Photo By MIDN 4/c Savannah Clarke and Article by MIDN 4/c Mary Kierstead
In lieu of the usual Leadership Lab, midshipmen donned their summer whites last Wednesdays to participate in the Change of Command Ceremony. A change of command is a military tradition that represents a transfer of responsibility. In this case, it signified the turnover of the duties of Midshipmen Battalion Commander from MIDN 1/C Pushaw to MIDN 2/C Koch. The ceremony began with the guest speaker, Colonel Penzola, who imparted words of advice to the current and future battalion commanders. He ended his speech with a quote from John Boyd, a former Air Force Fighter Pilot. Boyd refused to compromise his morals for advancement:
“And you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go.” He raised his hand and pointed. “If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments.” Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed another direction. “Or you can go that way and you can do something — something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won’t have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference.”
Colonel Penzola concluded by challenging midshipmen, “To be or to do, which way will you go?”
Following the speech, MIDN 1/C Carolyn Pushaw relinquished her responsibilities as Battalion Commander to MIDN 2/C Brendan Koch. MIDN Koch realizes the challenges the midshipmen will face next semester, “but I am confident in each midshipman here to meet those experiences with diligence and as opportunities for development.” As the first class commissions, the underclassmen are looking forward to another year of growth and development as leaders.
Following the Change of Command, the midshipmen headed inside for an awards ceremony. Several first class midshipmen were recognized for their outstanding performance in the battalion. MIDN Carolyn Pushaw received the Harvard ROTC Aviation Award and the Marine Officer’s Sword. MIDN Carolena Ruprecht received the Surface Navy Association ROTC Award. The Professor of Naval Science Award was given to MIDN Longest and MIDN Nonnamaker. MIDN King and MIDN Holcomb were both awarded the Naval Officer’s Sword. Other company level awards were given out to recognize the hard work and accomplishments of the midshipmen this semester. MIT 2nd Platoon received Honor Platoon and MIDN 3/C Kellner and MIDN 3/C Mule were awarded Midshipman of the Semester.
The ceremony was followed by breakfast where the midshipmen celebrated another successful year in ROTC.