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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

China-India Border Standoff Continues as Leaders Hold Summit

New Delhi accuses hundreds of Chinese soldiers of illegally entering Indian territory in disputed region of Ladakh More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid