Category Archives: Off-Campus Excursions

New England Center for Homeless Veterans Breakfast

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On Saturday, 24 February, seven Midshipmen from the Boston Consortium met at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans to serve breakfast to veterans. The NECHV provides breakfast in support of their ongoing mission to assist homeless or at-risk veterans in “achiev[ing] successful and dignified independent living.”

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MIDN Kim and Nafus waiting for more veterans to arrive

MIDN 2/C Tofler, BU Community Service Officer, writes that the NECHV was selected as a volunteering opportunity because “it’s a great organization that we’ve worked with in the past.” The trip on 24 FEB certainly reinforced the NECHV’s reputation as a meaningful opportunity to serve those who have served our nation.

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MIDN Tofler and Whitten at the fruit line

Reflecting on this service, MIDN 4/C Kim writes “it was really nice interacting with veterans and hearing their stories, something we don’t get much on our own.” MIDN Kim’s observation is indicative of the mutually beneficial relationship Boston’s NROTC units have with the NECHV, a relationship which will hopefully continue in the future.

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MIDN Kelly and Mason working the dish line

More on the Center can be found at nechv.org/about.

Written by MIDN 4/C Nason

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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

Live-Fire Exercise

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This past weekend, 19 members of the battalion received firearm safety training and were able to practice a live-fire exercise at the Ames Rifle & Pistol club in North Easton, MA.

After receiving instruction on the different types and parts of weapons, proper stance and grip, and proper technique, midshipmen were able to fire off 10 rounds each of .22 caliber and 9mm bullets. For some, the trip was an excellent opportunity to get a little more familiar with the very unfamiliar concept of handling weapons. For others, it was a fun opportunity to practice a skill they had learned but don’t often get to practice. For all, it was an educational experience that will come in handy when using weapons in the fleet.

With this training, seniors were able to fulfill their small-arms handling requirement, getting them one step closer to commissioning at the end of the semester.

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

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

Semper Fi Society Completes FEX II on Peddock’s Island

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As the boat neared the shore, the previously talkative midshipmen grew silent, unconsciously gripping their rifles tighter as they mentally prepared for the night ahead. Once the boat docked, it was time to move—midshipmen grabbed their packs and hurried onto dry land, trying to get their bearings in the unknown environment as they formed two columns and stepped off into the darkness.

The second field exercise of the year for the Semper Fidelis Society took place Nov. 7-8 on Peddock’s Island, located in Boston Harbor about a 30 minute boat ride from the city. Abandoned military facilities are spread across the northern half of the island, as it was used for harbor defense in the early 20th century. This was the first time SFS had used Peddock’s Island for a FEX, so while the new location presented unique challenges it was a refreshing change from Fort Devens.

The night started out with tent setup at the bivouac site. Unlike previous field exercises, the bivouac process was not disrupted by ambushes from the cadre, so it went very smoothly. Next came the biggest physical challenge of the weekend: the nine mile hike. Early on in the hike, the cadre ambushed the society and Platoon Sergeant Frayne became a “casualty”; however, 1st Squad Leader Hamilton took charge and handled the situation. Due to the small size of the island, the hike route looped around the same path several times, causing the whole experience to start to feel like a particularly intense episode of déjà vu after the fifth time hiking up the same hill. The varied terrain included hills, sand, and broken ground, presenting obstacles for the midshipmen burdened by 50-65 lb packs—several people were forced 10806251_832933546770009_3608459940969865249_nto drop out, testimony to the difficulty of the hike. However, after being taken care of by the corpsman, they rejoined the group and everyone finished the hike together.

Following the hike, the midshipmen spent two hours working on their night land navigation skills, using a compass to navigate to different points in the woods. Finally, around 0150 they returned to the bivouac site for a much needed few hours of sleep outside under the stars. Tent pairs took turns standing watch, rotating until reveille at 0530. In the chilly predawn darkness, the midshipmen quickly packed up the tents and gear and moved it to the dock, then practiced close-order drill as the sun rose.

Then came the final training evolution of the weekend: squad in the offensive, or SITO. This was specifically aimed at the bulldogs, who each assumed the role of squad leader for two missions and were evaluated on their performance. Missions varied from basic assaults on an objective to security patrols to casualty evacuations. The cadre made sure to keep things interesting by ambushing the squad periodically, including an attack from a moving vehicle. Quick reactions and decisions were key as bulldogs faced the challenge of managing the entire squad. The 3/c also had the opportunity to step up during SITO, acting as fire team leaders for several missions and getting practice in briefing five paragraph orders.

After four hours of SITO, the midshipmen were pleased to find that the final mission took them to a barbecue prepared by the staff, which was a significant improvement over MREs. The society then conducted a hot wash to discuss the FEX and lessons learned, and finally boarded the boat to return to Boston. On the boat ride home, the midshipmen who didn’t immediately fall asleep were treated to a demonstration by the corpsman on how to apply a tourniquet. Finally, they returned to Ashford Supply to clean rifles and return gear. Tired and sore, but feeling accomplished, the members of SFS departed for home, confident that the weekend had been a success in terms of gaining both valuable training and new Facebook profile pictures.10517487_832932843436746_904680712345975196_n

Written by Midn 2/c Pushaw

USS Constitution Dinner

IMG_6808The USS Constitution Chairman’s Dinner is a prestigious event held to honor the Navy’s oldest commissioned ship.  Attendees ranged from a few midshipmen to Medal of Honor recipient Thomas J. Hudner.  The Constitution’s crew and her Captain were on hand as well to partake in the celebration of her near 200 years of service in the Fleet.

Launched on Oct. 21st, 1797, the USS Constitution went on to serve with distinction in both the Quasi War with France and the Barbary Wars. During each campaign the Constitution won every engagement it fought in. However, it was not until the War of 1812 that the USS Constitution cemented her place as the cornerstone of U.S. naval history for centuries to come. During the War of 1812, to the astonishment of both British and American personnel alike, the Constitution defeated four English warships.  It was then, during her battle with the HMS Guerriere, that the USS Constitution earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” after it became clear that cannon balls were bouncing of her wooden hull. Since then, the USS Constitution has been the beneficiary of much public adoration, which to this day serves to keep her in service to the Fleet, and to the community.

Therefore, the Chairman’s Dinner is not only a way to raise awareness about the USS Constitution and her place in U.S. history, but is also intended to persuade the public to donate to the USS Constitution Museum. Being entirely non-profit and run solely off donated funds, the museum needs the public’s donations in order to keep itself operation. The museum is not solely focused on giving history lessons though. It is also committed to teaching children about math, physics, and history; all by examining what life would have been like 200 years ago if you were serving on the USS Constitution.  Sponsors of the museum’s efforts include such big names as: Liberty Mutual Insurance, Goldman Sachs, Raytheon, Citizen’s Bank, and many others. With the continued generosity of these companies and the individual donations of many others, the USS Constitution Museum can continue to operate and give back to the community an important part of our history.

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Written by MIDN 2/c Connor Fulton