SAN DIEGO -
The guided missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) recently hosted a group of 10 midshipmen from various institutions across the country for a one-month summer training cruise focused on exposing students to benefits of the surface warfare community.
The midshipman summer training is a valuable experience for future officers that allow them an opportunity to interact with Sailors before they enter the fleet.
Lt j.g. Andrew Blanco, the training officer on board Lake Champlain, coordinated the travel itineraries for each midshipman and served as their primary point of contact while on board the ship.
“It’s been rewarding and really nice to have the opportunity to train future officers. They’re eager learners, so it’s easy to have topics that explain what we do on a daily basis,” said Blanco. “Sometimes too many officers enter communities that they don’t know anything about and they don’t understand what they’re getting into before they join, so it’s good to be able to give them a perspective for their career choice to help them excel.”
While on board, the midshipmen were not only able to participate in normal underway duties such as serving as the conning officer and standing watch, but they were also allowed to be line-handlers during a replenishment at sea and participate in damage control drills.
Midshipman 2nd Class William Davison, from the California Maritime Academy, said he was able to utilize his classroom engineering knowledge to assist the damage controlmen with maintenance repairs.
“At California Maritime Academy, we have a number of classes that are maintenance related, so working with Repair Division was the best part because I felt like I was contributing and making a difference,” said Davison. “I have a real appreciation for all of the naval engineers because their preventative maintenance schedule is very different from civilian maintenance. Even outside of engineering, I have a huge appreciation for all
of the traditions of the Navy. I think it’s really neat because not only are you an engineer, you’re a Sailor in every sense of the word.”
The midshipmen were also assigned daily running mates in order to get firsthand experience of the duties and responsibilities of a division officer and their enlisted Sailors.
“I was able to show the midshipmen the overarching responsibilities of a naval officer without community bias and I was able to provide mentorship as well as friendship,” said Lt. j.g. Tara Payne, Lake Champlain’s first lieutenant. “It gives them an understanding of how the Navy operates before committing themselves as a naval officer and it allows them to gain different views from officers with various commissioning backgrounds.”
This summer the crew of Lake Champlain will participate in the Portland Rose Festival and sail to Hawaii for the international Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) naval exercise. The Sailors of Lake Champlain are also scheduled to host two more groups of midshipmen over the course of the summer.