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.


  1. Sad that two years in a row the Trident doesn't mention the sponsors of the Class of 1977 Gettysburg Leadership Encounter. '77 is putting up almost $25,000 a year to get Midshipmen leaders up to Gettysburg. The trip on Dec 5th was funded entirely by the Class of 1977.

  2. I think tat the midshipmen are really getting beneficial leadership skills. I am very thankful for these men and women that are going to fight for our country


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