My name is Michael Simpson and I am the Midshipman Battalion Commanding Officer for Spring 2014. I am a senior at Boston University majoring in International Relations, and I will commission as a Marine Corps Officer in May. It is an honor to work alongside and for the midshipmen of the Boston Naval ROTC as we prepare for our careers as Naval and Marine Corps Officers.
Now is our opportunity to prepare for that immeasurable responsibility. I am fortunate enough to have a truly skilled midshipman staff who are passionate about the program and bring different experiences and perspectives to the table. So far this semester they have put together a number of successful training evolutions, including leadership labs focusing on moral and ethical discussions, and lectures from university professors and VADM Bushong. We have a number of fun evolutions planned for the coming month, such as the MIT Beaver Cup Regatta and BU Joint Service Sheehan Cup. I am excited to see how the second half of the semester works out.
Looking beyond this semester, our 1/c Navy Option midshipmen have completed their service and ship selections and are waiting to receive orders. Our 1/c Marine Option midshipmen should hear about their TBS dates within the next month. It is exciting to think the culmination of our four years of training is only two months away. I trust that our 1/c MIDN are ready to hit the fleet and complete their mission.
On Friday evening, March 7th, members of the MIT military community gathered together for the annual MIT Joint Service Ball. The event was well attended by Navy, Army, and Air Force midshipmen and cadets from the MIT ROTC units. Special guests included MIT faculty members and the commanding officers of the MIT ROTC units: Captain Steven Benke, Professor of Naval Science; Lieutenant Colonel Adam Edwards, Professor of Military Science; and Lieutenant Colonel Ted Weibel, Professor of Aerospace Studies.
The evening commenced at 1800 with a social and cocktail hour as midshipmen, cadets, officers, and enlisted personnel across the different services chatted and mingled. When it was time to transition into the ballroom for dinner and the ceremony, the midshipmen and cadets of the Class of 2014 formed a receiving line to welcome and greet the officers and important guests in attendance. As the ceremony proceeded, each of these graduating midshipmen and cadets was recognized, as well as his or her service assignment following commissioning. All midshipmen of the Old Ironsides Battalion cheered proudly for their senior class, trying to outdo in volume the cheers of their Army and Air Force counterparts. The Navy and Marine Corps 1/c midshipmen are: Mic Byrne, Brian Foley, Victoria McCrave, Tyler Mehrman, and Elliot Sykora from MIT; Joshua Prince from Tufts; Catherine Brown, CJ Curtis, and Catherine Philbin from Harvard. These outstanding senior midshipmen will be serving in a range of communities, from Naval Aviation to Navy Special Warfare.
Although the ball was a joyous occasion, part of the ceremony served to remember and commemorate those POW’s and MIA’s who were not able to join in the celebration. Festivities continued throughout the evening, as dinner and dancing were enjoyed by all present. Much camaraderie could be seen among the midshipmen and cadets, strengthening the bonds of friendship formed by a shared desire to serve in the United States military. The MIT Joint Service Ball will definitely be remembered, and eagerly looked forward to next year.
Midshipmen from the MIT and BU Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps unit welcomed Vice Admiral Paul J. Bushong to Massachusetts Institute of Technology on February 28th to discuss his career and current service assignment. VADM Bushong, a 1981 Naval Academy graduate, is currently the U.S. Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem. His primary responsibility is to the Secretary of State “for assisting the Palestinian Authority to transform and professionalize its security sector, advocating for security initiatives that build trust and confidence, and supporting whole-of-government efforts to set the conditions for a negotiated two-state solution” (Navy.mil).
Over an engaging discussion and lunch, midshipmen asked intelligent and provoking questions with regard to Israeli-Palestinian affairs. VADM Bushong discussed his experiences travelling between the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv every week. While the three are located no more than 45 miles apart, VADM Bushong noted that the places are drastically different. On top of that travel, he comes back to Washington every three months to brief the Department of Defense on his work.
As a submarine officer in the desert, VADM Bushong certainly stands out in more ways than one. Commenting on his choice to become a submariner, Bushong noted that his original desire at the Naval Academy was to join the Marine Corps. The Navy had other plans for him, however, and he was selected for the submarine service. Bushongs says that “the Navy needed me for the job, so that’s what I wanted to do.”
Looking back on his experiences to date, VADM Bushong remarked that the tours that stand out most in his memory were the ones at sea with his sailors. Midshipman 2nd Class Josh Dalva of Boston University asked the question that seemed to be on everyone’s mind: “Being a submarine officer, how did you come into your current service assignment?”
Without missing a beat, Bushong responded, “By taking the road less travelled. Part of the game is being willing to play, and that involves taking the job assignments that interest you, rather than those that are predetermined for a successful career.” Bushong left the midshipmen with a new perspective about the kinds of job that are available for naval officers. The midshipmen of the Boston Consortium found Vice Admiral Bushong’s visit enlightening and were appreciative of the opportunity to spend the afternoon with him.
Written by: MIDN 2/c Vadim Reytblat
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