MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- Midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy visited the air station May 29 as part of the Professional Training-Midshipmen, or Protramid, to educate the midshipmen on the positions available to officers in the Marine Corps. During the summer between their sophomore and junior years, midshipmen attend Protramid and visit various Naval installations on the East Coast. They talk with Marines and Sailors filling billets in Marine aviation, Naval aviation, combat arms, tactical and nuclear submarines, and surface warfare ships. What they learn comes into play during their senior year when they list their preferences for their prospective job fields. “It’s important for us to introduce them to Marine Corps training because about a quarter of the graduating class will receive commissions into the United States Marine Corps,” said Maj. Danny Rozek, the executive assistant for the academic dean at the Naval Academy. “They had a combination of static displays with different fixed-wing assets of the Marine Corps and then they also got into the simulators for the fixed wing aircraft.” On the flight line, the midshipmen examined a KC-130J Hercules, an EA-6B Prowler, and an RQ-7B Shadow and talked with the operators about their jobs and how the various aircraft are utilized in the fleet. Afterward, they flew the AV-8B Harrier in the virtual reality simulator. “We have firsthand interactions with real people at their jobs and they show us around what they do instead of just learning about it at a desk,” said Raymond Frederick, a midshipman at the academy. “I know the academy spends a lot of time, energy and money on it for us so we can have this experience. They give us this time to help us choose what we want to do.”
After seeing the aviation side of the Marine Corps, the midshipmen went down to Camp Geiger on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune to see the infantry side. Nearly 1,000 officers graduate from the academy every year, and approximately a quarter of them become Marine officers. The academy looks for prospective applicants to be well rounded physically and intellectually, and to have demonstrated leadership abilities. After four years of schooling, a degree and a commission, Navy and Marine Corps officers head to their service’s respective training programs before heading to the fleet.