Future Naval Officers Learn Through Hands On Experience Aboard Peleliu 
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Christopher Farrington, USS Peleliu Public Affairs  
Midshipmen embarked the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), to conduct their Midshipmen summer cruise training, June 17 through Aug. 1.

The Midshipmen not only had an opportunity to work in the fleet, but they were involved in exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014, the world’s largest multinational naval exercise.

“It’s incredible that we get to be a part of RIMPAC, so we get to spend time with Sailors from other countries and learn from them as well as the officers in the wardroom,” said Midshipman Chloe Pina.

Midshipmen stood conning officer watch on the bridge during replenishments-at-sea, attended navigation briefs, department head meetings, learned celestial navigation, experienced helicopter operations, participated in damage control training, and actively participated in a variety of other shipboard evolutions and watches.

“It was really cool being able to handle the fire hose and simulate fighting a fire,” said Pina. “We’ve had a pretty full schedule with bridge watches and various training exercises that will help better prepare us when we become a part of the fleet.”

According to Capt. Paul C. Spedero, commanding officer of Peleliu, the wardroom’s responsibility was to expose the Midshipmen to a wide variety of shipboard communities so that they could learn as much as possible.

“Most of them will be in leadership positions and be placed in charge of Sailors, so the experience they gain now will help them step into that role and have an understanding of what they are expected to do as a junior officer,” said Spedero. “There’s no trial period, so this is important for them because they’re expected to know things and do things as soon as they step onto their new ships.”

Midshipmen from Columbia and Mexico also had an opportunity to spend time aboard Peleliu learning what it’s like to be an officer aboard a U.S. ship.

“We as Midshipmen are always learning the process, trying to understand how the ships work and how we can be better leaders,” said Midshipman Claudio Davila Castro, from the Mexican ship ARM Centenario de la Revolucion (PO-164). “The attitude of the Midshipmen and the officers has been great, and everyone is trying to help each other to learn on Peleliu.”

The senior leadership aboard Peleliu was very excited to host the Midshipmen and answer all of their questions.

“They all seem very motivated and involved and are asking us questions and trying to learn as much as they can while they’re aboard Peleliu,” said Spedero.

RIMPAC has given the Midshipmen additional opportunities to observe how the Navy operates on a multinational level, which will better prepare them as future Navy leaders.

“Up until this point, the Midshipmen have had a limited amount of exposure to the fleet and it’s important for them to see firsthand what Navy life is about, so they can make educated decisions about where they want to go in their careers,” said Spedero.

Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from June 26 to Aug. 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971.  

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