Thursday, November 19, 2015

Naval Academy Class of 2016 Receives Service Assignments

The U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2016 received their service assignments Nov. 19, informing them of the warfare communities in which they will serve as commissioned officers in the Navy and Marine Corps.

A major milestone in their career at the academy, 1,077 first-class midshipmen opened letters containing the information that will define their lives in the fleet. This year, more than 98 percent of the midshipmen received either their first or second choice of assignments.

Midshipman 1st Class Sarah Howard, of 22nd Company, chose surface warfare officer (SWO). Howard is the first of her family to serve in the Armed Forces.

“I am really excited that I got what I wanted,” said Howard. “I really wanted SWO because it gives me the opportunity, when I go out into the fleet, to have a division and lead Sailors and help them grow.”

Howard will join 248 other midshipmen entering the surface warfare community from the academy. Joining her is Midshipman 1st Class Amanda Jackson, of 6th Company, who selected nuclear surface warfare officer.

“Coming into USNA, I had no clue what I wanted to do,” said Jackson. “I changed my mind a few times, decided I wanted to be a surface warfare officer, and later decided to go nuclear.”

Also taking the nuclear option is Midshipman 1st Class Riley Miller. Coming from a long line of Army veterans, she will join a growing population of female officers and enlisted aboard submarines.

“I had the opportunity to go on several different submarines, and the people were incredible,” said Miller. “I wanted a technical challenge and to be surrounded by hard-working people. Seeing their technical expertise made me want to learn the material and get better so I can have that same influence on someone else.”

Of the 269 midshipmen selected to become Marines, 170 will serve as ground officers and 99 will serve as pilots or flight officers.

From 3rd Company, Midshipman 1st Class Marco Defournoy made the decision to become a Marine in his final year after learning the roles and responsibilities of a Marine Corps officer.

A native of Haiti, Defourney enlisted as a damage controlman after graduating high school in Florida. Defourney accepted an appointment to attend the Naval Academy after a year at the Naval Academy Preparatory School. For him, service selection marks a turning point in his naval career.

"I originally planned to go SWO when I first got here, but I had some great Marine mentorship that convinced me to train with them over the summer, and it grew on me," said Defournoy. “I still love surface, and it will always have a place in my heart, but I’m ready for a new adventure. That is why the Marine Corps was my first choice.”

For Midshipman 1st Class Erin Devivies, of 3rd Company, selecting information warfare marked a departure from a Marine Corps family tradition.

"Even though my parents are both retired Marines, they are excited for me to blaze my own trail in the Navy," said Devivies. “Information warfare is really new and on the cutting edge so I’m very excited to be a part of that.”

Midshipman 1st Class Esteban Salazar will also be joining the ranks of the naval intelligence community.

“During my first-class midshipman cruise, I met Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Joshua Lawson,” said Salazar. “It was incredible seeing some of the things he was able to do. I wanted to see what the enlisted side does in that community, and he really mentored me in a way I didn’t expect. If an indication of the intelligence community was exemplified through IS1 Lawson, I figured it was the right choice for me.”

The Naval Academy endeavors to match personal preferences with aptitude and ability, placing midshipmen in the community best suited to their strengths so as to set them up for successful careers in naval service.

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