WESTERN PACIFIC OCEAN — The officers and crew of USS Preble (DDG 88) hosted a group of 15 midshipmen from around the country for 10 action packed days of training during the month of August.
The midshipmen came from universities including the U.S. Naval Academy, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Colorado, Tulane University, and Embry Riddle University as part of the Pacific Training of Midshipmen (PACTRAMID) program.
Preble embarked the midshipmen during a port visit to Sydney, Australia, the ship’s fifth port visit since beginning the current deployment in April. Upon leaving Sydney, Preble transited north to fulfill duties as an escort for the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73).
The underway time afforded the group an opportunity to join the crew and take part in a wide range of underway training missions, catching a glimpse into the surface Navy.
Preble’s primary goal for the midshipmen training was to fully incorporate them into the daily life aboard a surface warship and help shape their expectations for when they eventually join the fleet as ensigns. The secondary goal was to provide opportunities to witness the excitement of being aboard a combat ready naval warship on deployment.
The officers and crew also talked to the midshipmen about resiliency, resource management, attention to detail, tactical expertise, seamanship and navigation, skills that they will need as naval officers.
Midshipmen1st class were partnered with a few of Preble’s finest first tour division officers while midshipmen 2nd class were assigned to highly motivated enlisted running mates.
The goal of the first class cruise was to be completely integrated into the wardroom and become familiar with what it takes to be an effective division officer. For a second class Midshipman, their primary objective was to live a day in the life of an enlisted Sailor. All the midshipmen were expected to accompany their running mates on watch, for maintenance, for cleaning quarters, and all other daily tasks and routine events.
Every day on board was packed with evolutions and activities that provided the group of midshipman with invaluable hands-on training. Evolutions included refueling at sea, flight operations, vertical replenishments, small boat operations and gunnery exercises.
Each midshipman also had the opportunity to shoot 25 rounds of two different types of crew served weapons as well as witness the firing of the ship’s 5-inch gun.
For some midshipmen, the most memorable part of the cruise was the all hands swim call where they, along with the Preble crew, leaped from the ship for a refreshing swim in the Pacific Ocean.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better cruise this summer,” said Midshipman 1st Class Azochar from the U.S. Naval Academy. “All of my expectations were far surpassed during my time on Preble.”
In addition to the normal underway routine of surface warfare life, midshipmen were exposed to various professional development discussions with the commanding and executive Officers, junior Officers and the ship’s chief petty officers mess. They also met with Rear Adm. Mark C. Montgomery, Commander, Task Force 70, who spent time with the midshipmen during his visit to Preble.
As the cruise was ending, one midshipman commented on the most impactful moment during her time.
“My favorite discussion was with a couple of the junior officers and the executive officer when we discussed the typical pipe line of a surface warfare officer,” said Midshipman 1st Class Maw from the U.S. Naval Academy. “The discussion helped clarify a lot of my questions regarding the community.”
Preble is currently operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.