ARABIAN GULF (NNS) -- Sailors welcomed nine midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76) June 28.
The midshipmen are participating in a summer training program on Higgins to teach them about life in the fleet.
"Hopefully they gain some insight into their future jobs," said Lt. j.g. Danny Kelly, Higgins' midshipmen coordinator.
While on board the future leaders had a chance to learn from officers and enlisted alike about daily operations and life aboard a destroyer.
"It's one thing to learn the roles of everyone at the academy, but it's another when you come out to one of these high-tempo environments," said Midshipman 1st Class Jack Mellgard, from Clearfield, Penn.
In the first few days, the academy students experienced a fresh-water wash down, a close-in weapons system (CIWS) gun shoot, a man overboard drill and a torpedo dry fire.
"My favorite part was the 25mm gun shoot and the CIWS firing," said Midshipman 3rd Class Nick Lane, of Duluth, Minn.
"The guys in my department were in charge of the pre-tests, firings and post-fire maintenance," said Mellgard. "It's not just pulling the trigger; there's a lot of work that goes into it."
In the next week the midshipmen are expected to participate in various walkthroughs of different systems aboard the ship, as well as one-on-one training with their running mates and sponsors.
"The 1st Classes are supposed to be the next Ensigns in the fleet and the 3rd Classes we hope get a chance to experience surface ship life to make a decision on if they want to do this or not," said Kelly. "We hope that they have the motivation and that they're eager to learn."
Higgins is deployed with Nimitz Strike Group to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility promoting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom.
For more news from USS Nimitz (CVN 68), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn68/.