By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Shayla D. Hamilton, USS George Washington Public Affairs
PHILIPPINE SEA (NNS) -- Twenty midshipmen and Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) members embarked aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) for Phase II of their training.
Phase II is a two-week section of training that midshipmen enter during the fall semester of their first-class year.
In this phase, midshipmen formally designate officer communities that they prefer to be a part of, ranked in the order from most to least desired.
While aboard George Washington, midshipmen will get valuable shipboard training to include first-aid, damage control and small-arms weapons training. In addition, they experience shipboard damage control simulations during the ship's general quarters drills.
Among this group of future U.S. Navy officers was Midshipman 1st Robert D. Bishop from Vineland, New Jersey, a ROTC member studying Aeronautical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic College in Troy, New York. His family has more than 200 years of combined Marine Corps service, including his mother and father.
"Both of my parents are prior service members so you can only imagine the amount of impact their lifestyle had on my decision to join," said Bishop. "My mom is so happy about me being here on the ship. She's really been a team player throughout this process and I'm glad to have such a strong support system behind me."
During his training, Bishop went aboard U.S. Navy amphibious assault ships and destroyers. George Washington has been his first aircraft carrier experience.
"This time I was given the opportunity to shadow an officer, which is giving me a totally different perspective of the ship," said Bishop. "The hardest part about being on board is finding my place within the entire group of Sailors on board or just within my class."
Bishop hopes to become a pilot for the Navy after commissioning next year.
"My experience on board George Washington so far has been a learning one," said Bishop. "I'm looking forward to whatever else the GW training team has in store for us. I'm just excited to play the role given to me, whatever that might be."
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, are on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. George Washington will conduct a hull-swap with the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) later this year after serving seven years as the U.S. Navy's only forward-deployed aircraft carrier in Yokosuka, Japan.