News / USA

    US Naval Officers Face Grueling Curriculum

    US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland
    US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland

    Multimedia

    One of America's premier institutions of higher learning is the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  There, young men and women grow from teenagers into naval officers.  The Academy tests students both in and out of the classroom, in a series of grueling but necessary exercises, to turn out future leaders of the U.S. Navy.

    The U.S. Naval Academy, established in 1845, creates officers from its student body of more than 4,000.  For men and women who will one day serve aboard nuclear submarines and in the cockpits of sophisticated aircraft, it all starts here on small boats in the Severn River.  The Academy's director of sailing, Commander Chris Tomassy, says the centuries-old skills of sailing teach valuable lessons for the modern day.

    "We're a part of the Professional Development Department and sailing is a big part of that because there you're going to learn character and leadership attributes," noted Tomassy.

    These students are the best and brightest that the country has to offer.  But even after four years, an ocean of knowledge awaits.  Laura Martindale, 22, is one of the first women ever chosen to serve aboard a submarine.  She says the Academy has prepared her for the challenges ahead.

    "This place teaches you how to follow and lead," said Martindale.  "And when you're going out into the Navy and you're going to be in charge of 40 sailors and marines, a really important piece of your identity is knowing who you are and where you want to go.  This place really changes you. "  

    While Laura Martindale plans a career below the waves, Midshipman Jaclyn Jordan is preparing to shoot for the skies.

    "Yes sir, I'm going to be a Naval officer.  [I'm] going to Pensacola for flight school," said Martindale.

    But, over and above technical training, being a member of the United States Navy means being ready for war.  Marksmanship training coach Bill Karditzas says the rules are simple.

    "In order to carry a pistol in the navy, a person will have to go through a qualification process," noted Karditzas.

    Midshipmen must also maintain peak physical condition.  At nearly any time of day across the campus people work out… practice a sport… or just play with their classmates.

    Among the many qualities students learn at Annapolis, perhaps the most important is that of leadership through honor and integrity, something these students seem well aware of.

    MIDSHIPMAN 1ST CLASS LAURA MARTINDALE: "Honor, courage and commitment isn't something that we just put on a poster and think about later.   It is something that we are expected to live and participate in actively every day."

    MIDSHIPMAN 1ST CLASS MATTHEW EVANS: "Knowing that we are going to be in charge of people's lives, some of my classmates are going to Iraq within a year after getting out of here.  And they are going to be in harm's way leading platoons.  I have a lot of respect for that.  I don't know how many other 22-year-olds are going to be doing that."

    MIDSHIPMAN 1ST CLASS JACLYN JORDAN: "I just try every day to do my very best and make my classmates proud, my parents proud and most importantly the nation proud, because in the end we are working for America."

    Their individual experiences vary, but graduates agree that the Naval Academy prepares them all for the life and death decisions that officers are called upon to make.


    Arash Arabasadi

    Arash Arabasadi is an award-winning multimedia journalist with a decade of experience shooting, producing, writing and editing. He has reported from conflicts in Iraq, Egypt, the Persian Gulf and Ukraine, as well as domestically in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland. Arash has also been a guest lecturer at Howard University, Hampton University, Georgetown University, and his alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife Ashley and their two dogs.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora