SAN DIEGO – Six midshipmen embarked the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG 56) as part of their summer training program to prepare them to become officers. The 2/c and 3/c Midshipmen were assigned junior Petty Officers as running mates to teach them about day-to-day shipboard life. The 1/c Midshipmen, who had already done a cruise with a junior Enlisted running mate, worked with junior Officers to learn about the responsibilities of the role they could assume just a year into the future.
The midshipmen joined Decatur just before the ship went underway for an Independent Deployment Certification Exercise (IDCERTEX) with the Essex Amphibious Readiness Group (ESXARG) in preparation for Decatur’s upcoming deployment. After returning from that underway they remained aboard the ship for three weeks as part of a summer cruise program designed to teach them about shipboard life.
A third class midshipman said “It was an amazing opportunity to see the crew operating at full steam throughout the entire underway. It was one event after another, every single day, and we were able to get exposure to just about everything a Destroyer can do, which is not a short list.”
The midshipmen experienced constant underway training events involving the ship’s combat systems, weapons, engineering, damage control, and medical departments to see first-hand the busy pace of a forward-deployed ship. In addition to the many drills run on ship, the Decatur participated in numerous integrated trainings with the rest of the ESXARG including a simulated strait transit, flight operations, coordinated live fire exercises, Joint VBSS boardings and many more exercises that trained and tested the participants.
Reflecting on their experience, a first class midshipman said “We were lucky to get to see so much in the first weeks we were on board, but it was a relief when we got back to port so I could learn about what a Division Officer does on a daily basis. I have learned so much about the Surface Warfare community and I hope I am able to select CRUDES later this year.”