GREAT LAKES (NNS) -- More than 50 Naval ROTC midshipmen at 35 colleges and universities around the country chose the first ships of their Navy careers Nov. 15.
Ship selection is one of the most significant events for midshipmen as they take their first step toward joining the U.S. Navy surface warfare officer (SWO) community in the fleet. The midshipmen will report to their new ships shortly after they graduate and are commissioned as ensigns in December.
"This is an exciting day," said Rear Adm. Stephen C. Evans, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), which oversees the NROTC program. "We have some of the finest talent in our nation, and we have the opportunity to marry them up with some of our finest teams in the fleet.
Midshipmen are ranked according to their grade point average, aptitude scores, and physical fitness assessments. All eligible midshipmen were offered to make their picks via Google Hangout with Cmdr. Julie Grunwell, branch head for surface warfare junior officers at Navy Personnel Command (NPC) in Millington, Tennessee. Nearly half of the selecting midshipmen made their picks this way, and it marked the second time NROTC and NPC have used an innovative social media platform to conduct ship selections, providing midshipmen a memorable start to their careers.
"Winter NROTC ship selection was an absolute win for the prospective ensigns and the fleet!" Grunwell said. "The excitement, enthusiasm, and support from both the NROTC units and the ships contributed to a smooth execution of over 50 prospective surface warfare officers making their first major career decisions."
Midshipman 1st Class Catherine Jorgensen, from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, was the top-ranked NROTC midshipman and first to select a ship. She selected Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100), homeported in Everett, Washington.
"I'm excited to get my career going and see what I can do in the Navy," said Jorgensen, from Pensacola, Florida, and daughter of a retired U.S. Navy captain and doctor. "Everett being the homeport to a number of destroyers and being stationed in the Pacific Northwest ended up a perfect choice for me."
Jorgensen said she is also looking forward to deploying with her new ship, and seeing more of the world and different cultures.
"Besides doing well in my career and performing at a high level in my new command, I really look forward to the traveling opportunities and [seeing] the world more like I did with my family growing up," she said.
Midshipman 1st Class Lisa Freeman, from Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and a senior at Iowa State University, will also get the chance to travel -- all the way to Rota, Spain, and her ship USS Carney (DDG 64). Freeman chose second in the Nov. 15 ship selection, and will also attend nuclear propulsion school after completing her time on Carney.
"I'm excited and a little nervous about living overseas," Freeman said, "but I'm mostly excited to get going and get to my ship, and start doing what I've been training to do."
Freeman was also surprised by a call from Rear Adm. Stephen C. Evans, the NSTC commander, who participated in the Google Hangout and congratulated her on her choice of ship and homeport.
"Talking with the admiral was an interesting surprise, and I appreciated that he took the time to call and congratulate me," she said.
The midshipmen's selection of their ships is not only a milestone for them, but also an important day for the ships in the fleet. Not only do the midshipmen choose where they are going to start their naval career, but the ship they choose will also gain a motivated, eager, young officer to help lead and improve an already great team.
The remaining NROTC midshipmen continued their ship selection process with Navy Personnel Command throughout the day. Selection results are posted at http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/Pages/Spring-2016-ROTC-Ship-Selection.aspx.
Following commissioning and graduation in December, all the newly-commissioned officers will be on their way to their first shipboard assignments as Navy ensigns.
Evans and his NSTC staff, headquartered at Naval Station Great Lakes, oversee the NROTC program. 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.
The officers will 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 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), NROTC units at more than 160 colleges and universities, Officer Training Command (OTC) at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island, and Navy Junior ROTC and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC) citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.
For more information about NROTC, visit http://www.nrotc.navy.mil/.
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For more news from Naval Service Training Command, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/.