Norwich University Midshipmen Spend a Day Learning About the Submarine Force
GROTON, Conn. – Thirty four midshipmen from Norwich University, in Northfield, Vermont, traded a day in the classroom for a day at Naval Submarine Base New London, Oct. 7.
Rear Adm. Rick Breckenridge, Commander, Submarine Group Two met with the visiting midshipmen during their visit to briefly discuss the submarine force.
“Opportunities to meet with the next generation of naval officers from universities such as Norwich is a sense of pride for me especially those of them who plan to pursue the submarine force upon their commissioning,” said Breckenridge.
Breckenridge shared his path into the U.S. Navy with the midshipmen. “As a lobsterman son from Massachusetts, my big break was acceptance into the U.S. Naval Academy,” said Breckenridge.
Breckenridge, who received a degree in Aerospace Engineering, shared his selection into the nuclear power pipeline and the importance of being one of the final midshipmen interviewed by Adm. Hyman Rickover to currently serving as commander of Group Two.
“Who we are and what we do as an undersea force is invaluable to the country and will only grow in its importance as you join the fleet,” said Breckenridge. “This is an important moment in history for all of us who serve our nation.”
During their visit to Naval Submarine Base New London the midshipmen visited the Naval Submarine School’s Damage Control Trainer, Ship Control Operations Trainer and toured Virginia class submarine USS New Hampshire (SSN 778).
U.S. Marine Corps Col. Lawrence Oliver, commanding officer of the Norwich University NROTC unit participated in the Naval Submarine Base tour and highlighted the importance of these types of visits.
“Norwich University NROTC unit actively seeks out opportunities to expose our midshipmen to life in the naval services, both Navy and Marine Corps. This exposure is a combination of centrally mandated academic year instruction, highlighted by summer training evolutions, as well as less formal events and training venues organized by individual NROTC units. Our trip to Submarine Group Two is an example of the latter,” said Oliver.
Prior to his present assignment, Oliver was assigned as the Marine Tactical Air Force Analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Cost Assessment and Program Analysis from June 2009 until June 2011. Oliver added that visits to Naval Submarine Base New London will directly impact their midshipmen’s decision regarding service selection and career path.
“It is visits like this that allow our midshipmen the opportunity to have ‘hands on’ experience with actual training equipment and systems. These types of venues, along with more formal NROTC events, afford the young midshipman a unique perspective that will facilitate their follow-on service,” said Oliver. “Additionally, given the nascent nature of our midshipmen, a positive experience, such as Groton, goes a long-way in peaking interest and motivation in their pursuit of a commission.”
Lt. Mike Piazza, USS Alexandria (SSN 757) and Lt. j.g. Mark Czynski, USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720), both midshipman training officers assisted with the tour.
“I attended Norwich University before being accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy and my participation with the NROTC students today is to convey the best of our submarine force has to offer because of its tight-knit crew,” said Piazza.
Czynski highlighted the inherent capability of our undersea forces. “I always appreciate the opportunity to share how talented and motivated our submariners are because it helps us attract the kind of leaders we need in the submarine force.”
Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Capt. Alden Partridge, as the first private military college in the United States and the birthplace of the nation’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program.
111007-N-AW342-007 GROTON, Conn. (Oct. 07, 2011) - Rear Adm. Richard Breckenridge, Commander, Submarine Group Two, speaks to midshipmen from the Norwich University NROTC about naval submarines. The Norwich University NROTC visited Submarine Base New London as an opportunity to expose the midshipmen to life in the naval submarine service. (U.S. Navy photograph by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Virginia K. Schaefer)