Thursday, March 12, 2015

USNA Hosts Japan Homeport Night

By MC2 Tyler Caswell

The United States Naval Academy (USNA) hosted “Homeport Night” for Midshipman becoming Surface Warfare Officers heading to Japan, at the Midshipman Action Center, Mar. 11.

Current Naval Officers speak with the graduating Midshipman of Class 2015 throughout a series of USNA sponsored “Homeport Night” opportunities to educate and further familiarize the Midshipman with their near-future duty stations. The officers give insight and help provide a path for success for countries that have a different lifestyle then these Midshipmen are used to.

“This night allows the Midshipman heading to Japan, an introduction to the culture,” said LT Matthew Harmon, 19th Company Officer. “They see some of the food they will be eating, hear about customs and can get a little more familiarized with where will essentially be their home for the next few years.”

The information provided to the Midshipman can help the transition of these soon-to-be junior officers. The guidance provided can help make the experience better during their first duty assignments as Ensigns, and help keep them focused on their studies at USNA and their job out in the fleet.

“Going from one country to another is a huge step, especially when you will be living there,” said Lt. Travis Snovert, 14th Company Officer. “We want to be able to give them some solid insider information. Whether it’s place to eat, things to get involved with or visit, we want to try to build up some the confidence and ease some of the uncertainty, so these newly commissioned officers can stay focused now, and on their careers."

While asking questions and exploring the culture of Japan, Midshipman are also able to network and develop better communication with classmates who will be dependable on their voyage.

“I get to see everyone that will be going with me,” said Midshipman 1st Class Carl TedBlanco. “We are all building comradery with each other and its great because there is that level of ‘I don’t know’ and it will be better, knowing that everyone here will be going through same thing. It helps take away the strangeness of being somewhere new.”

The 25 Midshipman in attendance were reminded that four years ago. It was US armed forces that responded to the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan.

“It was people like you, which helped Japan recover from that tragic event.” Said Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force, Cdr. Masato Murakoshi, Languages and Cultures Department at USNA. “Those US personnel rose to the occasion, and without question came to our need. You are now going to fill those shoes, a lot is expected of you.”

The four years of naval officer development at USNA is coming to an end for these Midshipmen, and they are excited to put what they have learned to the test.

“I’m really excited and kind of scared at the same time,” said Midshipman 1st Class Jonathan Makona. “I love to travel, I want to see other cultures and it’s all just starting. Spending four years here makes me want to go and be able to see the world and start my career. I want to get to Japan and do the best I can to my ability, for myself and everyone around me.”

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