PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Thirty Naval ROTC midshipmen from colleges around the country embarked amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) to enhance their understanding of Navy shipboard operations and life at sea.
The midshipmen visited Makin Island as part of the Career Orientation and Training, Midshipmen (CORTRAMID) program, a four-week initiative aimed at exposing midshipmen to a variety of warfare communities throughout the Navy.
"The midshipmen are in San Diego for four weeks to get a perspective of the surface warfare community and experience the Navy's surface force," said Lt. Michael Sherwood, fire control officer aboard USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) and program coordinator for the visit.
Makin Island Commanding Officer, Capt. Jon P. Rodgers welcomed the future officers aboard in the ship's wardroom.
"You all are the ones entrusted to lead tomorrow's Navy and Marine Corps, and we're honored to have you aboard today to give you a glimpse of the significant responsibilities and the phenomenal men and women you will lead as Navy and Marine Corps officers," said Rodgers.
The midshipmen observed a sea and anchor detail as the ship got underway from Naval Base San Diego.
"The amphibious side of the surface community is amazing," said Midshipman 2nd Class Jeffrey Larocco, from Sacramento, California. "The amount of teamwork this crew has is inspiring."
Makin Island Executive Officer, Capt. Mark Melson addressed the midshipmen, discussing his experiences throughout his career.
"As naval officers, you will assume enormous responsibility," Melson said, "and the men and women you'll be charged to lead -- the Navy and the nation will depend on you to uphold those responsibilities, every day. Your job is to dig deep and discharge your duties as best you can every single day. It's the best job in the world."
"The CO and XO gave us some great advice," said Midshipman 3rd Class Thomas Ralf, from Webster, Massachusetts. "We're fortunate to get to speak with officers with so much experience in the Navy."
Makin Island junior officers served as running mates for the Midshipmen and spent the day leading tours throughout the ship and discussing their duties as division officers.
"I'm happy to share with these midshipmen what I've learned during my tour [aboard]," said Lt. j.g. Christoper Yee, Makin Island's assistant training officer. "It's easy to see they're excited to be here, and we are inspired to get to meet the next generation of junior officers."
After dinner in the wardroom and a full day aboard Makin Island, the midshipmen boarded MH-60S Seahawk helicopters to return to San Diego, where they will complete the remainder of the CORTRAMID program.
Makin Island is undergoing the integrated training phase in preparation for a scheduled deployment this fall.
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