By Michael F. Miller, Naval Service Training Command Public Affairs
GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- Sixteen newly enrolled midshipmen from the Chicago Consortium Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) programs participated in their freshman orientation at Recruit Training Command on board Naval Station Great Lakes, Aug. 18-23.
The NROTC Chicago Consortium consists of students from Northwestern University, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Illinois Chicago and Loyola University.
A consortium is made up of two or more NROTC units from separate colleges or universities that are located within the same geographical proximity.
Rear Adm. Rich Brown, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), who directly oversees the NROTC program, congratulated each of the new midshipmen for their acceptance into the NROTC program as he spoke to them during a break in their sail training.
"I am very happy you chose the NROTC program and I know how excited you were upon receiving the news", said Brown. "You are one of the 900 Americans who were selected for a NROTC scholarship. Remember that in the next four years as you are working your way through the program. Have a great year and I look forward to seeing you again in the fleet in four years!"
A staff of naval science instructors and Marine officer instructors led the orientation along with several midshipmen that volunteered their time to help train and lead the incoming freshmen. Freshman Orientation at RTC is unique to the Chicago consortium and provided an opportunity for the freshmen orientation to be completed in a controlled military environment.
"It was important for us to do freshmen orientation at RTC because of the tremendous training opportunities available," said Capt. Brian D. Koehr, commanding officer of the Chicago consortium. "For the freshmen to get the experience of visiting the Quarterdeck of the Navy, it has been an invaluable experience for their entry into Navy life."
During their stay at RTC, the unit was given the opportunity to tour the Navy's largest simulator, USS Trayer (BST 21), the 210-foot-long mock-up of an Arleigh Burke destroyer inside a warehouse of RTC's USS Iowa headquarters building.
The rest of the week at RTC and Naval Station Great Lakes also included physical training, weapons familiarization, close order drill, swim qualifications, confidence chamber exposure, and basic seamanship and lessons in sailing on Lake Michigan.
The midshipmen and staff learned about the Landing Craft Mechanized boats with Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 1 and went underway on a demonstration cruise on the waters of Lake Michigan.
"This was a good refresher of the basics of being in the military," said Thomas George, a Marine-option freshman from St. Louis, Mo. who just came off three years of active duty in the Marine Corps as an infantry rifleman. "I got selected out of high school for the NROTC scholarship but chose to enlist in the Marine Corps. It's a great opportunity to be here after serving in the military but a good lesson in humility. It doesn't matter where you have been or what you have done, we are all equal."
"I really enjoyed the intensity of the week," said Loyvia Chinchilla, a Navy-option freshman from Glen Ellyn, Ill. "This has been a humbling experience this week and I liked the dedication, inspiration and leadership of the upper classmen and staff. It made me think of how I am going to lead Sailors four years from now."
The NROTC Chicago Consortium midshipmen are among more than 4,000 students enrolled in the NROTC program at colleges and universities throughout the country. The NROTC Program was established to develop midshipmen mentally, morally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, and loyalty, and with the core values of honor, courage and commitment.
The NROTC program, overseen by Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill., 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 who 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.