YOKOSUKA, Japan - During the months of July and August, eight Midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy embarked Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) for their summer training program.
The Midshipmen were immersed in naval operations including helicopter, small boat, damage control, anti-submarine warfare and navigation while underway. Lassen went underway weekly in preparation for an upcoming inspection, which exposed the Midshipmen to the ship’s rigorous schedule.
“I appreciated the crew’s willingness to work long hours in preparation for a major material inspection conducted on surface ships ever four to five years, while still taking time to educate and work with the Midshipmen,” said Midshipman 1st Class Andrew Garcia, from South Pasadena, California.
The goal of the cruise was for each Midshipman to become familiar with the lives of their running mates, sponsors assigned to each midshipmen during their embark aboard the ship. 1st class midshipmen were assigned to junior officers, while 3rd Class were partnered with enlisted Sailors
“I learned a lot about the enlisted perspective in the Navy and how important their jobs are to the mission,” said Midshipman 3rd Class Dylan Thompson-Sevcik, from Toms River, New Jersey.
Moving forward, the 1st class midshipmen will make their final decision as to what warfare community they will choose after they graduate in the coming year.
“For me, this experience really reaffirmed my desire to be a surface warfare officer,” said Garcia. Seeing what they do really made me want to get out to the fleet and lead my first division.”
In their time aboard Lassen, the midshipmen experienced forward-deployed naval forces (FDNF) life and the rigors involved with being an officer aboard a Navy warship.
“I liked being able to see surface warfare life on a destroyer in Japan,” said Midshipman 1st Class William Gurzynski, from Walker, Louisiana “It gave me an appreciation for what it takes to keep the Navy engaged and on top of international involvement in a forward scene.”
Lassen, assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, is forward-deployed to the 7th Fleet area of operations supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.