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ASU naval midshipmen to enter fleet

ASU Midshipmen Nathan Yamada
March 14, 2014

The last day of February 2014 wasn’t a leap year, but four Arizona State University senior Navy ROTC midshipmen took big strides in their future careers. Myung Oh, Rachelle Edwards, Nathan Yamada and Rachel James, selected to join the Surface Warfare community, came together to choose their first ship assignments.

Each student had different factors to consider in their choices. “Location, ship type, mission type and crew size” were top priorities for Yamada, who will soon report to the USS Bataan in Norfolk, Va.

Short deadlines were another concern for Oh: “I didn't know I was going to be part of ship selection until I was switched from the submarine program to the surface nuke program a mere five days before our ship selection deadline. So the whole process was extremely exciting and fast-paced.” Oh heads to Everett, Wash., and a posting on the USS Shoup.

Midshipmen from around the nation choose from a ship selection list based on merit. With each choice, the list updates electronically. Watching some of their top choices disappear online, the ASU seniors suffered just a little anxiety.

“Change is scary ... no matter what the circumstance,” said Yamada. “But the Navy has given me a great opportunity to learn and experience many things.”

“These four soon-to-be officers are now only a few short months from being sworn in as the newest ensigns in the Fleet,” said Captain David Price, commander of the Navy ROTC and assistant professor of naval sciences at ASU. “They head off to basic division officer course prior to joining their ships. Then they are given responsibility for achieving the mission sets of the U.S. Navy. Included in this responsibility is leading sailors, maintaining and operating ship's equipment and weapons, and conning a U.S. Navy warship as they earn their Surface Warfare qualifications.

“It's an amazingly important job for 20-somethings, and more adventure than most people can even imagine,” added Price. “It will be challenging beyond belief, fun and exciting, and their friends and family will swell with pride knowing they are out there representing the United States.”

Now set to join the crew of the USS Iwo Jima in Mayport, Fla., Edwards reflects on their time with the ASU Navy ROTC and being the first Navy ROTC class at ASU. “We helped set the precedents for the future naval officers graduating from ASU.”

“We’ve all shared in the steps the university and Navy ROTC program have taken on the path to becoming one of the largest units in the nation,” added James, who joins the USS Whidbey Island in Norfolk, Va. “Bravo Zulu, seniors, and go Devils!”

Written by Midshipman Michael Swahn.