PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- For midshipmen, experience in the fleet is an invaluable asset. It can help them determine which path they want to follow as their naval careers progress, and it helps them better understand the world they will be serving in when they graduate from the Navy Recruit Officer Training Command (NROTC) program.
Seventeen midshipmen from universities ranging from the University of Southern California to Virginia Tech joined the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), June 14, for their summer cruise.
The midshipmen summer cruise is similar to a summer internship, or a work-study program. While NROTC programs provide relevant military training, there is no substitution for fleet experience.
"This allows them to get out to sea, and be with Sailors in the fleet, both enlisted and officers." said Lt. Michael Woodward, a flight officer assigned to John C. Stennis and midshipmen training officer for the NROTC cruise. "The other thing it does is allow Midshipmen from different NROTC programs to have a uniform experience."
The Sailors aboard John C. Stennis had the opportunity to impact the Midshipman's experience at sea.
"The biggest take away from my cruise is just the attitude," said Dugan McAdams, a Midshipman 2nd Class from Ohio State University. "The team aspect is so strong, everyone is willing to help each other."
With almost every type of naval officer assigned to the crew, John C. Stennis offers a unique learning environment for the midshipmen.
"My cruise last year was structured in a different way," said McAdams. "We had specific times where we were going to meet with officers in different departments. Here it's a much more open experience. Earlier today I ran into a few traditional surface warfare officers (SWO) on the bridge and talked to them about the SWO community."
McAdams said that being aboard John C. Stennis and exploring the different departments has made him look at officer programs differently. The nuclear program was something he wasn't considering previously, but after watching how the program operates, McAdams said, it now seems like a more desirable career path. However, he is still currently pursuing a career in aviation.
Regardless of which NROTC program the midshipmen are from, being on John C. Stennis has given them the opportunity to learn how the fleet operates and experience a hands-on look at each of the Navy's different career paths.
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