Midshipmen Onboard USS Rushmore 

Ensign Janet Von Eiff’s last stop on her tour is on the bridge where she explains the different responsibilities of watchstanders. Here she teaches midshipmen how to read a chart.
Naval Academy Midshipmen Embark USS RUSHMORE for Summer Cruise Training 
By Rushmore Public Affairs Officer 
SAN DIEGO, Ca. – The first of two groups of 75 United States Academy midshipmen embarked USS RUSHMORE (LSD 47) earlier this week for the ship portion of their PROTRAMID Summer Cruise. Both ROTC and Naval Academy midshipmen undergo a four-week training seminar, in which each week is focused on the four different areas (surface, aviation, Marine Corps, and submarine) that commissioned officers can pursue.

“It’s always exciting to have future officers onboard. The focus of our efforts this week is to get through diesel engine testing which restricts some of the shiphandling and operations we would normally like to demonstrate. We are adapting and overcoming though by promoting extensive crew and JO interactions as well as full tours of the ship by department and hand-on Damage Control training,” said RUSHMORE Commanding Officer Brian Finman.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Judy Breaux, RUSHMORE’s Training Officer, organized tours led by junior officers as well as demonstrations of equipment. Tours ranged all over the ship, and even when midshipmen were not on tours, it was not an uncommon sight to see midshipmen interacting with Sailors, asking them about their jobs and their experiences.

Midshipmen also attended a panel led by first and second tour junior officers. Six ensigns and LTJG’s talked about their experiences, their jobs, and their advice for these future officers. Toward the end, midshipmen were given an opportunity to ask questions of their predecessors.

“What’s something that you’ve learned as division officer that someone couldn’t teach you?” one midshipmen asked the panel. LTJG Britton Finney responded, “One of the things that I’ve really taken away from my two tours as a division officer is that you’ll never know everything. Even now on my second division officer tour, I still learn something new every day. My Sailors have taught me everything that I know, and to excel as a division officer, you must listen, work with, and learn from your Sailors.”

LTJG Bryce Brigham agreed, “I’ve noticed that there are a lot of midshipmen getting out and about around the ship on their own. Learning about shiplife and what people do on a day-to-day basis is important to understand before you get to the fleet. On-the-job training is valuable and something that no one can teach you.”

Sailors were excited to have the opportunity to talk to and shape the perspectives of the future officers. Just wandering around, one saw a boatswain’s mate teaching midshipmen about well deck operations, a damage controlman demonstrating midshipmen how a P-100 firepump works, a gunner’s mate explaining the importance of weapons safety, an operations specialist showing different contacts on radar screens, or a corpsman teaching midshipmen about the ship’s capabilities to assist in a mass-causality situation.

After three days of being onboard, the midshipmen departed for their next week of aviation training. “Everyone here is so friendly and helpful. I feel as though I could ask anyone a question and they’d explain it to me right on the spot,” said Midshipman 2/C Jordan McCullough, United States Naval Academy.
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