The only regulation from The Marine Officer’s Guide in respect to the Birthday Ball states “[The] one ironclad rule for the Birthday Ball: make it a good one.” Indeed, the Boston NROTC midshipmen were able to uphold this instruction with honor, courage, commitment, and a little bit of dancing.
This year’s Birthday Ball was held at the Hyatt Regency of Cambridge, overlooking the Charles River. The night started off with a small cocktail hour to introduce dates and listen to the sound of jazz ring through the receiving hall. With shiny shoes and dates on their arms, the members of the Naval Service filed into the grand ball room after a quick introduction and handshake with Captain Benke.
Once everyone had taken their seats, the sword detail lined up and MIDN Frayne, the adjutant, marched down the ballroom in preparation for the annual reading of the birthday scroll. The sword detail, led by MIDN Ross, then followed in step to the cadence of “Semper Fidelis” and took its place after saluting the guests of honor and colors. Called by MIDN Zins, the cake detail slowly made its way out and preformed the cherished ceremony of the cutting of the cake with a sword, to represent that we recognize our tasks behind and ahead of us, and the passing down of the first slice of cake from the oldest to the youngest Marine and Sailor, to represent the passing of knowledge and pride from the experienced to the new.
After the ceremony finished, dinner was served as laughter and talk rang throughout the ballroom. Friends were made while butter was being passed around and we all discovered the friends we are fortunate enough to work alongside with. MIDN Byrne then stepped up to the podium in praise of the battalion’s work this semester and the promise that the future officers surely hold. Two speeches by the guests of honor, Senate nominee Gabriel Gomez and Brigadier General Ronald Baczkowski, and a slice of cake later, D.J. Sketch (MIDN Sacher) started playing as midshipmen and their dates took off their jackets and began dancing. The Marine options formed their own group outside to bond with their fellow midshipmen and cadre with a cigar in their hands as a symbol of togetherness.
Truly, the 2013 Boston NROTC Navy/Marine Corps Birthday Ball was a success for all who helped out and attended, for we walked out knowing that “for years our Corps has done two things for this great Nation: we make Marines and we win battles” (Gen Charles C. Krulak). But along with the making of fine sailors, we also make fine friends.
Led by a dynamic duo of 3/C midshipmen, MIDN Spata and MIDN Love, the Spec War Club started the semester off right with a rendezvous at the Reservoir by Boston College. For the first meeting of the semester, members hit the ground running—literally—which became a reoccurring theme throughout the semester. After a three-mile Indian Run around the Res, the group convened for their first taste of mini-BUD/S. MIDN 1/C Greco provided the group with a quick lesson on how to, “Bust ‘em,” and from that point on it was clear that Spec War knows how to get down to business.
The following week, Spec War Club met again at Boston College with some pool time. Water confidence and swimming proficiency are essential components of becoming a US Navy SEAL or EOD, so they utilized their time in the glorious Plex learning how to swim combat sidestroke. Following the swimming lesson, members performed a PST, or Physical Screening Test; which consists of a 500 yard swim, max push-ups in two minutes, max sit-ups in two minutes, max pull-ups, and a 1.5-mile run. Some other PT escapades this semester included a 5.5-mile run along the Charles River and proudly running along side the MO’s at the Marine Corps Birthday Run.
In addition to the fitness training conducted as a group, Spec War meetings also typically include valuable insight from upperclassmen, who participated in mini-BUD/S over their First Class Summer Cruise. Obtaining as much exposure to the arduous conditions and extreme expectations of the Spec War community prepares members for the difficult reality that they must willingly face and overcome. Through hard work, motivating discussions, and helpful information sharing, the Spec War Club succeeds in its leaders’ goal to foster a proud, tight-knit brotherhood amongst the participating midshipmen.
In order to continue the training for and education of the Spec War Community, the club hopes to continue weekly meetings with PT as well as organize special events for the spring semester. One such event will be a trip to the Navy SEAL Obstacle Course in New York. They also hope to do more PT in boots and BDU pants in an aim to earn higher scores on future PSTs. Aside from the physical aspects of training and education, Spec War Club also hopes to bring in retired enlisted and officer Navy SEAL and EOD guest speakers to hear more about both sides of the Spec War Community.
The first monthly meeting of the Aviation Club started the semester on a high note. The lab prior to the meeting set the stage for the event: students had just finished the Aviation Platforms Professional Knowledge Exam (PKE). With the opportunities for their futures fresh in their minds, midshipmen from both sides of the river packed in to a classroom in the Metcalf Science Building. After an informative brief delivered by LT Teeter regarding the timeline and requirements for those interested in the community, the audience had the chance to hear about recent cruise experiences from a few of their senior peers. Hearing MIDN van Hamburg, Foley, McCormick and McCrave share their 1/C Aviation Cruise stories was as entertaining as it was informative- and certainly motivating, as well.
But it is not just the meetings that have made this semester a great one for the club- it has some new opportunities to offer the battalion as well. Courtesy of LT Reed, midshipmen have the chance for some real flight time. Additionally, a tour of the GE plant in Lynn gave those who attended a rare glimpse in to the long, complex, and fascinating process of what goes in to designing and building the engines behind the planes many aspire to someday fly.
The club closes out this semester with a PRK meeting geared towards underclassmen looking for the information they need to ensure their vision qualifies them for possible aviation careers. The Aviation Club looks forward to the Brown Shoe Ceremony next semester for the seniors who service-selected aviation.
On the night of 10 October the Surface Warfare Officer Club held their first meeting of the semester. With a great turnout of nearly thirty midshipmen, the club was ready to engage in some exciting SWO events and introductions. It was presided over by LT Tribou, the resident SWO Officer, and SWO Club President MIDN 2/c Josh Dalva. After some introductions and the customary pizza, the SWO club was ready to begin a semester full of interesting events. During this introductory club meeting, the focus was on getting the new 4/c midshipmen involved in and educated on the basics of the SWO community. The highlight of the meeting, besides new surface warfare news, were the presentations of cruise experiences done by 1/c and 2/c midshipmen who had recently returned from their surface summer cruises. Now that the SWO Club has finished their initial introductions to the club, as well as the community, there is room to begin having a whole host of interesting and fun events. During the remainder of the fall semester, SWO Club plans to take a trip to the USS Constitution for a specialized tour and question and answer session with the crew of the ship. Next semester, the club has aspirations to make a trip or two down to Newport Naval Base in order to make use of the SWOSS School’s interactive bridge trainers in order to provide a more hands-on approach to the SWO community. There are many interesting things coming up in the SWO Club during this semester and especially in the next. Those not particularly interested in the community are always welcome so they have the opportunity to see the light and realize the clear benefits of going SWO!
The Higbee Society, named after second nurse corps superintendent, Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee, is alive and well this semester (no pun intended)! The Higbee Society is comprised of five nurse corps midshipmen and their mentor, CAPT Majors, USN (ret). Society meetings provide the opportunity for this select group of midshipmen to seek guidance about classes, clinical, cruise, and life as a nurse. Though there are few aspiring nurses in the Battalion, with only one commissioning this spring, the group is open to anyone interested in Navy Medicine, good food, and even better company.
For MIDN 3/c Donahue, the Higbee society played an important role in her decision to pursue NROTC. She cites the Higbee tour of the USNS Comfort with CAPT Majors her senior year of high school as “the memory that makes me genuinely enthusiastic about joining in the military. This tour on a hospital ship helped me decide to join the program.” MIDN 3/c Rogers echoes the sentiment, stating, “I always feel highly affirmed in my decision to become a nurse after speaking with these ladies; they are incredibly inspiring and motivating.”
Some activities in the past include a visit to CAPT Major’s clinic in Chinatown, an evening at the Union Oyster House with a ten pound lobster, discussion in the North End over pasta, a Marquette University Nurse Corps Exchange Symposium, and in early September had the honor of being recognized by the Military Order of the Worlds for their commitment to the Nurse Corps and health of future Navy personnel. Regardless of the activity, members of the Higbee Society can always count on support, networking opportunities, and open, honest discussion about a career in the Nurse Corps.
The mission of the Boston Battalion Nuclear Power Club is to maintain and create interest in the Navy’s nuclear forces. There are three service selections that this club appeals too: the submarine community, the SWO Nuke community, and restricted line Naval Reactors. This club also functions to help midshipmen selected for the nuclear community prepare for their mandatory interview in Washington DC. This interview is a rite of passage that all nuclear naval officers must pass. It involves solving technical questions as well as a face to face interview with the admiral in charge of the nuclear navy.
Over the summer, MIDN Byrne and Thibault were accepted into the submarine force, MIDN Philbin into the SWO Nuke community, and MIDN Kelley into Naval Reactors. MIDN Ross, Solomon, Sykora, B. Foley and Prince were picked up into the nuke community through service assignment. MIDN Sykora, B. Foley, and Prince have passed their interviews. The rest are preparing for their interviews, which will occur early next year.
In order to maintain and create interest in the nuke force, there have been two meetings this semester and trip to Electric Boat, a commercial facility that builds submarines. In the first meeting, the new fourth class were accepted into the club and informed of the pipeline and befits to the nuke community. Next, each of the different submarine platforms was introduced and recent news that has affected the community was discussed. In the second meeting, three major nuclear disasters were presented by LT Blair. The causes and the science behind nuclear power were also discussed.
The trip to Groton was a special event to see the commissioning of the newest submarine in the fleet, the North Dakota. There was a large turnout for this event. The commission encompassed speeches from senators and admirals and finished this the tradition breaking of a bottle over the hull. The North Dakota brings many new and capable technologies to the fleet. It is probable that some of our midshipmen will one day serve on this submarine.
Nuclear Power Club has concluded its major activities for the semester, but there is still some club activity on the horizon. There is a plan to teach members cribbage, the traditional game of submariners, and have a tournament involving nuke staff and any interested midshipmen. Nuclear Power Club also will continue to help the midshipmen preparing for their interview in Washington DC.
Written by: MIDN 1/c Robert Morgan Kelley
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