Since MIDN 1/c Bridget McCoy was 10 years old, she new she wanted to fly military aircraft. After being homeschooled from grades 1-12, she decided that studying at MIT and participating in the NROTC program would be the best way to achieve this goal. Bridget McCoy’s definition of ‘best’ may be a little different than what most people might assume. More often than not, we consider the ‘best’ way to do something as the ‘easiest’ way or the ‘most convenient’ way to get the job done. Not for MIDN McCoy. Her advice is, “Do hard things. Ask for the billets that scare you the most, because the experiences that challenge you are the ones you’ll learn the most from.” She considered the ‘best’ way to achieve her goals was by choosing the path that would most challenge her mentally, physically, and psychologically.

During her time at MIT, MIDN 1/c McCoy studied Aerospace Engineering. Not only will she know how to fly aircraft, she also knows exactly how they work. While balancing this rigorous course load, McCoy took on various leadership roles within the NROTC battalion. This past summer, she was the Commanding Officer for the NROTC Freshmen Orientation Program, leading a group of 20 midshipmen to instruct 50 incoming freshmen on how to adjust to life in NROTC. During the Fall Semester, she was the Executive Officer of the entire NROTC battalion, overseeing the training plan of over 100 midshipmen.

When asked what leadership means to her, MIDN McCoy replied, “Leadership means to empower your people to own the mission of the organization.  It means to put their needs above your own.  It means to take responsibility when things go wrong.” These words describe MIDN McCoy’s leadership perfectly, while also reflecting leadership traits highly valued in the United States Navy. During the Freshmen Orientation program, she was always one of the first people up in the morning and one of the last people to go to sleep at night. MIDN McCoy writes, “Doing everything “right” isn’t good enough. You have to care more than that, and look for ways to make things better.” She truly strives to live her life in this manner and she is always thinking of ways to help make things easier for others. Recently, she created a 4-inch thick binder full of tips for the future Commanding Officer of the Freshmen Orientation Program.

Another way MIDN McCoy demonstrates her leadership capabilities is through the ROTC mentorship program. She reaches out to other midshipmen in the battalion and helps them to learn and excel in ROTC and academics. Whenever there is a need or a question, MIDN McCoy will make herself available to help in any way she can. As both a formal and informal mentee of MIDN McCoy, words cannot describe how much I have valued going out to lunch with her on a busy school day, or going for a run with her along the Charles when I am looking for some advice. I know I have developed into a stronger leader because I have had the chance to learn from MIDN McCoy.

MIDN McCoy truly tries to do everything the best way possible. To her, that best way involves hard work, determination, initiative, and above all, genuine care for the people around her. I know that wherever life takes her, she will excel at what she is doing and enrich the lives of those she works with. Now as she prepares to receive a Bachelor’s of Science in Aerospace Engineering from MIT, the aviation community should prepare to receive one of the best people this world has to offer.

MIDN 2/c Carolena Ruprecht

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