USS ANCHORAGE, At Sea (NNS) -- Eight Navy Reserves Officer Training Corps (NROTC) midshipmen joined the crew of amphibious platform dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23) to learn and to experience firsthand shipboard life July 16 - Aug. 14.
The annual summer training program is held between academic school years and is applicable to both NROTC and U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) midshipmen. The program is designed to get the midshipmen experienced with day-to-day experiences and operations aboard Navy ships.
From the ending of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) to the second underway recovery test (URT-2) for the NASA Orion Program, the midshipmen were actively engaged as they sailed with Anchorage on the Pacific Ocean.
"Compared to other midshipmen who get a total of seven days underway, I feel like we've been really lucky where the majority of our cruise has been about twenty days or more underway," said Midshipman 2nd Class Brittany Stalzer, a junior majoring in brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester, New York. "Because of that, we've gotten accustomed to ship life because nothing can really prepare you for actually being there. You can read and be lectured in classes, but nothing beats actually being here."
Each midshipman is paired up with a crew member, called a running mate, to work with them and teach them how to assimilate smoothly into ship life.
"She (Stalzer) has a lot of growing to do, but she's very smart," said Machinist Mate 2nd Class Yuki Hodgkiss, a work center supervisor in the Engineering Department aboard the Anchorage. "She has a really big heart and that's something you need when you're an officer. You're going to have to take care of your crew and you're going to have to be considerate. How they are, how they feel."
When it comes to being paired with an enlisted member of the crew to work with her, Stazler says that Hodgkiss has shown her the best way to move forward in the Navy.
"Keep a positive attitude," said Stazler. "Sometimes ship life isn't always the best, but you can tell that Hodgkiss loves what she's doing. She loves being in the Navy. She has shown me to always keep a positive light."
Anchorage was built at the Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding site in Avondale, Louisiana, and is the seventh San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship. Delivered to the Navy on Sept. 17, 2012, the ship was commissioned on May 4, 2013, in the namesake city of Anchorage, Alaska.