USA: IKE Hosts Midshipmen

IKE Hosts Midshipmen

Ten midshipmen from various Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs completed their eighth day of underway training aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (IKE), as part of a three-week summer training cruise, Aug. 2.

The midshipmen, who are at all stages of their schooling, have been learning about the many facets of naval operations to include air operations, engineering, medical, seamanship, weapons and basic navigation.

In order to facilitate this training, the midshipmen are paired with a crew member running mate. The intention is for the midshipmen to shadow and participate with their enlisted and officer running mates in the daily shipboard routine and special evolutions.

For first class midshipman, who will become commissioned officers by next May, the experience is particularly vital serving as a preparatory stage of training before entering the fleet. They are paired with a junior officer in order to gain greater leadership fundamentals and insight into the officer experience.

“The purpose of this cruise for the first class midshipman is to give them an opportunity to experience firsthand what they are going to be doing for a living in about a year,” said Lt. Cmdr. David Clark, IKE’s training officer. “It’s a great way for them to become accustomed to their future roles and responsibilities.”

The second and third class midshipmen are experiencing their cruise through an enlisted perspective to get a deck plate view of fleet life. They live in the enlisted berthing, eat in the crew’s mess and participate in the same day-to-day evolutions as enlisted Sailors.

“It has been an eye-opening experience,” said Midshipman 3rd Class Eloisa Giianelli, who is studying nursing at the University of South Florida and plans to join the U.S. Navy’s medical corps. “The first-hand interaction I’ve had with the enlisted personnel has been invaluable. The experience I’m receiving [on IKE] will certainly make me a more effective leader in the future.”

During this cruise, Giianelli is shadowing Aviation Ordinanceman 1st Class Jaclyn Jones in the weapons department and also spending time in the medical department. The experience thus far has given her a better vantage point of enlisted life and operations outside her field of study.

Other midshipmen are taking the same outlook as Giannelli, seeking to understand as much as possible about the multitude of departments, the variety of crew members and evolutions that take place on IKE.

“This is my first experience on an aircraft carrier,” said Midshipman 1st Class Michael Schiavone, from the University of Nebraska. “I had the opportunity to observe flight operations from the flight deck which really gave me a better understanding of how the launching and recovery of aircraft works.”

IKE prides itself at being a good host to its visitors and the Sailors of IKE have welcomed the midshipman during their stay.

“I have not met anyone that has not been willing to stop and immediately explain what they were doing,” said Midshipmen 1st Class Kevin Lees, from the Maine Maritime Academy. “The Sailors on IKE have displayed an enormous amount of enthusiasm and are really just willing to help. I think overall they really understand that we are here to learn and they are more than willing to help and train.”

At the culmination of their three weeks aboard, the midshipmen will leave with a wealth of information and experiences that these future officers will take with them to their future commands.

Eisenhower is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Naval Today Staff, August 3, 2012; Image: US Navy