Midshipmen Take Hands On Approach to Learning About Surface Fleet Aboard Higgins 
By Lt. j.g. Nadia E. Nauss, USS Higgins (DDG 76) Public Affairs 
SAN DIEGO – USS Higgins (DDG 76) hosted 44 class of 2010 midshipmen for training as part of the Professional Training for Midshipmen (PROTRAMID) June 16.

PROTRAMID is a four week program that exposes midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy to surface, sub-surface, aviation communities, and the Marine Corps, which helps these midshipman decide which community they would like to join after graduation.

“PROTRAMID is a worthwhile experience,” said Lt j.g Daniel Ronick, PROTRAMID coordinator for Higgins. “It gives the midshipmen the opportunity to experience first hand what a day in the life of a Sailor is like.”

During their time on board, the midshipmen were given information on and shown Higgins’ weapon systems, sensors, damage control systems and deck equipment. They were also able to learn about the Central Control Station, where the engineering command and control center is located, and the Combat Information Center, where they were able to participate in a simulated war scenario using the AEGIS Combat Training System (ACTS).

“It was neat learning about the combat system stuff,” Midshipman 2nd Class Coleman Gonzales said. “You learn much more by seeing stuff than you do from reading about it or seeing a power point presentation on it. It’s amazing what we can put on ships nowadays.”

The Higgins leadership also made it a priority to give the midshipmen the opportunity to interact with enlisted Sailors to learn more about the people they could be leading in the future.

“I can’t stress enough to the midshipmen the importance of the enlisted men and women that they will lead, no matter what community they end up deciding to join,” said Lt. Mac Quidem, Higgins’ combat systems officer. “Our chief petty officers and enlisted personnel are the backbone of our Navy, and an officer’s success in the Navy and Marine Corps team is largely dependent on the successes of his or her enlisted personnel.”

The final event of the day was a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) ride through San Diego Bay to better understand daily basic security operations and how Vessel, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) team operations are conducted.

“What a fabulous experience to learn first hand from seasoned surface warriors with nearly a year of back-to-back deployment experience,” said Cmdr. Winton Smith, Higgins’ commanding officer. “I am very pleased that ‘Higgins Heroes’ were called upon to contribute, through PROTRAMID, to the development of our future naval leaders and assist in making their first major career decision.”
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