Tuesday, September 29, 2015

One Mid Explores the Ocean During the "Coolest Internship in the World"

Midshipman 2nd Class Julia Arthur knows what it means to set a goal and achieve it. Read more about how an amazing high school experience set her on the path to the Naval Academy and an opportunity to hone her oceanographic and leadership skills.

Three years ago when I was still in high school, I embarked on my first truly remarkable summer adventure.

First, I spent a week at Naval Academy Summer Seminar (NASS) following around a 3/C midshipman who seemed to embody everything I wanted to be two years later.

Immediately following NASS, I began a seven-week internship called the Honors Research Program. HRP included five weeks working on a research project ashore and two weeks embarked on the Exploration Vessel Nautilus in the Mediterranean Sea.

MIDN 2/C Julia Arthur, left, and MIDN 1/C Rachel Berger on board Nautilus
(Photo by Katie Bryden)

Nautilus is owned by the Ocean Exploration Trust, established by Dr. Robert Ballard – former naval officer and best known as the man who found the RMS Titanic and German battleship Bismarck, countless other shipwrecks, and discovered oceanographic breakthroughs such as hydrothermal vents.

By the time I returned home for my senior year of high school in September 2012, I had decided a few important things: USNA was my top choice of colleges, I wanted to study some form of oceanography, and I wanted to find a way to get back aboard the Nautilus at some point in the near future.

It is now September 2015. I am beginning my second class year, working through my major in oceanography, beginning my own research, and have only recently finished a five week internship back aboard Nautilus through the Oceanography Department – this time as a navigation intern beginning in the Galapagos Islands and transiting to San Diego, CA.

The Nautilus navigation and bridge teams with MIDN 2/C Julia Arthur and
MIDN 1/C Rachel Berger (Photo by Katie Bryden)

I don’t know exactly how my high school self would react to how well my decisions from the fall of 2012 have worked out, but it’s safe to assume that I would have been nothing short of euphoric. Honestly, my current self is pretty euphoric about it, too!

Now, if you told my 17-year-old self what exactly I got to do while aboard Nautilus this summer, I might legitimately have lost my mind. Over the course of the few weeks spent on Nautilus around the islands, we discovered potentially new species of fish and extremely rare corals, explored 14-meter-tall hydrothermal vent spires, and took enough biologic and geologic samples to fill multiple shipping pallets.

And while science was the focus, these highlights don’t even begin to cover the time spent on the islands visiting lava tubes, swimming in “Las Grietas” lava fissure, touring the Charles Darwin Research Station, watching the eruption of Wolf Volcano, and enjoying the ubiquitous fur seals, birds, lizards, and tortoises native to the islands.

MIDN 2/C Julia Arthur with Dr. Robert Ballard
on board Nautilus
(Photoby Katie Bryden)

My second tour aboard Nautilus was not only my favorite summer training thus far, but also one of the most beneficial. My five weeks aboard gave me a great deal more than just experience in the navigator’s seat. Nautilus taught me what it takes to coordinate the position of a more than 200-foot ship with two large remotely-operated vehicles thousands of meters underwater; how to manage the completion of dive objectives while also understanding the dynamic and unpredictable nature of exploration; and adaptability, communication, and a type of real-world management and leadership that is difficult for the academy to provide to a 2/C midshipman during the school year.

The friends I made on Nautilus as a high school student have also taught me the unparalleled importance of quality mentorship. Nautilus’ “Corps of Exploration” is truly filled with men and women who are experts in their respective fields, and since leaving Nautilus in 2012, those men and women have provided ceaseless guidance, encouragement, and support.

This type of mentorship is exactly the “4,500 training 4,500” mindset the academy strives for, and I hope to have the opportunity to use my successes and failures as a student, athlete, explorer, and midshipman to mentor someone who hopes to find themselves in a position similar to mine one day.

For now, you can follow along with what Nautilus is exploring live on NautilusLive.org.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Air Force Training Program?

You don't want to miss this recently declassified footage of Navy's Air Force training program, designed to transition cadets to midshipmen life.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

CYBERCOM Deputy Commander Speaks at USNA

Lt. Gen. James K. McLaughlin, deputy commander, U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM), spoke at the Cyber Lecture Series at the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), Sept. 22.

McLaughlin addressed more than 1,200 midshipmen about the importance of cyber operations awareness throughout their naval careers.

"Many of you will go to units where your mission will not be cyber operations or cyber warfare, but as you become more senior, it won't matter what the title is in your position, you will be held accountable and responsible for cyber operations," said McLaughlin. "What's changing culturally is we are holding those commanders, those leaders, personally accountable for how they operate, how they train and if they are doing everything they are supposed to [in the cyber domain]."

McLaughlin, a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, directs the forces and daily activities of USCYBERCOM and coordinates the Department of Defense (DOD) offensive and defensive cyberspace operations. He discussed the USCYBERCOM mission and why it's necessary to keep equipment up to date. 

"The most important mission of Cyber Command is defending the Department of Defense Information Network, which includes networks that support war fighters, Ballistic Missile Defense, support logistics sustainment etc...", said McLaughlin. "If it is connected with computers or has embedded controllers in it, it is part of that network. We are spending billions of dollars upgrading decades-old systems and securing and defending them. If we don't, we won't be able to succeed in warfare." 

McLaughlin also outlined the Defense Department's effort in building a joint information environment - a joint network that the cyber workforce can see - and operate and defend -- in its entirety. The other two cyber missions include providing full-spectrum options to combatant commanders, and to be prepared, when called upon, to defend U.S. critical infrastructure. 

27 midshipmen of the class of 2016 make up the first group who will graduate from USNA with the Cyber Operations Major. These midshipmen will quickly learn to apply their learning in the rapidly changing cyber environment. 

"We want to have our own people who have the ability to rapidly build, modify and deploy changes to the systems," said McLaughlin. "We don't really view it as an acquisition, but as an inherent life within the weapon system itself, by having the modifications done by our own forces. And our operators do that."

The DOD is building its cyber mission force to 133 teams, across all services, by 2018. McLaughlin stressed that only the most capable individuals will be a part of the well-trained teams.

McLaughlin explained that USCYBERCOM sets the joint standards as the Services organize, train and equip the cyber forces. "There will be 68 defensive teams and 65 offensive teams made up of all branches of the military," he said. "There is such a joint venture in this operation that if you can't perform the tasks needed by the role, you won't be on a team." 

USNA identified the critical role that cyber would serve in support of DoD missions, and as such, USNA already broke ground earlier this year, starting a series of projects progressing to the building its 206,000-square-foot Center for Cyber Security Studies. 

The center will provide the support necessary for the proposed curricular and professional reforms across USNA, and for advancing the quality of education of Naval Academy graduates in all areas of cyber warfare. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Annapolis Mayor Gets Underway with USNA Midshipmen

Annapolis Mayor Michael J. Pantelides received a crash course in seamanship and navigation during a visit to the Naval Academy Sept. 22.

During the visit, Pantelides built upon previous interactions with USNA midshipmen and had the opportunity to learn about and participate in the activities of the Yard Patrol (YP) Squadron.

The event, hosted by Marine Corps Col. Steven Liszewski, commandant of midshipmen, provided a platform from which to broaden exposure of the activities of the YP Squadron and the standard of instruction provided by the Seamanship and Navigation Department (SEANAV).

“It’s a great honor to have the mayor come down to see what we do here on the academy side of town,” said Lt. Cmdr. Peter Ware, British Royal Naval officer and SEANAV operations officer. “He is getting exposure to what the Yard Patrol squadron helps us to do in terms of developing the midshipmen’s ship handling, seafaring and leadership skills.”

During the visit, the mayor was able to experience firsthand how ship navigation training is conducted at the academy from the classroom to the simulators to open water aboard YP-708.

“I’m loving the Naval Academy experience, and I’m thoroughly impressed with both the staff and midshipmen,” said Pantelides. “I’ve lived here my whole life, but I’ve never had the opportunity to drive a destroyer in the simulators or go out on the YPs and see the training firsthand.”

While underway, Pantelides spoke with members of the YP crew, learned about the many different leadership and operational roles aboard the ship, and even had the opportunity to participate in practical training drills.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to show what we do and what we represent to the people of Annapolis,” said Midshipman 1st Class David Van Vleet. “The mayor is a great resource and a great friend to us here at the Naval Academy.”

Pantelides was elected mayor of Annapolis in November 2013, becoming the city’s first Republican mayor since 1997. He credits his campaign’s success to the volunteer work done by the city’s diverse community, something Annapolis prides itself on. During his time in office, he has worked with the Naval Academy in multiple community service and volunteer capacities.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Congrats to Our Newest Chief Petty Officers!

Congratulations to USNA's ten new Chief Petty Officers for reaching this important milestone in their careers!

OSC (Select) Frank Butler, Enlisted Personnel Office
BMC (Select) Robert Hock, Waterfront Readiness
QMC (Select) Ebony Hunter, Waterfront Readiness
ENC (Select) David Robinson, Waterfront Readiness
MUC (Select) James Hurd, USNA Band
YNC (Select) Sherman Harris, Commandant’s Office
MAC (Select) Osmany Delbrey, Naval Support Activity Annapolis
HMC (Select) Edwin Rodriquez, Naval Health Clinic Annapolis
HMC (Select) Nevilin Davis, Naval Health Clinic Annapolis
HMC (Select) Douglas Herbert, Naval Health Clinic Annapolis

Monday, September 14, 2015

Midshipmen Memorialize 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

Naval Academy midshipmen honored the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with a number of events during the past week.

Twenty-two groups of midshipmen took part in a flag run around the Yard on Sept. 11. Every half hour from 8 a.m. to 7:05 a.m., a new group took the American flag and ran a lap around the academy grounds. The day ended in a moment of silence in Tecumseh Court at evening colors.

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

“It is important for midshipmen to participate in events like this,” said Midshipman 1st Class Steven Rice. “It allows us to bond and grow with each other while publicly displaying our commitment to the past and those who gave their lives.”

Members of the Midshipman Action Group placed 2,977 miniature American flags along Stribling Walk, one for each victim who died in the attacks.

The flag is “a direct representation of what this country has fought for in order to become the greatest country the world has ever seen and that it cannot be brought to its knees by such cowardly attacks on our own soil,” said Rice. “Rather, the country as a whole has become stronger and more unified because of them.”

On Sept. 12, MAG also took part in the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance, a day established in 2009 by Congress as a way to remember and pay tribute to the 9/11 victims, survivors and those who rose up in response to the attacks through community service. The midshipmen held a ceremony at the Maryland World War II Memorial before spending the morning cleaning up both the memorial and nearby Jonas Green Park.

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

“It’s important because it is a service project at a memorial,” said Midshipmen 3rd Class Joshua Shamrakov. “As we volunteer, we memorialize all the men and women who have gone before us.”

The 9/11 memorial events are MAG’s first large volunteer projects of the academic year.

“It is always great to have the midshipmen here to help out in our community,” said Steve McAdams, executive director of the governor’s office of community initiatives and keynote speaker at the ceremony. “The governor has a huge amount of respect for the service that you guys provide to our country and the security that you give us.”

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

These events gave midshipmen an opportunity to pay their respects and show their commitment to service.

“This is significant to us because many members of the Brigade grew up in the shadow of the 9/11 terror attacks,” said Midshipman 3rd Class Kyle McCullough, whose uncle – an FDNY firefighter – was killed when the North Tower fell. “Of the 2,977 lost on that day, 343 were firefighters from the FDNY and have a special place in my heart. They were the first heroes in the War on Terror.”

For many members of the brigade, the events of 9/11 are what called them to serve, said McCullough.

“This ceremony allowed us an opportunity in our busy schedules to remember the impact of the attacks.”

Friday, September 11, 2015

3rd Batt Silent Run to "Remember and Recommit"

This morning 3rd Battalion held a two mile memorial run to commemorate the 14th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. MIDN 1/C Colin Magaro, alongside the national ensign, led the five companies that make up the battalion.

Photo by MIDN 1/C Jeff Martino

Throughout the run, all members of 3rd Battalion also remained silent as a tribute.

Before beginning the run Magaro informed the battalion that the run was being done to “remember and recommit.” In other words, while the main intention was to think about those who lost their lives on 9/11, he also wanted everyone to reflect on their commitment to service in the Armed Forces.

After completing the two mile run, the battalion gathered on Farragut Field for an invocation led by 3rd Battalion Chaplain LT Autumn Wilson.

Mids Run 110-Flight Stair Climb to Honor FDNY Firefighters

By MIDN 1/C Ginny Burger

It takes five sets of stairs for midshipmen from 10th Company to get to their rooms.  They live on the uppermost floor of Bancroft Hall, the Naval Academy dormitory, and are very familiar with the struggle of making it up the stairs after a long day.  

However, despite this familiarity, they can still invoke reverence and importance into the ritual of the 9/11 Stair Climb.

Photo by MIDN 3/C Mac Glassford

In 2005, a group of Colorado firefighters began the tradition of the 9/11 Stair Climb, which honors the FDNY firefighters killed during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.  Since then, the 9/11 Stair Climb has spread across the nation.  

Each climb, no matter where it is held, consists of an upward climb of 110 flights of stairs, representing the 110 flights it took to get to the top of each of the World Trade Center towers.

Photo by MIDN 3/C Mac Glassford

In the fall of 2013, Alex Cinq Mars, then a 3rd Class Midshipman, decided to start the tradition at the Naval Academy.  The academy hosts several events on the Yard annually in remembrance of 9/11, but for Cinq Mars, this was a more personal tribute.

“I wanted to do this my youngster year to honor the brothers who trained me to be a volunteer firefighter at the Goose Creek Volunteer Fire Department, in South Carolina,” he said.

This personal tribute, combined with the preservation of the memory of all FDNY firefighters who answered the call on September 11, continued to grow over the last two years.

“Our first year, we only had a handful – maybe 12 or 15 people – run the stair climb.  Most were from 10th Company,” said Cinq Mars.

Considering the busy schedule of midshipmen, the climb always takes place early in the morning, usually around 5:30. Many midshipmen already have prior engagements at that time – varsity sports practice, physical training events, and watch standing responsibilities.  

“Last year, word got out, and we had even more volunteers – probably around 25 – most still from 10th Company.” 

Photo by MIDN 3/C Mac Glassford

This year, 30 people from 10th Company were present, in addition to other midshipmen from throughout the Brigade.  Some varsity teams, such as Navy Women’s Rowing, participated in the climb in lieu of their standard morning practice.  

Cinq Mars led his fellow midshipmen in 22 laps from the top floor of Bancroft, to the basement, and back, in order to complete the requisite 110 flights of stairs. They may walk up and down these stairs daily, but today there was extra meaning behind each step, less complaining when they saw exactly how many flights were left, and more respect for those who selflessly gave their lives to save others 14 years ago.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

An Interesting Conversation in Turkey

By MIDN 2/C Andrew Raves, studying abroad in Istanbul this semester

I traveled to Bodrum this past weekend. While I was on the metro to the airport, a short, rather pudgy, middle-aged man politely asked me if this was the final stop. I had to stop, look from side to side to make sure he was talking to me, before I answered. After all, why would this man ask what was undeniably the most foreign looking person on the metro when there were plenty of natives?

I thought to myself, Look, buddy, you’re asking the wrong guy. I’ve only been here a few weeks, but responded politely “Evet, Havilimani.” (Yes, this is the airport).

Since this was my stop too, we disembarked together. He looked more lost than I did, so he began to follow me. Little did he know that I had never been to the airport metro stop. We were, at the very least, equally lost. But, hey, if you look confident and like you know what you are doing, people will follow you, right? That’s just plebe leadership class for you. I could thank LT Romero later ...

It turned out to be quite the hike to get from the metro stop to the terminals, so, not wanting to be rude, I walked with this man who clearly wanted to have a conversation. Since I was travelling alone, the company was welcome. He even spoke English, which is more than most around here.

He asked my name and where I was from, and I responded, “Benim adim Andrew, Amerikalyim.”

He did what most people do around here when you respond with that answer. His eyes got twice their size, and a great smile crossed his face with excitement as I anticipated the immediate, inevitable, and predictable follow on.

“What part? New York, Washington, Texas?!”

I kindly replied, “Tennessee.”

He made a sort of frown as if he were thinking of a way to solve a second-order differential equation. And so, with a sigh, I spared him the mental anguish. “It’s in Texas.”

His face lit up again. “Oh Wonderful, I know Texas!”

Close enough.

Not being entirely interested in my false background, I shot back, “Nerelisin?” (Where are you from?) I still wasn’t quite sure why I was speaking in Turkish when English was a little more up my alley, but, hey, when in Rome ...


Oh. Well, that gave me pause as I raised an eyebrow. I played it cool, and as nonchalantly as possible asked, “Hangi sehir?” (What part?)


Well, the ball was in my court, but I was never any good at basketball. So I made the most intelligent comment: “Big city, eh?”

I had to fight to keep the agony that my own response caused myself from affecting my expression. I reassured myself that Baghdad was at the very least, the largest city in Iraq.

The man looked away, sighed, and replied, “Yes, it was until the American soldiers came in and, well, blew it up,” in a truly mournful - though not in the slightest bit accusatory - tone.

I very nearly replied, “Yeah ... sorry about that,” but I was getting better at this whole tact thing. So I opted for the slightly less awkward no response. An awkward silence ensued. And let me tell you, there was still plenty of walk ahead.

So I asked, “Why are you in Turkey?”

He looked at me with grave eyes and said “Because the Shias, they will ...” and he proceeded to make the, what I now know is universal, gesture of sliding the index finger across the throat accompanied with a skin crawling “SSSSSSKKKKKKKK” sound.

I nodded in faux understanding and said “Ah, so you’re Sunni?”

He, still looking away, nodded “Yes, yes ...”

But this was a cheerful man, so after a few seconds, he smiled again, turned to me, and said, “You’re a soldier, aren’t you?”

I’m no EOD tech, but let’s just say, “MINEFIELD DETECTED.” After barely swallowing my academy gut instinct to respond, “Actually, I’m a sailor,” in the most pompous tone, I thought on my feet (literally). Ok, quick, buy time to think of a response.

“Hahahahahaha,” I chuckled. Good, now get an actual answer, idiot.

“Hayer, hayer, orgenci.” (No, no. I’m a student).

He looked at me suspiciously. “Do you know why I thought that?” Hmmmmm: military regulation haircut, clean shaven, physical fitness (if I do say so myself), martial posture and gait, or was I just singing the Marine Corps hymn to myself again? “All American soldiers carry lots of water with them. They will always have their packs loaded with water. They won’t go anywhere without it.”

With these choice words, I was momentarily taken back in time two years to being covered in sweat yelling, “HYDRATE OR DIE!” as I emptied my canteen via my esophagus even though there was no room for a full canteen of water in my stomach. I guess old habits die hard.

I laughed and once again made the most intelligent reply I could muster. “Hey man, it’s hot.” (Not an untrue comment).

He enjoyed this remark and grabbed my forearm as he too belted out a hearty laugh that could only make one smile even if it is one of those "I’m only smiling because we’re in a crowded airport and if it were just you smiling this would be weird.” Which it was.

He then said, “Women must love you! How many women do you have?”

I chuckled as my mind wandered to my present situation regarding women, or perhaps more appropriately, lack thereof.

“Sifir” I responded.

This joke, though not actually a joke (who doesn’t like self-deprecating humor?) evoked quite the cackle. He held his sides (and my forearm again) and said, “No matter where you go in the world, women will be all over someone as good-looking, strong, and tall as you.”

Ok, buddy, you haven’t stolen from me yet. What exactly is it you want me to buy? I look like my face has been hit by a train, and I have trouble maxing the strength portion of the PRT. But he just clung to my forearm smiling. I politely chuckled as he asked what sport I do.

Hmmmm. I responded “wrestling” since I was indeed a wrestler, albeit in high school.

He was delighted by the response and said with a smile “Oh, yes! See what I mean! Big and strong!” as he popped his chest out and sucked his gut in, in a pseudo bodybuilder pose that would have given Schwarzenegger a run for his money.

I chuckled again not because of the pose but because I knew, and he didn’t, that I could count the number of matches I won on both hands. He was eager to tell me that his sport was eating, at which point he gave his prominent gut a two-handed shake.

I laughed and replied, “Yemek buyuk seviyorum,” which garnered another hearty laugh and grab of the forearm. You know what girls say: if he ain’t good-looking or rich, he better be funny.

After the conclusion of this surprisingly successful joke on my part, we had finally completed the hike. I shook the Iraqi’s hand, said “Gule Gule,” and we went our separate ways.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

On Models and Mentors: Volunteering in the Naval Academy Museum’s Model Shop

By MIDN 2/C Anna Crutchfield

On any given Thursday or Saturday, volunteers come to the basement of Preble Hall to work on restoring and building models for the Naval Academy.

Located beneath the main museum gallery, these men and women work tediously for hours to restore, catalogue, and create the beautiful vessels visitors see on the second deck of Preble Hall.

MIDN 2/C Anna Crutchfield at work in the Naval
Academy Museum Model Shop
(Photo by MIDN 2/C Dylan Prenda)

While they come in every week without fail, few people actually notice their hard work and dedication. I am fortunate to say that I am one of the few and even more honored to say that I am privileged enough to volunteer with them at the USNA Model Shop.

It was by chance that I even began to volunteer at the model shop. The only reason I even knew to seek out a volunteer position there was because my father had mentioned the opportunity to me in an off-hand comment. I had enjoyed making models since I was a child, and he reasoned that the museum's model shop would be a good use of my time as well as a wonderful way to contribute to the preservation of history at the Naval Academy. After several weeks of deliberation, I decided to give the volunteer opportunity a try.

The Naval Academy Museum Model Shop in the basement of Preble Hall
(Photo by MIDN 2/C Dylan Prenda)

Located past the museum's basement gift shop, I was fortunate that the curator of models, Mr. Don Preul, was in his office the day I went to first volunteer. Since that first fortunate day, I've had the pleasure of working not only with Mr. Preul, but a whole host of other men and women who each have uniquely intriguing histories and great wealth of knowledge.

I might have first come to the model shop to volunteer because I enjoyed making models, but I have since stayed because of the great friendships and mentorship I have received from the other volunteers.

Mr. Don Pruel, curator of ship models for the Naval Academy Museum
(Photo by MIDN 2/C Dylan Prenda)

Being a midshipman is busy. From early in the day until late in the night, there is always something to begin, to continue, or to complete. Life gets hectic and there are few moments when one can peacefully apply oneself to a task. The model shop has been my place of solace from a busy schedule. Every time I volunteer, I learn new things or gain new insight into topics ranging from the military to daily life.

I primarily work under the instruction of Mr. Jack Hudock and Mr. Howard Chatterton who have both become some of my most highly valued mentors at the Naval Academy. I have learned leadership lessons and made lasting relationships by volunteering for the museum's model shop. They have become not only my friends and mentors, but an extension of my family. They are family.

See more photos at the Naval Academy Flickr site.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Class of 1965 Donates Bill the Goat Statue

Navy fans heading to the Colgate game will notice there's a new feature overlooking the field.

Standing in the north end zone at the centerline is a bronze Bill the Goat statue, donated by the Class of 1965.

Five years ago, the Class of 1965 took it upon themselves to refurbish the Bill the Goat statue on the Yard just inside Gate 1, originally donated by the Class of 1915 in 1957. It was this project that sparked the idea for a new statue at the stadium.

Designed in clay by sculptor Tony Thamasangvarn, contracted by local business Signcraft, and cast in bronze by the Baltimore New Arts Foundry, the statue was erected on June 9, 2015, exactly 50 years after the Class of 1965 graduated from the academy.

The Class of 1965 and its "Link in the Chain" Class of 2015 donated a variety of brass items to be melted down and mixed with the bronze, including rank insignia, warfare devices, brass memorabilia from long military careers, shrapnel from Vietnam, a cube of steel from a nuclear submarine, and a tailhook from an A-6 Intruder.

What couldn't be mixed with the bronze was placed inside the granite base of the statue, said Class of 1965 president retired CAPT Jim Minderlein.

The official dedication of the statue will take place during homecoming weekend, at the Class of 1965's 50th reunion.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

USNA Hosts Memorial Service for First Marine Corps African American Aviator

The Naval Academy hosted a memorial service in the Naval Academy chapel today for the Marine Corps’ first African American aviator Lt. Gen. Frank Petersen. 

Petersen served on the Naval Academy Board of Visitors since 2010.

Petersen enlisted in the U.S. Navy  in 1950 and entered the Naval Aviation Cadet Program in 1951. After completing flight training, he was commissioned into the Marine Corps in 1952.

He served two tours in Korea and Vietnam, flying more than 350 combat missions. He received the Purple Heart after he was shot down over the demilitarized zone in Vietnam.

He earned both a bachelor's and a master's degree from George Washington University. In 1979, he became the first African American brigadier general in the Marines. He retired in 1988 after 38 years of service.

USNA Hosts ECA Night

Did you know that the Naval Academy offers more than 100 extracurricular activities, ranging from theater to community service to STEM and more?

Tonight, the midshipmen - and especially the new Class of 2019 - can learn more about the opportunities available to them on the Yard. ECAs will be setting up informational booths in Dahlgren Hall from 7-8 p.m.

ECAs provide a great break from the rigorous academic and athletic schedule of a midshipman while giving them a chance to share a variety of recreational and professional interests.

Next Meal App

Created by Midshipman 1/C Anson Liu and ENS Michael Madrid in 2014, the Next Meal app allows midshipmen to find out what's on the King Hall menu whether they're just rolling out of bed or walking between classes.

The app is available for download for both iPhone and Android.

Also, check out the web browser version.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

You Don't Have to Be an Admiral: Rob Hubert (USNA '96)

“I know it wasn’t your mistake, but you’ve got to own it.”

That was what Navy SEAL Erik Kristensen said to USNA graduate Rob Hubert when they were both midshipmen in the same squad. It was a lesson Hubert (USNA ’96) would continue to embrace throughout his career, both in and out of the military.

Hubert served as an active duty surface warfare officer for more than six years. When the Navy couldn’t co-locate him with his wife Amy (an emergency medicine physician and ‘95 USNA grad), he got out to pursue a 13-year career in sales with a company called Allergan. He now co-owns Tilt, a lacrosse lifestyle apparel company, with his brother Jake.

Rob Hubert (far right), along with his brother (left) and
one of Tilt's company ambassadors.

He attributes much of his success – whether managing a new training department on board USS Tortuga (LSD 46) or managing a clothing company – to three key leadership skills he learned at the Naval Academy: accountability, servant leadership and perspective.

“I’m the guy who’s going to be accountable for not only what I do but what my peers do, what my team does, what my organization does,” said Hubert. “You develop a lot of trust and respect that way.”

You also develop that trust by ensuring your people know you have their best interests at heart.

“Even as a VP of sales for a multimillion-dollar business unit, I used to tell my team, ‘I’m here to serve you. My job is to ensure you have the training, the tools and the resources to execute your mission,’” he said.

It was the same for every position he held in the military.

“Servant leadership is something I think I learned at the academy but didn't realize it until later on. You learn as a plebe to set the example,” he said. “Once you have that reputation as a servant leader, people are going to follow you. They will follow you anywhere.”

Hubert’s sense of perspective is still rooted in his Naval Academy experience. Midshipmen are kept so busy, even a quiet cup of coffee and 15 minutes of solitude to read a newspaper became luxuries he appreciates to this day.

“It sounds like a trivial thing, but the academy really started to imbue that in me,” he said.

Those simple pleasures, along with his active duty experiences, help keep things in perspective in his current role at Tilt.

When his brother, a former All-American lacrosse player at North Dakota State, first established Tilt in 2014, Hubert leveraged his considerable sales experience at Allergan to help on the side. He didn’t officially join the company until earlier this year.

Having been formerly involved not just in the careers but in the personal lives of his sailors, he recognizes that a bad day in sales isn’t so bad compared to a bad day at sea.

“Nobody dies selling cosmetic drugs, nobody dies selling t-shirts. On active duty, you make a mistake, people die,” he said.

And even on a “bad” day, he loves what he does, working in a small company in an up and coming market alongside his brother.

“It’s been awesome,” he said. “Truthfully, if I hadn’t gone to the academy, I know none of this would have been possible, because that’s where my roots are from.”


The mission of the Naval Academy is graduate leaders who are dedicated to a career of naval service and have potential for future development in mind and character to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.

In the "You Don't Have to Be an Admiral" blog series we feature Naval Academy graduates who have, after their military service, gone on to excel in various ways outside the military.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Midshipman's Drawing of USNA

Drawing by MIDN 3/C Nicole Thatcher
(Click to see larger version)

Q&A With USNA's New Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen

Congrats to the new Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen CAPT Richard Rivera on his promotion this morning!

The Trident staff recently sat down with CAPT Rivera (USNA ‘94) to discuss his new role and what it’s like to be back at the academy.

What motivated you to pursue the position as deputy commandant at the Naval Academy?
The opportunity arose to come to the Naval Academy, and I knew that coming into the job as deputy commandant, there would be direct interaction with the brigade on a daily basis from the commandant’s cost center. I would be able to work with young people again, which is something I enjoyed when I was at my last command, shaping the lives of younger sailors. I think that translates into this job well. I am able to interact with the future of the Navy, and helping shape their careers and their future is something that I was very interested in.

What do you think will be your biggest challenge in this role?
My personal challenge right now is time management. This job is extremely demanding so being able to balance the requirements of the job and getting out on the deck plates and interacting with the midshipmen when you have a full plate is going to be a challenge. Engaging with midshipmen to shape their career progression, their experience and achieving the mission of the academy is something that is going to be challenging for me. But I am up for that challenge.

What are your priorities going into the next academic year?
I am in support of the commandant and his belief in the relentless pursuit of excellence in order for the midshipmen to lead sailors and Marines in the future. With that, I balance support of the superintendent and his beliefs. Those are my main priorities – to help them achieve those goals.

What has changed since you attended the Naval Academy?
There is a lot more focus on character and leadership development then there ever was. The moral mission is now more than ever something people are paying attention to. That doesn’t mean that the physical and mental missions are discarded. I just think that in my time here there was not as much emphasis on the moral mission as there needed to be. The amount of effort behind the scenes put in by the staff and faculty to improve character development of our future leaders is one big change I have seen since I have been back.

What do you want the Trident readers to know about you?
I want the Trident readers to know that I think it is important the staff and faculty here are working tirelessly to support the mission of the Naval Academy. I think as a mid, I had zero visibility to that so when I picked up the Trident as a midshipmen, I never understood the level of detail that the entire staff and faculty put in to helping midshipmen achieve the three mission areas. I would like readers to understand it does exist. We have a lot of dedicated individuals here, and it is very impressive to see.

What do you think you bring as a naval officer to this position?
I have experience not only graduating from the Naval Academy but serving in the fleet – serving with other graduates and the different perspective you gain from that. I have always been thrust into a leadership position, so I’m able to share my experiences with the midshipmen and show them some of the leadership challenges they may face as they go out into the fleet. I found in my month here that this is a great job, and I will work the hardest I can to make sure the gaps are covered and I don’t leave any stone unturned.

How do you feel that the Naval Academy helped you prepare for the fleet?
I was under constant stress while I was here, and I don’t mean to say negative stress. There is a certain amount of stress that you have to have. Whether it was academics, athletics, personal, I always felt some amount of stress, and a lot of that translates into the fleet. You have similar issues that pop up in the fleet, and the little stress I faced here prepared me to handle the bigger stresses – whether it be leaving for deployment, being underway for several months, moving from command to command. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I don’t know what would have happened if I went through another officer program, but I do attribute a lot of my success in the fleet to how the academy prepared me for my future. I am honored to be back at the Naval Academy and serving the institution that has helped bring success to my career and family. Unfortunately when you are here you don’t tend to fully grasp  how good things are here until you graduate and enter the fleet, so it is an honor to get back here and give back to the institution that gave me so much.