Story by MC2 Heather Seelbach
Photo by MC3 Chase Corbin

Sunday, as Stennis crew members enjoyed their last day in port, a group of 32 midshipmen checked aboard to experience life at sea.

This will mark the second and final midshipmen cruise aboard Stennis this year. Stennis also welcomed midshipmen during the last phase of Composite Training Unit Exercise/ Joint Task Force Exercise in June.

“One unique quality about this group of midshipmen is their diversity,” said Stennis Training Officer Lt. Cmdr. Francis Brown. “There are three potential nurse corps officers, three female midshipmen interested in submarines, and several future aviators, as well as conventional and nuclear surface warfare officers.”

Every year, during summer break, ships fleet-wide will host 1st and 2nd class midshipmen cruises for college students aspiring to become future officers.

Christiane Amposta, a junior who studies communications at the University of San Diego, is a midshipman on her 2nd class cruise aboard Stennis.

“As 2nd class midshipmen, we learn how enlisted Sailors live and work so we can have a greater perspective as officers,” said Amposta.

While 2nd class midshipmen learn about enlisted life, 1st Classes integrate with officers.

One of the 1st class midshipmen aboard Stennis is Ariana Pypus, a senior studying astronautical engineering at the NavalAcademy who wishes to join the subsurface community.

“I spent a night aboard the USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) during PROTRAMID (professional training for midshipmen) and the crew was excellent,” said Pypus. “It seemed very team-oriented, where each person had a job to do and everyone was depending on them to do their jobs correctly.”

Pypus said she was drawn to military service because of her experience as a military child.

“My father has been in the Navy since I was born,” said Pypus. “The Navy life appealed to me because I can be around other people who want to serve their country while taking advantage of available opportunities.”

Brown said the midshipmen cruises benefit the ship’s crew by giving an opportunity to improve leadership skills while shaping the fleet’s future officers.

“It also gives the midshipmen an opportunity to experience each one of the Navy’s warfare areas,” said Brown. “Our number one goal is to immerse midshipmen in ship life, but we also have tailored group activities, to include a reactor brief and mentoring with senior enlisted.”

Brown said one of the perks of hosting midshipmen cruises is the unity and spirit of volunteerism it brings to the ship’s crew.

“The ship has really come together to make both of this year’s midshipmen cruises a success,” said Brown.