SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- More than 500 Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) midshipmen recently completed summer training programs on Navy and Marine Corps bases on the West Coast June 16.
The midshipmen, from NROTC units at universities throughout the United States, participated in this year's Career Orientation and Training West for Midshipmen (CORTRAMID West) program.
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 onboard a ship or submarine, flying in a plane or jet, 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 May 26 to June 16, midshipmen were placed into four groups. Each group spent a week of familiarization and training with aviation, surface and submarine commands. They also conducted a week of Marine training at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego.
"What I hope they get out of CORTRAMID is an exposure to each of the major warfare areas both in the Navy and in the Marine Corps," said Capt. Michael Riley, professor of Naval Science and NROTC commanding officer at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who was the CORTRAMID West Officer in Charge.
"I hope the four weeks solidified or got the midshipmen thinking about their career choices and what they want to do in the Navy or Marine Corps."
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.
"We really got to learn a lot about the different communities," said Navy-option Midshipman 3rd Class Ashley Middlebrooks, 18, from Atlanta and a sophomore at Spelman College also in Atlanta. "Prior to coming I was thinking of becoming a SWO officer, but now seeing the other communities, like aviation, I might want to change my mind and commitment."
During Aviation Officer Week, midshipmen toured Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, and Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego. 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 Marine Corps helicopters and the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor military aircraft at MCAS Miramar and ride in an MH-60s Navy helicopter and a T-34C Turbo Mentor propeller-driven, turboprop-engine, military training aircraft at NAS North Island.
"I was never really exposed to the military before last year," said Marine-option Midshipman 2nd Class Hannah Webb, 20, from Pittsburgh, and a junior at Villanova University in Philadelphia. "Coming here and being exposed to all these different things has been an incredible experience.
While attending Submarine Officer Week at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego, midshipmen were given hands-on training with two trainers at the Submarine Learning Center (SLC). They took turns operating, or diving and driving, a submarine in the Ship's Control Team Trainer. The trainer is configured as a nuclear submarine ship control room area mounted on a hydraulically powered motion system that can simulate the diving actions of an actual submarine. The midshipmen also spent time in a flooded submarine compartment simulator at SLC and participated in an overnight underway stay on an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine.
"Being underway on the submarine made me push subs higher on my priority list for when I commission," said Navy-option Midshipman 3rd Class Cecori (sic) Squires, 18, from Raleigh, North Carolina, and a sophomore at Howard University, the crosstown NROTC affiliate of George Washington University in Washington, D. C. "I love the really close bond the enlisted and officers have and how they all work together as a team. That's what I want to have when I become an officer."
For their one week visit to Camp Pendleton, 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.
The Camp Pendleton midshipmen also spent an overnight stay at Marine Corps Base Pendleton's Infantry Immersion Trainer (IIT). The trainer was set up to look like a foreign village with streets, buildings and markets. Similar to walking through a paint ball game, the midshipmen were given different scenarios to complete during their stay at IIT. They worked at clearing rooms of houses and shops that had virtual reality enemies, walking down streets defending against and hunting down live snipers and guarding against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in a mock-up of a market.
"CORTRAMID has been a great experience," said Marine-option Midshipman 2nd Class Roman Zepeda, from Round Rock, Texas, and a junior at Prairie View A & M University in Prairie View, Texas. "It's has been a great environment to be in. Not only do I get to learn more about the Marine Corps, but also the Navy in general. We got to interact with the different (officer) communities and just being immersed in this culture and being around a lot of midshipmen that have the same ambition to serve has been really great."
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 San Diego. Many current officers serving in the San Diego area volunteered their time to help with this year's CORTRAMID and interact with the midshipmen. Officers from Commander, Naval Surface Force, U. S. Pacific Fleet; Squadrons at MCAS Miramar and NAS North Island, facilitators at Naval Base Pt. Loma and Marines at Camp Pendleton helped to provide real time knowledge and training to the midshipmen. Riley said he also hoped many of the midshipmen can take some real-life experiences back to their units.
"I want them to be able to take the real experience of CORTRAMID and back up what they may have learned in Naval Science 101," said Riley. "CORTRAMID should enable the midshipmen to have a firmer grasp on what they want to do and become as Naval or Marine Corps leaders."
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.
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/.