Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Art of 360-Degree Mentorship

By MIDN 2/C Olivia Trevorrow

Engage. Enable. Envision. Yard Patrol Craft Squadron Pennant 1's guiding principles.

Commanding officer of Pennant 1, MIDN 2/C Andrew Bell, has trekked across mountain ranges (both literally and figuratively), completed the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon, and has come a long way from his position as a consistent bearing taker two years ago.

MIDN Bell wished to implement change in the squadron and make the experience more well-rounded for its members.

“I didn't like how I was constantly one position for the entirety of my plebe year in YP Squadron,” he said.

MIDN Bell stayed SWOtivated and now is in charge of how his own pennant operates, emphasizing a greater and broadened experience for all of the midshipman crew.

MIDN Bell’s vision of engaging, enabling, and envisioning came to life on his first distance transit of the semester as CO.


Pennant 1 recently made the transit to Philadelphia in both daytime and nighttime conditions. In the first few hours of the Movement Order, from 2300 to 0330, MIDN 4/C Julie Dejnozka was conning. During the second half of the transit, a brand new 2/C affiliate of YP squadron (myself), who had never before seen the northern Chesapeake or Delaware River, took the conn with the assistance of MIDN Bell, MIDN 2/C James Brisotti, and MIDN 3/C Christian Jaunich, two seasoned veterans of YP Squadron.

Throughout the transit, the CO ensured that everyone, from the bearing takers to the helm and lee helm, was able to experience a variety of positions on the bridge. The officers and chiefs led the more experienced members of YP Squadron, and they in turn led the newcomers.


Before the transit to Philadelphia, LCDR Ryan Rogers, the operations officer in the Seamanship and Navigation Department, asserted the importance of positional authority. On Pennant 2, Coast Guard LT Timothy Bonner was the officer in charge, and LCDR Noble Hetherington was the assistant OIC. An O-4 was under an O-3 in the chain of command, again underlining the sentiment of all-around mentorship.

On the transit from Philadelphia to Annapolis, the same plebe MIDN Dejnozka, conned Pennant 1, while a 3/C and 2/C worked under her on lee helm and as navigators. Though MIDN Dejnozka had been in YP Squadron half as long as her subordinates on the watch team, she was driving the ship.


Commandant of Midshipmen CAPT William Byrne emphasizes a brigade-wide training vision of "4,500 training 4,500," in a 360-degree training program. The first-, second-, and third-class mids are involved in the plebes' training and the plebes are just as important to the professional development of the upperclass.

The same holds true for Pennant 1. The newcomers are just as essential of a part as the more experienced members, and the veteran mids and staff take away a great deal from instructing and leading the novice members.

As Aristotle concluded simply, “The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching.”

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