USS NIMITZ, At Sea (NNS) -- Eighteen midshipmen from all over the United States stepped on board the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) June 21.
The midshipmen are expected to stay on board Nimitz for two weeks as part of a training program to experience life on board a U.S. Navy vessel.
During their stay, the midshipmen will be staying in enlisted berthing spaces and seeing first hand what both enlisted Sailors and officers go through on a daily basis on a ship.
"While on board they will be standing watches on two different stations for everything from lookout to central control to bridge watches," said Lt. j.g. Mantas Rysevas, of Kaunas, Lithuania. "They will also be participating in familiarizing themselves in every different naval officer community on board and eating on the enlisted mess decks. All the second and third midshipmen will be assigned enlisted running mates that they will be spending time with on their watches."
For Midshipman 2nd Class Zandra E. Christopher of Clermont, Fla., visiting Nimitz provides an opportunity to get a taste of what she will be doing when she graduates college and becomes an officer in the Navy.
"I will be on Nimitz for about two weeks shadowing enlisted personnel on the ship so I can see how things work on a ship," said Christopher.
According to Christopher, who has been a midshipman for two years and is in her junior year of college at the University of Florida, the midshipman program has provided her opportunities she might otherwise have not been able to experience.
"I chose to do the midshipmen program because it was a great opportunity to go to college," said Christopher. "I signed up for the program when I was 17. I applied to go to the Navy Nurse Corps scholarship program because I want to be a nurse in the Navy."
Christopher said a good part of being in the Navy's midshipman program is that it helps future Sailors experience leadership opportunities and become a well-rounded individual.
"The Navy pays for my entire college education and then I get to come in [the Navy] as an officer," said Christopher. "I chose nursing because I like helping people and being around people."
For Midshipman 1st Class Joseph M. Martin of Stillwater, Okla., being on board Nimitz provides him the opportunity to see the Navy's aviation community first hand.
"I'm excited to be on board and to see the aviation part of the ship because I would like to eventually become a pilot," said Martin.
Martin was introduced to the midshipman program by his recruiter when he was in the delayed entry program while waiting to go to boot camp as an enlisted Sailor.
"I went to boot camp and was in my 'A' school for nuclear engineering when I found out I was picked up for the program," said Martin. "I was then discharged from my enlisted contract so I could go back to Oklahoma to attend college through the midshipman program."
Like Christopher, Martin said he took advantage of the midshipman program because of the educational opportunities it provided him.
"I chose to go midshipman because the Navy pays for me to go to college and I wanted to join the Navy as an officer," said Martin. "I'm studying mechanical engineering at the University of Oklahoma."
According to Rysevas, a lot of preparation went into hosting the midshipmen while they are on board Nimitz.
"[We want to] ensure that the midshipmen have the best experience as possible during their stay on Nimitz," said Rysevas.
During their visit to Nimitz, the 18 midshipmen will be participating in watch standing, replenishments at sea, flight operations, weapons familiarization and damage control from both an enlisted and officer viewpoint.
Nimitz Strike Group is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom.
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