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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs