USS Carl Vinson Assists in Training of Midshipmen

USS Carl Vinson Assists in Training of Midshipmen

Aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) continues to welcome midshipmen throughout the summer from the U.S. Naval Academy and Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) to learn about life and operations aboard an aircraft carrier.

 “The objective of the midshipmen summer training is to further their professional development, instill a sense of pride in the Navy and incline them toward specific careers in the Navy,” said Lt. Sean Dougherty, air department V-2 division’s branch officer and midshipmen coordinator.

Time spent aboard the warship supports both the pacific training of midshipmen (PACTRAMID) and career orientation training of midshipmen (CORTRAMID) programs. PACTRAMID and CORTRAMID programs make up a significant portion of midshipmen’s professional development and are prerequisites for commissioning as an officer. They are designed to help midshipmen make choices as to which warfare area they request to be commissioned in. The CORTRAMID program is for midshipmen third class – those who have completed their first year of college – while the PACTRAMID program is for first and second class midshipmen – or those who are in their senior and junior years.

CORTRAMID midshipmen visited Carl Vinson weekly throughout the summer in groups of 50 to 100 and stayed aboard for a few hours to learn about Carl Vinson’s aviation program.

During their stay, they received a welcoming brief from Capt. Paul Spedero, Carl Vinson’s executive officer, and toured Carl Vinson’s air and operations departments. They also flew in Helicopter Sea Squadron (HSC) Three’s helicopters and learned about flight operations.

While CORTRAMID midshipmen only toured the ship while it was pierside, PACTRAMID midshipmen settled aboard for an extended stay.

For PACTRAMID, midshipmen visited Carl Vinson in three separate phases, or groups, during the summer, each experiencing an underway period.

 “PACTRAMID offers midshipmen an opportunity to learn how the Navy works, gain basic leadership skills and get hands-on experience in the fleet,” Dougherty said. “They also get to see how the departments on ships work together.”

From May 15 to May 26, the first phase of PACTRAMID midshipmen stayed aboard Carl Vinson. Upon arrival, each midshipman was assigned a running mate – a mentor during the midshipman’s stay on board.

Midshipmen First Classes were assigned to junior Officers. Midshipmen Second and Third Classes were assigned to senior petty officers.

During PACTRAMID, midshipmen shadowed their running mates, participating in their daily duties and sharing in the responsibility of their roles aboard the ship. For example, they stood watches under instruction from their running mates both for officer of the deck (OOD) and junior officer of the deck (JOOD), observing the role of the bridge watches.

PACTRAMID midshipmen also toured air, weapons, engineering, reactor and aircraft intermediate maintenance departments to learn about each department’s role aboard the ship.

Midshipmen got a ground-floor view of flight operations from the flight deck, were able to ride along in a helicopter, and even participated in general quarters (GQ) drills, explained Dougherty. Additionally, PACTRAMID midshipmen received live-fire weapons training. They learned how to operate and shoot .50 cal. assault rifles, M240 machine guns, M-16 and M-4 rifles, and 9mm hand guns.

 “It is this direct, tactile experience that will give our midshipmen the valuable insight and knowledge so they can one day decide what area they want to serve in and what area they can serve best,” said Lt. Cmdr Kevin Halfacre, Carl Vinson’s training officer.

“For the midshipmen, these programs are a familiarization with life as a junior officer,” Halfacre said. “It gives them a first-hand perspective on what they will be doing in the fleet upon commissioning.”

The other two phases of the PACTRAMID program took place from May 28 to June 23 and from June 23 to July 20. A total of 97 midshipmen joined Carl Vinson’s crew during this summer’s PACTRAMID. CONTRAMID visits will continue through Aug. 15.

Press Release, August 5, 2013; Image: US Navy