News / USA

    US Naval Officers Face Grueling Curriculum

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

    Multimedia

    Arash Arabasadi

    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.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    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.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora