Yale Leadership Conference


On the weekend of April 6, 2018, midshipmen from the Boston NROTC Battalion had the opportunity to attend the third annual Yale Leadership Conference in New Haven, Connecticut. The conference focused on examples of leadership in the context of global affairs and a rapidly changing technological environment.

Following opening remarks, The Honorable Susan Gordon, Principal Deputy Director of Intelligence, addressed the crowd of midshipmen and cadets from around the country. Deputy Director Gordon spoke of the importance of culture in accomplishing long-term goals, and her four leadership pillars: expertise, will to succeed, humility, and kindness. Director Gordon stressed some critical shifts in intelligence including Russia as a counter-terrorism fighter, the Chinese military changing due to the movement of technology and globalism, and North Korean nuclear armament and cyber warfare capabilities.

The midshipmen and cadets then attended interagency interfacing talks by either William F. Sweeney or Cynthia Miller. Mr. Sweeney is the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI New York Field Office and previously served in the U.S. Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer after participating in NROTC at Villanova University. He relayed the critical missions of the FBI which include protection from attack, counterterrorism, and corruption as well as some of the challenges of technology including online terror recruitment, counterintelligence and cyber intrusion.

The final event of the day was a panel presented by the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google from 2001 to 2011, and chair of the Department of Defense Innovation Advisory Board was joined by Dr. Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State and NSA Advisor under President Richard Nixon and President Gerald Ford.

Mr. Schmidt first outlined hypothetical examples of positive and negative uses of artificial intelligence and Dr. Henry Kissinger offered his reflections. Kissinger, who penned Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, which evaluated the relationship of technology and strategy in the nuclear age, gave a perspective on the current state of affairs. Kissinger asserted that “AI is much more complicated than nuclear arms control.” And that in the Cold War, “we had good estimates of Russia’s capabilities. With cyber weapons, it’s different. Not every country admits to using them.” Schmidt and Kissinger also spoke of the ethical consequences of artificial intelligence and answered questions ranging from the Russian cyber influence campaign leading up to the 2016 U.S. election, “killer robots,” and China’s national plan for artificial intelligence.

The second panel of the evening addressed cybersecurity leadership and strategy from the perspective of the Department of Defense. The Honorable Ashton Carter, former Secretary of Defense, said that strategy and dialogue are uniquely difficult when it comes to dealing with Russia. He shared his belief that “Putin’s goal is to thwart U.S. interests, [and] it’s hard to build bridges when that is the goal.” Secretary Carter also stressed the consequences of a more global technology base, rather than a US-dominated tech creation base, as well as modern technology and social media’s growth separate from the public purpose and the implications.

The night concluded with a social event where midshipmen and cadets in attendance were given the opportunity to bond.

The second day of the conference opened with skill seminars which allowed Midshipmen to explore a range of topics in smaller groups led by Yale faculty members and guest speakers. The workshops all sought to impart a base of knowledge to questions they could face during their service or broader questions about the outlook of national security. Topics included Conscience and Duty Conflict, Nuclear Deterrence and the Return of Great Power Competition, Corruption and Stability, and Current Issues in Military Justice.

The final panel of the day addressed US Naval power in the South China Sea. Dr. Isaac Kardon, an assistant professor at the Naval War College and member of the Council on Foreign Relations, led the panel. He gave background history on the South China Sea, the Chinese legal plan for the Nine-Dash line, and why China values sovereignty over large parts of the sea as a measure to seek control over adjacent seas, prevent access to Chinese coast and assert dominance after the “century of humiliation.” Dr. Kardon presented the basics of US action which will include an increase in FONOPs (freedom of navigation operations) under President Trump but professed his worry that the United States, despite the rhetoric, has not made the Chinese advancements enough of a priority.

RADM Dodgen, current Deputy Commander of U.S. 7th Fleet joined Dr. Kardon on the panel and described operational tempo in the South China sea being underway 50% more than the rest of the fleet. Admiral Dodgen stressed the importance of maintaining relationships with his people as well as with other countries and how the actions of enlisted sailors and junior officers can have an impact on those relationships. He concluded with his lessons on leadership including valuing everyone, building loyalty, becoming teammates, staying humble, continually learning, keeping poise, anticipating problems, removing negativity, and being a winner.

MIDN Barry (4/c Boston College), MIDN Dorchuck (4/c MIT), MIDN Ramirez (1/c Harvard), MIDN Bayer (4/c Harvard), MIDN Herrington (4/c Harvard), MIDN Braunegg and MIDN Carroll (4/c Tufts) were imparted with unique wisdom and profound questions to reflect on about leadership in a rapidly changing world with complex threats. The Yale Leadership conference is an outstanding opportunity for Midshipmen to expand their network of future officers, and explore the challenges of high-level leadership as future officers and on the global stage.

Written by MIDN 4/C Carroll



Notre Dame Naval Leadership Weekend


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

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

Norwich Levy Challenge

DSC_1316 The reality of the military is somber; brave men die protecting ideals by which we live and craft our society from. One of these men includes 2nd Lt. Walter N. Levy (USMC), a Norwich University graduate who was KIA (Killed In Action) in September 18th, 1968 whilst operating in Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam. The Walter N. Levy Challenge was established to honor Lt. Levy’s name, providing participants the opportunity to push themselves to meet, and then surpass their physical limits.

Competitors from various schools along the New England neighborhood gather at Norwich University to take part in an event like no other. The Old Ironsides Battalion was represented by two teams and an individual, composed by MIDN 2/c Schott, MIDN 2/c Frayne-Reixa, MIDN 2/c Fulton, MIDN 3/c de la Ossa, MIDN 3/c McCoy, MIDN 3/c Gurung, MIDN 3/c Lopez, MIDN 4/c Bourget and MIDN 4/c Holmes. MIDN Schott, McCoy, de la Ossa and Gurung composed the MIT Team, while MIDN Fulton, Lopez, Bourget and Holmes made up the BU Team, while MIDN Frayne did it individually establishing our Battalion’s Marine Option presence.DSC_1294

Participants, competing individually or in teams of four, begin their journey with a 1-mile ruck march up and down a mountain with a 60-lbs rucksack on their backs. Once getting rid of the rucks, participants ran to the next stage involving a lap of carrying either a sandbag (for individuals) or a stretcher with a team-member lying down. Following this stage, a swift jog lead to the Marine Corps O-Course, involving a pull ups, low crawl, log jumps, rope climb, hiking up a short, yet steep hill with two ammo cans, target shooting and then running back through the rest of the course which involved low crawl and logs. Following the O-Course, a water-resupply evolution demanded individuals to carry water jugs around a basketball court; each person had to carry one. More pull ups and bear crawls led to more challenges, but perhaps the obstacle participants will remember the most would be the low crawl in the muddy, 50 OF water for about 15 yards. Following that, a long walk in a river- Yes, IN a river- provided competitors an opportunity to refresh themselves in the nippy water. After a refreshing mile-long stroll in the water, participants were given rubber-ducks (toy guns, in this case M16 rifles) and hiked up what seemed like a never ending hill. Upon completion of this hike, participants were given a memento, a device that would allow them to complete the challenge, this case being a dog-tag.

The completion of the challenge meant the completion of a 7.5 mile obstacle course, but in a deeper sense, it meant honoring one of the countless men and women that have suffered the ultimate sacrifice to protect and serve the United States. A simple 7.5 mile, 2.5 hour endurance course does not compare to the real challenges faced in the battlefield, in which Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen go days without rest. It is but an opportunity to better gaze the reality of the military; the reality that servicemen and women are guaranteed a ticket to leave the homeland, but sometimes it can be a one-way trip.


By MIDN 3/c Juan Lopez

Photo Credit: LT Blair/ MIDN 2/c Frayne

Holy Cross MEC

Warriors awoke at daybreak on the morning of September the 20th for an early 0450 muster. The task at hand was the Holy Cross Military Excellence Competition, the Olympiad of the New England Navy Battalions. Sailors and marines alike were not tired and weary from the little sleep the night had afforded them, but instead sharp and anxious for the competition ahead.2014-09-20 08.40.21

The force of forty strong departed under the new leadership of GySgt Askew, ENS Meucci, and of ENS McCormick. The three-van convoy arrived in an hour, and at 0630 the safety brief was communicated.

The first mission was the Warrior Challenge, bravely undertaken by two new 4/C, MIDN Cooper and MIDN Bourget. Both completed the task at hand—displaying the true physical might of the Boston Consortium.

On the other side of the field house from the Warrior’s Challenge athletes stood a table, a table lined with trophies for the many events. However notably one was missing—the illustrious magic Speedo—the symbol of New England dominance in the water, the trophy for the region’s best swimmers.

Alas! Our battalion had encountered its first tribulation— we had left the esteemed symbol at the MIT unit, where our victorious team last year had rightly stored it. The pressure was on: we needed another swimming victory, else be scorned for not bringing the esteemed and legendary swim trunks.

In order to command dominance over the swimscape, fourteen brave battalion athletes volunteered to relay.

The results were astonishing.

MIDN 3/c Koch, Midn 2/c Hamilton, MIDN 1/c Hummeldorf, MIDN 2/c Spata take first place in swimming.

MIDN 3/c Koch, Midn 2/c Hamilton, MIDN 1/c Hummeldorf, MIDN 2/c Spata take first place in swimming.

Those watching found out this day that the likes of MIDN Hummeldorf, Hamilton, Spata and Koch were in fact built from the same constituents of our most agile and advanced torpedoes. Lapping and greatly outpacing the competition, this team took home the gold for Boston, and saved the magic Speedo.

Not to be outshined by such incredible effort, another Boston team took a heated contest for third place.

Drill team also took third, the Iron Man and Iron Woman team’s both completed exhausting circuits, and one of our basketball teams made the semi-finals.

This year’s MEC was many things—fiery, frenzied and even funny, but the one thing it wasn’t was disappointing. Hoo-yah Boston Battalion. Hoo-yah. Sail on.

Written by MIDN 2/c Jasper Burns