GREAT LAKES (NNS) -- More than 50 Naval ROTC midshipmen selected their first ships Nov. 15, but it was also the first time a ship was allowed to hand-pick a midshipman to join their wardroom.
Guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) selected Midshipman 1st Class Austin Hein, a senior at the University of Missouri, to become a member of Sampson's crew when he commissioned to ensign this past winter.
According to Navy Personnel Command's surface warfare officer detailers (PERS-41), this was the first time commanding officers of surface ships were able to offer a spot in their wardroom to graduating NROTC midshipmen.
"The purpose of this program is to put the ball into the hands of ship commanding officers," said Cmdr. Julie Grunwell, the head junior officer detailer for PERS-41. "If they really had an outstanding midshipman on board their ship for a Summer Cruise and they're looking ahead and thinking 'Hey, I'd like them to come back and work for me,' now they have an opportunity to make that happen."
Hein had been hoping to serve on the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer after his experience with Sampson's crew during his senior Summer Cruise.
"I'm very excited about my selection," Hein said. "I really enjoyed the ship while I was on it over the summer, and hearing that they offered me a job, I was pretty ecstatic about that and I was more than happy to go back there."
Sampson's Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Tim LaBenz, wanted to encourage every command to take advantage of this opportunity.