Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) welcomed more than 1,200 future Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) midshipmen from across the United States to New Student Indoctrination (NSI) this summer at Recruit Training Command (RTC), June 16 – Aug. 07.
The future college freshmen participated in three cycles of training that prepare them to head to their NROTC units once that school year begins.
NSI is designed to provide consistent basic militarization and uniform training not available at host universities. The three-week training in each cycle is held at the same facilities that train today’s U. S. Navy enlisted recruits. Each cycle consisted of more than 450 midshipman candidates, current midshipmen, newly commissioned ensigns and staff officers from various NROTC units along with U.S. Marine Corps Drill Instructors from various NROTC units. RTC also provided current Recruit Division Commanders (RDCs) whose job is to turn civilians into enlisted Sailors at the Navy’s only boot camp.
“These women and men here have been at the center of a transformation that has taken place over several days,” said Capt. Craig T. Mattingly, NSTC commander while speaking to the new midshipmen, family members and friends at each graduation ceremony. “They have endured rigorous physical and mental training, pushing their individual limits. Each learned the importance of teamwork, of discipline and of dedication. They have commenced the Navy journey and are now part of the time-honored tradition of service to our nation.”
The NSI indoctrination program uses the facilities at RTC to provide the new midshipmen with a common military training orientation. NSI provides basic training in five warfighting fundamentals – firefighting, damage control, seamanship, watchstanding, small arms handling and marksmanship – to create basically trained and smartly disciplined future Navy and Marine Corps officers.
NSI began in 2018 with a pilot program that initially trained 70 midshipmen candidates. Prior to NSI, NROTC was the only officer accessions program in the Department of the Navy that did not require an established, standardized, entry-level militarization and indoctrination phase to commence training. Since 2019, the standardization has been formalized, and NSI 2023 produced the highest number of midshipmen in the program’s history.
“What they have learned here is just the tip of the iceberg,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Gary Cave, Cycle 2 Officer-In-Charge (OIC) and NROTC commanding officer and professor of Naval Science at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “The lessons learned here will underpin the next four years of training at their NROTC units as they work towards their commissions in the Navy or Marine Corps.”
U.S. Navy Capt. John Compton, OIC of Cycle 3 and University of South Carolina (Columbia) NROTC commanding officer and professor of Naval Science, said it was great to provide the training environment for the midshipmen candidates that had journeyed to Great Lakes and RTC to attend NSI.
“Not only were we able to focus on the training of the midshipmen candidates but we were able to revise the training of the midshipmen instructors (upper class midshipmen) to make sure we were developing their leadership skills and develop their leadership “toolbox” so they can continue their paths to become Navy and Marine Corps officers as well. We have produced trained midshipman candidates that are soon to be college-student midshipmen and then finally (commissioned) officers in the Navy and Marine Corps,” Compton said.
Each cycle’s OIC, assistant OIC, senior enlisted leader were responsible for overseeing the training of the midshipmen candidates and providing guidance to the midshipmen instructors, drill instructors and RDCs. Some of those midshipmen instructors (current 2nd and 1st class midshipmen, juniors and seniors) went through the program in previous years and came back to help lead instruct the new candidates.
“I attended this program two years ago and was thrilled to have the opportunity to volunteer and come back again as an instructor,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Allison Adams, 21, an incoming junior at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla. “I think we have trained the midshipmen candidates well in
the sense that they have developed basic military bearing and the very basic military knowledge they’ll need to succeed at their units.”
Midshipman 2nd Class Patrick Merkel, from Pewaukee, Wisconsin and an incoming junior at the University of Notre Dame said it has been super helpful to learn how my leadership style works in conjunction with the other midshipmen instructors.
“It’s been a ‘Master Class’ learning from the other midshipmen how to be a leader. I think it will be very valuable to be able to take this into the fleet in a couple of years and already have a head start on the other ensigns around me” Merkel said.
The NSI training for each of the three cycles was approximately 18 days to incorporate additional training including Warrior Toughness that imbues the warrior mindset in future Navy and Marine Corps officers. They also got to participate in swim qualifications, physical fitness assessments and man-over-board drills.
“It was tiring and challenging but good,” said Midshipman 4th Class Bradley Klemz, 18, an Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota- native bound for the University of Notre Dame. “I made a lot of good friends who helped me in my success here and I look forward to joining my unit.”
Midshipman 4th Class Amelia Feist, 18, from Parker, Colo., is very excited to begin her college and NROTC life at the University of South Carolina.
“This was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I don’t think it was easy at any point. My stress levels were tested. Physically and mentally my strength was tested but being here (at graduation) I know it was all worth it and I know I am now confident to not only become a midshipman but to join the Navy.”
NROTC is overseen by Commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), Capt. Craig T. Mattingly and his staff. NSTC oversees 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy, including NROTC units at more than 160 colleges and universities; Officer Training Command (OTC) at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island; Recruit Training Command (RTC) at Naval Station Great Lakes, as well as Navy Junior ROTC (NJROTC) and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC).
NROTC was established to develop midshipmen mentally, morally and physically. The program also imbues in them 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.
For more information on NROTC visit: https://www.netc.navy.mil/NSTC/NROTC/
To see more NSI images and videos click onto the following link to the NSTC Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (dvids) page: https://www.dvidshub.net/unit/NSTC/. For more information about NSTC, visit https://www.netc.navy.mil/NSTC/