Friday, December 1, 2017

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Midshipmen Test Capstone Project in Humanitarian Exercise

By MC2 Tyler Caswell

U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen and faculty members recently joined with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) and U.S. Naval War College (NWC) to test and deploy a disaster relief shelter during a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) training exercise at Harold Parker State Park.

As part of the exercise, five midshipmen deployed a ¼ scale model using gridshell technology they had researched and designed for their engineering major capstone senior design course.

Photo by Daniel Scarnecchia

A gridshell is a structure which derives its strength from its double curvature - meaning its surface curves in two different directions, like a dome or tent. Unlike those structures, a gridshell is constructed of a grid or lattice.

"Our capstone project essentially took gridshell technology and adapted it for use in a HA/DR role," said Midshipman 1st Class Sam Ciocco, lead for the team who called themselves "The Gridshellters."

When gridshell technology is used, which is relatively rare, it's usually in the area of architectural design, said Ciocco.

"Gridshells are not very well utilized or explored, so we did some exploring of our own to figure out how to use its advantages in the unique HA/DR role," he said. "We made great use of the construction method that allows a large structure to be built from the ground, without needing cranes or scaffolding. We used the modular pieces to make transportation and on-site construction easier and more efficient."

The group was led by USNA Mechanical Enginnering Dept. Assistant Professor Samar Malek. She formed the group to explore the capabilities and benefits of gridshell technology in the fast-paced environment.

Malek worked for the last year with personnel at the Naval War College and United Nations on the uses of gridshell technology. Dave Polatty, director of the war college's Civilian-Military Humanitarian Response Program, and Michael Marx, senior civil-military coordination advisor for the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs visited with the group to present expectations about civilian and military cooperation.

"This helped the team shape the technology to be deployable in a real-world context," said Malek.

Polatty invited the USNA Gridshellters to test the results of their technology at the Harold Parker State Park event. This gave the midshipmen and Malek the opportunity to test if their idea made sense and how well it worked in an HA/DR situation.

The simulation brought together more than 150 volunteers with students from NWC, Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University and humanitarian nongovernmental organizations to create a constantly changing environment. Many of the exercise participants had real-world HA/DR experience, and were able to give feedback to the midshipmen.

“We were able to share the technology with others that had been in real-world scenarios, and they gave us great insight that we wouldn’t have had otherwise,” said Malek.

The midshipmen's project was one of the highlights of the event, said Polatty.

"Their project was incredibly well received and added quite a bit to the existing discussions that typically take place regarding shelters in humanitarian emergencies," he said. "I was thrilled to see them get so much positive feedback from humanitarians on areas of the world that their design could be used in."

Photo by Daniel Scarnecchia

The U.S. Military often takes a relief and assistance role in HA/DR zones. The faculty and midshipmen saw the worth of the exercise in giving an experience the young officers have a very real chance of encountering.

"There are so many moving parts and so many different people and organizations trying to help that coordination becomes a huge problem," said Ciocco. Coordination becomes such a vital part in making sure that people actually get the aid they need. Every person and organization brings its own capabilities, its own resources, and its own agenda to a crisis zone. This includes the U.S. military, who can be constrained by policy decisions, the United Nations coordination efforts in the mandated country, and the host country itself.”

The experience from both the simulation and development of the project was challenging, but worth the team's efforts.

"I was very happy with the outcome of our capstone project," said Midshipman 1st Class Michael Daniels-Vassallo. "The design process was frustrating at times but at the end of the day, it was incredibly rewarding."

The Gridshellter team was awarded the Mechanical Engineering Design Award during USNA's Engineering and Weapons Division year-end Awards Ceremony.

For more information about USNA’s Capstone program, visit

Monday, August 14, 2017

USNA Welcomes Parents of the Class of 2021 for Plebe Parents’ Weekend

Thousands of family members and friends filled the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), Aug 11, for Plebe Parents’ Weekend. 

Plebe Parents’ Weekend, August 10-13, provides an opportunity for parents to reunite with their plebes (freshmen) after an intensive six weeks of Plebe Summer training that paves the way to a midshipman's freshman year at USNA.

It has been six weeks since they said goodbye to their sons and daughters and turned them over to the upper-class midshipman detailers for Plebe Summer training.

“Just after that first phone call, he was already different,” said Amy Brothers, mother of Midshipman 4th Class Graham Brothers. “His voice was different, the way he spoke was different. He went from being a mumbling teenager to carrying a conversation like a man.”

Plebe Summer, which began with Induction Day, June 29, is a fast-paced, boot camp-style orientation that begins four years of preparing midshipmen to become commissioned naval officers. It challenges the new midshipmen to develop leadership ability, motivation, moral courage, teamwork and physical strength.

For the family and friends reuniting with their plebes, it can be shocking to see how much they have changed. Parents say that the new mannerisms their plebes have adopted make them seem almost unrecognizable. They stand taller and straighter, pivot around corners, address everyone as “sir" or "ma'am," and say things like, “where is the head?”

“When I saw him walking up today, I’m telling you, I can’t even explain the feeling of pride to see how much he has grown and matured,” said Mia Nelson, mother of Midshipman 4th Class Gj Nelson. “I’ve just missed him so much.”

During the four-day weekend, parents are able to see the plebes in a formal parade, tour the dorms at Bancroft Hall, and meet with faculty and staff members to get a glimpse of life at the academy, and learn what to expect for their plebes during the upcoming year.

The Class of 2021 is composed of 887 men and 327 women from all over the United States and includes 15 international students from around the globe. The class also includes 60 prior enlisted service members from the Navy, Marine Corps and Army.

The Class of 2021 is scheduled to join the Brigade of Midshipmen during reform, Aug. 16-18. At that point, the plebes will move to their permanent company spaces in preparation for the academic school year.

See more photos from Plebe Parents Weekend on the USNA Flickr page.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Midshipman Spends Summer Serving Desert Eco-Village

Every summer, the U.S. Naval Academy selects up to four first-class midshipmen for the Service International Summer Leadership (SISL) Scholarship, which allows midshipmen to design, plan, and execute an international and impactful service project abroad.

This summer, Midshipmen 1st Class Michelle Tran was selected for the SISL Scholarship and spent five weeks in Israel.

Tran currently studies ocean engineering, and after beginning her studies in environmental engineering and developing her interest in environmental governance, she sought opportunities to put theory to practice.

She found such an opportunity in the middle of the desert.

Israel, unlike the U.S. and most Middle Eastern countries, is one of the most water-efficient nations in the world. The country owes its successes to two variables: the creation of a central, apolitical body that oversees the nation’s water supply and national investment in water-efficient technology such as seawater desalination, drip irrigation, and wastewater treatment.

Tran sought to experience this unique environment herself and set off for Tzukim, a remote town in the Negev desert. For five weeks she and other international volunteers helped maintain an ecologically sustainable lodge and designed and built mud structures out of materials local to southern Israel.

Throughout this experience, Tran identified inefficiencies in the lodge’s greywater treatment system and began drafting pipeline blueprints for construction in the fall and winter.

At the same time, she noticed that this eco-lodge possessed models for success, models that could be applied to developing communities around the world. During her free time in Tzukim, she interviewed academics at a local environmental institute to craft a study on the development, or lack thereof, of small businesses supporting eco-innovation, much like the lodge for which she worked.

She also participated in a learning seminar for young Gazans, Jordanians, and Israelis concerning the food, energy, and water crisis in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. From this experience, Tran employed system-based mapping software to more easily illustrate quantitative longevity models for commodities and industry such as water or energy or coastal fishing.

She hopes to use this software to improve project design for the Engineers Without Borders Club at USNA. At the end of her five weeks, Tran will continue her research in environmental sciences, specifically coastal flooding, at the Annapolis Office of Emergency Management.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

USNA Flag Aide Prepares for Service in Space

By MC2 Brianna Jones

Lt. Kayla Barron, currently serving as flag aide to U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Walter E. Ted Carter Jr., was recently selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class.

Photo courtesy of NASA

An "astronaut candidate" is an individual selected by NASA to undergo a candidacy training program at the Johnson Space Center. The 2017 class of 12 astronaut candidates were announced June 7, 2017.

Barron is the 54th USNA graduate to be selected for the astronaut program.

"I think at the heart of my interest in the astronaut program is that it appealed to my adventurous, pioneering spirit," said Barron.

A Richland, Washington native, she graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in systems engineering as a member of the first class of women commissioned into the submarine community.

Immediately upon graduation, Barron attended the University of Cambridge on a Gates-Cambridge Scholarship, graduating with a Master’s degree in nuclear engineering before heading to Naval Nuclear Power Training Command for training. She then completed a tour on board USS Maine (SSBN 741), an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine.

“After a couple of years working on the submarine, I knew I really enjoyed working in that environment," she said. "I got to learn how to operate on a team of highly-functioning people in a resource-limited environment, where the consequences of our decisions really mattered.”
Barron said that although she has always had a passion for science and exploration, the astronaut program is a fairly new goal for her.

“When I was exposed to the astronaut office a few years ago, I started to recognize all of the parallels between what we do on submarines and what our astronauts are doing on the international space station,” said Barron. “I think that was the moment that it clicked.”

Barron will report for duty in August 2017 to begin two years of training. Upon completion, she will be assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office while she awaits a flight assignment.

According to a NASA press release, the new astronauts could be assigned to a variety of future missions, including performing research on the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft built by commercial companies, and departing for deep space missions on NASA’s new Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket.

Friday, June 30, 2017

USNA's STEM Program Hosts Baltimore Youth

By MC2 Tyler Caswell

The United States Naval Academy's Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) office hosted 60 Baltimore students during its Summer Heroes Youth Program (SHYP) at USNA.

The students visited USNA for day trips to participate in a number of physical activities and STEM workshops facilitated by midshipmen, staff and faculty.

SHYP highlights what an institution like USNA can offer and hopes to foster interest in higher education in STEM fields among younger students.

“Being from Baltimore, I felt like I almost had a responsibility to participate and show the students that there are kids who come out of the city and attend amazing institutions like USNA,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Dante Daniels, lead midshipman liaison for SHYP. “I’m excited to be able to share my experience, to help inspire them to continue down a great path and value their potential.”

The eight-day program hosted students attending Fort Worthington Elementary, Baltimore IT Academy, Hampstead Hill Academy, AFYA, North County Elementary, Guilford Elementary, Waverly Elementary, Roland Park Elementary and Middle, Vanguard Collegiate Middle, Montebello Elementary and Middle Schools. Parents could drop off students at pick-up points throughout the area including the Y at Weinberg. This collaboration with the community allowed the USNA STEM Center to double the capacity of students for SHYP.

"The community, parents and teachers put a lot of effort forward to help us host this many kids, and the students reflect that,” said Professor Sarah Durkin, USNA STEM Center associate director. “The students are so enthusiastic, we’ve even heard they run to the bus in the mornings.”

The partnership with Baltimore Schools and the STEM program helps emphasize coordination and team-building exercises.

“We think SHYP gives them confidence and strong self-image,” said Professor Angela Moran, Volgenau Chair for education and outreach and STEM Center director. “We see them learn how important communication skills, critical thinking and teamwork are to solving problems.”

While the students learn, create and experience the USNA atmosphere, the midshipmen participating are also given some of their first opportunities in leadership.

“We have about 30 midshipmen who are helping to facilitate," said Durkin. “It’s really a win-win as most of them are entering their second year at USNA, and are given some of their first opportunities to be mentors.”

The STEM Center’s annual impact includes the work of 60 faculty and staff members and 300 midshipmen, organizing 70 events. Through approximately 24,000 midshipmen volunteer hours, the STEM Center reaches out to 13,000 Students, 900 teachers and 150 informal educators from across the country. For more information about USNA’s STEM Center, visit:

Thursday, June 29, 2017

USNA Inducts Class of 2021

The U.S. Naval Academy welcomed the 1,215 men and women of the incoming Class of 2021 during Induction Day June 29.

I-Day marks the beginning of a demanding six-week indoctrination period called Plebe Summer, during which civilian students are indoctrinated into military life.

This indoctrination period is meant to help plebes develop discipline, honor, self-reliance and organization. These attributes will provide them with the foundation they will need to be successful midshipmen and throughout their military careers.

"Today, for you, is a day of transformation," said USNA Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter. He talked with both the new plebes and their parents about the legacy of the U.S. Naval Academy and naval service in general.

"It's a remarkable history, and their journey is just starting," he said. "I look forward to watching your sons and daughters grow, not just over the summer, but in their midshipman career and their future Navy and Marine Corps career."

The new class includes 888 men and 327 women - making up 27 percent of the incoming students.

Among the new plebes are 15 international students from 14 countries: Egypt, Georgia, Honduras, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Palau, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand.

Sixty-one of the incoming plebes are prior-enlisted personnel, 50 from the Navy, 10 from the Marine Corps, and one from the Army.

On I-Day, the new plebes receive uniforms and military haircuts, undergo medical evaluations, learn to render a salute and complete their registration.

Each plebe receives a copy of "Reef Points," a 225-page handbook of information about the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, the Naval Academy's history and traditions, their administrative chain of command, and the general orders of a sentry. The new midshipmen are required to memorize approximately 1,000 facts outlined in the book.

I-Day concludes when the midshipmen take the Oath of Office in front of their family, friends and new classmates during a ceremony in Tecumseh Court. After the ceremony, plebes say goodbye to their families who will not see them again until Plebe Parents Weekend, Aug. 10-13.

With the conclusion of I-Day, Plebe Summer officially begins. During this time, plebes start each day at dawn with mandatory physical training. The remainder of each day is packed with drills and instruction on the military lifestyle and more physical training. The plebes are allotted minimal leisure time.

During these six weeks, the plebes are led and trained by upper-class midshipmen. Instruction includes seamanship, boat handling, navigation and small arms training.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Mids Tour Fenway Park

Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsman, and Naval Academy midshipmen participate in a tour of Fenway Park. The amphibious dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) and more than 50 tall ships from around the world are participating in Sail Boston 2017, a five-day maritime festival in the Boston Harbor. (Photo by MC2 Jordyn Diomede)

Friday, June 9, 2017

Midshipman Receives Penn Mutual Life of Significance Award

A Naval Academy midshipman was presented the Penn Mutual Life of Significance Award during the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship June 3-4 at Talen Energy Stadium in Philadelphia.

Midshipman 1/C Jenna Jones received the award for her leadership as the president of Navy Women's Rugby and her dedication to community service.

The award is given annually to a collegiate rugby player participating in the CRC. The recipient exemplifies Penn Mutual’s values of integrity, commitment and respect, and has made substantial contributions to society and their community.

"I didn’t really think when I came to USNA that I would end up playing rugby," said Jones, who was encouraged to try it out during Plebe Summer. "Now it’s been three years. When I found the rugby team, I found my home and I wouldn’t trade it for the world."

The Life of Significance Award is inspired by the book authored by Joseph Jordan, “Living a Life of Significance,” which focuses on the positive impact the life insurance industry has on society.
Jones became active in community service as a high school student as a member of JROTC and the Key Club.

"I loved being around people who wanted to give back to the community and helped others, and that followed me here to USNA,” she said.

Here, Jones leads a team of 30 women on the rugby team and dedicates time to several community service projects, including Toys for Tots, The Boys and Girls Club and the Maryland Special Olympics.

She also serves as a peer educator and mentor for the academy's Sexual Harassment Assault Prevention Education (SHAPE) program.

"I really didn’t feel like I was prepared to handle the situation of sexual harassment or assault before I came to USNA and started taking SHAPE classes, and I wanted to get involved so that I could help other Midshipmen here and the Sailors I will be leading out in the fleet,” she said.

The Life of Significance Award includes a $5,000 contribution to the charity of the recipient’s choice, and the USNA’s rugby team will receive $1,000 in Rhino Rugby gear.

"I’m so thankful for the opportunities I’ve been afforded by coming here to USNA," said Jones. "Between rugby and getting involved with the community in the last three years, I’ve learned and have been able to grow as a person and as a leader more than I have in my whole life."

Jones is the second midshipman to receive the award since the program began two years ago. The inaugural award was presented to then Midshipman 1st Class David Schroeder.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Midshipman Study Cyber Operations in Europe

Eleven midshipmen are currently on a Language, Regional Expertise and Culture (LREC) trip in Europe. They attended the 9th annual NATO International Conference on Cyber Conflict in Tallinn, Estonia, May 30-Jun 2, where they heard Admiral Michelle Howard give the keynote address titled "Leadership and Technology Changes: Implications, Opportunities, and Operational Perspective."

They also heard from and met with the president of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid.

While in Europe, these midshipmen will take a course on cyber operations and NATO in Germany and will travel to England to meet with an array of British intelligence officials, including former MI6 director Sir Richard Dearlove and former Cabinet Secretary Lord Richard Wilson.

They also visited Helsinki, Finland and toured the historic Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, where they gained a clearer understanding of foreign military history and operations.

The purpose of the trip is to expose and broaden the perspectives of cyber majors, encouraging a global contextualization of cyber operations and connections to international relations, while teaching students to foster positive rapport with allies working in the cyber domain.

Monday, June 5, 2017

USNA Mids, Graduates Receive SECNAV Innovation Award

A team of Naval Academy midshipmen and recent graduates were awarded the Secretary of the Navy's Innovation Scholar Award today at the Pentagon for their research project entitled Autonomous Mobile On-Orbit Diagnostic System (AMODS).


 The goal of AMODS is to employ a small satellite platform to provide both new and legacy spacecraft with cost effective on-orbit assessment and repair services. It has the potential to instigate a paradigm shift in respect of how the DoD and the space industry as a whole develops and operates space assets. 

The AMODS team includes Ensigns Edward Hanlon, Benjamin Keegan and Morgan Lange, MIDN 1/C Jacob Pittman, and MIDN 2/C Gavin Roser and  Dakota Wenberg.

Friday, May 26, 2017

U.S. Naval Academy Graduates Class of 2017

The U.S. Naval Academy graduated 1,053 new Navy and Marine Corps officers at the annual graduation and commissioning ceremony May 26 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

The graduating class includes 768 Navy ensigns and 259 Marine Corps second lieutenants. Among the graduates are two interservice commissions into the U.S. Air Force.

Seventeen foreign exchange students also graduated from the academy today, hailing from Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Georgia, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Montenegro, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. These officers will return to serve in their home countries' militaries.

U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter addressed the Class of 2017 about the momentous occasion.

“You are joining a long and storied lineage,” said Carter. He referenced the Class of 1917 who a century ago graduated early to join the fight in World War I.

He also spoke about the Class of 1967 who 50 years ago graduated and went on to fight in Vietnam, returning home to civil unrest.

“Still they sacrificed, still they endured,” said Carter. “This legacy of selfless service continues today with the Class of 2017.”

Carter went on to talk about the academic and athletic prowess of the graduating class.

Six midshipmen received prestigious graduate scholarships, including one Rhodes Scholarship, one Truman Scholarship, one Gates Cambridge Scholarship, one Fulbright Scholarship and two Schwarzman Scholarships.

The Naval Academy varsity sports record for the 2016-2017 academic year is 306-184-6.

In just its second season in a conference, Navy football won the AAC West Division title after sharing the division crown with Houston in its first year. Specifically, Navy’s senior class finished with a 37-16 (.698) record, the most wins by a class over a four-year period.

Eight Navy teams made it to the 2017 NCAA Apr Honors List.

The Navy women’s lacrosse team recently beat #2-ranked UNC and will play Boston College tonight in their first Final Four.

The midshipmen also excelled on the community service front, giving approximately 25,000 volunteer hours to the local and national community. More than 500 midshipmen were involved in the Midshipman Action Group, which organizes more than 50 service projects throughout the academic year.

“I can state one indisputable fact: the Class of 2017 is prepared,” said Carter. “You are ready to join our Navy and Marine Corps team, to lead fight and win.”

Guest speaker Vice President Michael Pence agreed.

“Today you’ll become leaders in the world’s greatest force for good,” said Pence. “All of you who do so are patriots. You’re the pride of your family, and you’re the pride of the American people. You’re the best of us.”

Pence encouraged the graduates to mentally write their own story, then “go live it.”

“Trust your training, and the principles you learned here, and you’ll have success. Remember that character is destiny,” he said. “Be men and women of integrity.”

“You bear the burden with honor, courage and commitment,” Pence continued. “All of you will be called to duty. Always remember you follow in the wake of heroes.”

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Midshipmen Collect 477 Pairs of Shoes for Donation

Midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy's Midshipman Action Group (MAG) collected 477 pairs of shoes from the Class of 2020 to donate to homeless shelters in Washington, D.C., May 22.

The shoes were collected as the plebes began the traditional Herndon Monument climb that marks the end of their plebe year. The plebe class left the shoes behind on Stribling Walk as they ran to begin the climb, while midshipmen from MAG gathered and sorted the shoes into pairs by size.

“The annual Herndon Shoe Drive shows its importance even during the excitement of a promotional ceremony,” said Midshipman 2/C Anna Kang. In the midst of an exciting and long-awaited day, the plebe class still takes time to donate “sneakers for someone else in need.”

The midshipmen bagged the shoes and transferred them to a van to take them to the regional Catholic Charities chapter where they will be distributed to families in need.

“Although the drive itself is short and shadowed by the Herndon Climb, the piles of shoes themselves show that giving to the community is not overlooked,” said Kang.

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.

Each year, the midshipmen contribute approximately 26,000 hours of community service.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Class of 2020 Completes Iconic Herndon Climb

U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen from the Class of 2020 conquered the final hurdle of their freshman year during the annual Herndon Monument climb May 22.

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 remove a plebe hat, or "dixie cup," that upperclassmen have placed on the top of the obelisk monument and replace it with the midshipman cover.

This year, Midshipman 4th Class Joe McGraw, a political science major, reached the top and replaced the cover in 2:21:21.

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.

“I felt like I was on top of the world, but it’s all about my classmates and it’s all about the team,” said McGraw.

The Herndon Climb is considered the capstone of the freshman year at the Naval Academy. Once the freshman class completes the obstacle, they are "plebes no more", a phrase that the class doesn't take lightly.

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, North Carolina, in 1857.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Class of 2020 Completes Annual Sea Trials Challenge

By MCSN Kaitlin Rowell

Midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy’s Class of 2020 endured 14 hours of rigorous physical and mental challenges during the annual Sea Trials training exercise May 16.

Sea Trials is modeled after the Marine Corps’ Crucible and the Navy’s Battle Stations recruit programs and is a “capstone” event for the plebes.

“The goal of Sea Trials is to build teamwork,” said Midshipman 1st Class Hanna Gillcrist, this year’s Sea Trials executive officer. “We want to build that camaraderie between classmates right before they go to their summer training.”

The day started at 3 a.m. with a physical training warm-up to help get the plebes ready for the strenuous activities ahead of them.

After the warm-up, the day was filled with events such as emergency re-supply, shore defense, combat fitness test, military operations, damage, aquatics challenges and endurance, water tactics, hill assault, a two-mile regimental run, ground fight, stretcher relay, land navigation, survival skills, tug of war, endurance course, obstacle course, pugil stick jousting, riverine operations, a rucksack run and casualty evacuation.

“At the log PT station, we split them up into groups and show them how to correctly and safely lift the logs and then have them do exercises such as squats while holding them,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Shelby McCool, station commander for log PT. “It’s really all about the teamwork. They have to squat down together as well as come back up together. So it’s an exercise that won’t work unless they work together.”

The exercises took place at different locations throughout the Yard and Naval Support Activity Annapolis. Events included a variety of physical challenges that simulate situations naval and Marine officers might encounter in the fleet.

“Being on the other side of things now has really allowed me to see just how the different events and exercises shape the camaraderie and teamwork of the plebes,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Nene Yutakum, a company executive officer.

The overall exercise is designed to test the plebes' teamwork and reinforce their bonds as a company and class, while also providing a leadership challenge for the upperclass midshipmen who lead each station.

Each year, the company of plebes who demonstrates the top unit performance through endurance and spirit during Sea Trials is recognized with the Iron Company award at an evening ceremony. This year, the award went to 29th Company.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

USNA Band Hosts 98-Old-Year Former Member, World War II Veteran

The U.S. Naval Academy Band and the USNA Chiefs' Mess hosted a 98-year old former band member and director today.

MUC (ret.) Peter Lisko visited the academy to witness the band play at morning colors. Members of the band also presented him with a USNA Chiefs' Association coin.

The Navy stationed Lisko on board USS Honolulu (CL 48) out of Pearl Harbor, HI, and on December 7, 1941, Lisko survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Though Honolulu did not sink that day, the Navy elected to disband the musicians attached to the ship. Lisko’s new orders stationed him on board USS Helena (CL 50), the ship on which his brother, Aleck, performed and served.

Playing together on board Helena, the musician brothers observed the ship’s integral participation in the Guadalcanal campaign. Lisko saw Helena thwart the advancing enemy fleet and prevent Japanese troops from landing on Guadalcanal. He watched his ship sink the Japanese heavy cruiser Furutaka and destroyer Fubuki and witnessed Helena rescue 400 members from USS Wasp (CV 7).

Sadly, Peter and Aleck Lisko witnessed together the sinking of USS Juneau (CL 52), the famous ship that took with it the lives of the five Sullivan brothers.

On July 6, 1943, after repairs in Australia following the Guadalcanal campaign, Helena finally sank during the Japanese attack in Kula Gulf. Lisko recounts being knocked unconscious early in the Japanese engagement. By the time he regained his faculties, only one of his shipmates remained on board out of the original nine-hundred officers and enlisted men stationed on the Helena. Lisko quickly realized his companion could not swim. Forced to compartmentalize the stress of the unknown whereabouts of his brother, Lisko waited until the absolute last second, placed the remaining crewmember on his back, and swam to the nearest life raft.

Lisko remembers floating on the life raft for three days while the survivors attempted to propel themselves towards the Island of Vella Lavella. Once they reached shore, Lisko discovered that his brother had died the day before while attempting to hold onto the side of another liferaft. The survivors on the beach evaded into the jungle line, and remained hidden for eight days until friendly forces rescued them on July 16, 1943.

Lisko returned to the U.S. with orders to the U.S. Naval Academy. He performed with the  Naval Academy Band, eventually earning the title of Band Director. On April 16, 1959, Lisko made Chief before retiring from 20 years of distinguished naval service.

He became a park ranger for the state of Maryland and dedicated the next 20 years of his life to the park ranger service. He continues to live here in Annapolis.

See more photos of today's event on the USNA Flickr site.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Midshipman Inducted into Carson Scholars Hall of Fame

MIDN 1/C Megan Rosenberger was inducted into the Carson Scholars Fund Hall of Fame in a ceremony April 30.

The CSF Hall of Fame honors outstanding Carson Scholar alumni who are representative of CSF's mission - those who have continued to excel academically and made significant contributions to their communities.

Prior to attending the Naval Academy, Megan was a recipient of the President’s Environmental Youth Award and was crowned Miss Teen Earth Pennsylvania.

She is passionate about bringing awareness to the world’s water crisis, which led her to create Barrels by the Bay, a nonprofit organization aimed to educate students about water resources and demonstrate the importance of utilizing rain barrels.

She also works with USNA's Midshipman Action Group and serves as a project leader for the annual Harvest for the Hungry food drive, which raised a record-breaking 80,000 pounds of food in 2016.

Friday, April 28, 2017

USNA Midshipmen Organize Bone Marrow Registration Drive

By MCSN Kaitlin Rowell

The U.S. Naval Academy partnered with the C.W. Bill Young DoD Marrow Donor Program April 25 and 26 to conduct a registration drive in memory of Midshipman 1st Class Jason Jablonski, who passed away last year due to complications stemming from leukemia.

Midshipmen from the Naval Academy Medicine Club, Midshipman Action Group (MAG) and Men’s Ice Hockey team organized the bone marrow drive on campus.

“I am impressed by the amount of questions midshipmen have been asking leading up to the drive to make sure they are able to make an educated decision on if they should register,” said Midshipman 1st Class Katelyn Shinavski, a member of MAG. “This shows their great level of commitment and calling to serve others in need.”

Midshipmen, staff, faculty and family members volunteered to have their DNA collected from a cheek swab and entered into the National Marrow Donor Registry to be available as a potential match for someone in need of a life-saving transplant.

“This year we are not as much counting the numbers,” said Miriam Stanicic, USNA community relations director. “It's more about the commitment when someone gets the call, and that's why it has to be a purely volunteer effort. We know that midshipmen are very benevolent with their time, with their energy, and with their outreach to the community. Because this is offered through the DoD, it's a good way to give back.”

The swab samples are sent to the C.W. Bill Young Donor Center in Rockville, Maryland for testing and registration. It is here that the DNA information is coded and stored in the Defense Department and National Marrow Donor Program registries.

“We do between 400 to 600 transplants a year, all from DoD donors within our database,” said Dr. Jennifer Ng, director of the DoD Bone Marrow Program. “That is quite significant because the whole U.S. does about 6,000 a year, so 10 percent of that donation comes just from the DoD.”

The C.W. Bill Young DoD Marrow Donor Center, has been in operation since 1991 and works exclusively with military personnel and their dependents, DoD civilian employees, Reservists, Coast Guard and National Guard members to facilitate marrow and stem cell donations.

“I am inspired by the willingness of the Brigade of Midshipmen to volunteer for such a noble cause,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Ted Johnson, president of the USNA Medical Club. “I am proud of the work that members of both the Navy Medicine Club and Midshipman Action Group have done to spread awareness of the drive, its purpose, and its incredible effects on the lives of others.”

According to the center, more than 12,000 people are diagnosed each year with diseases that require an infusion of stem cells. More than 70 percent of blood cancer patients are unable to find an appropriate match within their own family and will require an unrelated donor.

Due to drives like these there are more opportunities and more donors to choose from, leading to life saving transplants for more patients.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

USNA Midshipmen Work to Produce Renewable Energy from Everyday Waste

By MCSN Kaitlin Rowell

A class at the U.S. Naval Academy is working to convert what we think of as everyday garbage into usable energy, a project that supports the Navy’s energy independence goals and potentially changes the way we view waste.

The average American throws away five pounds of trash each day which adds up to 258 million pounds of waste each year according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 2014 more than 89 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) were recycled and composted, the highest percentage recycled in the U.S. to date. Unfortunately, even with these efforts, 136 million tons of MSW still ended up in landfills.

 But it turns out, through emerging process in which this waste is collected and process, landfills could be a valuable source of renewable energy.

Patrick Caton, a USNA Mechanical Engineering professor, and the students in his Waste-To-Energy Conversion class are attempting to determine just how much energy can be harnessed from everyday waste.

“This class is about engineering systems that can turn anything that we might consider to be waste into a usable energy source,” said Caton. “We try to take a broad view of waste. The obvious thing people think of when they hear waste is trash, but very quickly I hope students learn to view that more broadly.”

They first collect and sort waste into different categories. They then estimate how much energy each category of trash can produce by weighing it. The samples are then sent to an external lab for further testing, where they will be analyzed by first drying the waste to determine its moisture content, and then put into an oven where its mass loss is measured as it burns. With this information, the lab determines how much ash is produced as well as how much energy is released by measuring the amount of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur and nitrogen. The lab will then send the results back to the students to compare with their original estimates.

“We waste a lot of energy with trash,” said Midshipman 1st Class James Shadow. “Most people don’t do a whole lot of composting, and you can get a lot of energy out of that. You can get a lot of energy out of the trash that’s just sitting in the trash cans. That’s kind of enlightening.”

Using trash as an energy source is a gateway to a healthier environment and allows us to limit our use of fossil fuels, as well as reduce the cost of living.

“One of my goals for my students is to leave this class with a mindset … where the things that may have before been considered unusable or just complete waste actually have value,” said Caton. “I think that's a really important part of managing our energy going forward as a people, as an earth.”

Another project the class is working on is experimenting with food waste from King Hall, the dining facility for the Brigade of Midshipmen.

Midshipman 1st Class Scott Davids explained that by taking the food waste, grinding it up, adding some small bacteria to it and removing the presence of oxygen, an environment is created forcing the bacteria to produce gas. That bio-gas is about sixty to seventy percent methane.

The goal of this is to take decomposing food waste and collect methane to be used for energy.

“The benefit of these projects is getting midshipmen involved and showing opportunities for energy generation in the future,” said Davids. “This is something that is not only really applicable here to learn about in class, but also something that could play a part in our roles in the Navy.”

In 2009, then Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus issued several goals directed at transforming the Department of the Navy’s (DoN) energy use. Among them were to increase total energy consumption from alternative sources to fifty percent by 2020 and reduce petroleum use in the commercial fleet by fifty percent by 2020.

This project provides yet another possible method for achieving those goals.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

USNA Chef Wins United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award

The Naval Academy's Deputy Director of Retail Dining and Executive Chef Eric Lindstrom is one of eight foodservice professionals who won the United Fresh Produce Association's 10th Annual Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards.

These awards honor chefs and their companies for their innovative and influential use of fresh produce in the culinary arts. Winners will be honored guests at the United Fresh 2017 convention and trade show, June 13-15 in Chicago.

"I’m honored to be recognized by United Fresh and PRO*ACT as the 2017 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award winner in the 'College & Universities' category and can’t wait to attend United Fresh 2017, see the latest innovations in fresh produce, and bring back new ideas to serve our guests at the Naval Academy," said Lindstrom.

These winners were selected from more than 100 nominations submitted by produce companies and foodservice operations across North America. A panel of produce and foodservice industry leaders reviewed each nominee's incorporation of fresh produce into menu development, use of food safety protocols for proper storage and handling of produce, leadership in produce-related community service and special events, and recognition by their company and industry peers.

The winners, along with an executive from their company, will attend United Fresh 2017 in Chicago. They also will be featured in a panel discussion on the United Fresh 2017 trade show floor in the FreshMKT Learning Center on Thursday, June 15, and will be presented with their awards during the Retail-Foodservice Celebration Dinner that evening.

Monday, April 17, 2017

USNA Wins Annual NSA Cyber Defense Exercise

Congratulations to the Naval Academy's Cyber Security Team for winning this year's annual Service Academy Cyber Defense Exercise (CDX), hosted by the NSA!

Cyber Security Team Members:
MIDN 1/C Lucas Foppe (Captain)
MIDN 1/C  Jordan Wilhelm
MIDN 1/C Danny Flack
MIDN 1/C Dennis Devey
MIDN 2/C John Trezza
MIDN 2/C Lamont Brown
MIDN 2/C Peter Hodapp
MIDN 3/C Anthony Dohse
MIDN 3/C Brandon Sipes
MIDN 3/C Doug Alpuche
MIDN 3/C Kristina Bodeman
MIDN 3/C Sam Teplov
MIDN 3/C Trent Meekin
MIDN 4/C Caroline Sears
MIDN 4/C Kevin Nguyen

The annual Service Academy CDX began in 2001 and is designed to sharpen the skills of the next generation of cyber warriors by having them work against NSA experts. USNA last won the event in 2015.

The Service Academy Cyber Defense Exercise trophy will
return to USNA this year. USNA last held the trophy the CDX in 2015.

For the past several months leading up to the event, these 15 midshipmen and their counterparts from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, Military Academy, and the Royal Military College of Canada have been preparing for the live competition by building and securing their own networks. During last week's competition, experts from NSA attacked each team's networks, while they attempted to detect and recover from those intrusions and attacks.

The USNA CDX victory comes with annual “cyber bragging rights” among the service academies and alumni in the cyber world where this event is recognized for its significance and difficulty, but also comes with an trophy (pictured above), which will return to Annapolis in the near future for a formal presentation.

Friday, April 14, 2017

USNA Ethics Team Wins Military Ethics Case Competition

The Naval Academy Ethics Team met with teams from West Point, Colorado Springs, the Coast Guard Academy, and Virginia Military Institute April 8 for the 4th Annual Military Ethics Case Competition.

During this competition, the teams each gave 20-minute presentations concerning the Farsi Island incident from January  2016, in which two U.S. Navy Riverine Command Boat crews were taken captive by Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels. Some crew members behaved contrary to the Code of Conduct during their brief captivity.

The teams crafted curricular proposals, using the incident as case study material, for use at their home schools. These proposals would be used to help prepare junior officers for any such future encounters.  A panel of five judges, two from the USNA Class of 1964, one from Boeing corporation, another from First Command Financial Services, and another from the University of Maryland, considered the presentations and engaged each team in an intensive Q&A session after their presentations.

The Naval Academy team, consisting of MIDN 4/C Jonathan Corbin, 3/C Adam Biethman, 3/C Raymond Gerrety and 2/C Marieme Gueye, took first place for the second time in the four-year history of the competition.  The team from West Point took second place, and Air Force landed in third.

This event wraps a very successful year for the  USNA Ethics Team. They began the year taking first place in the Eller College of Management Business Ethics Case Competition held in Tucson at the University of Arizona, followed up in March with a second-place finish in their first visit to the Stetson University Templeton Business Ethics Case Competition in Deland, Florida, before hosting the Military Ethics Case Competition.

The team is generously funded by the USNA Class of 1964 and is coached by Dr. Shaun Baker of the Stockdale Center.

Video of the competition will be available soon on the Stockdale Center's YouTube page.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

USNA Launches Semester Exchange Program with Korean Naval Academy

Naval Academy Superintendent VADM Ted Carter recently signed a memorandum of agreement for a semester exchange program with the Republic of Korea Naval Academy. 

Annapolis will send its first midshipman on exchange there this fall. This is the first semester exchange program for the ROK Naval Academy and the tenth counterpart naval academy semester exchange partner for USNA. 

These kinds of cooperative program enables our midshipmen to better understand another region of the world and other points of view. Each year we will send midshipmen to the ROK Naval Academy and also have the benefit of hosting ROK midshipmen in Annapolis.

Monday, April 10, 2017

"Old Goat" Decanter Passed on to Oldest Active Duty USNA Graduate

Retired Admiral Cecil D. Haney presented the "Old Goat" decanter to the commander of U.S. Pacific Command Admiral Harry B. Harris Saturday, designating him the oldest USNA graduate still on active duty.

Retired Adm. Cecil D. Haney (right) presents the "Old Goat" decanter
to Adm. Harry B. Harris in Memorial Hall.

The decanter is engraved with the initials and class years of previous Old Goats (which include Admiral Alton L. Stock, former USNA Superintendent Vice Admiral Mike Miller, and former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert.)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

USNA Hosts 2017 Joint Service Academy Cyber Security Summit

The United States Naval Academy (USNA) hosted the third annual Joint Service Academy Cyber (JSAC) Security Summit March 23-24.

The annual JSAC Summit aims to strengthen the ties between industry and government organizations, better secure the internet, share best practices and foster stakeholder partnerships to defend and defeat threats facing the nation. Hosted by one of the military service academies, the summit gives future junior officers the opportunity to interact with influential and experienced members of the cyber community.

“By using the service academies as the platform for this annual event, we try to generate discussion amongst entry level officers and leaders who could then network, meet and discuss with experts in the field,” said Paul J. Tortora, director of the Center for Cyber Security Studies. “Policy, academic, military, industry, government, international and domestic are all topics. We are able to talk about how we are educating our future leaders, but also give a leadership perspective on how cybersecurity is used in the fleet, other services, industry and academia. We bring in premier experts who can talk about cyber from all aspects and all angles.”

The summit bought together more than 200 leading information security space representatives from various backgrounds, including all four military service academies, the Defense Department, civilian industry and academia.

The opening keynote provided by Vice Adm. Walter E. “Ted” Carter Jr., USNA superintendent, stressed the significance of cyber education, cyber awareness, and how all warfighters need to be aware of how the cyber domain transcends all of the other traditional domains of air, sea, land, and space.

“A few years ago when I was president of the Naval War College, when then-CNO Admiral Jonathan Greenert, asked me to write about the future of warfare, I didn’t write about the efficacy of our fighter jets or our carriers,” said Carter, holding up his smartphone. “This phone has two to three times the computing power I had in the F-14 in the 1990s. I wrote about cyber operations and the electromagnetic spectrum. By 2020, we’ll have over 100 billion devices connected around the world through the internet of things. Our midshipmen come in as users of the internet, but they may not understand the vulnerabilities. I think the launch of our cyber major is one of the watershed events of all of our major programs.”

The opening panel of the event brought together four former directors of the National Security Agency, an unprecedented gathering in an unclassified setting. Retired Adm. William Studeman, retired Army Gen. Keith Alexander, retired Air Force Lt. Gen Kenneth Minihan and retired Vice Adm. J. Michael McConnell were on the panel moderated by Distinguished Visiting Professor Chris Inglis, former deputy director of the NSA. Spanning the administrations of President Reagan to President Obama, they each provided perspectives on the foundations of cyberspace and its implications for the future.

“The panel's comments could easily serve as the basis of an entire course in cyberpace history, strategy and strategy with a particular emphasis on the implications for present and future national strategy,” said Chris Inglis, the panel’s moderator. “While most in the audience  were familiar with the broad aspects of the period covered, few had ever enjoyed a ringside seat of a discussion on the thinking and events that informed the creation of a new domain and the attendant strategy policy and organization represented in today's United States Cyber Command and its close partner the National Security Agency.”

"The country must mobilize to deal with the growing cyber and information operations threats, especially in cybersecurity,” said Studeman. “Educating our best and brightest ‘People’ is absolutely strategic to improving overall national cyber resilience, and to working with the public and private sides to secure better defenses.”

The summit's emphasis on networking gave students and leaders communication opportunities through networking timeslots, luncheons, receptions and a keynote dinner presentation by Congressman Mike Rogers. In parallel with the summit was a cyber “Capture the Flag” competition. This competition included 36 midshipmen and cadets from USNA, West Point, and the U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard Academies, as well as five sailors from NIOC Pensacola's Cyber Protection Team (CPT) and five participants from the NSA. Over the 8-hour competition, participants were able to showcase their offensive cyber tradecraft in an environment that fostered innovation, teamwork, and problem solving.  More importantly, the USNA team took first place in this inaugural event.

Dr. Martin Libicki, USNA’s Maryellen and Richard L. Keyser distinguished visiting professor in cyber security studies, chaired a panel titled "Responding to Unacceptable State Behavior in Cyberspace" to discuss cybersecurity policy by focusing on a particular question: How should the United States have responded to Russia's hack of the DNC and other political targets? Although no panelist took great exception to what was done, one noted that the problem of Chinese hacking of U.S. corporations took five years to resolve, and no one should expect that the problem of Russian hacking of the U.S. political system would be solved much faster. Another offered that the problem of Russian hacking was a subset of protecting the West from a formerly defensive but not increasingly aggressive Russia; it should not be viewed as simply a cyberspace problem. His panel included Dr. James A. Lewis, distinguished visiting professor in cyber security studies at USNA.

“Conferences like these give us an opportunity to lay the foundations for jointness with future generations of officers," said Lewis, who also serves as senior vice president for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

The second day was opened by Mark McLaughlin, chairman and CEO of the Palo Alto Networks and a 1988 West Point graduate. His comments were focused on how to use the collective wisdom of those experts in the audience along with all of the midshipmen and cadets who are at the academic “ground zero” of military professional development to ensure that cybersecurity can be managed and its threats minimized in both the public and private domains, while taking advantage of all the cyber domain has to offer.

“The Naval Academy hosts many large-format conferences and symposia each year, so we're pretty experienced in this area,” said Andrew Phillips, the USNA’s academic dean and provost. “But this was our first time hosting the JSA Cyber Summit, and wow … did this event really exceed all expectations!  It's possible that the JSA Cyber Summit this year included the most impressive set of speakers and panels we have ever hosted in one event. Since our goal at Navy is to be the national leader in undergraduate cyber education, it seems fitting to me that we would – and should – play host to just this kind of event as often as possible.”

On the second day, Carter spoke on a panel along with his West Point counterpart, Army Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, and Air Force Lt. Gen William Bender, the USAF chief information dominance officer and chief information officer. The panel focused on service-specific approaches to cyber education and training, during which each of the distinguished panelists was able to briefly explain the importance each service and service academy places on ensuring that all of our future leaders have a deeper understanding and awareness of how the cyber domain will impact them, regardless of their specific community or operational specialty.

In a panel discussion entitled “The Future of Cybersecurity Regulation,” moderated by Jeff Kosseff, assistant professor of cyber law at USNA, the audience heard panelists’ predictions for the enforcement of cybersecurity laws by federal and state regulators. The panel consisted of Doug Gansler, the former Maryland attorney general; Marc Groman, former privacy adviser to President Obama; Nancy Libin, former Justice Department chief privacy and civil liberties officer; Robert Schoshinski, assistant director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Privacy & Identity Protection; and Emery Simon, counsel to Business Software Alliance, Inc. Among other issues, the panelists discussed the likelihood that Congress would replace the 47 state data breach notification laws with a consistent national standard. The panelists also engaged in a spirited debate about privacy and government surveillance.

The two-day summit brought a total of five panels and five keynote presentations to the C-suite level crowd and young students and professionals. The collaboration-encouraging environment helped to establish a rapport with the broader cyber community which our future leaders here at USNA will enter.

“This was a great collection of cyber geniuses,” said Midshipman 4th Class Rae-Kelly Hamilton. “For the professionals, I am sure it was beneficial to exchange ideas and thoughts. As a young person just stepping into my career in the cyber domain, it was a great inspiration-endowing and thought-provoking experience. I look forward to attending next year!”

The closing keynote address was provided by Mr. Rick Ledgett, NSA deputy director.

"We must strive to harness the knowledge and creativity of our collective workforces and to provide a culture that embraces diversity of thought and ideas and inspires people to think outside of the box when it comes to meeting emerging cyber challenges, said Ledgett.

Ledgett also serves on the USNA’s Cyber Board of Advisors and has been closely involved and engaged in the continued development of cyber education at the academy.

"In a world where technology changes constantly and our adversaries' tradecraft evolves just as rapidly, we have no other choice than to partner to make our critical national security systems and the nation's critical infrastructure more resilient,” he said. “I've seen the incredible things that smart motivated people can do when faced with seemingly intractable problems. We can get there together, and we must.”

“All in all, this was a fantastic, meaningful, and collaborative event for all of the Service Academies,” said Tortora. “The Naval Academy Center for Cyber Security Studies will continue to seek ways such as this to spotlight the great efforts of our staff, faculty, and Midshipmen in leaning forward on this nationally significant field of study.”

Information about USNA’s Cyber Science Dept. can be found at Information about USNA’s Center for Cyber Security Studies can be found at

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Faculty Promotions & Tenure

Congratulations to our awesome faculty on their promotions!

Granted tenure in their current position of Associate Professor effective mid-August 2017:

Hezi Y. Brosh Languages and Cultures Department

Associate Professor with tenure effective mid-August 2017:

Rajratan Basu, Physics
Justin A. Blanco, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Kostyantyn Medynets, Mathematics
Captain Elizabeth R. Sanabia, USN, Oceanography 
Gavin W. Taylor, Computer Science
Thomas K. Ward, English

Full Professor effective mid-August 2017:
Lori L. Bogle, History
Peter Joyce, Mechanical Engineering
Christopher L. Pettit, Aerospace Engineering
Ryan N. Rakvic, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Robert S. Stone, Languages & Cultures
Vrej A. Zarikian, Mathematics

Friday, March 24, 2017

Mid Attends International Cadets Conference

From the USNA International Programs Office

Midshipman 1st Class Thomas Giornelli attended the International Cadets Conference March 2-6 at the National Defense Academy (NDA) of Japan.

Giornelli, from 26th Company, was selected to participate in this event due to the three years he spent studying the Japanese language at the Naval Academy.

The International Cadets Conference is week-long conference that the National Defense Academy has hosted since 1998. Cadets from countries all around the world are invited to the conference to discuss global security and build mutual understanding.

The topics discussed at this year’s International Cadets Conference related to leading in the changing battlefields of today’s wars: Leadership in Joint Operations, Multinational Operations, Cyber Security, and Anti-Terrorism. Giornelli was assigned to the session discussing leading in joint operations.

“We were required to discuss how our academies prepare us for leading these operations, but before this conference I really didn’t know too much about them,” said Giornelli.

Giornelli was the only student from his group who came from a non-joint academy.

“I ended up talking a lot about how our school prepares us to work in an environment with both Sailors and Marines, like a Marine Expeditionary Unit. I think it’s the most likely joint operation an academy graduate would be assigned to.”

The conference also provides opportunities for foreign cadets to experience the Japanese culture. On their first day at the conference, all cadets and midshipmen took part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, performed by the Tea Ceremony Club of the NDA.

The tea ceremony is a way Japanese hosts welcome guests into their home that dates back Muromachi period (1336-1573). The host ceremoniously brews a cup of green tea, called matcha, and serves it to his guests.

The next day, the cadets and midshipmen experienced a traditional form of Japanese comedy called Rakugo. It is similar to western stand-up comedy, where a single performer called a rakugoka tells humorous stories while kneeling politely in the seiza on stage using only a single fan as a prop.

The visiting midshipmen and cadets also participated in sports and club activities every day.

“After the conference work was over for the day, we were given free reign to workout with whatever club or team we wanted to,” said Giornelli. “I am actually the president of the Navy Judo club back at the academy, so I got to work out with their Judo team. Everyone there was so kind to me, letting me walk in on their practices and work with them. They had some intense workouts. In fact, I got to work with one of their best players, who’s the current collegiate champion in Japan.”

He also visited the Sensoji Temple, a Buddhist temple in the Asakusa district of Tokyo that serves as a large tourist attraction while remaining an operating temple. It is famous for its incense burning around the area, which according to legend, can make those who breathe it in smarter.

Giornelli’s Japanese hosts then took him to the city of Yokohama, just south of Tokyo. Yokohama is a famous port city in Japan, and one of the first to open its doors to all westerners after the arrival of Commodore Perry in the 1850s. As such, the Japanese consider it to be a very westernized city, in contrast to the traditional Asakusa district. They visited the Japanese Coast Guard Museum there, where the remains of a captured North Korean spy ship is held.

“This conference was one of the best experiences of my life. I made friends from around the world, and learned a great deal about other services around the world,” said Giornelli. “I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to participate in the International Cadets Conference, and I hope to work with my new friends in future operations someday.”

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Family, Intensity, and Loyalty: How Navy Women’s Hockey is Breaking Molds and Heading to Nationals

By MIDN 2/C Jack Thoene

The Navy Women’s Hockey team is a program less than a decade old and boasts a roster where less than 50% of the team ever stood on the ice before their freshman year. This year, for the first time ever, the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s National tournament has the Navy women on their radar. The team advanced to nationals in February and will compete next week in Columbus, Ohio.

Upon their arrival, more than a few heads are going to turn - not because of their hockey style, but because of their lifestyle. Simply put, the soon-to-be junior officers in the United States Navy and Marine Corps don’t put the game of hockey at the top of their priority list. That spot is reserved for each other.

They are a family, through and through, headed by their team captain MIDN 1/C Claire Clark.

“The defining element of this program is the team culture. Our success on the ice this season is a direct product of a team environment where selflessness and loyalty are valued above all else," said Clark. "The game itself is infinitely more fun when we just get out there to play for each other and nothing else."

MIDN 2/C Liz Cameron turned down a walk-on varsity soccer team position.

“I grew up playing soccer and the thought of playing hockey never crossed my mind," said Cameron." When the captain of the hockey team my plebe year, a 1/C in my company, offered to throw me in skates, I was hesitant. The instant I walked into the locker room I knew something about this team was different. It wasn’t about the hockey. Sure, the hockey brings the group of girls together, but we are a team of sisters because we care about the person under the gear.”
When observing the team from the sidelines and bleachers, the program is clearly a strong regional competitor despite the fact that the majority of the players have skated less than three years. The team only recently made “club” status, and only two years ago they dressed out in an industrial concrete back room with no place to store their cold, wet gear.

They soon graduated to a conference room, eventually finding a home in the locker room they have now. At first glance, this team’s rapid development and competitive successes are hard to believe; they shouldn’t be the nationals-bound team they are. Yet here they are, establishing their legitimacy as a high-caliber team by putting up fights and even defeating women who are quite literally twice their size.

What makes them different, of course, is what happens on the benches and in the locker rooms, and even back inside Bancroft Hall. The team fosters a nurturing atmosphere, one of mentorship and benevolence, bestowing hard-won wisdom upon the underclass midshipmen as they mature. When each woman gets on the ice, she doesn’t have to worry about what’s going on in her personal life. No matter what, her teammates have her back. It’s not about hockey; it’s about learning life and basic leadership through hockey.

The unique thing about them is that their competitive drive already governs their behavior on and off the ice, thanks to the selection process of the Academy. The team culture need only mold, not forge, the women to create intense loyalty to one another and their team, fostering a teamwork mentality coaches can only hope for. These women may be loud, vivacious, compassionate, and unassuming - and if you step on the ice on any given day, they’ll show you the Navy Women’s Hockey way.

Back to the basics: selflessness, loyalty, intensity. NWH is a family through and through.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

USNA Holds Submarine Service Selection Dinner

By MC2 Tyler Caswell

The Navy's top submarine commander welcomed the future submariners of the U.S. Naval Academy's Class of 2017 to the fleet at a dinner and reception Feb. 27.

Commander, Submarine Forces, Vice Adm. Joe Tofalo addressed the 134 first-class midshipmen who were selected to be submariners about the current and future capabilities status of the submarine community.

"You are the future of the submarine community, and we need you to ... step up to be part of this legacy we have," said Tofalo. "If you think about a submarine, there is not one single defensive weapon on a sub. We are all teeth."

Tofalo said that during World War II submarines made up less than 2 percent of U.S. Navy forces but were responsible for about 55 percent of maritime losses.

"Now submarines are responsible for over 50 percent of our nation's nuclear weapons," he said.

The assignment dinner is an annual event and represents a unique opportunity for the midshipmen to meet fleet submarine officers and be welcomed into the community.

"All of these senior submarine officers are here tonight, because they want to be here with you," said Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter. "I am thrilled you are here tonight. This is a special community. The past warrior spirit of the Navy is here, and I believe the future of warfare is here in this class of 2017."

Midshipmen were greeted by senior submarine officers including Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Integration of Capabilities and Resources Vice Adm. Joe Mulloy, Director of Strategic Systems Programs Vice Adm. Terry Benedict, Director of Innovation, Technology Requirements and Test & Evaluation Rear Adm. David J. Hahn, and Program Executive Officer for Submarines Rear Adm. Michael E. Jabaley.

"It’s exciting because we are offered a perspective at the highest level," said Midshipman 1st Megan Hartman. "We get an overall view of what the submarine community is doing as a whole. It’s really valuable to have them here giving an overarching picture of the community they are welcoming us into."

The Naval Academy Class of 2017 received their service assignments Nov. 17, 2016, and will graduate May 26.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

U.S. Naval Academy Hosts Dinner Honoring Future Marine Corps Officers

The Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps visited the U.S. Naval Academy Feb. 16 to participate in a service assignment dinner and reception at Dahlgren Hall honoring the Class of 2017’s future Marine officers.

Gen. Glenn M. Walters addressed 267 first-class midshipmen who were selected for service assignment in the Marine Corps. Walters spoke about new implementations of platforms and technologies, but insisted the Marine Corps’ most valuable assets are the young men and women who lead Marines into combat.

"You are our real competitive advantage," said Walters. "The young men and women who are trained in an institution like this, who will raise your hand in one hundred days, are our greatest advantage. You are our center of gravity.”

Senior leaders from the Marine community and academy faculty celebrated the heritage, responsibility and camaraderie the midshipmen will inherit as members of the Corps.

“The opportunity you have that lies before you is an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Commandant of Midshipmen Col. Stephen Liszewski. “It is the chance to live a life of substance and a life of consequence. I am excited for your future, and even more than that, I am excited to serve with you in our great Marine Corps in the years ahead.”

The Naval Academy Class of 2017 received their service assignments in November. As they get closer to graduation, they have the opportunity to celebrate their future service with their peers and mentors during the annual community dinners.

“It feels great to have an event like this,” said Midshipman 1st Class Kerri Haller. “Everyone is here to help us and give us guidance. All of us are starting a new career path, in a new service, and this welcoming support makes the transition much easier.”

“It’s really quite an honor to be here with all of the current and future Marine aviators of my class,” said Midshipman 1st Class Cori Caggiano. “It feels like a culminating event that really celebrates everything we have been working towards the past three and a half years.”

After graduation, the newly-commissioned second lieutenants will head to the Basic School in Quantico, Va. to prepare them for duty as company grade officers in the operating force.

“Here at USNA, we have the rare and amazing experience to have leadership from the communities we are entering teach and guide us throughout our time here,” said Midshipman 1st Class Elizabeth Field. “Even tonight, we have the opportunity to speak with some of the highest-ranking officers who hold the job or position that we could possibly have one day. It’s a very humbling experience.”