Category Archives: Off-Campus Excursions

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

Semper Fi Society’s First Field Exercise of the Year

FEX 1 pic 3On October 10th, Marine Options of the Boston NROTC battalion and supporting cadre members went to Fort Devens for their first FEX of the year. At 1700 on Friday, the motivated midshipmen loaded into vans eager to get field exposure that will help them both at OCS and in the fleet.

Upon arrival, Semper Fi Society members posted security and set up tents, hoping to be able to finish quickly and get sleep. Unfortunately for them, the cadre was watching closely and midshipmen started mysteriously disappearing. Before long, the Marines had lost an entire squad. Thanks to Plt Sgt Pushaw’s efforts, all midshipmen were recovered without any causality. The Marines learned to always buddy up and let their squad leaders know where they were going.

After set up, the Marine Options formed columns with their packs on, ready to step off for a 6 mile hike. The first challenge came with a steep hill, but through the motivating efforts and will of everyone on the FEX, no one fell out. Soon people were smiling and laughing, enjoying the challenge of a well-mapped hike. The hike was successful without a single midshipmen dropping or lightening load.FEX 1 pic 2

After the hike, the exhausted Marines moved to their sleep system where they enjoyed a night under the stars, despite having tents. OIC Kim insisted “Suffering brought people together,” and so it became the motto of the FEX. Five hours and several fire watches later, the midshipmen were woken up once again to begin a new day, starting with rifle drill lead by GySgt Askew. Rifle drill was a new but exciting part of the FEX because drill is a key element in OCS.

The last event of the day was Fire Team in the Offense, or FITO for short. This is a bulldog’s* time to shine as they navigated a fire team sized unit of midshipmen through a forest in order to reach an objective. This was the first time the bulldogs were the fire team leaders in FITO, and each bulldog learned quickly and made great progress, setting a glowing example for the third and fourth class.

FEX 1 picAfter the FEX, a very happy group of Marine options loaded into the climate-controlled vans and shared stories and laughs over a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee before cleaning rifles and ending hot wash at Ashford Supply. The Midshipmen then said goodbye and reminded each other in true Marine fashion that they had logbook PT on Monday. The FEX both fostered midshipmen camaraderie and excitement about their jobs as future Marine Corps officers. However, most midshipmen were also excited to shower off their war painted faces and order Dominos.

Written by Midn 3/c Kristen Noviello

*bulldog: Junior/second class midshipman preparing for OCS the summer before their senior year

Boston NROTC Freshman Class Completes Orientation Week in Newport, RI

The incoming students of the Boston NROTC Consortium completed a week of orientation to introduce them to ROTC and prepare them for their next four years of training.  The Boston Naval ROTC Consortium is comprised of students from Boston University, Boston College, Northeaster University, MIT, Harvard, and Tufts.  The orientation was conducted at Naval Station Newport, which provided billeting and training facilities that are not available on campus and allowed students from all six consortium schools to come together in one location.

One of the main goals of the week was to familiarize the freshmen with Navy and Marine Corps traditions and give them the skills they will need

Throughout the week, the 4/c learned drill and rifle movements
Throughout the week, the 4/c learned drill and rifle movements

to succeed as a NROTC Midshipmen.  Some of the topics discussed included uniform preparation, Navy and Marine Corps rank structure, time management, study skills, and military customs and courtesies.  With the assistance of upper class midshipmen and the Assistant Marine Officer Instructor (AMOI), SSgt Carlos Askew, the freshmen also became proficient in close-order drill with rifles.

The 41 freshmen were split into two platoons of three squads each.  There was a feeling of competition between the platoons throughout orientation and all of their training and practice culminated with a final uniform inspection and drill competition.  The fourth class impressed the upper class midshipmen with the information they absorbed and demonstrated by the end of the week.

“You could see it in the way they wore their uniforms, marched together in unison, and took pride in the performance of their respective platoons  – they really took the principles we laid out for them throughout the week and implemented them into the way they carried themselves,” stated Indoc Staff Executive Officer Midn 2/c Nicholas Hamilton, Boston College.

MIDN work together to save the USS Buttercup, a wet trainer used to simulate a sinking ship
MIDN work together to save the USS Buttercup, a wet trainer used to simulate a sinking ship

While the majority of the week was spent in the classroom or on the field practicing drill, the fourth class also completed their first physical fitness evaluation, swim qualifications, and were given the chance to use two of the incredible facilities at Naval Station Newport – the USS Buttercup damage control trainer and the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) bridge team simulator.  The USS Buttercup is a wet trainer that provided a realistic learning environment for the fourth class to develop teamwork and communication skills.  The LCS simulator gave the freshmen an idea of what it is like to be in the Surface Warfare community.

“I feel so much more comfortable going into ROTC now that I know the proper customs and courtesies, have my uniform squared away and already know some of the upperclassmen,” says MIDN 4/c Catherine Senoyuit of Boston College.  “I learned a lot about what it means to be in ROTC and to be a leader in the military.”

After the final drill competition, the fourth class midshipmen were given the fouled anchor pins for their Garrison covers.  This symbolic ceremony represented all the hard work and effort that had been put in to the week and marked the beginning of their four years in the NROTC program.  The freshmen will begin their first semester with the knowledge and confidence necessary to be successful midshipmen in the Boston Naval ROTC Battalion.

4/c midshipmen after their final drill competition and inspection
4/c midshipmen after their final drill competition and inspection

Written by MIDN 2/c Katrina Longest