Notre Dame NROTC Hosts 18th Annual Naval Leadership Weekend

Story Number: NNS130225-21Release Date: 2/25/2013 11:32:00 PM
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From Naval Service Training Command

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (NNS) -- The University of Notre Dame Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) hosted their 18th annual Naval Leadership Weekend to promote the development of midshipmen into strong ethical leaders, Feb. 21-24.

The keynote speaker, Coast Guard Vice Adm. John P. Currier, vice commandant of the Coast Guard, spoke at the closing ceremonies held in the Notre Dame stadium Press Box.

"You need to have a positive and affirmative leadership style," said Currier. "Your leadership style is going to permeate your organization. Your enlisted want to do the right thing and they want to be led. You are an example at all times. Be decisive because indecision is its own course of action. Remember, that effective leaders create light, not heat, in a crisis. Take these words as an encouragement, you have an opportunity to do great things."

Following the opening remarks of Navy Capt. Earl Carter, Notre Dame NROTC commanding officer, the midshipmen were initially addressed by, Marine Brig. Gen. James W. Lukeman, 2nd Marine Division, commanding general.

"How do you know what the right thing to do is," said Lukeman. "There is no list of right and wrong. The rules of combat do not cover every situation. You need to have an ethical foundation from which you make decisions. You build that foundation by making the right decisions every day. It is the sins of the heart and the conscience that are the hardest to live with and the hardest consequences to accept."

Lukeman was the first of six senior officer and enlisted speakers to address the midshipmen throughout the conference. Each speaker provided their own perspective on leadership, recounting personal experiences and allowing time for questions and answers.

On Friday, midshipmen had the opportunity to listen to Lukeman, Navy Capt. William Mountford and Navy Capt. David Ratte, Univeristy of Minnesota NROTC commanding officer. Midshipmen participated in ethical decision-based games, and concluded the day with a cookout during which midshipmen from different universities compared experiences and sea stories.

"In the ethical decision-based games, we considered scenarios we are going to face in the fleet," said Midshipman 2nd Class Tyler Thomas, from the University of Notre Dame. "The games help us to start thinking about our reactions in those situations. As was said all weekend, leadership is something we develop every day, and opportunities like Naval Leadership Weekend help us do that."

Saturday consisted of addresses by Fleet Master Chief Scott Benning, Navy Total Force master chief, Navy Rear Adm. Richard Breckenridge, Submarine Group Two commander, and Jay Cohen, former under secretary of Science and Technology at the Department of Homeland Security.

"The objective in leadership is not to control, the objective in leadership is to inspire, challenge, and empower," said Benning. "Show people what you are capable of and what you are willing to give. Every time I had a Sailor fail, I would ask myself, how did I fail. At the end of the day, if you are doing things right as a leader, those around you will emulate your leadership style."

University staff and senior military members also participated in a panel discussion entitled, "Which Wars do we Fight."

"The panel discussion revolved around when we should go to war," said Marine-option Midshipman 1st Class Jarrod Heffleyn, Miami University of Ohio. "The panel included a professor of Philosophy, a professor of International Law, and a military professor of Naval Science. Having the opportunity to hear everyone's ideas and experiences really helped develop my own opinions."

More than 110 Midshipmen from 28 NROTC units attended the 18th annual three-day conference, which focused this year on "ethical leadership: making the right decision under fire."

For more information about the NROTC program, visit

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