LT Blair attended Purdue University in Indiana as a 4-year scholarship midshipman and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering. Upon his commissioning in 2009 began his nuclear power training, first spending six months in Charleston, SC, followed by six months in Saratoga Springs, NY. He reported to the USS Dallas, based out of Groton, CT, in 2010, and made his first of two CENTCOM deployments on Dallas in 2011. During his first deployment, LT Blair served as a Chemical Radiological Assistant (CRA), where he was responsible for the upkeep of the nuclear reactor aboard the submarine. Immediately prior to his assignment to the Boston University Unit, LT Blair was deployed for a second time to CENTCOM aboard the USS Dallas as the Assistant Operations Officer and stood watch as Officer of the Deck. The Boston University NROTC Unit was LT Blair’s first choice for his shore tour. LT Blair currently holds the position of senior class advisor, and is also the faculty advisor to the Nuke Club.
LT Blair, a Gloucester, MA native, is ecstatic to return to Boston. He married his wife, Michelle, also a Gloucester native, in 2011, 5 days before leaving for his first deployment. LT Blair is a lifelong Red Sox fan and relishes being so close to Fenway Park. During his free time, LT Blair also enjoys traveling, hiking, camping, and sailing.
This year, like most others, incoming fourth class midshipmen are beginning to understand the basics of NROTC structure, protocol, and tradition. Taking a new direction, initial freshmen training was consolidated into one weekend in lieu of a week and a half at Naval Station Newport. After Freshmen Indoctrination weekend, fourth class midshipmen will continue their training throughout the fall semester and into the spring semester through mentorship, breakout labs, and weekend events.
The challenge of this change has most impacted many of the first class midshipmen in leadership positions. The change presented unique challenges in creating a freshmen training plan. New procedures and methods were needed to teach as much as possible and imbue the values of the Naval Service within a different time-frame. Although some were skeptical, Gunnery Sergeant Romer reassured the training staff, “I’ve seen three completely different styles of indoctrination, and trust me, they all yield the same results, this is a different method, but it will work the same, they will turn out just like you.”
Fourth class midshipmen were challenged too, as they had to accomplish all of the same objectives as previous midshipman candidates while simultaneously beginning their first semesters of college. INDOC Weekend took place a week after classes had already commenced. Despite these potential distractions, both the fourth class and staff proved their dedication to training which resulted in a successful weekend. “It was incredible to see the huge change in professionalism, military bearing, and teamwork over the course of just 48 hours. It is a testament to the fourth class’s willingness to learn and the staff’s commitment to upholding standards of excellence” said MIDN Ross who observed the weekend training as Public Affairs Officer.
The weekend kicked off with opening remarks and a pizza social to introduce the fourth class to other members of the battalion, as well as provide an opportunity to ask last-minute questions. The next day was their first taste of an early morning with a 0600 iPFA. The day was filled with the typical INDOC components of drill, uniform instruction, inspection, gouge studying, sounding off, and of course hydration. After a long and busy day, the fourth class were dismissed and retreated to their dorms for the night. The next morning kicked off with a sunrise sailing instruction and Mate A qualification. After marching the length of Boston University’s campus on Commonwealth Avenue, the fourth class returned to Babcock Supply for a day of instruction. By the conclusion of Day 2, the fourth class had signed scholarships, passed inspections, and were sworn in.
Despite the challenges of change, the battalion has adapted in order to retain fourth class training effectiveness. A new battalion staff billet, Freshmen Training Officer, has been created to continue effective midshipmen training throughout the year. Fourth class midshipmen will be required to complete a PQS (Professional Qualification Standard) over the course of the semester. Qualifications will include drill, sailing, fitness, color guard, academics, and other evolution to enhance leadership potential and character of all midshipmen. Upon completion, they will stand in front of a board of midshipmen leadership to test their knowledge.
This new freshmen training plan is likely to remain as the indoctrination method for upcoming years. The staff is very excited to continue developing the training and integration of fourth class into the battalion.
In August of 2013, Boston University NROTC said farewell LT Kenneth Kirkwood, the First Class Advisor and local Nuclear Power Officer. His responsibilities included teaching the Naval Science courses on Naval Engineering and Weapons Systems, as well as preparing midshipmen for their nuclear power interviews in Washington D.C. His experience in various billets onboard the USS Pasadena (SSN 752) and as the Assistant Submarine Operations Officer and Tomahawk Officer with Carrier Strike Group One offered a wide set of knowledge to add depth to his teachings and leadership lessons. LT Kirkwood hopes that by sharing his career and life experiences with the midshipmen, it will help them make good decisions in the future. LT Kirkwood’s next assignment will be as a student at the Submarine Officer Advanced Course in Groton, Connecticut before deploying as a department head.
During his tenure as an Assistant Professor of Naval Science, LT Kirkwood completed a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering through Boston University, prepared six Midshipmen for their Nuclear Power Interview with a 100% pass rate, and improved relations with the schools of the Battalion by conducting submarine tours. During his time as the first class advisor, he has been completely taken aback by how motivated and downright competent all of the midshipmen are. Known for his high expectations and adherence to standards, LT Kirkwood’s advice to the Battalion is to “Make sure you hold yourselves accountable for setting the example in your organization. As leaders, we must realize that if we don’t set the standard by our example, we can’t expect the people we lead to follow us”.
LT Kirkwood’s diligent work helped improve the Battalion and his impact on those going on to a nuclear-based service assignment is unforgettable. In his own words, “I really hope some of you stay in touch and let me know about your adventures in the fleet”. To LT Kirkwood, we wish you fair winds, following seas and the best of luck in your future endeavors!
In a July 18th letter to the midshipman battalion, LT Christopher Peters announced his departure from Boston University NROTC. LT Peters served as the Surface Warfare Officer, Second Class Advisor, and SWO Club Officer in Charge. That day, LT Peters detached from BU NROTC and reported to Aegis Training and Readiness Center in Dahlgren, VA to participate in the 11-week comprehensive course on the Aegis Weapon System. LT Peters will spend his next months in Dahlgren, VA and Newport, RI where he will complete department head training in anticipation for his tour as the Operations Officer on the USS McFaul (DDG-74) out of Norfolk, VA. When asked about his future plans for the Navy, LT Peters remarked, “If I were a betting person, I’d guess I will continue on to see what opportunities lay ahead. I’ve truly enjoyed the privilege of being an officer in our Navy and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.”
During his tenure as an Assistant Professor of Naval Science, LT Peters completed a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at Boston University School of Management. Throughout his years at BU NROTC, LT Peters served as a mentor towards dozens of prospective surface warfare officers and guided them through their departure to the fleet. In September 2011, LT Peters was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his coordination of the summer installation of the Maritime Skills classroom at Boston University. When asked about his advice for the Battalion, LT Peters wrote “I believe above all it is the relationships you form that will make you want to come to work every day. Specifically, the camaraderie with your fellow officers and, of course, the connection with the Sailors you lead. Considering your obligation to work tirelessly on their behalf and the impact you will absolutely have on your division even as a fresh Ensign is a powerful motivator.”
LT Peters will always be remembered in the BU NROTC battalion for his work ethic, enthusiasm, and example he set for future Surface Warfare officers. To you, LT Peters, we wish you fair winds and following seas.
To all our returning Midshipmen, welcome back. To all our new 4/c, welcome to the Battalion. My staff and I have prepared a productive and engaging semester of activities and events designed to prepare you all to be the best Midshipmen, and by extension the best future officers, that you can possibly be. This semester’s focus will be on solidifying and strengthening the integration of the Boston NROTC Battalion and increasing our visibility on campuses using a three-part formula: Academic success, excellence, and, most importantly, integrity.
The Boston NROTC Battalion is comprised of some of the most prestigious universities in the country. With such prestige comes an expectation that Midshipmen take full advantage of the resources at their disposal to obtain the most essential element of any career, especially that of a Navy or Marine Corps officer: an education. Your responsibility for academic success extends beyond personal motivations and derives from the hands of every American citizen. I expect nothing short of your very best.
Consistent with the Sailor’s creed, we are “committed to excellence and the fair treatment of all.” This commitment to excellence extends beyond our duties in uniform and into our studies and lives as students and citizens. We, as Midshipmen, are expected to exemplify a commitment to excellence in demeanor, appearance, respect, and duty and to carry that spirit of excellence into every facet of our lives. We must never forget that we are ambassadors to the United States Armed Forces.
At the core of our efforts we must guard a sound and virtuous conscience. Recalling the words of our brothers and sisters in arms in the Cadet Prayer at West Point, Midshipmen are expected “to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half-truth when the whole can be won.” We must always choose the path of integrity, and lead our shipmates to do the same.
I want you to know that though I will be your commander, I am here to serve you. Let’s make this semester a good one.
MIDN James Michael Byrne, Jr.
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