New Wisconsin Midshipmen Get First Look at Navy/Marine Corps

Story Number: NNS171113-16Release Date: 11/13/2017 9:43:00 AM
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By University of Wisconsin-Madison Navy ROTC Public Affairs

FORT MCCOY, Wis. (NNS) -- New Midshipmen from the University of Wisconsin Naval ROTC program joined returning upperclassmen and participated in Navy Student Orientation (NSO) Week at Fort McCoy, Wis., August 26 to 31.

The 60 midshipmen spent the week learning the basic military skills and discipline necessary to succeed as commissioned officers of the Navy and Marine Corps. The 13 freshmen participated in the NSO, which comprised an introduction to military life, while the rest of the Badger Battalion focused on leadership training and building esprit de corps. The command's active duty staff of Navy and Marine Corps officers and Non-commissioned Officers (NCOs) led the week's events.

"Fort McCoy proved to be a great training environment for both the incoming and returning students," said U. S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Tory Armstrong of Appleton, Wis. "Being able to conduct orientation week on a military installation helped quicken the process of instilling in them military bearing and discipline. In the short time on base, I saw each midshipman develop more confidence. This not only stemmed from their instruction but also through practical leadership and teambuilding exercises such as Land Navigation and the Confidence Course."

The curriculum for orientation week included physical training, close order drill, and classroom academics, including Navy and Marine Corps history. The midshipmen also utilized training facilities throughout Fort McCoy, including the obstacle course, leadership reaction course, confidence course, and land navigation course.

"I found the leadership reaction course to be very valuable," said Midshipman 4th Class Nathan Hyden, an incoming freshman from Lakeville, Minn. "I liked the course a lot because I received hands on leadership training in a stressful environment. We each got the chance to be a fire team leader and experience fulfilling a leadership role on short notice with limited resources. The training required midshipmen to take initiative, communicate with one another, and work as a team, all important leadership qualities."

Returning students found orientation week training equally rewarding. Midshipman 3rd Class Anabel Roza, a sophomore from Seattle, Wash, said, "The obstacle and confidence courses were challenging and exciting. I found many of the obstacles to be difficult, testing not only my physical strength and endurance, but also my mental perseverance and attitude. I had a great time pushing myself through the courses and working with the other midshipmen to get through it together."

New Student Orientation week concluded with a ceremony in which the new scholarship midshipmen were sworn into service. After briefing parents on what the NROTC program will require of their students, Capt. Greg Zacharski, commanding officer of the University of Wisconsin Naval ROTC, read the midshipman oath to the scholarship students. He congratulated the new midshipmen for their commitment and dedication in joining the NROTC program. Following the ceremony, the unit hosted a social for family and friends of the new midshipmen.

"I definitely was a little nervous for Erin during NSO," said David Perkins, father of Midshipman 4th Class Erin Perkins from Rochester, Minn. "She reassured me before she left that she'd probably come back stronger, more confident, and a better version of herself. Her assumption was not wrong, because when I saw her at the social, a mere five days later, she had transformed to an even stronger person than she was before. Watching her and the rest of her class as she got sworn in was one of the proudest and coolest moments I've ever had as her parent."

Her mother, Sallie Perkins, added, "She told me that NSO was no walk in the park, but she benefited from each lesson, each drill, and each course. She says what makes her the happiest is that she is a part of something much bigger than herself, and she's surrounded by people who mirror that same idea."

In the coming years, the midshipmen will participate in multiple military activities and complete a rigorous course of study at the University of Wisconsin. Upcoming events include Naval Science classes, drill meets, formal military balls, and annual summer training opportunities on ships, submarines, and squadrons across the globe. Upon graduation and completion of the NROTC program, the midshipmen will be commissioned as active duty officers in the Navy and Marine Corps.

Navy ROTC is supported by the Naval Service Training Command, headquartered on Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois. Along with the Navy ROTC program NSTC supports 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; the Navy ROTC program at more than 70 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.

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