TAMPA, Fla. (NNS) -- The commander of Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), visited three Florida Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) units, and attended the annual Association of NROTC Colleges and Universities conference in Tampa, Fla., Oct. 16-18.
Rear Adm. David F. Steindl, who directly oversees the NROTC program, visited Jacksonville (Fla.) University (JU), University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville, Fla., and the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa.
He toured each unit's facilities, congratulated new personnel for their acceptance into the NROTC program and thanked the more than 350 midshipmen, officer candidates and Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP) members at the three universities for volunteering to serve in the Navy and Marine Corps.
"The Florida units I visited were top notch, but meeting the midshipmen was the highlight of the trip. Each chance I get to visit with NROTC units motivates me. The young men and women who are reporting to the fleet are bright and talented and I look forward to serving with them, said Steindl.
The NROTC Program was established to develop midshipmen mentally, morally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, and loyalty, and with the core values of honor, courage and commitment.
During Steindl's three-day visit to the Florida units he met with staff members, Naval science professors and university educators and administrators. He toured each unit and was given briefs on the curriculum and daily routine of the midshipmen, officer candidates and MECEP members.
At the University of Florida, Steindl visited the historic Century Tower, Marston Science Library and Turlington Plaza. He was given a tour of the school's nuclear training reactor. He was shown how the reactor is used for research and licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and is the only research reactor in Florida. It is used by UF's departments of Nuclear and Radiological Engineering (NRE), Physics, Chemistry, Geology, and Environmental Engineering Sciences. The reactor is an Argonaut type reactor. It has a power limit of 100 kw and uses low-enriched uranium (LEU) as fuel.
Steindl then toured Tolbert Dormitory that houses the new UFROTC Living Learning Community (LLC), which includes a completely redone Navy themed lobby area and state-of-the-art maritime skills simulator. The admiral was also given the opportunity to experience "The Swamp," the University of Florida's football stadium and trophy room which houses three football national championship trophies among other awards. He closed out his visit in the Gator Battalion's Leadership Lab, where he met with the entire unit to share his views on the future of the Navy and Marine Corps, service above self and leadership.
"It was an honor for the midshipmen that Rear Adm. Steindl took the time out of his schedule to visit the unit," said Midshipman 2nd Class Annie Turcotte, 20, from Tucson, Ariz., and the daughter of retired Rear Adm. Stephen A. Turcotte. "Though all of the midshipmen are familiar with both who Rear Adm. Steindl is and what his job entails, it was truly a unique and valuable experience to talk with him, ask questions, and hear directly his expectations of us, both now as midshipmen, and in the future as Junior Officers in the United States Navy and Marine Corps."
At Jacksonville University Steindl shared with the battalion the importance of the Navy and Marine Corps Team through three main principles. As supported by the Chief of Naval Operations, the three main principles of the current Navy are as follows; War Fighting First, Operate Forward, and Be Ready.
"Most college students don't get these opportunities," he said. "While most college graduates will likely have entry level positions with limited responsibility, you all are going to be immediately in charge of Sailors and Marines, or flying expensive aircraft. For your own job opportunities in the future, I urge you to stick with it."
Following his talk with the JU unit, Steindl was given a tour of the campus. The tour included the Davis College of Business (DCOB) that was briefed by the unit's battalion commander Midshipman 1st Class Renee Brilhante about the Business and Aviation majors that reside in DCOB. He next visited the Lazzara Health and Science Building and the nursing simulation lab where Steindl was briefed about the nursing students and the competition that goes along with getting into the program. The admiral also toured the Howard Administration Building, Swisher Gym, Kinne University Center, Davis Commons and finally the Marine Science Research Institute.
Steindl also toured the campus of USF and its facilities. He again took the opportunity to talk with members of the unit in groups and individually. He also met with university administers and toured the campus.
"Anytime Navy leaders can visit the unit is important because it shows the midshipmen where they can go and what they can become," said Lt. Steven Durst, a Navy Science Instructor with the USF NROTC unit. "It also gives the midshipmen an idea of what the Navy will be like when they are commissioned and start their Navy careers in the fleet."
The commanding officer of the University of Florida unit, Capt. Carl Bush, summed up the visit by Steindl as greatly benefiting the professional education of the NROTC corps of midshipmen to have personal contact with Naval leaders at the Flag officer level.
"The insights and knowledge derived from their years of experience, filtered through events of recent history, provides a context that expands upon daily staff officer interaction," said Bush. "To hear directly from leaders who are 'steering the ship' helps our students determine which pathway best suits their desires for service in the Navy. Rear Adm. Steindl challenged the UF corps of midshipmen to think about the Chief of Naval Operation's Sailing Directions and how that directive applies to current and future operations of the Navy and Marine Corps. He engaged the midshipmen on a personal level and drew from them a number of questions regarding leadership expectations of junior officers."
NSTC, headquartered at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill., manages all initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy. This includes overseeing NROTC units at 75 colleges and universities which also have cross-town affiliations with more than 85 additional academic institutions.
The midshipmen, officer candidates and MECEP members at the three Florida universities are among more than 5,300 students enrolled in an NROTC unit at colleges and universities throughout the country.
Midshipman 2nd Class Jan Sangrones and Midshipman 3rd Class Mary Kate Meier from Jacksonville University and Midshipman 2nd Class Annie Turcotte and Lt. Ryan Kelley from the University of Florida contributed to this story.
For more news from Naval Service Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/.