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by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tatyana Freeman
28 July 2023 Rear Adm. John F. Meier, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, spoke with Midshipmen participating in summer training aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73).
Midshipmen listen to Rear Adm. John Meier
SLIDESHOW | 4 images | CNAL Speaks to Midshipmen NORFOLK, Va. (July 21, 2023)- Midshipmen listen to Rear Adm. John Meier, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, speak aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). Every summer, midshipmen from the Naval Academy and NROTC programs around the country are assigned to different Navy commands to participate in drills, stand watch, and get further acquainted with the different platforms the Navy operates and with the Navy way of life. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tatyana Freeman)

“This summer you’re just learning what area you might want to go into,” said Meier. “I encourage you to follow people around. Ask questions. Be curious. Whatever your purpose is, the Navy has a way for you to serve.”  

Every summer, rising 3rd and 2nd Class Midshipmen from Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) units from colleges across the country participate in a four-week career orientation training (CORTRAMID) that acquaints them with the Navy way of life across several different communities by showcasing them exclusively for one week over the course of the four weeks.

Midshipmen are introduced to the Navy surface community, submarine community, aviation community, and Marine Corps community. During the week of July 17-21, 90 midshipmen were introduced to the naval aviation community.  

“I don’t come from a military family, and I mostly just wanted a challenge when I first started applying [for the NROTC program],” said Midshipman 3rd Class Drew Diguglielmo, a Midshipman from Notre Dame NROTC. “I’ve always wanted to feel like I was part of a big community and to do something that helps more people than just myself, so I figured this might be a route that I might find that. So far I’ve had an awesome time learning about everything and meeting new people.”

During their naval aviation week, the Midshipmen visited several helicopter and strike fighter squadrons, attended briefs, visited the Landing Signal Officer School, experienced flight simulators, and were able to experience some actual flights on an MH-60 helicopter and a T-34 plane. They wrapped up their week onboard the George Washington, listening to Meier speak, then exploring the carrier in small groups.

During Meier’s speech, he touched on his career in naval aviation, the challenges he faced as a leader, and shared some of the wisdom he gained along the way.

“You’ve had the opportunity to see a lot this week pertaining to naval aviation, but first and foremost, you’re going to be an officer,” said Meier. “Never lose sight of that. Never lose sight of the standard you set, your behavior, how you uphold others, or how you treat people with respect and dignity. Those attributes of being an officer are the foundation. That has to be the foundation for everything. Then your chosen field, whatever it is, whatever it is that you do, do it to the utmost of your ability. Pursue perfection. Be harder on yourself than an instructor will ever be.”        

“I think it was an incredible opportunity to hear [Meier], and not something that a lot of people get to experience,” said Diguglielmo. “Even if I wasn’t going to be going into the Navy, he’s is someone with a lot of knowledge and someone who can teach me a lot even if I decide it’s not my career path.”

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