USS BUNKER HILL, At Sea - The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) hosted 12 midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) and Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) units, July 31-Aug. 15.
U.S. Naval Academy and NROTC's academic curriculums require midshipmen to complete a summer cruise program aboard Navy ships.
The program is designed to showcase surface, aviation, submarine and Marine Corps careers, providing necessary background for midshipmen to make informed decisions.
Depending on their class year, each midshipman shadowed either an enlisted Sailor or a junior officer, as their 'running mate' for their time aboard Bunker Hill.
"I got to see the Navy through the eyes of the blue shirts," said NROTC Midshipman 2nd Class Jeffrey Bari. "This cruise was about empathizing and growing as a leader. I have learned a life skill that will help in my future career."
The midshipmen integrated with the crew, including sleeping in berthings, eating on the mess deck or wardroom, and participating in daily evolutions, such as ship handling and live-fire gun qualification exercises.
"They also all jumped in to support the team as we executed an important visit to the Seattle Seafair, a week of activities allowing maritime forces of the U.S. and Canada to interact with the local community," said Capt. Michael Ford, commanding officer of Bunker Hill. "I really appreciated their support during ship tours and serving as ambassadors for the Navy. The experience has been rewarding for all involved."
For midshipmen, the hands-on underway period reiterated previous training.
"After this cruise I understand the importance of what I learned in school," said USNA Midshipman 3rd Class Virginia Brodie. "The pieces are fitting together, making this a great experience."