CNP visits NAVSTA Newport

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

By Scott A. Thornbloom, Naval Service Training Command Public Affairs

Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP) returned to Naval Station (NAVSTA) August 29, to review a graduation of newly commissioned officers at Officer Candidate School (OCS) and help rededicate one of their training facility.

Vice Adm. Mark E. Ferguson, III, addressed more than 40 new ensigns during the morning OCS graduation on Nimitz Field.

"I want to leave each of you with two questions that I want you to remember as you procede from here and go on throughout your careers," he said. "One, what have you done for our Sailors today, and two, are you in?"

According to , those are two of the most important questions for them to constantly remember as they rise in rank during their naval careers.

"You each will have a responsibility to your Sailors and when you drag yourselves out of bed to stand the mid-watch, I want you to answer the second question this way, I'm in. It's my turn to lead. Not to make a difference but to be the difference."

During the outdoor ceremony, reviewed not only the graduating class but the next two classes that will graduate in the coming weeks. These two classes along with a candidate color guard, a drill team and Navy Band Northeast paraded before the reviewing stand and hundreds of family members in bleachers by Nimitz Field. then led the graduating class in their commissioning oath followed by the traditional tossing of their covers in the air and the first salute from their drill instructor, .

"It feels awesome. It was an honor to have the Chief of Naval Personnel here to swear us in, and I can definitely answer his question that I am in," said Ensign Brandon Boyles, 26, from Charleston, S.C., whose first duty station will be on board the frigate, USS Gary (FFG 51), homeported in San Diego.

Ensign Omar Robinson, 24, from , called it a wonderful ceremony. "I'm ready to go out to the fleet to make a difference and take care of the Sailors that I'm assigned to lead," said Robinson, who is scheduled to attend Surface Warfare Officer School (SWOS) before heading to the fleet.

"This is one of the best days of my life and hearing from someone with the experience of the admiral reinforces everything we have learned here and everything we hope to accomplish in the fleet," said Ensign Elizabeth Swart, 25, from , who heads to Naval Air Station Pensacola this week to begin aviation training.

Callaghan Hall, the training facility that the candidates at OTC use to learn naval tactics, navigational skills and how to be a Navy officer, was also in the spotlight August 29. After two years of refurbishing, repairing and retooling, the $9.2 million project was officially rededicated by , OTC Commanding Officer, Capt. Joseph A. McBrearty and Naval Station Newport Commanding Officer, Capt. Michel Poirier.

"This is just the first jewel in the crown of officer training that will help us reinvigorate our officer programs throughout the Navy," McBrearty said.

Following the speech by CNP, , McBrearty and Poirier cut a ribbon and unveiled a new plaque by the front door dedicated to the namesake of the facility, Rear Adm. Daniel Judson Callaghan, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient for his heroic actions during the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942.

OCS Newport is a 12-week course designed to give officer candidates desiring a commission in the unrestricted line, restricted line, or staff corps (Supply Corps and Civil Engineering Corps only) a working knowledge of the Navy and Marine Corps (afloat and ashore), and to prepare them to assume the responsibilities of Naval officers upon graduation. OCS is a mentally demanding and physically challenging program. The curriculum demands a high level of academic prowess, military inspections, close order drill, and academic courses.

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