As senior linebacker on the Navy football team and Plebe Summer regimental commander, Midshipman 1st Class Joe Worth has already experienced what it’s like to be in leadership positions. Taking on the role of spring semester brigade commander, he faces his biggest challenge yet in leading 4,500 of his peers.
Worth, of Valrico, Fla., is a mathematics major in the top ten percent of his class in order of merit, the standard by which midshipman are measured according to their academic and professional performance. When he graduates with the Class of 2015 in May, he will receive a commission as a Marine ground officer.
When he first came to the Naval Academy, he was considering several different career paths, but his interaction with Marines on the Yard – especially the officer representatives who worked with the football team – soon swayed his decision, he said.
“I looked at them and said, ‘That’s what I want to be like.’”
Worth credits his experience working with the coaches and football officer representatives for many of the leadership lessons he’s learned at the academy.
“I grew up playing sports, and I love that teamwork and camaraderie,” he said. “I wouldn’t be in the spot I’m in with the lessons I learned without the mentorship from them.”
He also learned a lot about leadership as the Plebe Summer regimental commander in charge of 250 upperclass detailers in training 1,200 new plebes, his first opportunity to practice leadership on a large scale.
The biggest lesson he feels he’s learned is that “everything that you do, there’s constantly someone watching you, and that’s not a bad thing,” he said. “To me, that helped me realize the responsibility we all have as midshipmen and future officers to constantly do our best and strive to lead by example and be the kind of person we want to see everyone else be. I realized that I could make a change in the attitude of others just by the attitude that I brought to the table and the actions I took every day.”
Worth hopes to use that influence to encourage his fellow midshipmen to be “all in.”
He hopes “to get everyone, regardless of what sports they’re playing, what clubs they’re in, what class they’re in, to buy into the Naval Academy. This is a place where you truly get out what you’re willing to put in. We only have four years here to get the most out of it.”
Worth grew up in a military family. Both his parents were naval officers, and his grandfather graduated from the Naval Academy in 1953. His younger brother is in the Class of 2017. He knew he wanted to join the military after college, though he wasn’t initially sure about the academy. His mother made him apply, just in case.
“She knew I’d shown some interest, and she didn’t want me to be in a position where I regretted not filling out the application.”
Once he was accepted and had visited other schools, he said he couldn’t find a reason to believe any of those schools could give him a better opportunity than the academy.
“I have no regrets. I’ve truly enjoyed my time here at the Naval Academy.”
That said, he’s looking forward to moving on to the next thing – The Basic School.
“I’m excited to work with Marines and take on the next challenge,” he said.