Category Archives: Guest Speakers

Admiral Harris Speaks to BU-MIT NROTC Midshipmen

15-04-28

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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A Glimpse at Special Warfare

This week the Boston NROTC Consortium was lucky enough to be visited by three US Navy SEALs.  Here for much more than a small talk at lab for those interested, this opportunity was absolutely invaluable.  The three SEALs came and proctored a PST, which is the Physical Screening Test, for the SEAL candidates hoping to put together a package to send to the selection boards hoping to be selected for mini BUD/S.  For the rest of the MIDN not currently applying for mini BUD/S, it was an eye opening experience towards the process and the test itself.

For the candidates, their Tuesday started at the Case Pool at 0700 for a 500 yd swim, then they headed off to the BU Track and Tennis Center for the remainder of the test.  They continued with pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, and a 1.5 mile run to finish the morning off.  They then headed back to the BU unit offices for individual interviews with the SEAL/S.  A social was held later that day at Cornwall’s for anyone in the battalion that was interested in meeting them.  Thankfully, for those who were not able to make it to the social, the SEALs came and spoke at the Battalion lab the next morning.

LT Ize-Iyamu spoke on the training necessary and the path that SEAL candidates take on their 67 week journey to become US Navy SEALs.  Then, Senior Chief Newbold spoke on what it takes to be a SEAL and what the MIDN can do to be the best they can be in their respective communities in the Navy.  Captain Morrison, USN, Ret. spoke on the application process as well as how it was changing currently for those applying to BUD/S.  He also shared what he learned after 30 years of being on SEAL teams, leading SEAL teams, as well as boat crews, and imparted one piece to the MIDN which was reiterated multiple times.  “Do the best you can do.  Grow where you’re planted, and you will blossom.”  Before the SEALs departed, they spoke once more with the candidate on preparation for the PST in the future as well as answering any lingering questions.  The visit was highly appreciated, and valued even more, and for the interested MIDN, the opportunity was the beginning of a long road of arduous preparation.  For anyone else, it was a look at a highly popular, yet little known group of elitists.  Go Navy!

By MIDN Bourget