Category Archives: Events

BU Joint Service Military Ball

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On 24FEB2018, over one hundred Midshipmen, Cadets, Officers, and their guests joined together in the Metcalf Hall on the Boston University campus. The BU Joint Service Military Ball is an annual event held to celebrate the United States Military, its servicemembers, and the soon-to-be commissioned officers from the Boston University ROTC programs. Other than the Pass in Review in the fall, the Military Ball is the only time annually that all ROTC branches of service come together and celebrate their love and passion for the military.

The Ball began at 1800 with a reception including drinks and light refreshments before dinner. By 1830, BU’s very own Joint Guard marched to the center of the room. A representative from each branch–Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps–stood at attention with the proper thousand-yard stare while the crowd had the opportunity to take pictures and pose with the members of the Guard.

MIDN 4/C Yaeger wrote in a message, “Having never really interacted with the other BU ROTC branches, it was nice to see everyone together.”

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Guests eventually moved into the main ballroom for the official start of the ball. The room was elegantly decorated, featuring seating cards with each guests’ name and the seal for his/her respective branch of service printed on the front. In the middle of the room, a large projector screen displayed photographs of the members of all branches of service completing summer training and having fun at ROTC-related events. The main slides were senior spotlights, highlighting the accomplishments of each branch’s seniors and listing their name, major, and what they will be doing upon their commissioning in the spring. MIDN 3/C Morgan Longo said about the event, “It was cool to see what all the seniors are doing and seeing their success.”

A few words were spoken to commemorate the event before everyone stood respectfully to welcome the joint-service color guard as it presented the colors of the United States and its service branches in the front of the room. The Prisoner of War and Missing in Action ceremony followed. A small table covered with a white tablecloth sat alone in the center of the room. Cadets and Midshipmen came forward around the table, placing covers for each branch of service in their respective place. At the table, the glasses were then inverted, representing those who could not toast with their comrades that evening. A meager meal of a lemon slice and salt was present on each plate, reminding the room of the bitter fate of all POW and those MIA, and the tears of their families.

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Dinner followed suit, with salad, an option of pasta or steak, and dessert. Afterwards, a Cadet and Midshipman from each branch came to the front of the room to celebrate the accomplishments of their graduating seniors, and soon to be 2nd Lieutenants and Ensigns. Members of the crowd cheered loudly, banged on tables, and clapped with much enthusiasm as Cadet and Midshipman names were proudly called aloud. MIDN 2/C Russo wrote in a message that she “really enjoyed celebrating the seniors achievements and experiencing the joint comradery.”

With the formal ceremonies of the night concluded, Cadets, Midshipmen, and their guests took to the dance floor to continue enjoying the evening. While it is true that there is much competition between every service branch, at the end of the day, they all come together as the one joint team that is the United States Military. All taking the same Oath of Office upon commissioning; regardless of branch, regardless of competition, there is a sense of camaraderie that pervades through it all. The annual BU Joint Service Military Ball captures that sense of camaraderie. MIDN 3/C Mason, a Marine-Option Midshipman, captured the importance and purpose of the event, saying, “It’s a night I won’t soon forget.”

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Article by MIDN 4/C Pavon, Photographs by MIDN 3/C Mason

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Notre Dame Naval Leadership Weekend

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08-11 February, 2018

In an effort to supplement their NROTC training here in Boston, five second class midshipmen recently attended the 23rd annual Notre Dame Naval Leadership Weekend, a two-and-a-half-day event evaluating the principles of leadership in South Bend, Indiana. In keeping with the unofficial Marine Corps motto of “Semper Gumby” or “always flexible,” the weekend’s plan was challenged owing to both the government shutdown as well as a Midwest snow storm, which plagued the travel plans of both the speakers and attendees. Even LT Shawcross, a Notre Dame graduate and BU-MIT NROTC Consortium instructor, had his travel cancelled at the last minute. In the face of these setbacks, the Notre Dame midshipmen were still able to produce a meaningful weekend that featured an impressive speaker lineup.

MIDN Keohane and MIDN Singley from Boston College, MIDN Kierstead from Boston University, MIDN Magendanz from MIT, and MIDN Schachman from Harvard, all juniors, represented the Boston Consortium at the conference. While noted speakers such as VADM John Bird, Ret, BGEN Jason Bohm, ADM Harry Harris, and ADM Bill Moran were forced to cancel their appearances because of the possible government shutdown, those who stepped in for them did a remarkable job in motivating and educating the two hundred plus midshipmen who were in attendance.

The most revered naval speaker still able to attend was MCPON Steven S. Giordano, the 14th and current Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy. MCPON Giordano implored his audience to be authentic leaders stemming from their own experiences as well as to pursue knowledge through learning every day. He believed that the drive to fight through complacency was what made each generation of naval leaders better than their predecessors. In addition to a Junior Officer Panel tailored towards each warfare community, SgtMaj Donna Dunbar, a retired Marine, spoke about her time leading the famed Parris Island Marine Recruit Depot.

While it was unfortunate that more military commanders were not present, leadership perspective from a business and political view was provided, giving a welcomed opportunity to hear from the important communities that can be overlooked in a typical naval training environment. Tom Schreier, Jr, now a professor at Notre Dame and previously the Vice Chairman of Nuveen Investments, recalled the lessons he learned during his time on Wall Street during the Housing Collapse of 2008. While it was especially important to be prepared in a time of crisis, he noted how his calm demeanor in the face of adversity was contagious to those working for him. Mr. Schreier always strove to make the complicated simple during his financial career. His colleague at Notre Dame and Co-Founder of Keurig, Christopher Stevens, left his audience with the idea that “nothing decreases anxiety like action.” This mantra meshed well with the naval community’s bias towards action. In addition to these Notre Dame professors, the conference also had the opportunity to interact with Pete Buttigieg, the Mayor of South Bend, and Lawrence Greenspun, of the Drucker Institute.

As important as the knowledge imparted by the varied lineup of speakers was, midshipmen from across the country were able to further expand their network of future officers who they will be serving with in the future. In such a large bureaucratic organization, midshipmen realized how small the navy truly is by how many people they had already met through their training. The Notre Dame Naval Leadership Weekend is a great opportunity for all midshipmen to take a critical look at their own leadership styles and should not be overlooked by the underclassmen who have the privilege of going in the future.

Article and photo by MIDN 2/C Singley

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.

BU-MIT NROTC Midshipmen Tour of Sikorsky Aircraft Facility

STRATFORD (Apr. 23, 2015) – A select few midshipmen were granted a remarkable opportunity to see where one of the most well-known contemporary aircraft comes into existence.

On the banks of the Housatonic River in Connecticut, you will find the Sikorsky factory; a vast expanse of metal and concrete that can yield a new helicopter every 6 days.  Nestled within the facility were the testing and engineering departments hard at work on the helicopters of tomorrow and improving the ones we use today.

The midshipmen, accompanied by two Naval Aviators and a Sikorsky history specialist, were granted the opportunity to tour the Sikorsky facilities.  The tour began in the archives room with the history of Sikorsky and its founder, Igor Sikorsky.  The archives were filled with replicas of Sikorsky’s life work, from the first multi-engine airplanes to the very first helicopters.  Each replica aircraft building on the last, showing just how progressive and inventive Mr. Sikorsky really was.

Next, the group moved on to the factory floor and was presented with the complex problem of manufacturing a multimillion-dollar aircraft.  Fortunately, Sikorsky provided the solution with their intense automation, precise machining and a stellar crew of engineers and technicians.  Being able to see each part being manufactured and assembled into smaller systems interested the midshipmen, but many wanted to see the finished product.

And so the midshipmen were presented with the final assembly room, where Sikorsky assembles and then puts the final touches on the U.S. Army’s UH-60 Blackhawk and HH-60M Medevac helicopters, as well as the U.S. Navy’s MH-60R Seahawk helicopters.  The midshipmen were impressed with the extreme efficiency of the different assembly technicians and their teams.  It put into perspective the amount of work that goes into these military aircraft.

The final stop led the midshipman to Igor Sikorsky’s office, which brought home the message of the whole tour.  Mr. Sikorsky worked his whole life to bring about a machine intended to save lives.  He dedicated his whole life its development, and even went on to test many of the helicopters and other aircraft himself.  It made the midshipmen step back and realize how amazing these aircraft really were, and the fact that some would be using Mr. Sikorsky’s work to save lives themselves.

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

By Midshipman 1st Class Connor Humber, MIT NROTC Unit

2015 Beaver Cup Regatta

The Beaver Cup Regatta presented a great opportunity for the classes to interact and practice their sailing, and was entertaining for those who watched and cheered from the sides. Although RPI took home the trophy, Holy Cross and MIT/BU finished second and third respectively.

The weather conditions were far from ideal– with wind at 18 knots and 30-35 knot gusts; however all of the schools had great attitudes about getting out on the water and completing all the planned races.  That being said, many midshipman capsized and fell into the river. The water was 44 degrees and even colder beneath the surface.  The midshipman on the shore found it much more comical than those in the water.

MIDN Burns and Mule developed their barbecue skills by manning the grill and while receiving lots of tutelage from the Lieutenants on how to cook the perfect burger.  Their first tries resulted in a couple of black hotdogs and burgers, but by the end of the regatta they had discovered the proper technique.

MIDN Litwin showed off his sailing skills and performed well in all his races.  He also participated in the individual part of the competition, battling the elements alone.  The wind alternated between little to no to wind and uncontrollable gusts, providing difficult conditions for all boats

All of the team races consisted of two-man teams sailing around buoys and fighting for the lead.  RPI boats 12 and 13 dominated the first heat, taking first and second in both races.  MIDN Litwin and Shaffer came in third for the first heat as the first BU/MIT boat to cross the finish line.

Overall, the event was fun, even with the weather, and fostered good relations and a sense of community between the three units.  The BU midshipmen who attended were able to interact with the MIT side of the river allowing for friendships to be made between the classes but also the two battalions.

By MIDN Laura Palomo

2015 Sheehan Cup

SATURDAY 28 MARCH 2015-The Sheehan Cup took place at Boston University this past Saturday. Despite the frigid weather, teams from each of the university’s ROTC programs competed in athletic challenges during this tri-service event.

The day started with swimming relays and the tire flip. Midshipmen dominated every category of the swim events. A valiant effort was put forth by the Air Force and Army teams.

The squad drill event was a close competition eventually won by Army. Army cadets also won first place in both the Ironman and the Ironwoman competitions. These grueling warrior challenges were composed of buddy carries, pushups, sit-ups, sprints, burpees, ammo can runs, and ammo can presses. All of the participants demonstrated exemplary strength and endurance throughout the event.

Maneuver Under Fire (MANUF) is a standard portion of the USMC Combat Fitness Test (CFT). MANUF consists of a 300-yard shuttle run with combat-related tasks including crawls, buddy carries, buddy drags, ammo can runs, agility running, and a grenade throw. The fastest time on this course was run by an Army cadet, while Marine options took second- and third-place finishes.

The final event of the day, which turned out to be perhaps the most competitive, was the tug-of-war. After several contentious rounds, Air Force cadets took first place.

Overall points were determined by team results in each event; three points were given for first place, two for second, and three for third. After a string of Army victories, the Naval ROTC program won the overall competition for the first time.

USS Arlington Tour

On the morning of Saturday March 14th, a group of midshipmen from the Boston NROTC Consortium toured USS ARLINGTON (LPD-24). The group was invited to tour the ship by the Executive Officer, LCDR Emily Bassett, a Boston University and Boston NROTC Consortium graduate.

The tour began with a short talk with the Commanding Officer, CDR Greg Baker, who spoke about his experiences as a Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) and about the mission of the USS Arlington and other amphibious ships. After that, three of the ship’s ensigns led a tour, showing the group of midshipmen many of the spaces where they could expect to stand some of their first watches as junior officers. As the midshipmen explored these different spaces, the ensigns shared their experiences, as well as advice on transitioning into the fleet and getting qualified.

The midshipmen traversed the ship down to the well deck, where they viewed a landing craft and interacted with some of the embarked Marines. The tour ended on the ship’s flight deck with a walkthrough of an embarked MH-60S Seahawk and a conversation with the pilots and aircrew. Throughout the course of the tour, the midshipmen were able to gain an understanding of the important mission of amphibious ships and get a lot of useful advice on how to become successful officers.

By MIDN Mulé