Harvard Commissioning

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The Boston Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) consortium commissioned a Harvard midshipman at the Harvard Tercentenary Theater on Wednesday, 27 May.

Sebastian Raul Saldivar received a commission in the United States Armed Forces, along with three of his peers in the Army ROTC. A native of Grand Prairie, Texas, Ensign Saldivar graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Mathematics. He will report to Navy Nuclear Power School en route to serving as a Submarine Warfare Officer.

The ceremony’s guest speaker was Army General David G. Perkins, Commander, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command. Addressing the newly commissioned officers, he advised them that “the military wants leaders of competency and character. Long have you looked towards people of authority to evaluate you but now those that grade your ‘homework’ should be those whom you serve.” Leadership through taking care of your people was at the core of his remarks.

Harvard University President Drew G. Faust continued the address from the steps of Memorial Church, on whose walls are etched the names of over 1300 Harvard alumni who died in combat. “Harvard has placed a central role in America’s tradition — today we celebrate your part in that legacy. We honor you for honoring the tradition of national service that Harvard has so long embraced,” said Dr. Faust.
Four years ago, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus met with President Faust to sign an agreement that officially reestablished Harvard NROTC on March 4, 2011. Harvard was one of the first six colleges to establish ROTC beginning in 1926 along with the University of California, Berkeley; Northwestern University; University of Washington; Yale University; and Georgia Institute of Technology.

Seventeen Harvard graduates are Medal of Honor recipients, trailing only West Point and Annapolis. Notable alumni include Leonard Wood, leader of the Rough Riders, who became the only doctor that would rise to become Chief of Staff of the Army; Theodore Roosevelt, his fellow Rough Rider, winner of the Nobel peace Prize, and 26th President of the United States; and John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States who served on a Motor Torpedo Boat unit during World War II. Their legacies are indicative of the types of leaders that Harvard produces and serve as markers for the newly commissioned officers towards which to aspire.
“Commissioning is probably the best part of the year for us. It represents the end-goal of our work with these students over their four years in college.” said LT Stephen Smith, one of the NROTC instructors based at MIT. “I look forward to seeing what ENS Saldivar does in the fleet!”
The NROTC program, overseen by Rear Adm. Richard A. Brown, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill., was established to develop midshipmen mentally, morally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, loyalty and Navy core values in order to commission college graduates as Naval officers who possess a basic professional background, are motivated toward careers in the Naval service and have a potential for future development in mind and character so as to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.

RADM Brown and NSTC oversee 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy. This includes the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps at more than 160 colleges and universities, Officer Training Command on Naval Station Newport, R.I., Recruit Training Command, the Navy’s only boot camp, at Great Lakes, Ill., and Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.

For more information about NROTC, visit https://www.nrotc.navy.mil/.

For more information about NSTC, visit http://www.netc.navy.mil/nstc/,
https://www.facebook.com/NavalServiceTraining/ and http://www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/.

By Midshipman 1st Class Jimmy Castaño


Boston University NROTC Holds Commissioning Ceremony

BOSTON, Massachusetts. (May 18, 2015) – Ten Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) midshipmen and Marines were commissioned as naval officers at the Hillel House on Boston University’s campus.

The eight Navy-option and two Marine-option Boston University and Boston College NROTC students were recognized by the guest of honor, Captain Christopher Simpson, USMC, in front of an audience of more than two hundred people before entering military service. These newly commissioned officers will serve around the globe in a variety of military occupational specialties including aviation, surface warfare, submarine warfare and Marine Corps air and ground.

Commissioned as ensigns were, Andrew Bates, Hannah Constantakis, Joshua Dalva, Alexander Hayden, Braydon Hummeldorf, Akshat Patel, Elizabeth Shaffer, and Sarah Verille. Commissioned as 2nd lieutenants were, Karly Boettcher and Paul Sean-Woo Kim. All were commissioned by officers of their choosing.

Captain Simpson delivered his address to the audience and gave resonating advice to the new ensigns and 2nd lieutenants. He stressed the importance of caring for one’s people, offering the wisdom that “it’s not about you anymore,” and that the future ensigns and 2nd lieutenants will always have to put their people first. Captain Simpson is preparing to take command of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines and he has previously served in three combat tours in Iraq, one as a Lance Corporal and two as an officer after obtaining his commission through OCS. Captain Simpson has also served as the Executive Officer of Recruiting Station New Jersey, and was the Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General of Marine Corps Recruiting Command. Captain Steve Benke, Commanding Officer of the Boston NROTC Consortium, remarked that it was a “wonderful opportunity to watch these ensigns grow over the last 3 years, and it was “very exciting to see their first step” into the Fleet.

Ensign Hannah Constantakis, a new surface warfare officer who will report aboard the USS San Diego in San Diego, California, reflected on her journey through NROTC, saying “I’m going to miss the close knit community I had in ROTC. Every year we’ve grown stronger together, learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses and contributing what we can to make our team the best it can be. We all come from different backgrounds, but together we’ve made something really special. Although it’s sad to be leaving, I’ll always hold our memories in a special place and I look forward to future positive communities in the fleet.”

Christopher Hayden, father of Ensign Alexander Hayden, proclaimed praise for these new ensigns, noting that he was “super proud of what these guys represent” and that after getting “the best education, they will surely be successful in their pursuits.”

Lieutenant Jonathan Blair, who served as the officer-in-charge for the senior commissioning, said that it was a “heartfelt and touching” ceremony, encapsulated by “excellent speeches” by all parties. Overall, the commissioning at Boston University was a memorable event for all and marks the beginning of an important journey for the new ensigns and 2nd lieutenants. Fair winds and following seas to the Class of 2015.

The NROTC program, overseen by Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois, was established to develop midshipmen mentally, morally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, loyalty and Navy core values in order to commission college graduates as Naval officers who possess a basic professional background, are motivated toward careers in the Naval service and have a potential for future development in mind and character so as to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.

For more information about NROTC, visit https://www.nrotc.navy.mil/. For more information about NSTC, visit http://www.netc.navy.mil/nstc/ or visit the NSTC Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/NavalServiceTraining/.

By Midshipman Sean J. Spata

Admiral Harris Speaks to BU-MIT NROTC Midshipmen


By Midshipman 4th Class Zach Litwin, BU-MIT NROTC

BOSTON (Apr. 28, 2015)—“Attention on deck! Admiral Harris on deck. Good morning, sir.” This week, Midshipmen from Boston Consortium NROTC unit received a visit from Admiral Harris, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The Admiral addressed the 1/C as well as a number of other Midshipmen and Unit Staff.

A visit from an Admiral is a rare occasion in any forum, so those who attended were fortunate to have such an amazing opportunity in a small-group setting. Admiral Harris has 41 years of training and operational experience. He graduated the United States Naval Academy in 1978 and became a naval flight officer. In addition to his strong educational background, Admiral Harris has significant and diverse operational and staff experiences upon which he based his remarks and advice to the Midshipmen and Staff.

In his address, the Admiral strongly urged those present to “be the best that you can be wherever you go” because much can be learned from every experience. He stressed that mentors and a positive attitude are of great value when planning and completing difficult assignments and added that “you can’t say ‘thank you’ enough.”

When discussing his philosophy for leadership and training, the Admiral focused on balancing priorities and maximizing the two vectors of mission success: “smarts” and “motivation.”

One of the Midshipmen asked “What can Midshipmen do during their time in NROTC to prepare themselves for their future careers in the Navy?” Admiral Harris responded, “I think you can learn how to work together” and stressed that teamwork involves both receiving and giving help.

“It’s a team sport, and you’re going to have to carry each other,” said Harris.

The Admiral went on to further discuss the important role of diversity in the Navy and its positive effects on teams and organizations. He emphasized that today’s diverse Navy represents impressive improvements from the past but reminded the Midshipmen that more work lies ahead.

When asked about the visit, MIDN 1/C Klatt from MIT commented, “Admiral Harris gave us a lot of advice, and I think everyone in attendance benefited greatly from his visit.”

While the Boston Consortium is lucky to have access to excellent guest speakers from many different backgrounds, the BU and MIT Midshipmen and Staff were especially grateful for this extraordinary in-person visit by one of the nation’s highest ranking and most experienced military officers.

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Spring 2015 Change of Command

15-04-29 NROTC

By Midshipman 4th Class Garrett Gozdur, BU NROTC Unit

BU-MIT NROTC Midshipman Battalion Change of Command

BOSTON (Apr. 29, 2015) – Another semester full of rewarding activities has come to an end. Today, MIDN 1/C Forsey relinquished his battalion commander position to MIDN 2/C Holcomb.

A lot of preparation went into the ceremony; Midn 1/C Boettcher and MIDN 2/C Conkey, Commander of Troops and Parade Adjutant respectively, executed it successfully under Gunnery Sergeant Askew’s guidance. The ceremony consisted of several parts, all designed to mimic a change of command in the fleet.

Following an awards ceremony for those going above and beyond, the Parade Adjutant assembled the battalion and the color guard presented the national ensign for the National Anthem. The platoon commanders and staff then marched to the center, where the commanding officers issued the orders and instructions to the unit commanders.

The most significant part of the ceremony was the transferring of the guide-ons. The CMC assisted in the passing on of the MIT and BU guide-ons from MIDN Forsey to MIDN Holcomb. The passing of the guide-ons signified the transfer of total responsibility, authority, and accountability for the midshipmen battalion.

Captain Benke remarked on the successes of the semester and wished everyone luck, both to the seniors as they commission and to everyone else preparing to train with the fleet on summer cruises.

In MIDN Forsey’s speech, he commented on the difficulties of the semester with the large amounts of snow, but was happy with its successes. After the ceremony, MIDN Forsey said, “I want to thank all my staff for the hard work they put in. I’m excited for MIDN Holcomb and his new team and can’t wait to hear how they do next year.”

MIDN Holcomb set out his expectations after receiving command of the battalion. His vision for next semester is to focus on ethical decision-making, open and efficient communication, and interaction with current Navy and Marine Corps personnel. “Making these three things priorities will help us to most effectively train and prepare for leadership, in the fleet and in our everyday lives,” he said.

MIDN Holcomb finished with a nod to the previous staff:  “The seniors gave us really big shoes to fill, but I’m excited about what we’ve got in store for everyone in the fall.”

We all wish the best for the seniors as they commission and hope that everyone has a great summer.