The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, visited Officer Training Command (OTC) to review a graduation of newly commissioned officers at Officer Candidate School (OCS) here, Oct. 25.
The ceremony began with the playing of the national anthem, an invocation by the OTC command chaplain and an introduction by the commanding officer of OTC, Capt. Vernon Kemper.
“I’m proud of you because you all had many other options, but you chose to serve your country rather than live a more comfortable life on the sidelines,” said Kemper. “I applaud your patriotism and willingness to serve your fellow man.”
Greenert then thanked the hundreds of friends and family members in attendance for their support and he looked encouragingly to the near future that is now facing the OCS graduates.
“You will see things you haven’t even thought about…the future is uncertain and you have to be prepared,” said Greenert, who assumed duties as the Navy’s 30th CNO Sept. 23, 2011.
Greenert emphasized to the young officers they would be facing the challenges of the fleet in a matter of months or even weeks, but stressed his confidence in their preparedness.
“You’ve been trained well…go back to your training, reach within, and you’ll do well,” he said.
He then gave the graduates some advice based on his nearly 40-year naval career. The admiral stressed the importance of a number of traits, from leadership and integrity to the importance of understanding the Navy’s heritage. It was his last piece of advice, however, that some of the family members in attendance appreciated most.
“Call, write or text your mother once a week” said Greenert to a round of applause from the audience. “Lead on, good luck and welcome aboard.”
The Navy’s top officer then led the graduating class in their commissioning oath followed by the traditional tossing of their covers in the air by the newly commissioned ensigns. The class then posed for a picture and received their first salutes from their drill instructor, Marine Gunnery Sgt. Sebastiano Siino and their class chief petty officers, Senior Chief Mineman Christopher Bender and Chief Information Systems Technician William Hartsell.
Ensign Jacob Schmidt, from Lachine, Mich., was very happy and proud having the CNO as his commissioning officer. “It was truly an honor to receive the CNO and begin our naval careers on a high standard,” said Schmidt, whose first duty station will be onboard the destroyer, USS The Sullivans (DDG 68), homeported in Mayport, Florida.
Lt. A. J. Dietzel, one of the class officers who trained the newly commissioned ensigns, agreed.
“These new officers got a unique opportunity to begin their careers with advice from one of the military’s most experienced officers.”
OCS is a 12-week course designed to develop civilians, enlisted, and newly commissioned personnel morally, mentally, and physically and imbue them with the highest ideals of honor, courage, and commitment in order to prepare graduates for service in the fleet as Naval officers.
Located on Naval Station Newport, R.I., Officer Training Command (OTC) commands and leads five officer training schools. The schools include OCS, ODS, DCOIC, the LDO/CWO school and the NSI/STA-21 course. The OTC staff officers, Navy Recruit Division Commanders and Marine Corps Drill Instructors serve as the backbone that annually prepares more than 3,200 officers for the challenge and privilege of Naval Service.
OTC is overseen by Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), headquartered in Building 1; the historic clock tower building on Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill. NSTC oversees 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy. NSTC includes the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps at more than 160 colleges and universities, OTC Newport, Recruit Training Command, the Navy’s only boot camp, at Great Lakes, Ill., and Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.
Press Release, October 29, 2013; Image: US Navy