By ENS Sebastian R. Saldivar, USN

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (NNS) — The ROTC programs of MIT commissioned 6 cadets and midshipman as officers in the US Navy and Army in the Kresge Auditorium on June 5th 2015.

Rear Admiral Paul Sohl, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers, Assistant Commander for Logistics and Industrial Operations, Naval Air Systems Command recognized the six Navy ROTC and recent graduates of MIT during a sharp ceremony festooned with the U.S Navy Northeast Band to honor the new officers of the Army and Navy ROTC as well as the Admiral. The new ensigns will go off to serve in the submarine, aviation and surface warfare communities. The Army gained a new officer into their cyber command.

The U.S Navy welcomed ENS Joanna K. Chen, ENS Connor A. Humber, ENS Stephen D. Johnson, ENS Erik O. Klatt and ENS Bridget E. McCoy. Cadet Andrea R. Dubin received her commission as a 2nd LT in the US Army. The sense of family tradition was strong as 4 of the 5 ensigns were given their oaths by family members—sisters, brothers and fathers.

ENS Bridget McCoy receives her first salute from her younger sister, MIDN Colleen McCoy (MIT '17)
ENS Bridget McCoy receives her first salute from her younger sister, MIDN Colleen McCoy (MIT ’17)

RADML Sohl, a 1985 graduate of MIT with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering, who went on to study for a Master’s of Science in Aeronautical and Astronautically Engineering from Stanford University, knew well the trials and tribulations that the 6 recent graduates endured. After designating as a naval aviator in 1988, he went on to command Naval Test Wing Pacific located in Point Mugu, California, Fleet Readiness Center Southeast located in Jacksonville, Florida, and the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Maryland.

From his own background of higher education he gave thanks to the new officers, and told them: “You leave here with the world in the palm of your hand, yet you are choosing a different path. You are choosing to open your hands to the world.” He told the six officers being commissioned to “Know your job…Know your people…Know yourself” and to “LEAD BOLDY!”

RADM Sohl went on to tell the officers to get in the arena, aptly alluding to Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘Man in the Arena’ speech and spoke of the gratitude due to the new officer’s families and friends. ENS Stephen D. Johnson remarked “I really appreciated RDLM Sohl’s comments and his call to us new officers. It was a great culmination to 4 years of hard work, and I am deeply grateful to the LTs, the unit staff and all the midshipmen I’ve had the pleasure of working with.”

The newly minted officers were happy to pose for pictures with each other and with their instructors, who they gave much of their appreciation for the last 4 years of mentorship and guidance. One of the instructors, Surface Warfare Officer LT David Lueck proudly stated, “The last 4 years has not been easy for them, yet they are well prepared mentally, physically and emotionally for the challenges ahead.” The atmosphere in the entire auditorium and reception that followed swelled with admiration and pride for the newest ensigns in the fleet to carry forward the venerable naval tradition of honor, courage and commitment.

The Boston NROTC consortium is comprised of midshipmen from Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern University, Tufts University, Harvard University, and MIT.

The NROTC program, overseen by Rear Adm. Rich Brown, commander, 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.

Brown and NSTC oversee 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy. This includes NROTC at more than 160 colleges and universities; Officer Training Command (OTC) on Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island; Recruit Training Command (RTC), the Navy’s only boot camp, at Great Lakes, Illinois; and Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC) citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.

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