The USS Tortuga got under way from Okinawa last week with 37 extra pairs of hands.
Midshipmen are onboard for a summer cruise, which is an opportunity for future officers to experience life at sea and different career paths in the Navy, according to a Navy release.
“This is a unique experience providing a diverse exposure to the Navy,” Tortuga Training Officer Lt. Kate Capaldo was quoted in the release. “This will provide the midshipman a better idea of where they would like to take their careers.”
The juniors and seniors in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps from colleges around the States are doing either their second or third cruise. The juniors will shadow a petty officer to learn what enlisted sailors do, and seniors will be assigned to a junior officer to see what possible roles await them as ensigns.
“Everyone on Tortuga has been so helpful in making my transition to ship life smooth and enjoyable,” said Midshipman 2nd Class John Hartzell, a junior at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Albany, NY. “I’m also getting a perspective of the leadership role that petty officers and chief petty officers fill within their work centers.”
While at sea, the midshipmen will participate in training scenarios dealing with damage control, navigation and operational movements, such as Landing Craft Air Cushion and flight operations.
The midshipman cruise “is an integral part of their professional training,” said Cmdr. Todd Lewis, Tortuga’s commanding officer. “Training aboard a ship such as Tortuga will allow them the practical knowledge and experience needed to become positive and effective leaders.”