Surface Warfare Magazine
Sharing stories and news from Sailors across the U.S. Navy’s Surface Forces
New Tools for Surface Ship Commanding Officers to Recruit Talent to Wardroom

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.


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"First off, let me say that I am impressed with the incoming talent that exists in the surface warfare community," said LaBenz. "The opportunity to have a known-talent join your team is an all-around win, especially when you see them thrive firsthand during their time on board before they are commissioned. This new initiative is spot on! And I know Ensign Hein will be a great addition to our team."

Ship selection is one of the most significant events for midshipmen as they take their first step toward joining the U.S. Navy surface warfare officer (SWO) community in the fleet. The more than 50 midshipmen reported to their new ships shortly after they graduated and were commissioned as ensigns in December. They will be joined this spring by more than 340 midshipmen at 73 NROTC units around the country who selected their first ships Feb. 13-15.

Rear Adm. Stephen C. Evans, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) and his staff, headquartered at Naval Station Great Lakes, oversee the NROTC program. NROTC was established to develop midshipmen mentally, morally, and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, loyalty, and Navy core values in order to commission college graduates as naval officers.

The officers will possess a basic professional background, are motivated toward careers in the naval service, and have a potential for future development in mind and character so as to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship, and government. Surface Warfare Magazine

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