PACIFIC OCEAN – 32 midshipmen experienced life at-sea aboard amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), May 31 to June 12.
The future Navy officers from Annapolis Naval Academy and Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) units from universities and colleges across the country spent two weeks aboard Peleliu as part of the training program pacific training for midshipmen (PACTRAMID).
“PACTRAMID provides a unique opportunity to experience life at sea first hand,” said Lt. Cmdr. Giancarlo Waghelstein, Peleliu’s PACTRAMID coordinator. “1st class midshipmen shadowing junior officers get a look ahead at what their job is going to be like when they get commissioned.”
“With the aide of a motivated running mate, they gain invaluable insight on what the responsibilities of a junior officer should be,” Waghelstein added. “2nd class midshipmen who are paired with an enlisted running mate gain a solemn respect and appreciation for the conditions and life style the men and women they will eventually lead.”
Throughout their stay aboard Peleliu midshipmen got the chance to observe and participate in shipboard evolutions, such as security reaction force training, damage control, underway replenishments, flight quarters, well deck operations and various other events.
“They came here with some expectations, things they wanted to do. I don’t think they came here just to go a long for the ride, they wanted to be a part of something,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (AW) Mathew W. Denton. “Why not get them involved, why not show them what they could be doing in the future?”
One midshipmen assigned to the medical department was Midshipman 3rd Class Isaac W. Perrish from Knoxville, Tenn., an ROTC student from the University of Memphis.
“The number one thing I’ve learned since I’ve spent all my time with enlisted personnel is to take care of my enlisted as best I can,” said Parrish. “They’ve all got individual needs and they all contribute in their own way.”
The goal of PACTRAMID is to provide midshipmen with an experience that will give them a glimpse of what is asked of them once they receive their commissioning, both through leadership and working requirements.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but it surpassed everything I thought in a good way,” said Midshipman 1st Class Travis W. Lewis, an ROTC from the University of Oklahoma. “Being on Peleliu has comforted me in knowing I’ll be content with any job I get in the Navy.”
Peleliu not only gives midshipmen the opportunity to see Navy life first hand. It also allows them to witness the working bond that Sailors and Marines share aboard the amphibious assault ship.
“I think the most rewarding thing I’ve seen is how well the blue and green side worked together,” Perrish said. “It’s really cool to see how well the marines integrated aboard the ship through the traditional marine ship role.”
The program has been giving midshipmen a unique training experience for years, and is considered by some to be an invaluable training opportunity for the future leaders of the Navy.
“I think the importance of this program is enormous!” Waghelstein said. “It has a tremendous impact across the future of the entire Navy. These midshipmen are learning valuable lessons on leadership and respect straight from the Sailors destined to follow them in the future.”
As long as PACTRAMID continues to send midshipmen out into the fleet, Peleliu will continue to answer the call and offer itself as a grindstone to sharpen the Navy’s future officers.
“It is a unique opportunity for Sailors to become involved in the training of the Navy's future leadership.” Waghhelstein said. “There's a sense of pride seeing a young junior officer out in the fleet knowing you helped shape that person into the leader he or she will become.”
The Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group is currently underway conducting pre-deployment training evolutions.
The Peleliu ARG consists of amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 46) and amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20). The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit is embarked.