Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Midshipmen Learn Lessons of Leadership at Historic Gettysburg

Midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy attended the 2015 Gettysburg Leadership Encounter in Gettysburg, Penn., June 20-21 to help prepare them for challenges they may face during the upcoming academic year.

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

The two-day retreat is designed to give midshipmen in leadership positions the opportunity to develop their leadership and decision-making skills and for them to discuss their new responsibilities as leaders of athletic teams and the brigade.

"We bring varsity team captains and company commanders together to prepare them to take command of their team or company," said Cmdr. Arthur Gibb, chair of the Leadership and Research Department. "I think this is one of the ways we get this cohort of midshipmen to really start thinking about and visualizing what their responsibilities will be as commanders and captains."

Seminars and group discussions centered on the themes of loyalty, standards, and action. The midshipmen discussed decisions made during the Battle of Gettysburg and how they related to issues of loyalty to an individual and to an organization.

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

"The reason we started coming to Gettysburg was to build on the tradition of the 'staff ride,'" said Gibb. "'Staff ride’ traditionally is where midgrade officers would come to a historical battlefield after studying a battle. It puts them in the middle of the battlefield, so they can channel the energy and the history of what happened on that battlefield and use what they learned in their discussions."

Midshipmen retraced the steps the men the Confederate and Union Armies took in the Civil War during Pickett’s Charge, and evaluated the decisions the leadership made during this significant event.

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

"This experience has been eye opening," said Midshipman 1st Class Angie Cleveland, captain of the USNA women’s outdoor track team. "I feel the one most important part about this retreat is for us to be unified with how and what we want from our peers. We have one mission and sometimes we forget what that mission is. There is sometimes a divide between team captains and company commanders. Being here has helped us understand what we are all at the academy for. We all have the same mission: to become officers in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps."

"I think we ask a lot from the team captains and the company commanders," said chemistry professor Dr. Christine Copper. "I think we owe them to prepare them and give them real concrete information and examples so when something comes up, they are ready to act and deal with that situation whatever it may be."

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