NORFOLK (NNS) -- Earlier this year, in his May 26, 2017 Navy Live Blog, Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Forces, wrote that the annual midshipmen summer training is a vital education tool for the nation's future officers.
The admiral was referring to the hundreds of United States Naval Academy and Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) midshipmen from universities across the country who attend Career Orientation Training for Midshipmen (CORTRAMID).
More than 360 NROTC midshipmen recently participated in CORTRAMID East on Navy and Marine Corps bases on the East Coast, and more than 500 NROTC midshipmen completed CORTRAMID West on the West Coast.
CORTRAMID is a four week summer event for midshipmen entering their second year of college as part of their school's NROTC unit. The training is set up for the midshipmen to rotate, on a weekly basis, to see what it could be like working on board a ship or submarine, with an aviation squadron, or operating with a Marine unit.
Midshipmen entering their junior or senior year of college with an NROTC unit also gain experience training on board Navy ships, submarines, and with Naval air squadrons. Second class midshipmen are paired with an enlisted Sailor to see what the daily routine is of the enlisted ranks during their stay on a ship, sub or aviation unit. First class midshipmen are paired with a junior officer to learn what will be expected of them when they get to the Fleet as a newly commissioned ensign. Junior and senior Marine-option midshipmen attend Marine Corps Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia.
From July 17 to August 11, 2017 during CORTRAMID East, midshipmen were placed into four groups. Each group spent a week of familiarization and training with aviation, surface and submarine commands. Most of the training for surface week and aviation week is held on Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia. NROTC midshipmen attending submarine week traveled to Naval Submarine Base in Kings Bay, Georgia. The midshipmen also participated for a week of Marine training at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
"What they get out of CORTRAMID is a broad exposure to the major warfare areas both in the Navy and Marine Corps along with a greater understanding and appreciation for the life, customs, and traditions of Sailors and Marines," said Capt. Mark Edwards, Professor of Naval Science and NROTC Commanding Officer at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, who is the CORTRAMID East Officer in Charge. "These four weeks will be rewarding, educational, and motivating for the Midshipman. This experience influences their career choice by shaping and solidifying which warfare community they would like to pursue."
During Surface Officer Week, midshipmen were able to visit and ride several U. S. Navy ships, from destroyers to amphibious assault vessels and participate first-hand in several shipboard trainers, such as firefighting and damage control trainers. Each midshipman attending Surface Officer Week was welcomed at the beginning of their week by Rear Adm. Jesse A. Wilson, commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic.
Many of the midshipmen enjoyed their four weeks of training and getting the chance to observe each officer community in operation.
"CORTRAMID East 2017 has been very insightful and enjoyable," said Midshipman 3rd Class Tara Foust, 18, a sophomore at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. "The first week, Marine Week, was a great opportunity to get a little look into Marine life. While I still am very 'SWOtivated', I did enjoy shooting the weapons and flying in helicopters."
During Aviation Officer Week, midshipmen toured helicopter squadron static displays at Naval Station Norfolk and fighter jet squadrons at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia. While on the bases they were shown the training Navy and Marine Corps pilots and crews undergo. They were given the opportunity to operate in simulators for MH60S Navy helicopters and F/A-18 jets. They also were given the opportunity to ride in T-34C Turbo Mentor propeller-driven, turboprop-engine, military training aircraft at NAS Oceana.
"CORTRAMID has given me a deep appreciation toward the Marine Corps and the Surface Warfare community. During Marine week I was given the opportunity to develop infantry tactics, ride in a CH-53, and shoot a M240 Bravo all while being challenged due to the hot conditions and heavy gear," said Midshipman 3rd Class Kevin Maks, 21, from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VA Tech) in Blacksburg, Virginia.
While attending Submarine Officer Week at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, midshipmen were given hands-on training in a Fire Arms Simulator and a Damage Control Wet Trainer. They also were given the chance to ride a ballistic missile submarine.
For their one week visit to Camp Lejeune, midshipmen observed Marine aviation units, infantry and supply units and got a chance to meet several Marine Corps enlisted and officers in various MOS (Military Occupational Specialty), or jobs, in the Marine Corps. They also were given the opportunity to watch armored tracked vehicles conduct live fire exercises and participate in firing many of the Marine Corps' weapons.
"CORTRAMID not only taught me more about the opportunities in each community, it taught me more about the quality of people in each community," said Midshipman 3rd Class Abby Ervin, 19, from the University of California San Diego.
This year's CORTRAMID staff included more than 25 military NROTC officers and civilians from various units around the country. These officers and civilians helped with escorting the midshipmen and with supply and logistic needs. All administration and berthing was set up on Naval Base San Diego.
CORTRAMID also received huge support from various commands around Naval Station Norfolk, NAS Oceana and in Kings Bay. Many current officers and Sailors serving in these areas volunteered their time to help with this year's CORTRAMID and interact with the midshipmen. Officers from Commander, U. S. Fleet Forces, Naval Surface Force Atlantic, squadrons at NAS Oceana, facilitators at Naval Base Kings Bay, Marines at Camp Lejeune helped to provide real time knowledge and training to the midshipmen.
"I truly believe it's the experience and perspective gained throughout this orientation week that allows us to leave an indelible impression upon each midshipman as we send them back to their commissioning sources better informed about the fleet and more knowledgeable in the process," Vice Adm . Rowden wrote in his blog. "The talent we attract now is tomorrow's leadership of the surface force. I sincerely thank all of the units and personnel that will help make CORTRAMID/PROTRAMID 2017 our best summer."
Rear Adm. Stephen C. Evans oversees the NROTC program as commander of Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) headquartered at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois.
NROTC was established to develop midshipmen mentally, morally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, loyalty and Navy core values in order to commission college graduates as naval officers who possess a basic professional background, are motivated toward careers in the naval service and have a potential for future development in mind and character so as to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.
NSTC also oversees 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy, as well as the Navy's Citizenship Development program. NSTC includes Recruit Training Command (RTC), the Navy's only boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes, NROTC at more than 160 colleges and universities, Officer Training Command (OTC) at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island, Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC) citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.
For more information about NROTC, visit www.nrotc.navy.mil.
More information about NSTC can be found by visiting www.netc.navy.mil/nstc or visiting the NSTC Facebook pages at www.facebook.com/NavalServiceTraining.
To read more of Vice Adm. Rowden's blogs log onto http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2017/05/21/surface-warfare-week-vital-education-tool-for-our-nations-future-officers/.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Naval Service Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/.