UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA NAVAL RESERVE OFFICERS TRAINING CORPS 2016 NEWSLETTER

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1 UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA NAVAL RESERVE OFFICERS TRAINING CORPS 2016 NEWSLETTER Table of Contents Commanding Officer 2 Commissioning 3-4 Summer Cruises 5-7 Turkey Bowl 8 Naval Leadership Weekend 9-10 Leadership Reaction Run Marine Corps Ball 13 Unit Training Meet the Midshipmen Special Guest Speakers Joint Service Review MN-36 Highway Clean Up 27 Unit Donation/Contact Info 29 Opportunities multiply as they are seized - Sun Tzu Photo By Zach Bielinski

2 From the Commanding Officer -- CAPT Curtis J. Gilbert, USN Family and Friends of Minnesota s Naval ROTC Unit, It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve my first year as the Commanding Officer of the University of Minnesota NROTC unit. It was a monumental year for the unit as we commissioned 13 midshipmen into the Navy and Marine Corps as Ensigns and 2nd Lieutenants. This was the biggest class that the unit has commissioned in the last four years! All five 2nd Lieutenants will be heading to Quantico, VA in the September/October timeframe for The Basic School to develop them further as Marine Corps Officers. The eight Ensigns are split among the major communities with three headed to flight school, two on their way to their first surface ships, two headed to Nuclear Power School for submarine service, and one nurse headed to the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. The battalion is comprised of 21 Marine Options and 36 Navy Options for a total of 57 midshipmen and MECEPs enrolled in our unit; 14 attend our cross-town affiliate the University of St. Thomas. We had two Marine Option freshmen pick up scholarships within the last two weeks of classes! Through their own efforts and resourcefulness, the midshipmen have expanded their horizons through volunteering projects, planning and executing their own Field Training Exercise, participating in the Colorado NROTC drill meet and taking part in a Joint Service Review featuring the Vice Provost of the University of Minnesota, Dr. Robert McMaster, as the guest speaker and reviewing officer. We continue to work closely with the Army and Air Force ROTC units, and our relationship with the University s ROTC Subcommittee continues to increase in strength. This next academic year will prove to be even better, with approximately 13 incoming Fourth Class Midshipmen joining our ranks. They will be welcomed into our unit with New Student Orientation on the UMN campus at the end of August. The goal is to commission these young men and women into the United States Navy and Marine Corps as critical thinkers who Question with Boldness by doing their own research, to enable them to speak confidently and truthfully as they become our future leaders in the years to come. 2

3 2016 USMC Commissioning Congratulations to our newest USMC 2nd Lieutenants! Great Job! 2nd Lt. Grady Bell; Aviation Officer 2nd Lt. Zachary Bielinski; Ground Officer 2nd Lt. Stuart Blomgren; Ground Officer 2nd Lt. Matthew Kitagawa; Ground Officer 2nd Lt. Levi Nayes, Ground Officer 3

4 2016 USN Commissioning Congratulations to our 2016 Naval Officers! Well Done! ENS Zachary Coffel -Submarine Officer ENS Emily Jones -Nursing Officer ENS Jacob Sherman -Aviation Officer ENS Michael Farris -Surface Warfare Officer ENS Katherine Schiffer -Aviation Officer ENS Jordan Skeie -Submarine Officer ENS Daniel Van Horn -Surface Warfare Officer (Nuclear) 4

5 MIDN 1/C Katie Schiffer s Summer Cruise My First Class Summer Cruise was an aviation cruise at Whidbey Island, WA. I spent my four weeks there with a P-3 squadron, the Fighting Marlins. Not only did we get to spend a lot of time learning how to fly the huge planes and hunt for submarines, we also got to spend a day with the Search and Rescue helicopter squadron, and a few days with an F/A-18 squadron. When we were with the F/A-18 squadron, they let us fly a simulator with one midshipman acting as the pilot and another acting as the NFO. All of the officers at our squadron were friendly and welcoming. The work that the aviation officers (both pilots and NFOs) do is awesome. Flying five hundred feet above some of the largest mountains in the United States when the sky is blue and the trees are green was one of the most awe-inspiring things I ve ever done. Not many 22 year olds can say they have flown a real plane and a fighter jet simulator. My entire time here at NROTC, I thought I had wanted to go into Surface Warfare when I commissioned. This cruise changed my mind entirely, and I ended up service selecting pilot. When we weren t flying, I had the opportunity to spend some time fishing in Puget Sound and enjoying the beauty of Washington state. The aviation community was amazing, both the people and the jobs, and I am definitely excited that I get to be a part of it. 5

6 MIDN 2/C Austin Lynum s Summer Cruise This past summer, I had the unique privilege of taking part in training at Mountain Warfare Training Center (MWTC), Bridgeport, California. Since MWTC is over 6,000 feet elevation, there is much less air to suck in, and you can easily feel the difference. It took us three days to fully acclimate to the environment, and those were the easier days. Our first full day at MWTC was spent in the gym, which was used as a classroom for all 210 midshipmen present. We received many PowerPoint presentations. All these presentations were focused on making sure we knew how different and dangerous the eastern Sierra Nevadas were compared to our Minnesota homes. Days two and three were spent introducing us to hiking in the mountains. We hiked approximately three miles out to the Lower Training Area (LTA), where we were taught how to do river crossings, gorge crossings, rappelling, and other important skills for navigating in the mountains. After being introduced to hiking, we went on a three-day evolution in the field, hiking around 20 miles over the three days. At different landing zones throughout MWTC, we received instruction on survival and land navigation, and put our skills to the test by creating our own survival shelters to sleep in, and going through a land navigation course that took us all over the side of the mountain. 6

7 MIDN 3/C Christian Lasswell s Summer Cruise CORTRAMID WEST 2015 On 20 May 2015, several midshipmen and I arrived at the Minneapolis airport en route to San Diego hoping for the best, but not knowing what to expect. After arriving in San Diego, California, other midshipmen and I went to the USO at the airport to get checked in and taken to Naval Base San Diego by one of the Ensigns who would lead us through CORTRAMID. The first day of CORTRAMID consisted of getting checked into our rooms, meeting our company, and listening to a lot of people talk. However, that weekend we were free to roam San Diego as we pleased. I went to the San Diego Zoo and explored downtown San Diego and went to the beach. Then CORTRAMID really began. For myself, week one was SWO week, also known as Surface Warfare week. The highlight of this week was a ten hour ride on the USS Spruance, a destroyer. They were kind enough to shoot almost all the weapons on the ship for us. They also set out a giant inflatable red ball called the killer tomato, and they let a lucky few shoot at it with the.50 cal. off the fantail. The next week was Marine week. We went to Camp Pendleton early Monday. SSgt Covington, GySgt Ortega, and MSgt Washington picked us up at Naval Base San Diego. Highlights of Marine week included the obstacle course, shooting several different weapons, watching artillery up close, and the gas chamber. 7 The next week was Aviation week. The obvious highlights were flying in the T-34 and flying in the MH-60S. The first is an airplane, and the second is a helicopter. Being able to talk with all the aviators was also a fun part of this week. Last and certainly not least was Submarine Week on the USS Nevada. We had the opportunity to experience a full workday aboard a submarine, and practice emergency response drills with the crew.

8 2015 Turkey Bowl By MIDN 2/C Sean Branick 0615, Tuesday November 24 at the Rec Dome, the annual struggle between the Marine Options and Navy Options was taking place. Known as the Turkey Bowl, this battle between friends has been taking place for a few years, and will most likely continue to take place many years into the future. On the Navy side, the team took to the field, with notable standouts such as Midshipmen Skeie, Coffel, Braegelmann, Davis and newcomer, 4/C Corbett. On the Marine side, SSgt Lanoux remained a force to be reckoned with, alongside teammates like MIDN Schultz, Nayes, Watkins, Lynum and Fredericks. The teams took to the field, and began their fight for the title of Turkey Bowl Champion, not to be unseated until November The competition was fierce, with both sides giving it their all, with quarterbacks of Coffel, Skeie, and Corbett for the Navy, and Watkins and Nayes for the Marine side. The Marines marched down the field quickly, scoring two touchdowns in quick succession. Navy answered with a touchdown of their own, bringing the score to Allowing another Marine touchdown after burning through the first 20 minute half, the score remained in the Marines favor. Navy used their halftime to pump up the team, with a notable speech by MIDN Coffel. Starting off the second half, Navy decided to sub in large numbers of the team, everyone could participate. The goal of this game is to allow the battalion to come together, to have fun, and bond over the sport of football and Thanksgiving. The Marine side came away with the title of Turkey Bowl Champions, winning by a margin of two touchdowns. They must watch out however, as next year the Navy plans on being better than ever in their continuous quest for the Turkey Bowl. *The Turkey Bowl was made possible by Student Unions & Activities Grants Initiatives. 8

9 Naval Leadership Weekend By MIDN 1/C Zack Coffel On the 25th of February, the University of Minnesota NROTC sent four of their senior leaders (MIDN Coffel, Kitagawa, Blomgren, and Jones) to the Naval Leadership Weekend (NLW) at the University of Notre Dame. This two and a half day event provided an opportunity for midshipmen from all across the country to step outside their classrooms and into an environment that continues their education and training as leaders by promoting a critical examination of the principles of leadership. It is a chance for midshipmen to hear from successful leaders in both the military and civilian communities, providing them with the tools and information that will guide them to success beyond the realm of college and into their unceasing challenge to become future Navy and Marine Corps officers. This weekend has been put on annually by the Naval ROTC unit at Notre Dame for 21 consecutive years to allow midshipmen from all walks of life to learn and discuss critical issues that they will potentially face in their early careers. 9

10 The first round of guest speakers covered the unrestricted line communities of the Navy as well as the Marine Corps. The first guest speaker was Sergeant Major Justin LeHew who has been serving in the Marine Corps since 1988 and is currently the Training and Education Command Sergeant Major who offered the midshipmen valuable insight on the enlisted perspective of expectations for incoming 2nd Lieutenants and Ensigns. Later that day, the group was spoken to by Major General James Lukeman who commissioned into the Marine Corps in 1980, and is currently the Training and Education Command Commanding General. His speech focused on the best ways to build trust between officers and enlisted personnel. The day ended with former Commanding Officer of the USS Samuel B. Roberts, Captain Paul Rinn (Ret.), recalling how effectively training his subordinates ultimately saved the Samuel B. Roberts from sinking and preventing further casualties after striking an Iranian mine. The third and final day began with Rear Admiral John Kirby (Ret.), the current Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Department Spokesperson at the Department of State, who talked to the midshipmen about staying humble and putting their men first. He was then followed by Rear Admiral Peter Gumataotao, Deputy Chief of Staff, Strategic Plans and Policy for the Navy who focused on the excitement of leading in the Navy and taking risks as a team while also professing his love for the Minnesota Vikings! He was even gracious enough to give all the commissioning surface warfare officers their SWO pins for when they finally finish their qualifications to wear with pride. Following RADM Gumataotao was the Director of Game Day Operations at the University of Notre Dame, Mike Seamon, who gave a civilian perspective on the effects of how infectious positivity is in leading your people. The day ended with the keynote dinner that featured the Commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Admiral Philip Davidson. ADM Davidson recapped everything that we had learned over the weekend. Overall, it was a weekend filled with unforgettable knowledge that the seniors will be able to use in the fleet. 10

11 Leadership Reaction Run By MIDN 4/C Allison Ford On Tuesday 27 OCT 2015, the battalion conducted a Leadership Reaction Run (LRR) where six teams competed to obtain the best scores at six different stations. Scores were based on the leader s ability to take control of the situation, make effective decisions, communicate with their team, and execute a plan to accomplish the objective within ten minutes. A different midshipman led each station so everyone had the opportunity to be evaluated. The objective of station 1 was to replicate a system for disarming an IED. The system consisted of rifles, ammo cans, weights, cones, and a garrison cover on a tarp. Two midshipmen were sent to view and draw the correct arrangement of the materials, but they could not talk or touch the materials. They directed two other midshipmen where to place each object through a series of hand motions and finger snapping. This required special attention to detail since everything had to look exactly like it did at the other IED for it to be correctly disarmed. Next was station 2. The objective was to get the intelligence (a medicine ball) from the gym deck to the upper gym deck without touching the red mats. An invincible corpsman was appointed to revive people who had been killed, and everyone else grabbed a dodge ball. On the gym deck another team had set up a barricade of red mats and was armed with dodge balls, defending the intelligence objective. After we took out the opposing team, someone climbed the rope to the upper gym deck and another tossed up the intelligence to complete the mission. At station 3, the objective was to dismantle a defense of two logs and a wall of packs and sandbags, then assemble the same defense 20 yards ahead. Everyone, except my assistant and I, was blinded and could not talk. The logs were removed and the packs and sandbags were passed down a sort of disassembly/assembly line with my assistant on one end tearing down the old defense, everyone else in the middle passing them on, and me on the other side setting up the new defense. The logs were set 11 on the new defense to complete the mission.

12 The objectives of station 4 were to defend the intelligence utilizing red mats and hockey nets and to get kills by hitting the offensive team from station 2 with dodge balls. Our defense consisted of myself and the intelligence inside the hockey nets with the red mats around and above while the rest of Alpha 2 got kills. Since our defense was impenetrable, the rules were changed to allow the offense to touch the red mats so the station could continue. The offense did complete their mission in the end, but we were able to get kills and hold them off for a while. Station 5 was physical training consisting of seven levels. Each level had to be completed before the team could move on to the next and the objective was to get as far as possible. Three midshipmen would work on the level requirement while the rest did an ab workout. Level 1: six total shuttle sprints between two cones, level 2: 75 pull ups, and level 3: six more shuttle sprints with ammo cans. Levels 4, 5, 6, and 7 were three tire flip down and backs, 120 ammo can presses, three bear crawl shuttles, and 90 pushups respectively. Station 6 was trivia in which we took turns answering questions on different topics of our choosing. Topics included chain of command, leadership principles, famous quotes, history, and random facts. If answered incorrectly, that midshipman had to do 20 pushups before the next question could be asked. The objective was to answer as many questions correctly as possible. Charlie Company won the LRR, though it was a great exercise to go through for the whole battalion. Each Midshipman had their leadership abilities tested and morale was boosted within the teams after successful completion of each station. I, and I m sure many others, look forward to participating in a LRR again in the fall. 12

13 Marine Corps Ball By MIDN 3/C Brigadier The Marine Corps ball is a fantastic experience that I look forward to every year. The tradition of the cake cutting ceremony, and the motivating guest speakers are fantastic highlights. This year s ball had been moved from a casino to a hotel, which was a nice change of pace. The Marines, both enlisted and officers, all looked like they were having an amazing time reveling in the festivities and dancing. As compared to last year, the dancing seemed to be much more lively without the option for Marines to gamble outside of the dining hall. It seemed that this led to more interaction between Marines and dates, as well. It was also a highlight seeing younger officers interacting with the junior enlisted. You could tell everyone was cutting loose, and enjoying the special occasion. Throughout the whole night, the hall was filled with the sound of motivated Marines of all ages yelling out yuts, oorahs, and other motivating jargon. Another highlight of the evening was during the cake cutting ceremony. Seeing the passing from one generation to another is always a wonderful sight to witness. This year was particularly memorable, because for the first time the youngest Marine present was younger than me, and even younger than many of our fourth class Midshipmen. It was an honor to meet so many Marines, and talk to them about what they do. My date had a great time, as it was her first time at a military function. She was fascinated with the culture that the Marines were showing, and she enjoyed listening to the explanation of the traditions and why they were so important to those who were there. I believe that this year s ball was a major success, and I can not wait to return next year to celebrate another year in the Marine 13 Corps illustrious history.

14 SDB Inspections By MIDN 4/C Patrick Vetter Periodically, the Midshipmen (MIDN) at the University of Minnesota NROTC partake in a uniform inspection. After mustering in the morning, they will form up with enough room for those who are inspecting to walk between the rows of MIDN. They are then inspected thoroughly and individually. Those doing the inspecting and those being inspected use the regulations given by the Navy to know precisely how each article of the uniform is to be properly worn. Checking each article of the uniform, the inspector will inform those being inspected of any violations. The importance of these inspections is to ensure everyone is properly wearing their uniform everyday as well as investing time in uniform preparation. Going deeper into this importance, the MIDN want to ensure proper wear because they are representing the US Navy. On an individual professional level, it is important to create the best first impression possible. If someone s uniform deviates from regulation, the implication is an inability to follow instructions and a lack of attention to detail. Recently, there was an inspection of the Service Dress Blues (SDB) by the unit staff. My experience was positive, a testament to the effort invested in preparation and peer assistance. While the vast majority of my uniform was perfect, a few things required correction. These included the buttons on my jacket not having the eagle imprinted on them facing upwards. The inspector asked if I knew the regulation for my buttons, but I failed to have knowledge of it. I later followed up with the officer responsible for my inspection to ensure I learned the regulations. I am grateful I was corrected because I will no longer make similar mistakes in the future. 14

15 Spring Field Training Exercises By MIDN 4/C Chris Vander Zanden Once every semester, Marine Option Midshipmen participate in a field training exercise to enhance and heighten the skills required to succeed at Officer Candidates School (OCS), which takes place between junior and senior years. This year, select Navy options interested in the Special Warfare community joined Marine options in hopes of gaining valuable training that will be used in their careers as officers in this highly selective and demanding community. Most midshipmen began their Friday morning at 0200 to ensure all gear was accounted for and load necessary equipment into duty vans for transit to Arden Hills Army Training Site (AHATS) where the first evolution of training would begin at roughly /C Midshipmen, having passed OCS, instructed junior Midshipmen in each event and imparted their knowledge and experiences directly from OCS. Night Land Navigation is one of the key events at Officer Candidates School that candidates will have to pass to graduate. This was the first exercise that midshipmen participated in for field training: polishing skills of crossing terrain without the ability to see. SULE, or Small Unit Leadership Evaluation, is another important portion to a candidate s evaluation at OCS. Candidates are evaluated based on their ability to think critically in high pressure situations and maintain a leadership command presence in a squad sized unit. Second Class Midshipmen departing for OCS this summer were evaluated as squad leaders in a series of tactical movements with an array of tasks such as evacuating casualties and moving supplies from points A to B. The next exercise conducted was the Leadership Reaction Course, or LRC. midshipmen were broken up into fire teams of 5 to 6 people and tasked with an array of objectives. Each midshipman had a chance to lead as a fire-team leader with each new task. The different tasks included moving supplies up a hill, moving casualties through a burning building, and repelling enemy counter attacks on patrol. The final exercise conducted was daytime land navigation: plotting grid coordinate points on a topographical map whilst using a compass to locate each point. In contrast to night land navigation, midshipmen could use the terrain to their advantage to locate each point in the field. To end the very long and exhausting day, the midshipmen were surprised with a dinner cookout of burgers and hotdogs which was a much needed boost of morale and a chance for midshipmen to socialize amongst each other. 15

16 Close Order Drill By MIDN 4/C Daniel Perno The countless hours of early morning and late evening close order drill practices came to fruition earlier this spring on 05 March as the University of Minnesota NROTC Close Order Drill (COD) Team competed in the University of Colorado, Boulder Drill Competition. Midshipmen from the UMN NROTC unit traveled across the country to Colorado to showcase their proficiency in drill as well as bond with each other and Midshipmen from other NROTC units throughout the nation. Close Order Drill develops military bearing, confidence, and unit cohesion while also giving Marine Option midshipman the COD skills needed to succeed at Officers Candidate School (OCS). Marine and Navy option midshipmen began practicing in the first weeks of September to prepare for the drill meet, learning and perfecting the basics of rifle movements and marching. Staff Sergeant Ricardo Lomeli, the unit s Assistant Marine Officer Instructor and a Marine Corps Drill Instructor, poured countless hours into teaching first year midshipmen the fundamentals of COD while also working to perfect the movements of all of the drill team members. Midshipman 1/C Austin Lynum and Midshipman 2/C Andrew Tykwinski also put immense effort into perfecting the unit s drill team as the Battalion Close Order Drill Commander and the Assistant Close Order Drill Commander, respectively. Staff Sergeant Klawitter, a MECEP in his first semester at the UMN NROTC unit, and also a Marine Corps Drill Instructor, volunteered his expertise to help prepare the drill team. The hard work on behalf of the instructors and drill team members paid off, with the Platoon Drill Team commanded by Midshipman Tykwinski placing eighth in the competition and the Squad Drill Team commanded by Midshipman Richards placing third. The midshipmen of the UMN NROTC unit demonstrated their commitment to excellence and look forward to more successful drill meets in the coming semesters and years. 16

17 Health and Fitness By MIDN 3/C Chase Johnson On an early Friday morning, young men and women on the campus of the University of Minnesota can be seen congregating to the armory on Church St. in yellow & blue or green on green physical training uniforms. Other college students are in bed recovering from the first night of their three-day weekend, but not those in NROTC. They are awake to workout as a group before class starts. Midshipmen gather in formation, and after a warm-up, break up into groups to complete a circuit workout in which they will compete against each other. It pays to win, is the common moniker preached at physical training sessions by midshipmen billets and our AMOI, Staff Sergeant Lomeli. An example of our PT would be in groups of four, midshipmen will each run a 600, 400, and 200-meter sprint in relay fashion. While one is running, the others must complete push-ups or core exercises to add to the strain. The University Fieldhouse is loud with yells of encouragement for shipmates. The first group finishes in strong fashion, led by Midshipmen Grady Bell and Jeremy Conners, two distinguished athletes within the NROTC battalion. Other groups let out a sigh when they see the first group finish another sprint or set of push-ups will be coming after the session is over. Other groups still have to finish, though. When it comes down to the 200-meter finish, Midshipman Zack Coffel makes a strong push to keep his group ahead of my own. My group finishes second-to-last. I knew he d give me a hard time for that later. Competition is a vital aspect to physical training. It drives the Midshipmen to be better, and much like competition in Economics, keeps a high level of performance the standard. Physical fitness is highly emphasized in the NROTC program, and the military as a whole. In some sense, they are like professional athletes paid to work out, paid to maintain physical form. However, unlike professional athletes, they must do this amongst other demands on their time. For the Midshipmen, that is an academic schedule of high caliber not unseen by the most devoted students on campus. Thus a delicate balancing act is undertaken to try and maintain physical shape while studying for impeding exams, doing homework, and having a social life. Throughout freshman year, I learned better time-management. After that, I was then able to balance my ROTC obligations and working out in a proficient and effective military manner, said Midshipman Christian Lasswell, after I asked him how he manages to maintain an excellent Physical Readiness Test rating while pursuing a degree in Aerospace Engineering. I also don t sleep, he said to me with a laugh. Two or three times per semester, Navy-option Midshipmen and Marine-option midshipmen take a Physical Fitness Test (PFT). This is the cornerstone for measuring physical fitness in the ROTC battalion, and is highly anticipated throughout the semester. Fortunately, most midshipmen maintain good physical form, so the test is not too difficult. 17

18 NROTC Drill Meet University of Colorado: Boulder MIDN 4/C Thor Hsu s E-Team Experience The spring of 2016 trip to the University of Colorado Boulder was one of the best trips I have ever experienced. I went as a part of the Minnesota NROTC Endurance Team (Eteam). For those who don t know, E-Team races are competitions of physical and mental strength between NROTC units across the nation. This particular race involved swimming in uniform, rope climbs, pull ups, buddy carries, push ups, land navigation, overhead log presses, and sit ups with a log among other exhausting challenges. The greatest challenge is summiting Green Mountain, which stands at 8,150 feet above sea level. Knowing all of this beforehand, I looked forward to the challenge of racing other teams. It was especially motivating to know that we would directly race Iowa State University. The race was estimated to take about five hours, and we started with the swim. The next few events went well and we gained on ISU. As we progressed onto the mountain though, one of our usually leading team members began falling behind. This turned out to be the result of pneumonia-like symptoms. He pushed through and we eventually made it to the top of the mountain, far behind everyone else. There was no question about what to do though; nobody gets left behind. Before the team could make it all the way back, we were picked up and transported back by vehicle, which turned out to be a good thing. Our team member was in pretty bad shape after summiting a mountain with one lung, but it just goes to show the determination and willpower we have here at the UMN NROTC unit. Despite being forced to finish early, the experience was still great. We met other Midshipmen from around the country, bonded with our fellow Gophers and Tommies, and generally had fun in the mountainous area. The reason the drill meet was one of the best trips I have ever been on is simple but important: it brought the unit together and built camaraderie between the classes. It served an important role in terms of training, such as Close Order Drill for pre-ocs Marine options, weapons training for Navy options, and physical and mental toughening in general, but the camaraderie was undoubtedly the most valuable takeaway. 18

19 Meet the Midshipmen MIDN 4/C Daniel Perno, Interviewed by MIDN 3/C Brigadier Recently I was able to sit down with MIDN 4/C Daniel Perno, to ask him some questions about his experience the past year, and his transition from high school senior, to an NROTC Midshipmen. Q: Describe your experience with NSO: A: NSO was a challenging experience for me. I did well in high school and was not used to failure as I never truly failed, since hard work prevented true failure. I was not used to failing while putting in effort which made me perform poorly under pressure at first. Looking back, I am very thankful for NSO. It humbled me and showed me what I needed to work on as a leader while also bringing me closer to my class. Q: What was your adjustment into the unit like? A: The adjustment to the unit itself was somewhat difficult, but this is to be expected. It took time to get used to the weekly routine, prepping uniforms, and getting used to changes in plans. That being said, it went smoothly after a month or so. Older Midshipmen and my peers were very helpful in facilitating this transition. It was an appropriate challenge and I knew there were people I could (and did) turn to if/when I needed help. Q: What are you most looking forward to becoming a 3/C? A: I am looking forward to unofficially mentoring the 4/Cs and further developing myself as a leader. I had a difficult adjustment this year and am very thankful for the help I received from peers and superiors. I want to be a person that others can turn to for help next year when they are getting adjusted. I plan on making myself available and helpful in order to make things go smoothly for incoming 4/Cs. I also am looking forward to seeing how I perform at events such as FTX, LRRs, and Bulldog Prep. These will give me a gauge of how I am performing and will tell me what areas I need to improve on. Q: If you could go back a year and give yourself advice, what advice would you give? A: I would tell myself to relax and keep things in perspective. NROTC and academics are important, but so is personal time and time with friends and family. I did not take enough time for myself last fall and as a result my personal relationships were strained. 19

20 SSgt Adam Klawitter, Interviewed by MIDN 4/C Ford As the official statement describes, one of the most common programs enlisted Marines use to transition from enlisted to officer is the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP). MECEP offers qualified Marines the chance to attend a four-year college with full-time benefits, while maintaining active duty status and pay. MECEP is open to all active duty Marines as well as Marines in the Active Reserve program who meet the eligibility requirements. Selection is based on an individual's potential for commissioned service as demonstrated by their service record, previous academic record, and evidence of career and academic selfimprovement. Staff Sergeant Adam Klawitter is the newest of three enrolled as a MECEP at the University of Minnesota NROTC unit. He is originally from Osceola, WI and proudly states he is a die hard Packer fan. He joined the Marine Corps looking to make a difference back in The Iraq war was just starting and I was looking to do what was right, explained SSgt Klawitter. He did add that having a family while in the USMC was a challenge in itself, along with every few years moving to a new unit which presented new challenges. Ssgt Klawitter was first stationed at Camp Pendleton in Southern California with the 1st Battalion, 11th Marines where he deployed to Iraq, then at the 2nd Maintenance Battalion in Camp Lejeune where he deployed to Afghanistan. After returning, he served as a Drill Instructor at the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot at Parris Island in South Carolina before coming to Minneapolis. When asked about his experiences while deployed and what he personally got out of them, SSgt Klawitter replied, Learning to embrace the suck. He went on to talk about some of his best stories from inspections as a Drill Instructor saying his personal favorite was making those getting inspected do inspection arms with an air rifle. In all seriousness, though, regarding both his deployments and his time as a Drill Instructor he explained, You learn most about yourself when you are put in challenging positions and stressful situations. Some of my favorite memories are from the most miserable times I have been in. The most rewarding experience was my time on the drill field changing lives and making Marines. It s always about the Marines and the Corps. He is currently studying Business Operations Management at the University of St. Thomas. He isn't fully committed to pursuing a specific job as a Marine Officer but stated that he just wants to lead Marines. 20

21 MIDN 1/C Matthew Kitagawa, Interviewed by MIDN 2/C Mathiason Q) What is your most memorable and developmental ROTC moment? A) My most memorable moment for my ROTC experience was being the Battalion Operations Officer for fall The very early mornings and late nights sometimes 6 days a week to get all of that work done was truly an eye opening experience to how hard we will be expected to work as commissioned officers and just how many mistakes you can make in a single day. It made me thankful for the opportunity to learn under the staff and mentors that we have here and to learn our strengths and weaknesses before we are expected to accomplish real missions and take care of our Marines and Sailors. Q) Define your leadership style and the pros and cons you have found with it. A) I believe in leading with a paternal hand and having undoubtable credibility. This is hard because a paternal approach can sometimes come on as too soft and establishing credibility takes time. But in the long run, I believe it to be more sustainable, because people will see you as the consistent leader and that you are an expert on the job at hand. You want to be the person who people reference as, I don t know, but let s ask [Your Name Here], they usually have something good. Q) As a leader, what is the most important thing that you practice to be successful? A) Patience and perspective with subordinates, yourself, and problems at hand. I think we, myself included, tend to get lost in the myth of the perfectibility of people, assuming enough power points and speeches will push the inner idiot out of them and create leaders by osmosis. The reality is that we are always training on new problems, and so everything is skill development, and I ve learned more from face to face corrections and being taught how to do something right than any lectures or presentations. Q) What advice would you give to developing Midshipmen? A) As Coach J Robinson said when he came to speak to us, talent is very limiting; you can outwork 90% of your competition. Read a book from your professional reading list or recommended by someone you respect, 10 pages a night before you go to bed and you ll be surprised how quickly you get through books just by doing that consistently. I wish I had started reading professional development and leadership books and articles in my free time sooner than I did, so now is the time to start no matter where you are in your NROTC experience. Q) If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently? A) Honestly, I wish I had stepped out to do more things that mattered more often. Less involvement in normal student activities, more dedication to my now fiancé, NROTC, my fellow Midshipmen and my school commitments. Don t be afraid to take on a lot of responsibilities. 21

22 Leadership Lecture Series - Col. Jack Lousma By MIDN 4/C Samuel Leonard The three tenets of the United States Navy are Honor, Courage, and Commitment. All three, when embodied and utilized, allow an individual to represent our country in the most exceptional way possible. Additionally, when an individual exemplifies these traits in a more than exceptional manner, they are remembered for accomplishing great feats; one of these feats being successful and meaningful space travel. The Minnesota NROTC unit had the fortunate opportunity to listen to Colonel Jack Lousma, USMC (Ret.) speak on his experiences in the United States Marine Corps. Reflecting on his early experiences, Col Lousma revealed his main motivation in joining was to fly and more importantly, fly fast. His early career consisted of several test pilot opportunities and Col Lousma was lucky enough to attain a few thousand flight hours in some of the world s finest aircraft. He wasn t destined to remain a test pilot forever. One day, by chance, Col Lousma submitted an application to become part of a space program called Skylab 3. Much to his surprise, Col Lousma was selected, and he would eventually travel to space with NASA while partaking in Skylab 3. During his time in space, Col Lousma participated in scientific research and observation on various topics while logging hundreds of man-hours and, according to him, it wasn t against status quo to log 14-hour workdays on his 59 ½ days in space. The Skylab 3 mission, according to NASA, accomplished 150% of its mission s goals, while conducting 333 medical experiments in space. By the conclusion of their journey, Col Lousma and the rest of the Skylab 3 crew had compiled a significant amount of important data regarding effects extended weightlessness has on the human body as well as solar observations in the form of photos. 22

23 Apart from his autobiographical account, Col Lousma shared some important intrinsic messages within his oration. One of the biggest messages was to have the courage to take a chances in life or else life will end up being nothing but ordinary. Being extraordinary is part of the military experience and without taking chances complacency becomes rampant. In fact, Col Lousma s space travel career would not have taken place unless he had taken chances and seized the opportunities that arose as a result. A second message was hard work pays off. Space travel and the training involved in preparation is a significant challenge. Col Lousma also expressed an undertone of the importance of commitment to the mission which he exemplified by pushing through extensive work and training hours. He experienced a separation from family most of us can t recognize, he was literally out of the world and could make only spotty contact with loved ones. He didn t let this have a negative effect on his mindset however, and instead put emotion aside and completed more than what was required. This is something for myself and my peers to keep in mind while we are in the fleet, as we will have limited familial contact. Lastly, Col Lousma represented the United States of America honorably by initiating advancements in space travel and ultimately the related science. At a time when being ahead was more important than ever, he contributed to the success of the American space program. Everyone should take Col Lousma s messages to heart and aspire to do things of similar nature. What others accomplish may not be comparable to space travel, but it is motivating to have something to strive for. 23

24 Admiral Harley s Visit By MIDN 1/C Jones and MIDN 4/C Foster Rear Admiral Jeff Harley, the current assistant deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Operations, Plans, and Strategy) (N3/N5B) visited the University of Minnesota Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps unit to discuss topics on naval service, leadership, and ethics on Tuesday, April 5th. RADM Harley, a Surface Warfare Officer and University of Minnesota alumnus, has served in numerous at-sea assignments and shore commands to include his role as the 20th director of the White House situation room. Admiral Harley spent time speaking with two groups of students. First, he spoke with the entire student battalion for an hour during the unit s weekly period of professional military education. Following that, Admiral Harley had a more focused discussion with the 1/C Midshipmen of the unit who recently commissioned in May An incredibly talented public speaker, RADM Harley spent the first ten minutes of the brief with the battalion discussing his view on ethics, leadership, and the vision behind the world s greatest Naval fighting force. With the remainder of his time, he fielded a range of questions from the Midshipmen. He used his vast experience from all stages of his career to both answer questions, and also to encourage, inspire, and challenge what he deemed is one of the most important groups he speaks to: that being the future leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps forces. RADM Harley spoke directly with a group of eight 1/C midshipmen about challenges they can expect to face as leaders. The unit Battalion Commander, MIDN 1/C Emily Jones was at the second half of Admiral Harley s visit and she had this to say: Admiral Harley has had a very exciting career in the Navy. He was incredibly open about his experiences and gave thoughtful advice to the senior Midshipmen who will be commissioning soon. He provided insight into current ethical situations and explained why situations developed like they did. His leadership philosophy of daring greatly is something I personally try to live by; it was surreal hearing the same philosophy from someone who is so experienced. Admiral Harley was an outstanding example of how to balance a high position of authority with staying humble. RADM Harley utilized his personal experience to provide further insight on how to overcome these challenges in ways which are consistent with our core values. 24

25 Joint Service Review By: MIDN 4/C Alexander Hnatko Joint Service Review is one of the most important events for every cadet and midshipman at the University of Minnesota. Joint Service Review, or JSR as it is more commonly referred to, is a chance for aspiring officers from all branches of the Armed Forces to come together and show not only each other, but members of the community and families, the discipline and unity the Cadets and Midshipmen have worked very hard to achieve throughout the course of the academic year. At face value, JSR is a military pass-in-review, but in its symbolism and tradition, it is much more. The ceremony itself is not incredibly complex in its structure, which proceeds approximately as follows. First, an introduction is given by the master of ceremonies for the event, followed by the parade adjutant calling for the commencement of proceedings. A bugling sequence is played, and Army marches out first, followed by Navy/Marine Corps, and finally, the Air Force, until every branch of service is formed up, facing the audience and the review can begin. The Star Spangled Banner is sung by the cadet choir whilst the color guard leads the assembly in honoring the flag. Immediately following this, cadets and midshipmen are called forth individually to receive merit based awards and scholarships from myriad of different organizations committed to our military. After this, the guest of honor, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education, Robert McMaster, was introduced by CAPT Gilbert and he gave a speech about a the values of service and character. This concluded the stationary part of the ceremony and the cadet band plays the songs of each of the services as the formation commences a pass-in-review by the assembled guests and the ceremony concludes. 25

26 Its flawless execution year after year is only made possible through the extreme dedication and attention to detail put forth by each and every cadet and midshipman as well as unit staff members who spend weeks ahead of the ceremony preparing every moment down to the minutest of details. There is nothing as impressive as an immense body of individuals moving together in perfect synchronization and precision. The goal is to showcase the discipline that our nation s future officers are learning to live with and the high level of achievement that each of them stresses not only for themselves, but for their peers as well. Of course, as these are the best and brightest of our young people, naturally, there is an overtone of inter-service competition, and each branch strives to look more disciplined and sharper than the others, exponentially improving the end effect. This inter-service friendly competition leads us to the most important reason behind JSR, inter-service cooperation and camaraderie. Even though we jokingly state our respective branches are superior to the others, at the end of the day, we all will one day be fighting for the United States of America and the blessings of freedom that we all hold so dear, and we will not fight just as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, or Marines, but as Americans. As silly as it may seem, working together now to make Joint Service Review go smoothly is preparing us to one day work side by side, when it matters most. 26

27 Battalion Highway Cleanup Service Project By MIDN 4/C Chris Bonilla On Saturday, April 30th the University of Minnesota NROTC conducted a highway clean up. The unit, through the Adopt-a-Highway program, adopted a small section of highway 36 from Roseville Area High School to a nearby Cub Foods. There were 57 MIDN on Saturday morning participating in cleaning the highway. Doing the early morning clean up publicized the unit to the passing drivers, which displayed to them the commitment we have in helping our community. When first arriving to my location, which was at the Roseville Area High School, the MIDN quickly grabbed their yellow plastic garbage bags and split into groups to clean both sides of the highway. While picking up trash, the MIDN took advantage of the relaxed environment. Underclassmen eagerly engaged in conversation with upperclassmen. With summer cruises coming and the commissioning of the 1/C s just a few weeks away, nearly everyone took advantage of the seniors knowledge while they could. Another fun way to pass time was creating fun interesting stories out of the garbage found on the sides of the highway. Following this event the MIDN formed back up at the armory and had pizza supplied by our MWR Officer. The 20 large pizzas were quickly devoured by the MIDN leaving no evidence behind except for the empty boxes. In all, this simple task of cleaning the sides of a highway resulted in a cleaner community and increased unit cohesion. It also increases awareness to the public of the values for which our units stands. 27

28 28

29 Stay Connected with us! Unit Webpage: Alumni Facebook: UMNNROTCalumni Unit Facebook: Instagram: Twitter: University of Minnesota NROTC DoD funds do not fulfill every valuable experience in developing the future officers of the Navy and Marine Corps. If you are interested in donating to the University of Minnesota unit, monetary donations can be made payable to University of Minnesota Foundation # UMN NROTC and sent to: University of Minnesota NROTC Attn Commanding Officer 203 Armory Bldg 15 Church St. SE, Minneapolis, MN Donations can also be made online at Your donation will go to directly fund events such as Drill Competitions an Leadership Conferences. Donations through the UMN Alumni Association are always tax deductible to the extent allowed by the law. Thank you for your generous support! 29

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