PNS Corner

CaptainStevenMBenkeGreetings from Boston!

After a long and very cold winter, spring is finally here!  The days are getting longer and the trees and flowers are in full bloom, which is great for everyone except for those with seasonal allergies!  The Battalion Change of Command has occurred and I would like to take an opportunity to reflect on the past semester and look forward to the future.

The spring semester just flew by!  Battalion Commander MIDN Simpson and his staff, along with the help of MIDN Pederson (BU Company Commander), MIDN Philbin (MIT Company Commander), and MIDN Brown (Marine Platoon Commander), did an excellent job continuing to integrate the battalion.  One of the greatest accomplishments was the development and execution of the Midshipmen 4/C Professional Qualification Standards program.  Early in the semester we held Joint Services Balls on each side of the river.  Both were well done and a lot of fun.  At Boston University we hosted the Sheehan Cup athletic event and although the BU Army ROTC left with the trophy at the end of the morning, the midshipmen made it a very tight competition.  At MIT we hosted the Beaver Cup Regatta and teams from RPI and Holy Cross traveled for a chance to sail on the Charles River and win the Beaver Cup.  At the end of the cold and blustery day, MIT won the top overall score and the Beaver Cup stayed in Boston.

The fall semester is always great because we get to welcome a new class of midshipmen, but the spring semester is awesome because we get to commission the next generation of Navy and Marine Corps officers!  Our commissioning ceremonies are fast approaching.  We have a large senior class this year and will be commissioning over 30 officers.  If you are in the area, I highly recommend attending one of the four ceremonies we will be holding in the coming weeks.  I wish all the best to those new officers as they get ready to join the fleet.

After a well-deserved summer break, where most midshipmen will get to experience the fleet during a summer cruise, we will start a new semester with MIDN Hayden at the helm of the battalion.  Based on initial numbers, we can optimistically expect well over 40 new freshmen to enter the battalion in the fall.  MIDN Hayden and his staff will start the new school year with the challenge of freshmen orientation.  This year we will be conducting freshmen orientation prior to the start of the fall semester in Boston.  We will continue to refine the freshmen orientation experience to ensure our incoming students are prepared for transition to college life as an NROTC Midshipmen.

Enjoy your summer break and we will see you in the fall!

All the best,

Steven M. Benke

Captain, United States Navy

Commanding Officer

BU – MIT Naval ROTC Consortium

“For in this modern world, the instruments of warfare are not solely for waging war. Far more importantly, they are the means for controlling peace. Naval officers must therefore understand not only how to fight a war, but how to use the tremendous power which they operate to sustain a world of liberty and justice, without unleashing the powerful instruments of destruction and chaos that they have at their command.”

Admiral Arleigh Burke, CNO, 1 August 1961, Change of command address at Annapolis, MD


Tufts Pass In Review and Awards Ceremony

DSC_4939Midshipmen from various universities in the Cambridge area, including MIT, Harvard and Tufts, celebrated the conclusion of the spring 2014 semester with a Pass in Review (PIR) and Joint Service Awards Ceremony. The events were hosted by Tufts University at Ellis Oval and The Fletcher School’s ASEAN Auditorium.

The PIR ceremony is an opportunity for the midshipmen and cadets to be reviewed by their superior officers. The reviewing officers for this event were Lieutenant Colonel Adam Edwards, Professor of Military Leadership; Captain Steven Benke, Professor of Naval Science; and Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Weibel, Professor of Aerospace Studies.

Midshipmen and cadets marched onto the field where they stood in platoon formation. The color guard honored the flags as everyone rose for the national anthem. Then the leaders of each platoon were brought forward, followed by the soon-to-be-commissioned seniors. Army Cadet and graduating MIT senior Andrew Fijan led the ceremony, as the entire formation of midshipmen and cadets marched around the field, passing in front of the party of reviewing officers.

DSC_5004Midshipman 4th Class Vardaan Gurung reflects on the event, saying, “The Pass in Review was an inspirational display of military drill and discipline. It also did a fantastic job of recognizing the commissioning seniors. Best of luck to them in the fleet!”

During the ceremony, the seniors were brought forward and recognized by name and future service communities, as they will all be commissioning within the next two months. The MIT Navy ROTC program is proud to be commissioning eight ensigns: Mic Byrne, Brian Foley, Victoria McCrave, Tyler Mehrman, and Elliot Sykora from MIT; CJ Curtis and Catherine Philbin from Harvard; and Joshua Prince from Tufts, as well as one 2nd lieutenant in the Marine Corps: Catherine Brown from Harvard.

Midshipman 3rd Class Kira Schott said, “For the seniors’ last event in ROTC, and on such a beautiful day, it was great to see all the branches coming together. As an underclassman midshipman, I was inspired to hear about the futures that await each cadet and midshipmen, and to know that they’ll be carrying the tradition of excellence beyond the schools we represent.”

Tufts senior Joshua Prince receives an award

At the Joint Service Awards Ceremony following the Pass in Review, various organizations in the Boston area honored midshipmen and cadets who have demonstrated strong leadership, academic, and physical abilities. Lieutenant Colonel Edwards gave the welcoming remarks and Tufts University representative, Dean James M. Glaser, enthusiastically showed his support for the ROTC program.

“The ceremony went very well and it was great to see all the seniors one last time before their commissioning,” says Midshipman 4th Class Julia Rubin following the ceremony. “They have been great role models to us this semester and it has been a great honor to learn from them.”

Written by: MIDN 3/c Carolena Ruprecht