ARABIAN GULF (NNS) -- Midshipmen from various Naval ROTC programs completed their 33rd day of underway training aboard guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) as part of a five-week summer training cruise, Aug. 10.
Midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy and other universities have been attending training all summer across the fleet on various ships, both deployed and stateside. Through the various stages of their schooling, they have been taught naval operations in subjects such as engineering, seamanship, weapons tactics and basic navigation.
The midshipmen aboard Monterey were paired with crew members, or running mates, who escort them during daily operations at sea. The intention is for the midshipmen to both shadow and learn from enlisted and officer running mates in all shipboard evolutions.
The midshipmen second and third class are experiencing their training through an enlisted perspective to get a deckplate view of life in the fleet. They live in an enlisted berthing, eat in the crew's mess and participate in the same evolutions as other enlisted personnel, such as working parties during replenishments-at-sea, cleaning stations and observing routine maintenance.
"It has been an awesome experience out here," said Midshipman 3rd Class Joseph Minicucci, a student at Norwich University. "I got put into a really good, hands-on division that allows me to experience it all."
During this cruise, Minicucci is shadowing Hull Technician 3rd Class Justin Snickers in the Repair Division. His experience has given him a better vantage point of enlisted life and operations outside his normal field of study.
"I can work with these guys and get dirty, sweaty and experience some jobs that aren't really fun, but I believe are necessary to learn," Minicucci said.
Just like Minicucci, other midshipmen have the same goals -- to understand as much as possible about life aboard a U.S. Navy warship.
"This is my first time underway," said Midshipman 2nd Class Patrick Morin, a student at Virginia Tech. "I am spending a lot of time with the navigation office; I just finished a class on navigation, so it was awesome to see it in action."
Morin went on to say it was interesting to see how the officer and enlisted communities interact.
"Seeing the role of a division officer firsthand was key to understanding what my future role would be," Morin said. "Learning the leadership roles of the chief [petty officer] and division officer and how they go hand-in-hand was an eye-opener."
Ensign Paulet Moreno, the midshipmen coordinator aboard Monterey, explained having past experience as a midshipman was vital to making the most of midshipmen training.
"I know and understand just how vital it is for these midshipmen to get this experience and be able to interact one-on-one with enlisted personnel," Moreno said. "Not only can they understand what deployment is like, but this experience will help them become better leaders in the long run."
At the end of their five weeks aboard Monterey, the midshipmen will return to their NROTC units with a new outlook on the Navy and experiences these future officers will take to future commands.
Monterey, deployed as part of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (Ike CSG), is supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
Ike CSG is comprised of Carrier Strike Group 10 staff, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26 staff, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 staff and embarked squadrons, aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), guided-missile cruisers USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and Monterey, and DESRON 26 guided-missile destroyers USS Stout (DDG 55), USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), USS Mason (DDG 87) and USS Nitze (DDG 94).
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For more information from USS Monterey (CG 61), visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cg61/.
For more news from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cvn69/.