Thursday, December 17, 2015

Flag Officer Announcements

The Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson announced today the following assignments:

Rear Adm. Sean S. Buck (USNA '83) will be assigned as commander, U.S. Naval Forces, U.S. Southern Command; and commander, U.S. Fourth Fleet, Mayport, Florida.  Buck is currently serving as chief of staff, J5, Joint Staff, Washington, District of Columbia.

Rear Adm. Sean S. Buck (USNA '83)

Rear Adm. (lower half) Ricky L. Williamson (USNA '85), selected for promotion to rear admiral, will be assigned as commander, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia; and commander, Maritime Air Forces, Naples, Italy.  Williamson is currently serving as commander, Navy Region Mid Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Ricky L. Williamson (USNA '85)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

USNA Midshipmen Collect Toys for Local Kids

By MC2 Nathan Wilkes

The U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman Action Group collected more than 1,000 toys from faculty, staff, and the brigade for the 2015 Toys for Tots drive Dec. 15.

Marines from the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program collected the toys in large trucks.

“So far we’ve picked up more than 450,000 toys and $39,000 in donations throughout the area,” said Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua Wilk, warehouse manager for Toys for Tots Annapolis and Prince George’s County. “Every little toy makes a huge impact on the lives of children in need. No matter what you give, it’s always a big help.”

The mission of the Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to children in need in the community in which the campaign was conducted.

USNA midshipmen help collect toys in their company areas to support this worthy cause.

“I’ve had the pleasure to participate in Toys for Tots for the past few years with MAG, and it gets better every year,” said Midshipman 1st Class Adam Hammer, who led the MAG collection this year. “I think it’s a great opportunity for the brigade, faculty and staff to showcase how much we value the surrounding community and how much we appreciate the opportunity to give back to the community that welcomes us.”

MAG and members of 6th Company are also working with the Salvation Army to collect toys for the community with the 25th annual Giving Tree, located in the rotunda of Bancroft Hall.

Each year midshipmen decorate a holiday tree with paper angel ornaments provided by the Salvation Army. Each paper angel has the first name, age and gender of a child in need of presents in the local community and contributors can remove one or more tags from the tree to purchase gifts for those children.

“The midshipmen always exceed expectations in their community outreach,” said Miriam Stancic, MAG faculty representative. “The Midshipman Action Group is a great example of that constant, positive engagement that everyone can appreciate, especially during the holidays.”

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

USNA Bell Ringing Ceremony Celebrates Wins Over Army

The bell-ringing ceremony recognizes the varsity sports that defeated Army during the semester.

Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk rings the Enterprise Bell

From the bridge of the famed World War II aircraft carrier, the Enterprise Bell has been a part of the Naval Academy tradition since 1950. The late Admiral Harry W. Hill, then superintendent, was instrumental in bringing the "E" Bell to Annapolis. It is rung when when Navy scores a majority of victories over Army in any one of the three sports seasons.

Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter rings the Gokokuji Bell

The Gokokuji Bell is an exact replica of the 1456 casting brought to this country by Commodore Matthew C. Perry following his expedition to Japan in 1854. The original bell, donated to the Naval Academy by Perry's widow, was returned by the Navy to the people of Okinawa in 1987. Like the original bell, the replica is rung to celebrate football victories over Army.

Both bells are stationed in front of Bancroft Hall.

See more photos on the USNA Flickr site.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

USNA's LEAD Masters Program Preps Incoming Company Officers

The Naval Academy's Leadership Education & Development (LEAD) Masters Program provides graduate education to incoming company officers and helps prepare them for their critical role in the academy’s mission of developing midshipmen into future leaders.

The pilot program began in 1996, with participants attending the Naval Postgraduate School. It moved to the University of Maryland in 2006 and began its second year at George Washington University this May.

This year, the highly competitive program solicited applications from across all warfare communities of the Navy and Marine Corps. The selected cohort of 15 officers will study full time at George Washington University’s Foggy Bottom campus in Washington, D.C. for one year.

The 45-credit Master of Arts degree in Leadership Education and Development blends coursework from GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, and military leadership courses taught by USNA faculty.

“The program attracts highly-qualified warfighters from the fleet who will serve as role models and mentors for the midshipmen," said Capt. Wesley Huey, director of USNA’s LEAD Division. "It provides them with quality credentials for teaching in the classroom and of course is a valuable opportunity for the individual officer to enhance his or her own personal and professional goals. It’s a win-win!”

More information can be found on the USNA website.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

International Photo of the Week: RADM Pete Gumataotao

Rear Admiral Pete Gumataotao, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Policy for Supreme Allied Transformation Command recently spoke to a group of midshipmen who either just returned from a semester study abroad or are about to embark on a semester study abroad. 

The focus of his talk was the importance of building partnerships and understanding other points of views - items he has excelled at throughout his career as a surface warfare officer and in command at every level of the Navy.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Naval Academy Midshipmen Hold Leadership Development Seminar in Gettysburg

Midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy attended the the Class of  1977 Gettysburg Leadership Encounter in Gettysburg, Penn., Dec. 5 to help prepare new brigade leadership for second semester.

The one-day leadership development exercise gave 40 midshipmen appointed to brigade leadership positions the opportunity to focus on the responsibilities they will have to the brigade and the leadership qualities needed to be successful.

Photo by MC2 Tyler Caswell

"These midshipmen are going to be the senior leaders inside of the brigade, and before we give them the most significant leadership opportunity, we want to set them up for success,” said Commandant of Midshipmen Marine Col. Stephen Liszewski. “We want to give them additional mentoring and coaching before they step into these big assignments. Their actions and decisions will impact broadly across the entire brigade.”

Group discussions emphasized themes of loyalty, standards, and action. The midshipmen discussed the decisions made on the battlefield at Gettysburg and how officers showed loyalty to individuals under their command and to their organization.

Photo by MC2 Tyler Caswell

“We want to make sure they understand the depth of responsibilities they have in their upcoming roles as the leadership of the brigade,” said Lt. Justin Mears, operations and content manager for the event. “We challenge them to think about that and use the encounter here at Gettysburg to drive home the burden of command and the expectations of them as leaders.”

Midshipmen retraced the steps the men of the Confederate and Union Armies took in the Civil War during Pickett’s Charge, and stopped to reflect on the actions and decisions made during the historical battle. They later formed groups to collaborate with one another and critically evaluate themselves as leaders.

“The most beneficial thing has been to be able to collect experience from everyone here,” said Midshipman 1st Class Jenna Westerberg, newly appointed Brigade Commander. “We’re able to interact with the other midshipmen who are in similar positions and get their ideas. During some of seminars there are really good ideas that are passed around and some of what was said, I wouldn’t have thought of.”

Brigade leadership changes every semester, and the midshipmen holding positions within the brigade look forward to the challenges of command to help prepare them for their careers as officers.

“I think it will help me put into context what I learn from being brigade commander and how I can apply that towards the fleet,” said Westerberg. “I’m going to focus on being a midshipman, but I know I can internalize the lessons I’ll learn this semester so I can later realize and use what I went through to help make decisions while I’m leading Sailors in the fleet.”

This semester's leadership seminar was funded in large part by the USNA Class of 1977 through a gift agreement with the Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Naval Academy Midshipmen Conduct Clean-up, Outreach

The Midshipman Action Group (MAG) at the Naval Academy spearheaded a local community service project Dec. 5 in the Broadneck Peninsula just outside of Annapolis.

Twenty-eight midshipmen worked side-by-side with Anne Arundel County personnel, students, parents and a local landscaping business to clear a wooded area overgrown by fallen trees and vegetation adjacent to Broadneck Elementary School.

"It was truly a civil-military operation out here," said Cmdr. John Schofield, USNA Public Affairs Officer and project officer.  "The scope of this clean-up effort was incredible. Between the mids, parents and county crews, we all worked hard to make this area nice for the kids who attend Broadneck Elementary School."

The wooded area next to the school, located approximately six miles from the Naval Academy, had become overrun with leaves and trees which were impeding a walking path for the local children to transit to the school. Local landscaping firm Ferrell Lawn Care volunteered their workers and equipment to assist the effort. Owners Chase and Ryan Ferrell grew up in the area and also attended Broadneck Elementary School.

"This was awesome," said Chase Ferrell.  "All of the midshipmen out here doing this for the school – I was happy to volunteer my company."

"We couldn't have done this without the Ferrells and the county," said Schofield.  "We called a lot of companies asking if they would help us with this community relations project. Ferrell and Anne Arundel County answered the call. What they did was amazing."

The project lasted from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and included more than thirty county dump truck loads of wood, branches and overgrowth cleared from the affected area. The Ferrell brothers donated the use of five professional landscapers, chainsaws and leaf blowers for the midshipmen.  

The Broadneck Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) was intimately involved in the project and provided rakes, shovels, saws, gloves and other equipment from a local tool-share program.

The mids showed up with nothing more than their Navy Working Uniform and a willingness to work hard.

"I got to help a lot of kids today," said Midshipman 3rd Class Eric Terminello, a sophomore from White Plains, N.Y., and a member of the varsity golf team. "A lot of Saturdays I am playing golf or studying. Today I was able to do something really special for others."

Broadneck Principal John Noon and Assistant Principal Thomas Cordts also participated in the clean-up effort, as well as approximately two dozen parents and students.

"What a great turn out today,” said Cordts. "Could not have been successful without everyone's efforts."

For more information about USNA and MAG, please visit

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Cellular Service Comes to Bancroft Hall

Gone are the days when midshipmen had to huddle outside in the midst of a Maryland winter to get a signal on their mobile phones. Cellular service has come to Bancroft Hall, thanks to the efforts of the Naval Academy’s Information Technology Services Division.

ITSD recognized several years ago the need for cellular service on the Yard as they watched land line use decline, said the division’s executive director Doug Afdahl. But the Naval Academy facilities – and Bancroft Hall especially – presented a unique challenge in providing consistent, high-quality coverage.

"We live in an environment here at the Naval Academy that has a lot of boundary conditions," said Lou Giannotti, ITSD director. "It's not easy to provide this type of service when you have many feet of block construction that prevents signals from traveling."

Providing 4G/LTE service inside the largest building on the Yard required the installation of more than 300 antennas, wired to a communications room on each floor which are in turn wired to main equipment rooms.

"There's a very sophisticated infrastructure to this system," said Giannotti. "There's a lot of equipment, a lot of wiring, a lot of different types of antennas."

Outfitting Bancroft Hall is the first in a multiphase project to provide high-quality cellular service across the Yard.

"If we can overcome those obstacles in Bancroft Hall, we can prove that it works well and we can spread that throughout the Naval Academy," said Giannotti.

The project goes a long way to improving quality of life for midshipmen, faculty and staff on the Yard.

"We believe this is extremely important to the midshipmen," said Giannotti. "It provides them connectivity, keeps them mobile. These are the kind of things they thrive on. It's important to them and therefore it's important to us that we be able to provide this."

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Academy Leadership Remembers 1983 Army-Navy Game

U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Military Academy leadership gathered at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Nov. 30 to remember the 1983 Army-Navy football game played in the famous stadium.

Vice Adm. Ted Carter was joined by Army West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen and a large group of local dignitaries and local graduates from both institutions to mark the anniversary of the game, the only time the famous rivalry was played west of the Mississippi River. The games are traditionally played on the East Coast, most often in Philadelphia.

The event was conceived and organized by Rolfe Arnhym, a 1953 Military Academy graduate, who was the driving force behind bringing the 1983 game to Pasadena. During the ceremony, a bench was dedicated just outside of the main gates of the Rose Bowl. A time capsule was also dedicated and sealed beneath the bench. The capsule contains memorabilia from the 1983 game, Army and Navy football gear and personal letters from both superintendents.

"Mr. Arnhym, you had a vision and a dream," said Caslen.  "You were able to make this happen.  I'm incredibly proud to be here today."

Carter made note of the monumental logistical effort it took in 1983 to enable the game to be played with every midshipman and cadet in attendance, no small feat considering both institutions are more than 2,500 miles away from Pasadena.

"To move 9,000 mids and cadets at the philanthropy of the people of Pasadena is simply amazing," said Carter.

Both superintendents made note of the hospitality of the people of Pasadena, who housed the cadets and midshipmen in their homes before the game. This helped endear the students and institutions in the hearts of the residents and in the city.

Also speaking at the event were Pasadena’s Vice Mayor Gene Masuda, former Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard and current president of the Rose Bowl Operating Company Victor Gordo, who accepted the bench and time capsule and expressed thanks to both academies for the contributions they've made to the nation.

Navy emerged victorious in the 1983 game by a score of 42-13.

Caslen noted that the Army-Navy series started in 1890, with the first game being played at West Point. In all, the teams have met 115 times over the years with Navy owning a 59-49-7 advantage in the all-time standings.

The records and results were the furthest things from the minds of the leadership today.

“At the end of the day, we all remain brothers and sisters in service," said Carter. "There is no greater team."

Caslen noted that whatever happens in the football game, Army "will stand shoulder to shoulder with Navy" after the game and as all the graduates go on to combat this nation’s threats all around the world.

Caslen is a 1975 graduate from USMA and played center on the football team.

The 2015 Army-Navy football game will be played Dec. 12 in Philadelphia. It remains the most important game for each team each year.

"This is not just a good college football rivalry," said Carter. "I believe this is the greatest sports rivalry in our country, period."

Sunday, November 29, 2015

USNA Supe Speaks with Astronauts on the International Space Station

While in Houston for the recent Navy football game, Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter toured NASA Headquarters with astronaut Sunita Williams (USNA '87) and spoke with Scott Kelly, who is more than 245 days into his year in space.

Listen to their conversation below:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Midshipman Receives Peer-Nominated Leadership Excellence Award

U.S. Naval Academy’s Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Division presented the Rear Admiral Draper Kauffman Leadership Excellence Award to Midshipman 1st Class Melissa Felman during a ceremony Nov. 23 in Memorial Hall.

The peer-nominated award recognizes midshipman’s leadership potential across a broad spectrum of service to others as observed by other members of the brigade.

“It’s a real honor to get recognized by this particular award,” said Capt. Wesley Huey, LEAD director. “This award identifies midshipman oriented towards service and volunteering, and the brigade is full of folks like that. She was elected for the award by her peers. It says a lot about her character.”

The Kauffman Award includes a watch, intended to serve as a constant reminder of the wearer’s leadership responsibility – both at the academy and after commissioning.

“It’s very humbling to receive this award from my peers,” said Felman. “I’ll be able to wear it and reflect about my time here at USNA and continue to try to represent the spirit of Rear Admiral Kauffman.”

The award was established in 1980 by Kauffman’s widow, who outlined the criteria of the award based on her family’s ideals of leadership. The family hopes the award identifies individuals who may not have been recognized by other means within the academy.

“My first experience with Felman was during her Plebe Summer,” said Lieutenant Derik W. Rothchild, 1st Company officer. “Since then she has been a reflection of what this award really means. She is a shining example of what unselfish servitude is, and really embodies the type of leader USNA wants to put out into the fleet.”

When describing the naval leader, Kauffman stressed the whole person, not just the athlete, the scholar, or the individual with the best appearance, but a well-rounded leader that could blend all of these attributes selflessly.

“As soon as I read the description of the award, I immediately thought of Felman,” said Midshipman 1st Class Katherine Inge, of 1st Company. “She is always trying to help other midshipmen, she does well in school, she is passionate about serving, and she constantly volunteers her time. The award is about being an overall example, and she is exactly that.”

Sunday, November 22, 2015

MIDN 1/C Megan Musilli Selected for Rhodes Scholarship

Congrats to Midshipman 1st Class Megan Musilli, one of 32 new Rhodes Scholars announced Nov. 21.

She plans to pursue a M.Sc. in medical anthropology at Oxford.

MIDN 1/C Megan Musilli was one of 32 students selected
for Rhodes Scholarships this year. She will study medical
anthropology at Oxford University.

Musilli is a mathematics major and is training to become a Navy physician. Her research spans the study of traumatic brain injury and MRI scanning techniques at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, satellite tracking at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the concept of genetic algorithms and state machines in data compression at the Naval Academy.

She has served as squad leader, platoon commander, and regimental commander here at the Naval Academy. She earned a scholarship to study abroad at KoƧ University in Istanbul, Turkey, and served in medical and surgical clinics on board the U.S. Navy hospital ship Comfort in a 2015 humanitarian deployment to Panama and El Salvador.

She is on the varsity women’s crew team, which won the Division I Patriot League Championships and participated in the NCAA Women’s National Rowing Championships.

Rhodes Scholarships provide all expenses for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England. They were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, British philanthropist and African colonial pioneer, and are provided in partnership with the Second Century Founder, John McCall MacBain and other generous benefactors.

The first class of American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904. Those elected this year will enter Oxford in October 2016.

Rhodes Scholars are chosen in a two-stage process. First, applicants must be endorsed by their college or university. Of the approximately 2,000 students who sought their institution’s endorsement this year, 869 were endorsed by 316 different colleges and universities. Committees of Selection in each of 16 U.S. districts then invited the strongest applicants to appear before them for an interview.

Applicants are chosen on the basis of the criteria set down in the will of Cecil Rhodes. The criteria include academic excellence, great personal energy, ambition for impact, and an ability to work with others and to achieve one’s goals. A Rhodes Scholar should be committed to making a strong difference for good in the world, be concerned for the welfare of others, and be conscious of inequities. And finally, a Rhodes Scholar should show great promise of leadership.

MIDN 1/C Ally Strachan Named Mitchell Scholar

Congratulations to Midshipman 1st Class Ally Strachan on being selected as a Mitchell Scholar!

MIDN 1/C Ally Strachan was recently selected for
the George J. Mitchell Scholarship for graduate studies.
She will study biomedical, audio and image signal processing
at the Dublin Institute of Technology.

Strachan is a weapons & systems engineering major ranked in the top 5 percent of her class. She will study biomedical, audio and image signal processing at the Dublin Institute of Technology. She is currently working on a project modernizing a common 3D-printed prosthetic hand for children so that it is touchscreen compatible.

A resident of Vinalhaven, Maine, Strachan is captain of the Women’s Ice Hockey team. Over the summer, she served as battalion commander for STEM Camp, responsible for 1,000 campers from across the US.

She did a month-long backpacking trip in the Alaskan wilderness and also climbed Mt. Ararat in Turkey.  She be commissioned as a Navy pilot, hoping to fly P-8s and one day hopes to create a business that makes medical devices.

The US-Ireland Alliance selected the 12 members of the 2017 Class of George J. Mitchell Scholars following interviews held Nov. 21 in Washington, D.C.

The scholarship program is the flagship project of the US-Ireland Alliance, a non-partisan, non-profit organization founded in 1998 by Trina Vargo, a former foreign policy adviser to Senator Ted Kennedy.

The nationwide competition attracted 284 applicants for the 12 scholarships named in honor of the former Maine Senator’s contributions to the Northern Ireland peace process. Recipients are chosen on the basis of academic distinction, leadership and service and spend a year of post-graduate study at institutions of higher learning in Ireland.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Sprint Football Game Brings Midshipmen and Mexican Cadets Together

By Midshipman 1st Class Rylan Tuohy

“Si se puede” sounded in unison from the stands with two minutes to go in the Navy vs. Heroico Colegio Military (HCM) American football game. All the stops were pulled for this first meeting on an international field: skydivers, dancing marching bands, leather couches, and cannons that shot powder in the national colors.

 For Navy’s sprint football team, it was the last game of the season.  For HCM, it was a superbowl game in their backyard. Even though the final score was 47-0 with Navy winning, the Mexican fans kept cheering “si se puede” or “yes we can.”

Sparked by Admiral Bill Gortney, commander of U.S. Northern Command, after he saw a football field on a visit to HCM, the football game was a vehicle to display the relationship between America and Mexico.

On Nov. 14, when the clock hit zero and the football game was over, that relationship was stronger than ever. Only smiles were on the Mexican cadets’ faces, and those smiles carried over to the fans who cheered for HCM and Navy. Both teams joined together in front of the cheering section and welcomed minutes of congratulations.

“I was shocked at how [HCM fans] cheered and supported for Navy,” said quarterback Midshipman 2nd Class Nick Deterding from Lindsborg, Kan. “In America usually the opposing team doesn’t cheer for us – especially when you win by 47 points.”

After Navy and HCM’s alma maters were sung and ceremonial gifts were passed, many of the fans came on the field as the teams took pictures. Everyone had a smartphone or smartpad out and aimed at any number of the Navy sprint football players.

For most, a light tap on the shoulder was universal language for can I get your attention? For a few others, “una photo?” was a question to the Americans.

“I couldn’t explain how I felt; I just knew it was an extremely humbling experience. Being there was just a new experience that I’m still processing,” said defensive captain Midshipman 1st Class Collin Ascherl from Granville, Iowa. “I didn’t expect when we went there for the Mexicans to think of us the way they did.”

The Navy sprint football players were celebrities as they shook hands and took pictures. Young girls were giddy around the American football players. This game was not only the first American football competition, but also the first time many of the Mexicans had ever seen or interacted with Americans.

“This was the first time some saw an American, let alone in a football jersey,” said running back Midshipman 3rd Class Mac Lavis from Orinda, Calif.  “They were excited to see us, which was just awesome. To me, our being there felt like a big deal, which was something I didn’t expect.”

A football game was the sprint football team’s mission, but they accomplished so much more.

“Watching how passionate the fans were after losing was an insight to how passionate they are as a people and country,” said Ascherl.

Each player embraced the opportunity to interact with the Mexicans and learn more about the people. In the end, when gaging if the Navy team could win a football game and help improve international relations, perhaps the Mexican fans cheered it best with two minutes to go in the fourth quarter: “si se puede.”

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Naval Academy Class of 2016 Receives Service Assignments

The U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2016 received their service assignments Nov. 19, informing them of the warfare communities in which they will serve as commissioned officers in the Navy and Marine Corps.

A major milestone in their career at the academy, 1,077 first-class midshipmen opened letters containing the information that will define their lives in the fleet. This year, more than 98 percent of the midshipmen received either their first or second choice of assignments.

Midshipman 1st Class Sarah Howard, of 22nd Company, chose surface warfare officer (SWO). Howard is the first of her family to serve in the Armed Forces.

“I am really excited that I got what I wanted,” said Howard. “I really wanted SWO because it gives me the opportunity, when I go out into the fleet, to have a division and lead Sailors and help them grow.”

Howard will join 248 other midshipmen entering the surface warfare community from the academy. Joining her is Midshipman 1st Class Amanda Jackson, of 6th Company, who selected nuclear surface warfare officer.

“Coming into USNA, I had no clue what I wanted to do,” said Jackson. “I changed my mind a few times, decided I wanted to be a surface warfare officer, and later decided to go nuclear.”

Also taking the nuclear option is Midshipman 1st Class Riley Miller. Coming from a long line of Army veterans, she will join a growing population of female officers and enlisted aboard submarines.

“I had the opportunity to go on several different submarines, and the people were incredible,” said Miller. “I wanted a technical challenge and to be surrounded by hard-working people. Seeing their technical expertise made me want to learn the material and get better so I can have that same influence on someone else.”

Of the 269 midshipmen selected to become Marines, 170 will serve as ground officers and 99 will serve as pilots or flight officers.

From 3rd Company, Midshipman 1st Class Marco Defournoy made the decision to become a Marine in his final year after learning the roles and responsibilities of a Marine Corps officer.

A native of Haiti, Defourney enlisted as a damage controlman after graduating high school in Florida. Defourney accepted an appointment to attend the Naval Academy after a year at the Naval Academy Preparatory School. For him, service selection marks a turning point in his naval career.

"I originally planned to go SWO when I first got here, but I had some great Marine mentorship that convinced me to train with them over the summer, and it grew on me," said Defournoy. “I still love surface, and it will always have a place in my heart, but I’m ready for a new adventure. That is why the Marine Corps was my first choice.”

For Midshipman 1st Class Erin Devivies, of 3rd Company, selecting information warfare marked a departure from a Marine Corps family tradition.

"Even though my parents are both retired Marines, they are excited for me to blaze my own trail in the Navy," said Devivies. “Information warfare is really new and on the cutting edge so I’m very excited to be a part of that.”

Midshipman 1st Class Esteban Salazar will also be joining the ranks of the naval intelligence community.

“During my first-class midshipman cruise, I met Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Joshua Lawson,” said Salazar. “It was incredible seeing some of the things he was able to do. I wanted to see what the enlisted side does in that community, and he really mentored me in a way I didn’t expect. If an indication of the intelligence community was exemplified through IS1 Lawson, I figured it was the right choice for me.”

The Naval Academy endeavors to match personal preferences with aptitude and ability, placing midshipmen in the community best suited to their strengths so as to set them up for successful careers in naval service.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Naval Academy Midshipmen Win Cyber Policy Competition

A team of three U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen claimed first place in the Cyber Policy Competition Nov. 14 during New York University's 12th annual Cyber Security Awareness Week event.

The policy competition challenges students to propose public policy solutions to real-world computer security challenges.

The 2015 challenge focused on the controversial question of whether or not the U.S. should implement a "bug bounty" program – a system of rewards for security researchers who find vulnerabilities in major software programs and networks.

"It was a unique opportunity that allowed us to expand beyond the traditional image of cyber, and true to the cyber operations major, demonstrate that we have a grasp on issues at the macro level as well," said Midshipman 1st Class Max Goldwasser.

Photo by Elena Olivo

The competition consisted of a preliminary round, during which teams prepared and submitted a policy memorandum for consideration. The judges – industry and academic professionals in the cyber field – narrowed the entries to five finalists.

The five teams then drafted a full public policy proposal and poster to present at the competition in New York. Although the proposals differed widely, all finalists recommended legislative changes that would eliminate penalties for white hat hacking, a process that helps institutions find flaws in their networks.

"The judges commented that one of the biggest strengths our team offered was the ability to articulate thoughtful considerations about the creativity, feasibility, and the depth of knowledge on the subject," said Midshipman 1st Class Zac Dannelly. "The cyber operations major unequivocally prepared our team with the technical background necessary to identify the problems, the understanding of political intricacies to appreciate the circumstances, and the professional development to present both of these facets in a clear and straightforward way."

Photo by Elena Olivo

The Naval Academy's cyber operations major is an interdisciplinary program that balances technical training with courses in areas such as policy, law, ethics, and social engineering. Dannelly, Goldwasser and teammate Midshipman 1st Class Bill Young will be among the first midshipmen to graduate with a cyber operations degree.

"I think our ability to integrate technical concepts within the larger framework of public policy stands as a testament to the Naval Academy as a whole, where midshipmen are expected to develop a well-rounded view of world issues," said Young.

The academy also mandates basic cyber security classes for all students. The baseline is to provide every academy graduate with an understanding of the cyber domain and how it impacts their commands and their ability to conduct their missions.

"This is a great reflection of our program here," said academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter. "The mids have a strong foundation and understanding of the technical issues, coupled with a broader awareness and appreciation of many of the other non-technical, legal, and policy factors in the cyber domain."

Monday, November 16, 2015

Spanglish Brotherhood: USNA's Sprint Football Team Plays in Mexico

By Midshipman 1st Class Jeffrey Martino

On Nov. 13 the Navy Sprint Football team traveled 2000 miles to the Heroic Military Academy (Heroico Colegio Militar) to make history and play the Royal Eagles in a game of American football. The interaction was a significant event for both service academies and provided the players from both teams a unique cultural experience. From being greeted at the airport terminal to coexisting in their living quarters, the midshipmen were warmly welcomed by their Mexican counterparts.

Photo by MIDN 1/C Jeffrey Martino

The midshipmen were greeted by a line of Mexican cadets from the football team at the airport terminal in Mexico City. The midshipmen and cadets spoke a mix of English and Spanish when greeting one another, rather unsure of which language to use. After both groups were led to buses for transport to the academy in Tlaplan, this mix of Spanish and English became fairly common. A large portion of the cadets spoke conversational English very well, which helped to eliminate language barrier problems. Likewise, a handful of the midshipmen found that they were finally able to put to use their several years of formal Spanish education.

“I would try to use both Spanish and English to convey whatever we were talking about,” said Midshipman 1st Class Brett Deters, kicker from Ankeny, Iowa. “I’ve taken Spanish for five years and I spent a month in Mexico, and I can say that these immersion experiences are the best way I learn Spanish.”

Photo by MIDN 1/C Jeffrey Martino

From the buses, the midshipmen were led to their sleeping quarters for the weekend. They immediately began to recognize the differences in how living accommodations were arranged in comparison to their own in Bancroft Hall. Each cadet at the Heroico Colegio Militar is given his or her own bed with its respective set of lockers and drawers. Throughout their weekend stay at the academy, the midshipmen slept in these beds (and learned how to make them, too). Living in these quarters contributed to a greater sense of camaraderie among both the cadets and midshipmen.

Following the game, the midshipmen were led to what was referred to as a “tailgate.” The midshipmen would soon realize that this was unlike any tailgate they were used to in the United States. Set on a hill overlooking Mexico City, the party had a very comfortable, yet traditional vibe. While a mariachi band played in the corner, the midshipmen were led through the buffet lines and sat down at one of the many delicately oriented tables.

They then began exchanging stories with their Mexican counterparts about the game. After several trips back up to the buffet, the midshipmen then began arguably their biggest form of entertainment for the evening – trading. The midshipmen and cadets literally took their shirts off their backs for one another as they traded one school embroidered shirt for another.

Photo by MIDN 1/C Jeffrey Martino

“I traded just about all the clothes I came to Mexico with. By the time we left, I had two different uniform hats, a letterman-like jacket with the school logo, three t-shirts, and a pair of shorts,” said Midshipman 4th Class Joshua Womack, team manager from Bastrop, La.

Aside from trading and various other activities such as ping pong, the midshipmen and cadets also sought out entertainment in the form of jalapeno peppers. The cadets decided to include the midshipmen in on the academy-wide tradition of eating a whole jalapeno pepper.  Outside the dining hall, a locker-room style chant ensued as the two teams encouraged Midshipman 3rd Class Matt Vogel to eat one of the jalapenos.

“The pepper was nothing like I’ve ever tried before. I’m glad I did it though,” said Vogel, wide receiver from Upper Saddle River, N.J., in response to eating the pepper.

At the conclusion of the weekend, the cadets and midshipmen were both taken back to the airport terminal where they arrived at only 48 hours prior. Both groups once again lined up and said a similar set of salutations in both English and Spanish. This time however, the cadets were dressed entirely in Naval Academy attire – the same attire they received in the trades from the night before.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Second Annual Veterans Classic Brings NCAA President to Naval Academy

NCAA President Dr. Mark Emmert visited the Naval Academy for a tour Nov. 13 in advance of the second annual Veterans Classic basketball doubleheader in Alumni Hall.

The Veterans Classic brings top NCAA teams to the academy to kick off the college basketball season in an event that pays tribute to the nation’s military veterans.

“It’s a fabulous tradition you’ve started with these games because it brings national focus … to the academy, and then people learn enormously about the games and about the way in which you’re respecting our veterans,” said Emmert. “I think it’s something that you have started that is going to have a big impact over the years.”

The tour took Emmert to a number of locations on the Yard – including the chapel, Rickover Hall laboratories and Wesley Brown Field House - all highlighting the academy’s moral, mental and physical mission to develop leaders of character and consequence.

“The Naval Academy is an exemplar of the most effective ways you can integrate the whole education of a young man or young woman – keeping focused on the academic component but also integrating it with the physical body development,” said Emmert. “It’s the classic Greek notion of developing mind and body simultaneously … and makes you more effective at leadership development than perhaps anybody other than the other academies.

Emmert also met with academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter, participated in a round table discussion with members of the academy’s senior leadership, and lunched with midshipmen student-athletes in King Hall.

“The history, the wonderful facilities here, the importance this institution plays in America – it permeates everything about this place,” he said.

Members of the three visiting teams – Carolina, Florida and Temple – also received a tour of the academy Nov. 12.

Both Veterans Classic games will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Carolina plays Temple at 7 p.m. Navy and Florida play at 9:30 p.m. There will also be the Inside College Basketball pregame show on CBS Sports Network at 6:30 p.m., which will include footage of the tours the three visiting teams received.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Veterans Classic Teams Tour Naval Academy

Players and staff from the Temple University Owls, University of Florida Gators, and University of North Carolina Tar Heels basketball teams were given a guided tour of the U. S. Naval Academy Nov. 12.

The teams are in town for the second annual Veterans Classic doubleheader, bringing together top teams from across the country in celebration of Veterans Day.

“We’re hoping that this tour not only welcomes these teams to Annapolis for their tournament but also gives them some insight into what we do here at the academy,” said Chet Gladchuk, USNA athletic director. “We hope that everyone enjoys the time they spend here over the next couple of days and gets to learn a little something along the way.”

The tour highlighted USNA and brought each team to many areas of significance around the Yard, including Luce Hall, where they participated in driving a ship in an indoor ship training simulator; Bancroft Hall, which houses the entire brigade of midshipmen; and Memorial Hall, which commemorates USNA alumni who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

“This is my first time here so it’s pretty amazing to see what the midshipmen get to experience while being in the presence of so many wonderful people,” said Joel James, forward for the North Carolina Tar Heels. “Coming here is a great opportunity to play for our veterans and I feel more than grateful for the chance to do so.”

During the tour, members of the three teams learned about the moral, mental and physical mission of the academy, the rank structure among the brigade, and experienced a small part of the daily lives of midshipmen during noon meal formation.

“It’s absolutely amazing here and I never thought I’d get the opportunity to do something like this,” said Devontae Watson, forward for the Temple University Owls. “I truly appreciate getting the chance to be here, see everything, and play for the troops.”

The games will be held in Alumni Hall Nov. 13. Carolina plays Temple at 7 p.m. Navy and Florida play at 9:30 p.m.

Both games will be televised on CBS Sports Network. There will also be the Inside College Basketball pregame show on CBS Sports Network at 6:30 PM (ET) prior to the first contest, which will include footage of the tours the three visiting teams received.

See more photos of the tour at the Naval Academy Flickr page.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

USNA Midshipmen Kickoff “It’s On Us” National Week of Action

U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen launched the 2015 “It's On Us” National Week of Action in King Hall Nov. 9.

The kick-off officially began with the release of the USNA “It's On Us” video, featuring midshipmen, faculty and staff voicing their commitment to the campaign and a banner-signing ceremony for everyone to take the pledge.

“The mission and goal of this week is to get USNA to recognize that sexual assault is a problem, which I'm sure we all know,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Shaq Keels, “It's On Us” student advisor. “I want society to see that we stand up for that which is right. I want to get 100 percent of the brigade to pledge.”

“It's On Us” is a White House campaign that was launched last year by the president and vice president. It aims to fundamentally shift the way we think about sexual assault and to foster an environment where sexual assault isn't tolerated and survivors are supported.

Shortly after the kick-off, Vice President Joe Biden visited the academy to host a round table discussion on campus sexual assault with select midshipmen, faculty and staff.

“The example you set has been more resonant than any other group of college students in all of America,” said Biden. “You're stepping up. Your class, this faculty have taken on and pointed out that there is a problem in the military and the Navy. You have addressed it head on and you’re making great progress.”

Each day of this National Week of Action will be highlighted by a different theme to raise awareness about sexual assault in order to continue generating a culture of consent.

“There will also be a social media takeover by the Brigade using hashtag #ItsOnUs and #GotConsent,” said Keels. “The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Guidance, Understanding, Information, Direction & Education (SAPR GUIDE) program will give a bystander workshop on bystander intervention, and the company officers and senior enlisted advisors will hold in-company sessions about how the training here will transfer to the fleet.”

The midshipmen’s involvement in the “It’s On Us” campaign is a way to help the Navy’s future leaders create and foster a positive environment where every service member feels safe.

“To me sexual assault is a cancer,” said Keels. “And with the programs we have here and the ‘It's On Us’ campaign, we are given the cure through the lessons, the tools, and the resources we need to help eliminate sexual assault. It's up to us to distribute this cure to others around us.”

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Newly Renovated Thrift Store Opens

The newly renovated Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Thrift Store on Alder Road at Naval Support Activity Annapolis has reopened!

The store is a small volunteer-operated non-profit shop offering gently-used household items and a large variety of used uniforms.

New hours for the thrift shop are:

Tuesday & Thursday: 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
First Wednesday of the month: 3:30-6:30 p.m.
Third Saturday of the month: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

For more information please call 410-293-4402/9220.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Mids Collect More Than 65,000 Pounds of Food for Local Food Bank

Midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy’s (USNA) Midshipman Action Group (MAG) and the USNA’s Chaplains Office collected more than 65,000 pounds of food Nov. 5 for the Anne Arundel County Food and Resource Bank during the 2015 Harvest for the Hungry Food and Funds Drive.

This is the seventh year in a row MAG has partnered with the Anne Arundel Food Bank and Anne Arundel Public Schools for the campaign. This year, MAG exceeded all previous year’s collections.

"The Midshipman Action Group, the Naval Academy Chaplains, as well as USNA faculty, staff and leadership, have responded to the immediate needs of the community through the Harvest for the Hungry Campaign for more than six years,” said Miriam Stanicic, Naval Academy director of community relations. “Every year, the midshipmen work very hard to match or exceed the donation amounts set in previous years. This annual high-yield donation from the academy reflects how committed the midshipmen are to bridging the food gap for our neighbors in need."

Midshipmen had been collecting food within their respected companies since October and making it into a friendly competition between companies.

“Every year I am amazed how many midshipmen take on the responsibility to help out and donate their time and energy,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Megan Rosenberger, Harvest for the Hungry project manager. “It is not only about the competition but also about helping others. Everyone in the brigade does their part to make this happen, and it would not be a success without all their help.”

Harvest for the Hungry is an annual food drive sponsored by the Anne Arundel County Food and Resource Bank to help low income families with meals and other basic needs year round.  Projects like Harvest for the Hungry helped feed more than 55,000 families with more than 1.5 million meals in the Anne Arundel County area last year.

“This drive is so important,” said Susan Thomas, the food bank’s chief operations officer. “Having the midshipmen here with the amount of effort, spirit and enthusiasm they have behind the drive and their willingness to help out anyway they can is amazing. It is great to be part of this with them.”

MAG members will continue to participate in numerous local volunteer and community service programs throughout the upcoming spring semester.  During the previous academic year, they logged 26,000 hours of community service locally and throughout the country.

“I am so proud of the brigade and how they connect with the community with this particular event at this time of the year,” said Marine Col. Stephen Liszewski, commandant of midshipmen.

Established in 1992 as a community relations program for and by the Brigade of Midshipmen, MAG offers more than 50 educational, environmental and social service volunteer projects in coordination with community partners from the Annapolis, Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas, as well as regional and national partners. MAG prepares midshipmen for future service by encouraging peer leadership, teamwork, character development, morale, selflessness and goodwill towards others.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

USNA National Eagle Scout Association Honored for Work With Scouts

MIDN 1/C Drew Bell and LCDR Casey Rayburg accepted the Baltimore Area Council Boy Scouts of America Friend of Eagle Award in front of nearly 400 civic, business, and boy scout leaders from across the state Oct. 29 at the 2015 Maryland Gathering of Eagles.

Approximately 40 midshipmen attended the event, which highlighted local organizations and individuals who have a major impact in scouting in the state of Maryland.

Additionally, the keynote speaker of the event was the academy's own Distinguished Visiting Professor Chris Inglis, former deputy director of the NSA.

The citation given to the midshipmen read:

"While traditionally given to an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the ideals of scouting and the programs guiding young scouts along the path of Eagle, this year’s Friend of the Eagle Award goes to an institution that supports Eagle Scouts and scouting in a number of ways. This year’s honoree, the United States Naval Academy, has made exceptional contributions to scouting year after year, not just to the more than 30,000 scouts of central Maryland, but nationwide, and to the four corners of the globe.

The academy is home to one of the country’s largest National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) chapters, and supports a year-round calendar of mentoring, community service, and Boy Scout development programs. Most recently, the USNA hosted the 2015 USNA NESA STEM Jamboree, at which dozens of midshipmen donated their time and talent to teach STEM-related merit badges to hundreds of scouts from across the State of Maryland and its immediate neighbors. We are extremely proud of their work and pleased to confer this award upon them for both their service and their example."

Monday, November 2, 2015

Naptown Funk Gonna Give it To You

MIDN 1/C Rylan Tuohy's latest creation - made with the help of more than 50 midshipmen - is a tribute to the City of Annapolis. It's a must watch.

Friday, October 30, 2015

USNA '78 Grad VADM Tidd Nominated for 4th Star

Congratulations, VADM Kurt W. Tidd (USNA '78), who was officially nominated for his 4th star and assignment as commander of U.S. Southern Command yesterday!

Once confirmed, that will give the great class of 1978 four active duty admirals:

ADM Kurt W. Tidd
ADM Mark E. Ferguson
ADM Cecil D. Haney
ADM Harry B. Harris Jr.

Only four other classes in USNA's history have had four or more 4-star admirals serving on active duty. (While other classes had more than four, many of them were meritorious promotions at the time of retirement.)

Class of 1897
ADM Orin G. Murfin
FADM William D. Leahy
ADM Arthur J. Hepburn
ADM Harry E. Yarnell
ADM Thomas C. Hart

Class of 1927
ADM George W. Anderson Jr.
ADM Charles D. Griffin
ADM Ulysses S. G. Sharp Jr.
ADM John S. Thach

Class of 1933
ADM Charles K. Duncan
ADM Ignatius J. Galantin
ADM Thomas H. Moorer
ADM Waldemar F.A. Wendt

Class of 1973
ADM John C. Harvey
ADM Eric T. Olson
ADM Gary Roughead
ADM Robert F. Willard

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Naval Academy Commissions Donated Schooner

The Naval Academy Sailing Center commissioned the donated schooner SummerWind in a ceremony Oct. 28 at the Robert Crown Sailing Center.

The Naval Academy's donated schooner, the SummerWind

SummerWind is a 1929 model 100-foot John G. Alden Schooner and was donated by James Grundy of Oxford, Md.

At the academy she will be used by the Varsity Offshore Sailing Team and by the Off Shore Training Squadron during summer training blocks. SummerWind can hold 12 midshipmen along with a skipper and an executive officer vice the Navy 44’s which hold eight midshipmen, a skipper, and an XO.

MIDN 1/C Alex Cinq Mars christens USNA's donated schooner
with the traditional bottle of champagne.

After long service as a privately owned vessel and commercial charter craft both stateside and abroad, SummerWind was purchased in Spain in 2006 and transported to Palm Beach, Fla., where a massive restoration was undertaken.  

Almost entirely replanked, every structural element was evaluated and either restored or replaced, her engineering systems redesigned, and her sailing rig updated.  The total cost of the restoration is rumored to have been in excess of $8 million.

In most every way SummerWind is a museum piece, the finest example of a classic schooner. However, she is also, in all probability, the “newest” 1929 vessel afloat due not only to her extensive rebuild and modernization of equipment from 2006-2009, but also to continuing meticulous care and upgrades, including replacement of the entire rig (both masts and booms) in carbon fiber by Grundy.

The Naval Academy's donated schooner, the SummerWind

She was chartered to the Merchant Marine Academy in 2009 for three years. The craft was used extensively for sail training of midshipmen in various events: racing events, local navigation training, overnight and offshore voyages and indoctrination training of first-year midshipmen.