ranging from Leadership and Ethics to Naval Weapon Systems.
On Wednesdays, the entire battalion will wear the UOD (Uniform of the Day) around campus. At 1500 on Wednesdays, the battalion will assemble for Lab. Lab can consist of anything from a series of informative briefs on time management, Naval careers, current affairs, etc. to a session of Krav Maga, Israeli martial arts. Lab is always the most informative, important, and engaging event of the week.
Outside of the classroom, midshipmen are strongly encouraged to participate in NROTC extracurricular activities. Midshipmen are required to accrue a minimum of 100 activities points per semester, and there exists many ways to earn points. Volunteering to hand out programs at the Harvard football games and attending Aviation Club or Surface Warfare Club meetings can earn a few points. More time-intensive activities like joining color guard or participating in all-day events like a regatta or MEC (Military Excellence Competition) can garner even more. The bottom line is that all midshipmen are able to find something that they enjoy and can excel in, all while contributing to the unit as a whole.
As a 4/c, I have only been a part of the battalion for about two months but already I feel like a part of the Unit. The time commitment and effort one must put into their Naval ROTC experience is more than I expected, but what a midshipman gets out of it is incredible. NROTC is an experience that will teach you things, take you places, change who you are for the better, and develop lasting friendships and connections.
Written by: MIDN 4/c Vardaan Gurung