Thursday, December 17, 2015

Flag Officer Announcements

The Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson announced today the following assignments:

Rear Adm. Sean S. Buck (USNA '83) will be assigned as commander, U.S. Naval Forces, U.S. Southern Command; and commander, U.S. Fourth Fleet, Mayport, Florida.  Buck is currently serving as chief of staff, J5, Joint Staff, Washington, District of Columbia.

Rear Adm. Sean S. Buck (USNA '83)

Rear Adm. (lower half) Ricky L. Williamson (USNA '85), selected for promotion to rear admiral, will be assigned as commander, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia; and commander, Maritime Air Forces, Naples, Italy.  Williamson is currently serving as commander, Navy Region Mid Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Ricky L. Williamson (USNA '85)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

USNA Midshipmen Collect Toys for Local Kids

By MC2 Nathan Wilkes

The U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman Action Group collected more than 1,000 toys from faculty, staff, and the brigade for the 2015 Toys for Tots drive Dec. 15.

Marines from the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program collected the toys in large trucks.

“So far we’ve picked up more than 450,000 toys and $39,000 in donations throughout the area,” said Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua Wilk, warehouse manager for Toys for Tots Annapolis and Prince George’s County. “Every little toy makes a huge impact on the lives of children in need. No matter what you give, it’s always a big help.”

The mission of the Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to children in need in the community in which the campaign was conducted.

USNA midshipmen help collect toys in their company areas to support this worthy cause.

“I’ve had the pleasure to participate in Toys for Tots for the past few years with MAG, and it gets better every year,” said Midshipman 1st Class Adam Hammer, who led the MAG collection this year. “I think it’s a great opportunity for the brigade, faculty and staff to showcase how much we value the surrounding community and how much we appreciate the opportunity to give back to the community that welcomes us.”

MAG and members of 6th Company are also working with the Salvation Army to collect toys for the community with the 25th annual Giving Tree, located in the rotunda of Bancroft Hall.

Each year midshipmen decorate a holiday tree with paper angel ornaments provided by the Salvation Army. Each paper angel has the first name, age and gender of a child in need of presents in the local community and contributors can remove one or more tags from the tree to purchase gifts for those children.

“The midshipmen always exceed expectations in their community outreach,” said Miriam Stancic, MAG faculty representative. “The Midshipman Action Group is a great example of that constant, positive engagement that everyone can appreciate, especially during the holidays.”

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

USNA Bell Ringing Ceremony Celebrates Wins Over Army

The bell-ringing ceremony recognizes the varsity sports that defeated Army during the semester.

Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk rings the Enterprise Bell

From the bridge of the famed World War II aircraft carrier, the Enterprise Bell has been a part of the Naval Academy tradition since 1950. The late Admiral Harry W. Hill, then superintendent, was instrumental in bringing the "E" Bell to Annapolis. It is rung when when Navy scores a majority of victories over Army in any one of the three sports seasons.

Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter rings the Gokokuji Bell

The Gokokuji Bell is an exact replica of the 1456 casting brought to this country by Commodore Matthew C. Perry following his expedition to Japan in 1854. The original bell, donated to the Naval Academy by Perry's widow, was returned by the Navy to the people of Okinawa in 1987. Like the original bell, the replica is rung to celebrate football victories over Army.

Both bells are stationed in front of Bancroft Hall.

See more photos on the USNA Flickr site.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

USNA's LEAD Masters Program Preps Incoming Company Officers

The Naval Academy's Leadership Education & Development (LEAD) Masters Program provides graduate education to incoming company officers and helps prepare them for their critical role in the academy’s mission of developing midshipmen into future leaders.

The pilot program began in 1996, with participants attending the Naval Postgraduate School. It moved to the University of Maryland in 2006 and began its second year at George Washington University this May.

This year, the highly competitive program solicited applications from across all warfare communities of the Navy and Marine Corps. The selected cohort of 15 officers will study full time at George Washington University’s Foggy Bottom campus in Washington, D.C. for one year.

The 45-credit Master of Arts degree in Leadership Education and Development blends coursework from GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, and military leadership courses taught by USNA faculty.

“The program attracts highly-qualified warfighters from the fleet who will serve as role models and mentors for the midshipmen," said Capt. Wesley Huey, director of USNA’s LEAD Division. "It provides them with quality credentials for teaching in the classroom and of course is a valuable opportunity for the individual officer to enhance his or her own personal and professional goals. It’s a win-win!”

More information can be found on the USNA website.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

International Photo of the Week: RADM Pete Gumataotao

Rear Admiral Pete Gumataotao, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Policy for Supreme Allied Transformation Command recently spoke to a group of midshipmen who either just returned from a semester study abroad or are about to embark on a semester study abroad. 

The focus of his talk was the importance of building partnerships and understanding other points of views - items he has excelled at throughout his career as a surface warfare officer and in command at every level of the Navy.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Naval Academy Midshipmen Hold Leadership Development Seminar in Gettysburg

Midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy attended the the Class of  1977 Gettysburg Leadership Encounter in Gettysburg, Penn., Dec. 5 to help prepare new brigade leadership for second semester.

The one-day leadership development exercise gave 40 midshipmen appointed to brigade leadership positions the opportunity to focus on the responsibilities they will have to the brigade and the leadership qualities needed to be successful.

Photo by MC2 Tyler Caswell

"These midshipmen are going to be the senior leaders inside of the brigade, and before we give them the most significant leadership opportunity, we want to set them up for success,” said Commandant of Midshipmen Marine Col. Stephen Liszewski. “We want to give them additional mentoring and coaching before they step into these big assignments. Their actions and decisions will impact broadly across the entire brigade.”

Group discussions emphasized themes of loyalty, standards, and action. The midshipmen discussed the decisions made on the battlefield at Gettysburg and how officers showed loyalty to individuals under their command and to their organization.

Photo by MC2 Tyler Caswell

“We want to make sure they understand the depth of responsibilities they have in their upcoming roles as the leadership of the brigade,” said Lt. Justin Mears, operations and content manager for the event. “We challenge them to think about that and use the encounter here at Gettysburg to drive home the burden of command and the expectations of them as leaders.”

Midshipmen retraced the steps the men of the Confederate and Union Armies took in the Civil War during Pickett’s Charge, and stopped to reflect on the actions and decisions made during the historical battle. They later formed groups to collaborate with one another and critically evaluate themselves as leaders.

“The most beneficial thing has been to be able to collect experience from everyone here,” said Midshipman 1st Class Jenna Westerberg, newly appointed Brigade Commander. “We’re able to interact with the other midshipmen who are in similar positions and get their ideas. During some of seminars there are really good ideas that are passed around and some of what was said, I wouldn’t have thought of.”

Brigade leadership changes every semester, and the midshipmen holding positions within the brigade look forward to the challenges of command to help prepare them for their careers as officers.

“I think it will help me put into context what I learn from being brigade commander and how I can apply that towards the fleet,” said Westerberg. “I’m going to focus on being a midshipman, but I know I can internalize the lessons I’ll learn this semester so I can later realize and use what I went through to help make decisions while I’m leading Sailors in the fleet.”

This semester's leadership seminar was funded in large part by the USNA Class of 1977 through a gift agreement with the Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Naval Academy Midshipmen Conduct Clean-up, Outreach

The Midshipman Action Group (MAG) at the Naval Academy spearheaded a local community service project Dec. 5 in the Broadneck Peninsula just outside of Annapolis.

Twenty-eight midshipmen worked side-by-side with Anne Arundel County personnel, students, parents and a local landscaping business to clear a wooded area overgrown by fallen trees and vegetation adjacent to Broadneck Elementary School.

"It was truly a civil-military operation out here," said Cmdr. John Schofield, USNA Public Affairs Officer and project officer.  "The scope of this clean-up effort was incredible. Between the mids, parents and county crews, we all worked hard to make this area nice for the kids who attend Broadneck Elementary School."

The wooded area next to the school, located approximately six miles from the Naval Academy, had become overrun with leaves and trees which were impeding a walking path for the local children to transit to the school. Local landscaping firm Ferrell Lawn Care volunteered their workers and equipment to assist the effort. Owners Chase and Ryan Ferrell grew up in the area and also attended Broadneck Elementary School.

"This was awesome," said Chase Ferrell.  "All of the midshipmen out here doing this for the school – I was happy to volunteer my company."

"We couldn't have done this without the Ferrells and the county," said Schofield.  "We called a lot of companies asking if they would help us with this community relations project. Ferrell and Anne Arundel County answered the call. What they did was amazing."

The project lasted from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and included more than thirty county dump truck loads of wood, branches and overgrowth cleared from the affected area. The Ferrell brothers donated the use of five professional landscapers, chainsaws and leaf blowers for the midshipmen.  

The Broadneck Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) was intimately involved in the project and provided rakes, shovels, saws, gloves and other equipment from a local tool-share program.

The mids showed up with nothing more than their Navy Working Uniform and a willingness to work hard.

"I got to help a lot of kids today," said Midshipman 3rd Class Eric Terminello, a sophomore from White Plains, N.Y., and a member of the varsity golf team. "A lot of Saturdays I am playing golf or studying. Today I was able to do something really special for others."

Broadneck Principal John Noon and Assistant Principal Thomas Cordts also participated in the clean-up effort, as well as approximately two dozen parents and students.

"What a great turn out today,” said Cordts. "Could not have been successful without everyone's efforts."

For more information about USNA and MAG, please visit

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Cellular Service Comes to Bancroft Hall

Gone are the days when midshipmen had to huddle outside in the midst of a Maryland winter to get a signal on their mobile phones. Cellular service has come to Bancroft Hall, thanks to the efforts of the Naval Academy’s Information Technology Services Division.

ITSD recognized several years ago the need for cellular service on the Yard as they watched land line use decline, said the division’s executive director Doug Afdahl. But the Naval Academy facilities – and Bancroft Hall especially – presented a unique challenge in providing consistent, high-quality coverage.

"We live in an environment here at the Naval Academy that has a lot of boundary conditions," said Lou Giannotti, ITSD director. "It's not easy to provide this type of service when you have many feet of block construction that prevents signals from traveling."

Providing 4G/LTE service inside the largest building on the Yard required the installation of more than 300 antennas, wired to a communications room on each floor which are in turn wired to main equipment rooms.

"There's a very sophisticated infrastructure to this system," said Giannotti. "There's a lot of equipment, a lot of wiring, a lot of different types of antennas."

Outfitting Bancroft Hall is the first in a multiphase project to provide high-quality cellular service across the Yard.

"If we can overcome those obstacles in Bancroft Hall, we can prove that it works well and we can spread that throughout the Naval Academy," said Giannotti.

The project goes a long way to improving quality of life for midshipmen, faculty and staff on the Yard.

"We believe this is extremely important to the midshipmen," said Giannotti. "It provides them connectivity, keeps them mobile. These are the kind of things they thrive on. It's important to them and therefore it's important to us that we be able to provide this."

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Academy Leadership Remembers 1983 Army-Navy Game

U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Military Academy leadership gathered at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Nov. 30 to remember the 1983 Army-Navy football game played in the famous stadium.

Vice Adm. Ted Carter was joined by Army West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen and a large group of local dignitaries and local graduates from both institutions to mark the anniversary of the game, the only time the famous rivalry was played west of the Mississippi River. The games are traditionally played on the East Coast, most often in Philadelphia.

The event was conceived and organized by Rolfe Arnhym, a 1953 Military Academy graduate, who was the driving force behind bringing the 1983 game to Pasadena. During the ceremony, a bench was dedicated just outside of the main gates of the Rose Bowl. A time capsule was also dedicated and sealed beneath the bench. The capsule contains memorabilia from the 1983 game, Army and Navy football gear and personal letters from both superintendents.

"Mr. Arnhym, you had a vision and a dream," said Caslen.  "You were able to make this happen.  I'm incredibly proud to be here today."

Carter made note of the monumental logistical effort it took in 1983 to enable the game to be played with every midshipman and cadet in attendance, no small feat considering both institutions are more than 2,500 miles away from Pasadena.

"To move 9,000 mids and cadets at the philanthropy of the people of Pasadena is simply amazing," said Carter.

Both superintendents made note of the hospitality of the people of Pasadena, who housed the cadets and midshipmen in their homes before the game. This helped endear the students and institutions in the hearts of the residents and in the city.

Also speaking at the event were Pasadena’s Vice Mayor Gene Masuda, former Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard and current president of the Rose Bowl Operating Company Victor Gordo, who accepted the bench and time capsule and expressed thanks to both academies for the contributions they've made to the nation.

Navy emerged victorious in the 1983 game by a score of 42-13.

Caslen noted that the Army-Navy series started in 1890, with the first game being played at West Point. In all, the teams have met 115 times over the years with Navy owning a 59-49-7 advantage in the all-time standings.

The records and results were the furthest things from the minds of the leadership today.

“At the end of the day, we all remain brothers and sisters in service," said Carter. "There is no greater team."

Caslen noted that whatever happens in the football game, Army "will stand shoulder to shoulder with Navy" after the game and as all the graduates go on to combat this nation’s threats all around the world.

Caslen is a 1975 graduate from USMA and played center on the football team.

The 2015 Army-Navy football game will be played Dec. 12 in Philadelphia. It remains the most important game for each team each year.

"This is not just a good college football rivalry," said Carter. "I believe this is the greatest sports rivalry in our country, period."