Wednesday, November 30, 2016

USNA Midshipmen hold 26th Annual Giving Tree Ceremony

By Petty Officer Brianna Jones

The United States Naval Academy and the Salvation Army held the 26th annual Giving Tree lighting ceremony Nov. 29 in the rotunda of Bancroft Hall.

Each year, midshipmen from 6th Company decorate the tree with paper angel ornaments that contain the age, gender and gift wish-list of a child in need from the greater Annapolis area.

The midshipmen as well as faculty and staff are encouraged to take an angel from the tree and purchase a holiday gift for the child the ornament represents.

“I love seeing our Naval Academy family rally around a cause like this,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Anna Paz. “Most of us have sponsor families that are community members here in the Annapolis community, we are fortunate to have the support we do, it’s always great to give back any chance we can.

This year, USNA is expecting to provide gifts for approximately 500 children.

"This event, to me, represents one of the purest forms of giving," said Midshipman 1st Class Cabot Bisbee. "Those involved will likely never meet the child they sponsor, and the child won't ever know where the gifts came from."

Despite the fact that they remain anonymous, people will spend hundreds of dollars just to ensure that a stranger has a happy holiday.

“The Naval Academy ‘adopts’ the most kids that we have,” said Lt. Laurie Ferraez, of the Annapolis Salvation Army. “A lot of the support the children get comes from the Naval Academy this time of year. These donations can really brighten a child’s holiday.”

Many of the wishlists include items like electronics, musical instruments, bicycles, winter clothes and footwear.

The angels with the children's names and gift suggestions are provided by the Salvation Army. Each child is from a household where their parent or guardians do not have the extra income to provide holiday gifts.

“I know my fellow midshipman have been working tirelessly on the physical, moral and educational mission,” said Paz. “Annapolis provides us with great support, and being able to give back perfectly wraps up the end of a hard semester.”

The unwrapped donations will be placed under the Giving Tree by Dec. 13th when the Salvation Army will collect, wrap and distribute the gifts to the children.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

USNA Midshipman Dies of Illness

The Naval Academy is mourning the death of Midshipman First Class (senior) Jason Jablonski, 21, of Orchard Park, N.Y., who died yesterday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after a fight against leukemia.

“Midshipman Jablonski was well known by fellow Midshipmen for his tremendous optimism and ability to have a positive impact on everyone he met, even in the face a disease like leukemia,” said Naval Academy Commandant Marine Col. Steve Liszewski. “His attitude and fighting spirit can serve as an inspiration to us all, and his passing is a humble reminder about the value of life.”

Jablonski was diagnosed with leukemia in August of this year and was receiving treatment at Walter Reed since the diagnosis. His condition deteriorated significantly over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and his immune system surrendered to an infection. He was surrounded by his family and fellow midshipmen when he died at approximately 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27.

Jablonski is a graduate of Saint Francis High School in Athol Springs, N.Y. At the Naval Academy, Jablonski was a member of the 13th Company and the men's (club) ice hockey team. Academically he was an economics major and was on the Superintendent’s list for the past three semesters and on the Commandant’s list every semester during his time at the academy. He previously held positions in his company as a platoon sergeant and a squad leader.

The Naval Academy is supporting the midshipman’s family, friends, and loved ones during this time of grief. Grief counseling services and support are made available to midshipmen, faculty and staff through chains of command, our chaplains, and the Midshipmen Development Center.

Funeral arrangements are pending at this time.

Monday, November 21, 2016

USNA Midshipman Named One of 32 Rhodes Scholars

Midshipman 1st Class (senior) Lucy Ford, 21, of St. Augustine, Fla., was recently selected as the Naval Academy’s 50th Rhodes Scholar. Nearly 900 applicants were endorsed by over 300 schools for one of the 32 scholarships awarded this year.

Ford is an ocean engineering major at the Naval Academy where she focuses on environmental change and energy. She currently serves as the 5th Battalion Commander and is the co-chairman of the Naval Academy Science and Engineering Conference. She is involved in the Women’s Glee Club and mentors youth through the Anne Arundel County Teen Court. As part of a semester exchange, she studied at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore during her junior year.

This past summer Ford received the Summer International Service Leadership (SISL) grant to travel to Kigali, Rwanda where she worked to develop energy policy and increase health care access, electrifying health clinics in rural Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo with sustainable and reliable electricity.

Ford plans to pursue a Master’s of Science in Nature, Society, and Environmental Governance with a focus in Energy Policy followed by a Master’s of Science in Economics for Development at Oxford.

Ford will attend Nuclear Power School after graduating from Oxford to become a submarine officer.

Rhodes Scholarships provide two to three years of study at the University of Oxford in England. Rhodes Scholars are chosen based on high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership and physical vigor. The value of the Rhodes Scholarship varies depending on the academic field, the degree pursued, and the college chosen at Oxford. The Rhodes Trust pays all college and university fees, provides a stipend to cover necessary expenses while in residence in Oxford as well as during vacations, and transportation to and from England.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Naval Academy Class of 2017 receives service assignments

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Brianna Jones
The United States Naval Academy (USNA) Class of 2017 received their service assignments Nov. 17, informing them which warfare communities they will serve once they are commissioned as officers in the Navy and Marine Corps.
Throughout their four years of study, midshipmen are exposed to the various career paths offered by the Navy and Marine Corps, and submit their service assignment preferences between the 24 different options in late August of their 1st class (senior) year.
"Service assignment is a pivotal point in a midshipman's career," said Commandant of Midshipman Col. Stephen Liszewski. "I share their excitement as they join their perspective warfare communities."
USNA aims to match the 1,067 first-class midshipmen with a community that suits their personal preferences as well as their aptitude and ability. 95 percent of the Class of 2017 received their first or second assignment preference.
Midshipman 1st Class Julian Turner, of 4th Company, chose surface warfare officer (SWO). Turner is the first of his family to serve in the Armed Forces.

“SWO was my first choice,” said Turner. “I gravitate more toward the people in that community, and I feel that I will be a more impactful leader there because of my values, skills, and how I plan to lead.”

Turner will join 249 other midshipmen entering the SWO community from the academy. Midshipmen who will commission as surface warfare officers will select their first ships in the academy’s annual Ship Selection Nights slated for Jan. 26.
Midshipman 1st Class Sara Tumbas, of 4th Company, said she knew she wanted to be a Navy pilot over the summer when she did a cruise on an aircraft carrier.
“I was a part of power flight, which is a three week program where midshipmen learn how to fly,” said Tumbas. “Even though I never got to fly solo during power flight, just getting up there and being in the cockpit made me realize that I wanted this.”
Tumbas will join 240 of her classmates who were selected to become Navy pilots and 75 who will serve as flight officers.
Following in the footsteps of his father, a Marine aviator for 23 years, Midshipman 1st Class Christian Scroggs will become a Marine Corps officer.
“There was no pressure from home to be a Marine, just a solid role model and an idea of exactly the footsteps I wanted to follow in,” said Scroggs. “My dad is almost as excited as I am.”
Of the 269 midshipmen selected to become Marines, 173 will serve as ground officers and 96 will serve as pilots or flight officers.
Assignments are based on specific requirements provided to USNA by Department of the Navy leadership and consider both a midshipman’s aptitude and preference for a particular assignment. The Naval Academy endeavors to place midshipmen in the community best suited to their strengths, so as to set them up for successful careers of naval service.

The class of 2017 will graduate in May, and join their assigned warfare communities in the fleet.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Understanding the Midshipman Honor Concept

One of the main tenets of the Naval Academy’s mission is “to develop midshipmen morally ... and imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor and loyalty”. To educate, shape and inspire thoughts and actions to best prepare the Brigade to become leaders of character – ready to lead Sailors and Marines in the Fleet – honor, integrity, and character are at the core of effective leadership.

The Honor Concept of the Brigade of Midshipmen directly supports USNA’s mission and permeates every pillar and every member of USNA.

The Honor Concept, the ethical baseline that reaffirms the Brigade’s commitment to doing that which is right, explicitly states:

“Midshipmen are persons of integrity:

We tell the truth and ensure that the full truth is known.

We embrace fairness in all actions.  We ensure that work submitted as our own is our own, and that assistance received from any source is authorized and properly documented.

We respect the property of others and ensure that others are able to benefit from the use of their own property.

The Honor Concept, owned by the Brigade, provides the ethical and moral guidelines for officers in training, and promotes trust and confidence across the entire institution. The focus should be on what you should do (positives), and not a codified list of what not to do (negatives). It inspires an innate sense of responsibility to do the right thing in enforcing high standards of honor.

We'll be sharing a series of inspirational posts throughout the academic year that support the notion of honor and developing officers of character. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

UPDATE: USNA Midshipmen Donate Record-Breaking 80,000 Pounds of Food

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Brianna Jones

UPDATE: A previous version of this story stated the mids collected more than 75,000 pounds of food, which was an initial estimate. The food bank later weighed the food and put the official total at more than 80,000 pounds.

Midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy’s Midshipman Action Group (MAG) and the USNA’s Chaplains Office collected and donated a record-breaking 80,000 pounds of non-perishable food items Nov. 3 for the Harvest for the Hungry Campaign.

Harvest for the Hungry is an annual food drive sponsored by the Anne Arundel County Food and Resource Bank to help low-income families with meals and other basic needs year-round. 

This is the 8th year that MAG has partnered with the Anne Arundel Food Bank and Anne Arundel Public Schools for this campaign, and they were able to donate more food than ever before.

The midshipmen began collecting items in September, participating in a friendly competition between the companies to see who could collect the most food. There is no formal prize, just bragging rights for the winner and the pride of knowing that they helped those in need.

“We don’t get any sort of rewards. We are doing this because we love to help the community,” said project manager Midshipman 1st Class Megan Rosenberger. “One in three kids in Anne Arundel County are food insecure, and we want to do anything we can to help end that. “

The Anne Arundel Food Bank’s on-site feeding programs serve more than one million meals per year which is made possible, in part, by the donations brought in by this event.

“This drive is essential to give us what we need over the holiday season,” said Susan Thomas, associate director of the Anne Arundel Food and Resource Bank. “The amount of food donated by the midshipmen will keep us stocked until spring.”

Annapolis is the home for midshipmen for four years, and for the MAG members, it just makes sense to give back to their immediate community beyond the gates.

“We started working with the Harvest for the Hungry program eight years ago,” said Miriam Stanicic, USNA community relations director. “At that time, we collected 8,000 pounds, and all the food fit in one large van. Never did we dream that just years later, the midshipman would be collecting this amount of food.”

“The midshipmen have been great," said Thomas. "Not just with the food drive, but they volunteer their time at the food bank and are always willing to give help anywhere that we need it."

MAG was established in 1992 as a community relations program for and by the Brigade of Midshipmen. The group offers a variety of educational and social service volunteer projects to instill a sense of servitude that will stick with them all of their lives. MAG encourages peer leadership, teamwork, morale and selflessness - all of which are traits that will set them up for success as naval leaders.