PNS Corner – Fall 2015


Greetings from Boston!

This week was our last leadership lab of the Fall 2015 semester and our Battalion Change of Command Ceremony.  It has been a great semester.  The Battalion Commander, MIDN Steven Holcomb (MIT, Mechanical Engineering), developed a command vision for the semester and his staff executed a comprehensive training plan that was interactive and effective.  The BU Company Commander, MIDN Conner Love (BU, Business Administration), and the MIT Company Commander, MIDN Grace Cassidy (MIT, Electrical Science and Engineering), both did an excellent job at leading their companies.  Bravo Zulu to the outgoing leadership!

In addition to our weekly leadership lab, numerous events kept the Midshipmen very busy this semester.  This included a visit by Admiral Howard, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, who challenged the Midshipmen to be transformational leaders in the cyber domain.  Also at the end of the semester, several Midshipmen had the opportunity to attend a private lunch with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.  The annual Navy/Marine Corps Birthday Ball was held on the BU campus this year and included BU alum Commander Jason Williamson, XO of VP-45, as our guest speaker.  Balancing academic work, extracurricular activities, and NROTC events can be challenging, but our Midshipman have been very successful with their schoolwork while at the same time developing the time management skills that will serve them well after they commission and start their military careers.

I am very excited about the Spring 2016 semester.  The incoming Battalion Commander, MIDN Carolyn Pushaw (Harvard, Human Evolutionary Biology), has already briefed me on her vision for the semester and the detailed training plan.  A lot of great activities are planned for the spring, including our Joint Services Military Balls and ending with our commissioning ceremonies.  Hopefully we won’t have mountains of snow to deal with this year, but regardless it is going to be a great semester!

Be sure to routinely check back with our Boston NROTC Sea Dawg blog and our Battalion Facebook page to stay up to date with all the great things our Midshipmen are doing!

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

Sea Dawg – PNS Corner – Fall 2015


SECDEF Meets with Boston NROTC Midshipmen


By LT Chuck Daniel

Boston, MA-On 2 DEC 2015, four midshipmen from the Boston NROTC Consortium were presented with a tremendous opportunity to participate in a roundtable lunch with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.  Secretary Carter, a Harvard alumnus, had spent the previous day speaking at Harvard’s campus.  In addition to meeting the midshipmen and cadets of the MIT ROTC units, he conducted meetings at the MIT Media Lab.  The NROTC representatives were MIDN 1/C Jasper Burns (BU ’16), MIDN 1/C Adam Gracia (Harvard ’16), MIDN 2/C Vardaan Gurung (MIT ’17), and MIDN 2/C Lauren Mandaville (Harvard ’16).

During the lunch, which took place on the fifth floor of the Media Lab, Secretary Carter held an informal roundtable with the cadets and midshipmen.  MIDN Burns remarked, “It was incredible to have the chance to speak off the record with the Secretary; there are hundreds in the Pentagon who scramble to get five minutes with him, and we were afforded almost an hour!”  Secretary Carter discussed the importance of STEM majors in the military and his vision for the force of the future.  Each cadet and midshipman received a SECDEF challenge coin.  It was an unforgettable and unique experience, and the participants sincerely appreciated it.