Friday, May 22, 2015

USNA Graduates Class of 2015

An estimated 30,000 people filled the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, May 22 to witness the swearing in of the U.S. Navy's and Marine Corps' newest officers.

 The Naval Academy Class of 2015 graduated 1,070 men and women, including 790 Navy ensigns and 264 Marine Corps second lieutenants.

Graduating first in the class is Ensign Michael K. Johnson, an electrical engineering major who will serve as a submarine officer after finishing a master's degree in computer science at Stanford University.

The class included 11 foreign exchange students from Bangladesh, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Lebanon, Maldives, Mexico, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Tunisia.

The ceremony recognized three honorary graduates, including Commandant of Midshipmen Capt. William D. Byrne Jr. The other honorary graduates were Dr. Jeffrey Fair, associate director of athletics for sports medicine and retired Capt. Douglas S. Borrebach, former supply officer for the Brigade of Midshipmen.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden delivered the commencement address, focusing on the global role of the U.S. Navy in establishing commerce, conducting humanitarian operations, and deterring conflict, particularly in the Asia-Pacific area of operations.

"Your presence matters," said Biden. "Pacific peace and prosperity has depended on and will continue to depend on U.S. naval power."

The continued "diplomatic and military supremacy" of the U.S. also depends on its naval forces, said Biden.

Biden called the graduating class "the real one percent who protect the other 99 percent" of the American people.

"We continue to count on you to protect world security," he said.

Biden encouraged the graduates to remember all they've learned during their four years at the Naval Academy.

"This place has given you bonds that will last your entire lifetime," said Biden. "There's no title you can more proudly bear than being an officer in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps."

This is the Naval Academy's 165th traditional graduation ceremony. Since it was established in 1845, the academy has graduated approximately 82,600 midshipmen including this year's graduates.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Midshipmen Collect Shoes For Those in Need

Midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy’s Midshipman Action Group (MAG) collected more than 550 pairs of shoes from the Class of 2018 May 18 to donate to Planet Aid.

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

The shoes were collected as the plebes began the traditional Herndon monument climb that marks the end of their plebe year. Midshipmen from MAG gathered the shoes, tied the pairs together so they wouldn't get lost, and sorted them by size.

“This is just another great thing that MAG does to help out the community,” Midshipman 3rd Class William Kruger, 12th company and volunteer. “I donated because I felt like the people of Annapolis needed them more than I did. I am fortunate enough to get those shoes issued to me and I felt someone else could use them more than I could.”

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

The midshipmen bagged the shoes and transferred them to a van to take them to the local Planet Aid chapter where they will be distributed to families in need.

“This is changing people’s lives,” said Marine Col. Bobbi Shea, deputy commandant of midshipmen. “Can you imagine needing something like this? My family did not come from a lot of means, and just to have resources like this changed the way a family feels about themselves. It’s really great, and I really appreciate it.”

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

The Midshipman Action Group was established in 1992 and is supported by the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation. MAG organizes more than 50 educational, environmental and social service volunteer projects on the local and national level, employing more than 500 midshipmen throughout the academic year.

During the 2014-15 academic year, the midshipmen contributed 26,000 hours of community service.

Class of 2018 Triumphs over Herndon Climb

U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen from the Class of 2018 conquered the final hurdle of their freshman year during the annual Herndon Monument climb May 18.

Every year, the roughly 1,000 members of the academy's plebe class form a human pyramid around the 21-foot tall Herndon Monument to replace a plebe hat, or "dixie cup," that upperclassmen have placed on the top of the obelisk and with the midshipmen cover.

Photo by Gin Kai

“This is a great and iconic moment for each and every one of us at the Academy,” said Vice Adm. Ted Carter, Naval Academy superintendent. “It is an act of teamwork, strength, and perseverance that represents the transformation of being followers as plebes to future leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps.”

This year, Midshipman 4th Class Javarri Beachum, from Port St. Joe, Fla., reached the top and replaced the cover in 1:38:36, the fastest time since 2013. According to legend, the plebe who replaces the plebe cover with the midshipmen's cover will become the first member of the class to become an admiral. So far, the legend has not come true.

Photo by MC3 Nathan Wilkes

“It’s an awesome experience working together with these guys and girls," said Beachum. “It took our whole class, just pushing together, to get the job done. It isn’t a one-man thing. Everyone contributes.”

The Herndon Climb is considered the capstone of the freshman year at the Naval Academy. Once the freshman class completes this obstacle, they are “plebes no more,” a phrase the midshipmen don’t take lightly.

“It’s so exciting to finally be able to say ‘plebes no more,’” said Midshipman 4th Class Meghan Brophy. “Climbing Herndon was an amazing experience, and we are all feeling so good and looking forward to liberty.”

Photo by MC3 Nathan Wilkes

“I plan to stay active in the company and stay active for the new plebes that will be here soon,” said Midshipman 4th Class Stephen Steckler. “It’s so important for us to keep the motivation up from Herndon and be a positive force as we become upperclassmen.”

The Herndon monument is dedicated to Cmdr. William Lewis Herndon, who died in an attempt to save the crew of his steamer ship Central America during a storm off Cape Hatteras, N.C., in 1857.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

USNA Holds Memorial Service for Midshipman Zemser

The Naval Academy held a memorial service today in honor of Midshipman 3rd Class Justin Zemser.

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

Zemser was one of the passengers who lost his life in the Amtrak train crash which occurred in north Philadelphia Tuesday, May 12. Zemser was on leave and enroute to his family’s home in Rockaway Beach, N.Y. when the accident occurred. 

“My wife, Lynda, and I join the Brigade, staff and faculty in mourning the loss of Midshipman Justin Zemser,” said Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Walter “Ted” Carter. “Justin was a talented, highly respected young man with a tremendously bright future. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the Zemser family, and our extended USNA family, during this very difficult time.”

Zemser was a member of the 17th Company, an English major and an academic honor student at the Academy. He was a member of the Navy Sprint Football Team, the Jewish Midshipman Club, and the Semper Fi Society (a Marine Corps club). 

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

Approximately 160 midshipmen from the Naval Academy’s 17th Company, Sprint football team and Jewish Midshipman Club also attended the funeral service in Hewlett, N.Y.  Friday. The funeral included full military honors, including a bugler and burial detail from Naval Station Groton, Conn. 

Naval Academy Commandant, Capt. Bill Byrne attended on behalf of the Naval Academy administration. Marine Corps Capt. Brandy Soublet, Zemser’s company officer, gave a eulogy. Naval Academy Jewish chaplain, Lt. Yonatan Warren, presided over the service.

The Naval Academy remains deeply saddened by the death of Justin Zemser, and we will continue to support his family during this very difficult time.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

USNA Visitors Center Celebrates 20th Anniversary

U.S. Naval Academy faculty and staff celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center during a ceremony in Halsey Field House May 12.

Photo by MC3 Nathan Wilkes

During the ceremony, members of the visitor center and gift shop staff were recognized for their service and support to the Naval Academy.

“We are very proud to be here today to celebrate 20 years of service and dedication to the Naval Academy,” said Mianna Jopp, manager of the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center and the Naval Academy Guide Service. “There are some of us here today that have been here for the full 20 years so it’s great to come together and reflect on this accomplishment.”

The Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center opened in 1995 during the Naval Academy’s 150 anniversary celebration and is the gateway to the academy. Among its offerings are guided tours featuring the history, traditions, and life of midshipmen at the academy, and a free film, “The Call to Serve.” Exhibits include “USNA Graduates in Space,” an original Dahlgren boat howitzer, and “The Life and Times of John Paul Jones.” The Naval Academy Gift Shop is located inside the visitor center.

Photo by MC3 Nathan Wilkes

“The original goal of the Visitor’s Center was to have a place that visitors could visit, meet people, and recognize the indicative feelings of patriotism, excitement, and accomplish that so permeates this academy,” said retired Rear Adm. Mark Belton. “I wanted to thank everybody who has had a small part in that over the years and who have been a part of this tremendous success.”

Since its opening in 1995, approximately 5 million people have passed through the Visitor Center and almost 1.5 million have taken a guided walking tour. Revenue generated from the sale of merchandise and guided walking tours supports Brigade of Midshipmen activities.

“There are so many people over the years that have really made this place wonderful and worthwhile,” said retired Rear Adm. Tom Jurkowsky. “I hope that our beliefs in this institution and the concepts that it stands for will continue to bring support and inspiration for many years to come.”

The visitors center and gift shop are open all year, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., March through December and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., January through February.

Go to the Visitors Center website for more information.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Former Superintendent's Portrait Unveiled

Before an audience of Naval Academy faculty, staff, and family members, retired Vice Admiral Jeffrey L. Fowler was presented a portrait of himself during a ceremony in Mahan Hall May 15. 

Photo by MC3 Nathan Wilkes

Fowler served as the 60th Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy from June 8, 2007 to Aug. 3, 2010. The portrait will hang with others of past academy superintendents in the Hart Room of Mahan Hall.

Photo by MC3 Nathan Wilkes

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

USNA Increases Force Protection Condition

The U.S. military has increased its force protection condition from "Alpha" to "Bravo" at all U.S. bases. This is a general security measure, not a response to any specific or imminent threat. As a result, USNA and Naval Support Activity Annapolis have changed their security posture until further notice.

 This change will not affect USNA's normal operating hours. Gate hours remain the same. As always, drivers can only enter the Yard with USNA IDs, DoD credentials or handicapped tags. Additionally, all occupants of the vehicle over the age of 18 – not just the driver – must now show a government-issued ID (driver's license, passport, etc.)

Visitors may also be subject to scans and baggage checks, which may cause delays entering USNA and NSA Annapolis North Severn Complex. Please plan ahead, especially during Commissioning Week when there will be a greater number of visitors to the academy.

For more information on visiting the Yard go to For more information on Commissioning Week events, go to

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

USNA Peer Educators Train for the Future

Vice. Adm. Walter “Ted’ Carter, superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, addressed the Sexual Harassment and Assault Prevention Education (SHAPE) peer educators during a training session in Chauvenet Hall May 11.

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

The training brought together new and current SHAPE peer educators and midshipmen GUIDEs.  GUIDE stands for Guidance, Understanding, Information, Direction, and Education...about sexual assault prevention and response.

The SHAPE and GUIDE programs were established in 2007, and the training is in place to help the Midshipmen be more effective educators of the SHAPE curriculum.  The GUIDEs receive an in-depth look at various topics so they become the subject matter experts in their companies and are particularly ready for the broader discussion of dignity and respect within the brigade.

The training – and VADM Carter’s remarks - touched on the changing demographics at USNA. This year’s plebe class is on track to possibly be the most gender diverse class in USNA history.

“The incoming plebes are going to come in with their own perception on what a man and a woman is,” said Carter. “We have to help them understand that not only do they have to get to another level on how to integrate, how they behave, how they fit emotional and socially with each other. We have to help them through that and keeping in mind the physical, mental and moral part of our mission here at the academy.”

Carter emphasized the importance of the SHAPE peer educator’s role in communicating USNA values with members of the brigade.

“I refuse to get up in front of the brigade like your dad or grandfather and shake my finger at you and say this is how you have to behave,” said Carter. “First of all, it is just not going to be effectual. What is effectual, and what will make a difference, is when at the peer level you are all willing to have an honest conversation on some of these topics that are sometimes hard to have.”

“It was extremely important for the superintendent to talk with these midshipmen, because it keeps the focus for them on why they’re here,” said Cmdr. Lynn Hammer, Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Program manager. “There is nothing like hearing from senior leadership like the superintendent on how important he thinks it is because it’s like giving them a shot of adrenalin to do what they already know, to take it seriously and do their best.

The mission of the SHAPE program is to foster an environment of equality and assist in the development of future officers who will promote and practice proactive leadership. SHAPE peer educators facilitate discussions about sexual harassment and sexual assault to empower midshipmen with increased awareness and bystander intervention skills.  It stresses the importance of midshipmen accountability and responsibility by entrusting peer educators to execute the curriculum.

Peer educators are hand-selected midshipmen who undergo a thorough interview and selection process. They receive 80 hours of instruction from outside subject matter experts and consultants. Each peer educator enters the SHAPE organization with a 1-year commitment and is charged with ensuring 100% of the total force is trained during the academic year.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

USNA Professor Receives Fulbright Scholarship

United States Naval Academy (USNA) Assistant Professor, Dr. Bradford Barrett of the Oceanography Department, will spend nine months in Mexico City studying weather phenomena with his international counterparts as part of a grant he received through the Fulbright Scholar Program.

The Fulbright Scholar Program provides a means for U.S. scholars and professionals, and their counterparts at host institutions, to exchange academic knowledge, and bridge geographic and cultural boundaries to increase international understanding in response to critical global issues.

Photo by MC2 Tyler Caswell

Starting in August, Barrett will travel to Mexico to study specific weather conditions and the correlating effects they have on other parts of the world. His studies will apply the concepts of seasonal predictions for weather events to develop better methods for fine tuning those predictions for more accurate forecasting.

“With this current Fulbright Scholar grant, I will be affiliated with one of the top universities in the region, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, in Mexico City,” said Barrett. “While there, I will study variability of precipitation and air quality on monthly time scales, specifically trying to improve predictability of both.

Barrett explained that Mexico is a semi-arid country with many climate regimes. His goal is to study the relationships between precipitation and the Madden-Julian Oscillation, a main driver of tropical weather patterns. Mexico City routinely suffers from poor air quality, and he will be looking for a connection between air quality, precipitation, and the Madden-Julian Oscillation.

Barrett has been teaching at the Naval Academy for six years. His professional and personal approach towards educating midshipmen and his commitment to conducting research has been a driving force for USNA’s Oceanography Department.

“There is a delicate balance to managing research and educating,” said Oceanography Department Chair, Capt. Emil Petruncio. “This award is incredibly prestigious and it speaks volumes on Barrett’s character. Our department is fortunate to be able to have someone with his knowledge and so compelled to conduct research.”

Before becoming a faculty member at USNA, Barrett was a postdoctoral scholar doing research in Santiago, Chile. The variety of environments and open exchange of ideas and information is something Barrett looks forward to during his nine months abroad.

“I value cross-cultural learning and think that I have much to gain from the insights of meteorologists and climatologists who were trained in a different setting than I was,” said Barrett. “I am also a strong advocate for greater exchange between the U.S. and Latin America, and this award gives me a platform to enrich and advance meteorology in the region.”

Barrett’s interest in his research resonates in his collaboration with colleagues and students alike. His ability to share his knowledge and motivate his students directly embodies the character of the faculty here at USNA.

“Perhaps the most striking characteristic of Brad as a colleague is the boundless energy and motivation he brings to all aspects of his current professorship,” said Assistant Professor Gina R. Henderson, Ph.D., Oceanography Department. “This is evident in the number of research students he has mentored since being at the Academy, the success of which is directly measurable by the number of co-authored publications with said students over the past few years. This is especially remarkable since we are an undergraduate only institution”

Barrett plans to engage with midshipmen while in Mexico and is looking forward to bringing his ideas and knowledge from his experience back to USNA.

“One of the more exciting opportunities to come of my Fulbright award could be the chance for midshipmen to visit me in Mexico City and see for themselves the meteorological and climatological diversity,” said Barrett. “In my USNA courses, I include examples from around the world, including Latin America, and my experience next year will provide even more examples to use. I have advised 15 midshipmen in independent research, several of those projects leading to prestigious peer-reviewed articles, and I look forward to returning in 2016 with new ideas and opportunities.”

Visit the Oceanography Department website for more information on the oceanography program at USNA.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Letter to My Former Self: ENS Nathalie E. Pauwels (USNA '14)

In the "Letter to My Former Self" series, USNA graduates lay out the advice they would give themselves as midshipmen based on their experiences as junior officers in the Navy or Marine Corps. This week's letter was written by ENS Nathalie Pauwels, a 2014 graduate and naval intelligence officer.

Photo courtesy of ENS Nathalie Pauwels

I never thought I would be writing a letter to my former self but I feel like this is a good way to share things I wished they told us before leaving.

When I reported to the academy in the summer of 2010, I arrived with so many aspirations and ideas about what my career could be like when I graduated. Five years later I realize that nothing could have prepared me for what I would go through at USNA.

Following a series of blood clots in my chest and subsequent surgeries, and discovering my ineligibility to serve as an unrestricted line officer, I'm writing to say that all is not lost for those who have been and may be deemed "not physically qualified." Instead, I graduated Naval Intelligence Officer Basic Course in Virginia Beach earlier this year and am now stationed in Coronado serving as a helo squadron's Intel-O.

But, looking back at my experience at the academy, I can honestly say that it is one of the most amazing places to be and to come from. Seriously. I'm not just saying it. My roommate now, who was a football player, admits to it sometimes, too. I loved it: the mandatory fun, TAPS. All of the things we complain about every day while we're there become moments you laugh about and embrace with fellow graduates.

Despite coming from a myriad different backgrounds before the academy, the experiences you accrue during your time "by the bay" are what bring us together and what you will undoubtedly miss most when you get to the fleet. Take advantage of every opportunity available to you. Apply to study overseas for a semester, or even for just the summer. NAVY can mean "never again volunteer yourself" but, let's be real, why not volunteer for the endless opportunities the Navy pays for you to enjoy?

You could literally participate in anything you want at the academy. For example, do you like to lift? Want to lift with other people? That's how the powerlifting team was born. Every program now at the academy was thought up by other midshipmen with interests and brought into existence because the desire was there. If you want something, go for it. Never quit. That drive alone will change your perspective of the academy and take you far in the fleet and in life.

Now onto some realizations I have made since becoming an officer. Although my experience has been unorthodox as a restricted line officer, I firmly believe some of these will hold true across the board:

1. Exercise: Your jobs will be stressful so do yourself a favor and devote at least 30 minutes a day to you. Find a hobby that gets you moving outside (or inside) and stick to it.

2. Cooking: In the same vein as exercise, you now have full control over what you put into your body. Take a tip or 100 from Pinterest, Reddit, whatever, and learn to cook for yourself. Your wallet will thank you.

3. Budget: The amount you get paid as an ensign may seem like a lot, but consider the amount of money you'll be required to pay for rent, car payments, loan payments and other bills. Remember, you get paid every two weeks and are expected to stay on top of your financial responsibilities so be smart with your money. Talk to the financial advisers at USAA or Navy Federal for tips on how to budget appropriately. Start a Thrift Savings Plan. Learn to live within your means.

4. Declutter: We can expect to move around every few years. Setting up a move from duty station to duty station is a nightmare so limit the amount of stuff you'll need to move around. I'm not saying live like a Spartan but keep it simple by sticking to the essentials. And for the move, go to Fleet and Family Services and ask for their help, it is amazing how quickly they get through the process.

5. Find balance: The first few months out of the academy will be crazy so find a way to establish a routine as soon as possible. Returning to some level of normalcy will make the transition easier and ease you into your new duties.

Enjoy the time you have left at the academy and look forward to the time you'll spend in the fleet! We look forward to serving with you.

Very respectfully,
Nathalie E. Pauwels

Friday, May 8, 2015

USNA Midshipmen Recognized by President Obama for Achievement

U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) Midshipmen traveled to the White House May 7 to be recognized by President Obama for winning the 15th annual Cyber Defense Exercise (CDX) in April.

Midshipmen met with President Obama in the Diplomatic Room to be congratulated on their success and later met members of the National Security Council to discuss matters relating to cyber security.

Official White House photo by Lawrence Jackson

“The midshipmen were ecstatic and excited to have had the opportunity to be recognized for their accomplishment,” said Capt. Paul J. Tortora, USNA Center for Cyber Security Studies Director. “The fact that the president is highlighting this for the first time in the 10 year competition’s history is great for the program, the midshipmen, and the Naval Academy.”

CDX is a cyber-security exercise in which students from service academies design and build computer networks and defend them against intrusions by the National Security Agency/Central Security Services (NSA/CSS).

This year, a core team of 20 midshipmen triumphed over teams from the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Air Force Institute of Technology and Royal Military College of Canada. This is the first time in 5 years that the Naval Academy has won the event.

“This was a fantastic opportunity to recognize these talented Midshipmen for winning our nation’s top exercise in Cyber Defense,” said VADM Ted Carter, USNA Superintendent, who was present at the White House for the meeting.  “Our efforts in cyber education, training and competition continue to stand out and confirm the U.S. Naval Academy's role as a leader in Cyber Education.

Four members of the class of 2015, nearing graduation, May 22, attended the event including Midshipman 1st Class Devon Budzitowski, Aaron Fleming, Xisen Tian, and Zane Markel, the captain of the team.

“Each of the seniors attending the meet-and-greet today will commission as an information warfare officer upon graduation,” said Tortora. “They will be taking the security tools that they’ve learned at the Naval Academy and taking them into the Fleet, just a few weeks from now.”

Next week the team will meet with Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, and Adm. Michael S. Rogers, commander, U.S. Cyber Command Director, National Security Agency Chief, Central Security. Adm. Rogers will present the CDX trophy to the team during a ceremony next week in Memorial Hall.

“I’m so proud of these midshipmen for all of the hard work that they’ve put into the training and practice that they’ve been doing since January,” said Tortora. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for them to be recognized by the president today and next week by the secretary of the Navy and the director of Cyber Command.”

“We plan to keep the trophy for several years this time and keep it in the new cyber building when it’s built,” said Tortora.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Naval Academy Breaks Ground on New Multiphase Construction Project

The U.S. Naval Academy held a ground breaking ceremony May 4 for the new parking garage that will mark the beginning of a multiphase plan to construct the cyber building on campus.

Photo by Gin Kai

Naval Academy Superintendent, Vice Adm. Walter “Ted” Carter, attended the ceremony and delivered keynote remarks.

"Today is a symbolic start to the future of building more than just a new curriculum, more than just a set of courses, but a cyber program here at the United States Naval Academy," said Carter. "The importance of today is not just a parking garage that we are going to break ground for. It really is the first phase in a multiphase approach to build a cyber building."

A two-story parking garage will be built on, and over, the existing Naval Academy Club and Alumni Hall parking lots. The lower level will have 138 parking spaces, four handicap spaces and four motorcycle spaces. The upper level will have 230 parking spaces and six handicap spaces. The garage will have a total of 378 parking spaces, a gain of 65 parking spaces. Construction will begin following graduation and commissioning this summer, and is anticipated to be complete in fall 2016.

Artist rendering of the new parking garage, as seen from Worden Field

"Every big trip starts with one step and this ceremony is the first step for the construction of a brand new facility on the Academy," said Vice Adm. Joseph Mulloy, deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Integration of Capabilities and Resources. “I am pleased that we are able to execute this plan, which has been a marriage of vision and funding, and I look forward to the construction and outfitting of the new building.”

The Naval Academy has developed a cyber security studies program in response to the Navy’s increased emphasis on operating effectively in an emerging cyber security environment. The program includes a Cyber Operations major and required cyber courses for all midshipmen. The academy determined that the construction of a building is necessary to enhance and expand the cyber program.

“There is a growing threat in the cyber world and we know our compelling need to educate and equip our own forces to engage and prevail in the cyber battlespace, and this will make that possible,” said Capt. Tony Edmonds, commanding officer, Naval Facilities Command Washington. “Guys like me often times think of projects in terms of bricks and mortar, but this is really about national security.”

To be built on the site of the parking lot between Nimitz Library and Rickover Hall, the Cyber Building construction will begin shortly after the completion of the Alumni Hall parking garage. Completion is anticipated in summer 2019. Costello Construction of Columbia, Md. was awarded the contract for the building of the garage.

Artist rendering of the Center for Cyber Security Studies

“As a small business, we are grateful to the Navy for awarding us this contract and we appreciate the Navy’s confidence in small business across the country,” said Mr. David Costello, president of Costello Construction of Maryland. “We are committed to working together with the Navy to complete this important project on time and under budget. As a proud and grateful American, I feel that’s the least my company can do for the Navy.”

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Midshipmen of the Semester

The Midshipmen of the Semester program exists to recognize outstanding performers from the Brigade of Midshipmen. One midshipman from each class and an additional squad leader from either the first or second class are recognized.

To be selected, each winner had to be selected at the company, battalion and regimental levels by a board consisting of various members of each staff.

After passing through each of these stages, the candidates were interviewed by a board composed of battalion and regimental commanders, the brigade sergeant major, brigade executive officer and brigade commander.

Winners were required to have an A on the PFA, at least a 3.0 Semester QPR, a clean honor and conduct record, and outstanding demonstration of leadership skill and participation in athletics and extracurricular activities.

4/C Midshipman of the Semester: Caleb Ohl, 10th Company
Caleb is a member of the varsity wrestling team. Despite an injury which caused him to not be able to compete, Caleb remained an active member of the team, demonstrating servant leadership by enthusiastically completing thankless tasks like mopping mats and timing teammates’ sprints. In addition to helping at practice, Caleb also participates in the wrestling team’s bible study. He also leads his teammates in studying for professional knowledge quizzes during short periods of free time between practice and meals. In addition, he tutors his classmates in chemistry, which is traditionally one of the most difficult courses plebe year. The entire board was impressed by his maturity and positive attitude.

3/C Midshipman of the Semester: Scotty Davids, 23rd Company
Scotty is active in many extracurricular activities and finds many ways to serve others. He is a member of the club ultimate frisbee team, participates in Baptist Collegiate Ministry, and is a midshipman fellow of the Stockdale Center. Each week, Scotty tutors underprivileged children at Bloomsbury Square through the Midshipman Action Group. He also is the 5th Battalion training corporal and a Midshipman Group Study Program leader for physics, but consistently tutors his classmates outside of MGSP. This year, he was one of nine midshipmen selected for the Stamps Scholarship, worth $22,000. Scotty plans on using the money to build sustainable energy solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa, integrating his experiences as a mechanical engineering major, and from an internship and international trip this summer.

2/C Midshipman of the Semester: David Frick, 4th Company
David is a varsity gymnast and mathematics major. He is an encouraging and enthusiastic, yet humble, teammate and company-mate. He seeks out any opportunity to help others and holds others accountable to the standards. Consistently, David can be found tutoring plebes in calculus, working out with friends who struggle with the physical mission of the academy, or helping out youngsters with their navigation charts. As his platoon’s character sergeant, David researches quality discussion topics and case studies to provide conversation topics at the platoon’s tables. When his company officer asked that someone become the expert on movement orders, David took the lead and trained his entire company on the nuances of MO eligibility and requirements.

1/C Midshipman of the Semester: Jeramy Triplett, 13th Company 
Jeramy is an honors English major who will be going to BUD/S after commissioning. As the 3rd Battalion physical mission officer, he created a training plan for midshipmen to use as they prepared for the PFA over spring break. He is also an outstanding mentor to the plebes in his company. Jeramy encouraged them to spend time reflecting on what character traits they need to develop and improve on, and then worked with them to develop plans to improve in those areas. As of this semester, Jeramy has earned a perfect score on every single PFA he has taken at the academy, demonstrating his incredible work ethic.

Squad Leader of the Semester: 1/C Terry Woxberg, 3rd Company
Terry is an oceanography major who will be a surface warfare officer after graduation, serving on board USS Barry (DDG-52). He planned and executed several workouts a week with his squad to help them improve physically in preparation for the PFA. Terry even took his own PFA early so that he could pace several squad members on the run portion. He encouraged squad members to take ownership in helping each other out, demonstrated by how they encouraged one another and held each other accountable both at squad and individual workouts. Terry’s leadership is also evident in how his squad’s average SQPR was an outstanding 3.4.  He also encourages professional knowledge through engaging his squad members in discussions on a history fact of the day at meals.

MIDN 1/C Stephen Arceneaux, 30th Company
MIDN 2/C Zac Dannelly, 29th Company
MIDN 3/C David Larkin, 4th Company
MIDN 4/C Emma Carlson, 23rd Company
Squad Leader: MIDN 1/C Hannah Bobell, 20th Company

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Midshipman Action Group Contributes 26,000 Hours of Community Service

The Naval Academy Midshipman Action Group surpassed its own expectations this academic year, contributing a record 26,000 hours of service to the local and national community.

MAG manages more than 50 projects and 500 midshipman volunteers throughout the year, and their work covers a variety of areas: mentoring and tutoring young students, environmental conservation, fighting hunger, poverty, and homelessness, and promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs.

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

“Experiencing the initiative and energy of the Brigade of Midshipmen when it comes to serving the community has been my favorite aspect of my involvement with MAG,” said Midshipman 1st Class Jake Williams, spring semester MAG president. “This energy has been matched by our community partners and as a result MAG has grown to impressive proportions.”

MAG helped organize the September 2014 Bone Marrow Drive, during which they collected 2,014 new registrations into the C.W. Bill Young DoD Marrow Donor Program. The DNA information collected remains in the registry as a potential match for a patient in need of a life-saving transplant.

Photo by MC2 Nathan Wilkes

In partnership with the Naval Academy Chaplain’s Office, MAG collected and donated more than 60,000 pounds of food for the Maryland Food and Resource Bank during the annual Harvest for Hungry drive last fall.

Mids devoted time throughout the year to various environmental projects, working with Naval Facilities Washington to clean up Greenbury Point and remove invasive plants, cleaning up the local World War II memorial and Jonas Green Park as part of its 9/11 Day of Remembrance activities, and working with Goshen Farm in Cape St. Claire, Md. Goshen Farm is a historic farm that helps educate the community on organic farming and soil conservation.

Many weekends found MAG midshipmen lined up outside the terminal at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, cheering the arrival of World War II and Korean War veterans coming to the D.C. region as part of the Honor Flight program. Honor Flight provides aging veterans the opportunity to visit their respective memorials in Washington, D.C., for free.

Even during vacations, the MAG midshipmen find ways to step up. During Spring Break, they split into groups to tackle multiple projects around the country. Eleven midshipmen spent the week in Tuscon, Ariz., helping organize activities with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s Boys and Girls Club. Another group traveled to San Diego to spend time clearing trail debris and building counter-erosion structures on the famous Pacific Crest Trail.

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

Other midshipmen worked with the United Way on the Jersey Shore helping to rebuild and repair damage remaining from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. And another group spent Spring Break working with New York City students on STEM projects.

And as if they didn’t have enough regularly scheduled projects to manage, midshipmen eagerly took to the streets of Annapolis after the winter storms this year to help citizens shovel snow.

New projects include a computer literacy program led by cyber operations major Midshipman 2nd Class Zac Dannelly, also the MAG president for next semester. Through this project, the mids will work with the Annapolis Boys and Girls Club on computer-based learning projects, helping to give children in underserved communities the computer training necessary for them to be successful in the future.

Most recently, more than 450 midshipmen assisted with this year’s Special Olympics games, hosted on the Naval Academy Yard April 25. In the same weekend, 7,000 discontinued uniform shirts were donated to shelters in the D.C. and Baltimore area.

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

The estimated number of lives touched through community service and through in-kind donations such as food and clothing for shelters and food banks is 36,000. And even with the classes ending and exams looming, the mids have no intention of stopping.

In the upcoming weeks, as midshipmen pack up and move out of Bancroft Hall, MAG will collect boxes of gently-used clothing to donate to Linda’s Legacy, a nonprofit organization that provides clothing to the homeless. After the Class of 2018 Herndon climb, they will collect pairs of athletic shoes left behind for the plebes to be donated to Planet Aid.

Midshipmen and community partners will come together May 18 for the Community Service Awards. This ceremony honors the work midshipmen performed in the community throughout the year, and the timing is appropriate as Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides last year declared May 19 as Midshipmen Appreciation Day.

MAG plays an integral part in the moral, mental and physical development of midshipmen into commissioned officers.

“MAG projects foster peer leadership,” said fall semester MAG president Midshipman 1st Class Megan Delage. “The club has over 600 movement orders every year and they are all lead by midshipmen. The coordination with civilian partners, each other, and the academy leadership becomes seamless.

Additionally, Delage said, community service cultivates a sense of service toward others.

“Interacting with the community has helped me become more aware and more compassionate to others' needs,” she said.