August 22, 2011
During the final stages of our 2011 deployment, Midshipmen from the US Naval Academy, Navy ROTC, as well as from the Belgian Naval Academy embarked BULKELEY and lived and worked with Sailors, just as they will when they are commissioned. They toured an SH-60F Seahawk helicopter, participated in various shipboard evolutions, and received the overall experience of life on a deployed Navy warship.
To avoid being overwhelmed by the colossal size of a warship, the Midshipmen were each paired with a running mate and were assigned to a department. First Class Midshipmen are each assigned to a junior officer, and 2nd Class Midshipmen are each assigned to a hard-charging enlisted Sailor. Running mates were an instrumental part of training and preparation for Midshipmen. During the stay, these Sailors provided essential information based on their personal experiences and professional knowledge.
The Midshipmen also spent their off-time talking with Sailors, trying to find the tools they will need to become effective leaders.
The training cruise aboard BULKELEY is designed to provide motivational and instructional experiences that cannot be attained in a normal classroom environment.
Some goals are to increase professional development, instill a sense of pride in their identification with the Navy, and to pique their interest in the operations of the fleet.