Category Archives: Orientation

Stay the Course – Day Nine

Tuesday, August 30th, 2022

As dawn breaks on the final onshore day of Orientation the youngies are wide awake, with excitement coursing through them. Today marks the Canal Run and the morning wake-up was filled with energy and joy. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and the infectious energy of their squad leaders these CCs lined Academy Drive with animation. Cheering, singing, and chanting filled the once-quiet morning air and even seemed to warm the canal breeze that used to chill all who stood waiting. On the mark of the Regimental Commander and the Commandant, the run began and each company surged forward with relentless energy, singing cadences filled with emotion.

After running to the sagamore bridge and back the CCs take a well-deserved shower and breakfast. The unique pace of the day transitions into Morning Formation on the Football Feild, where a dry run of Orientation graduation follows as well.

After formations and practices, the youngies had a midday presentation followed by the annual class photo taken on the bleachers. Subsequently, the youngies then partook in the Marching Competition on the turf. With an array of high-profile judges and spectators, the pressure was on for each company to perform at its best. The results are yet to be revealed and will be announced at Orientation Graduation. May the best marching company win!

The marching competition was followed by intramurals between all the companies, and the final patio of Orientation. Next came the evening meal and directly afterward the command was handed off from the Regimental Commander 1/C Abigail Pope to the Regimental Training Ship Commander 1/C Robert Sirois.

Once the command was given to the RTSC the youngies began to file onboard the T.S Kennedy and unpack onboard. Once everyone was onboard multiple drills were performed in order to ensure general safety in the event that an emergency should occur onboard. Shortly after these drills, everyone went to bed excited for the adventure that awaits them tomorrow with the launching of the ship and the prospect of being underway out of Buzzards Bay. As graduation draws ever closer, and the next few days of work and adventure draw shorter the CCs have started to understand a critical lesson that has been slowly taught to them over the past 10 days of Orientation. Nothing good ever comes easy. Stay the Course, and Weather the Storm. By embracing the difficulty and hardships in their past week and lives these candidates can and will become the leaders of tomorrow. Their work ethics, discipline, and attitudes toward everyday tasks and long-term goals have been redefined. They know that in order to become better versions of themselves they must become comfortable being uncomfortable, embracing everything that comes their way, the good and the bad. This is one of the most valuable lessons taught to the CCs during Orientation. And as they look toward their futures here at the academy and after it, they will carry these hard-earned lessons with them forever.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to update the blog while onboard documenting the mini-cruise. Updates will be posted shortly after graduation! Thank you all for sticking with us on this incredible journey!

Trust in the Process – Day Eight

Monday, August 29, 2022

This morning Cadet Candidates are mirroring what they did on their first day of PT by completing the PT test. In doing so they are being encouraged to push themselves beyond the limits that they have set for themselves and always strive for personal improvement, no matter the size. They committed themselves to this task with faith and motivation. Their dedication showed their commitment and trust in their cadre and the process that they are undergoing. They are beginning to trust that the program they are taking part in, can, and will morph them into the best versions of themselves that they can be.

Following an inspiring PT test, the CCc showered and ate, then moved into their final day of the normal Orientation curriculum. With the final two companies making it to pond and pool day, this means that today is the candidate’s final day of practicing drill, preparing rooms for inspections, and mastering the required shipboard knowledge in order for them to embark on the Orientation Mini-Cruise in a safe and efficient manner.

Companies spent a lot of time preparing their youngies for the upcoming marching competition and ensuring that their skills and knowledge are up to par in order to win the inter-company awards at the end of Orientation. Awards include the Marching Competition award, Commander’s Award, Trustee’s Award, and the Admiral’s Cup. These awards entice the Candidates and Leadership alike all to push to be the best versions of themselves they can be. Just as all things are in this program, the Compay awards at the end of Orientation serve a crucial role in the entire Orientation Process. A process that thousands have come to trust and love over the academy’s history.

A room ready for Inspection

Following a long day, the CCs are put to the test on their regimental skills during their first regimental inspections. Inspections stand as a method of ensuring that the youngies attention to detail, discipline, and cleanliness is up to standard maintaining a clean, healthy, and professional living environment.

While strict, these inspections were highly informative and ensured that these youngies understood what and how to maintain the standards set forth by the regiment and its staff. Following inspections the youngies found their way back to their racks for their last night on land as tomorrow they would be moving onto the ship in preparation for the Orientation Mini Cruise.

Taking the Lead – Day Seven

Sunday, August 28, 2022

As Sunday finnaly came for the youngies, for the first time the youngies didn’t begin their day with PT. This morning the CCs began their day with a reflection on their past week. They used this time to look inwards at what they have accomplished, learned, and what they could do better in the latter half of Orientation.

Following the unorthodox start to their day, the youngies and cadre ate their breakfast and returned to their usual business. They went to their respective activities including water survival training, drill, and pond day. Throughout this process, many of the candidates have been standouts among their peers on each day. These standouts have been chosen each day to be the Cadet Candidate Platoon Leaders and are held to a higher standard and expected to take the lead on certain things on that given day. CCPLs are a prime example of the leadership process being crafted here during the orientation process. First, you start in the followership phase, then you move towards leadership after mastering followership. Those who mastered small parts of followership are chosen for small parts of leadership through the CCPL program.

Guide ons are another example of youngies who are presented with an opportunity to take the lead. Chosen for their discipline, motivation, and more, the chosen CCs stuck out to their leadership and have been appointed to represent their respective platoon of freshmen for that company.

Companies continued their daily practice of friendly intramural games between companies and continued to have their knowledge tested by the Regimental Staff on Patio.

After the evening meal, and more meetings, the tired candidates finally hit their racks for the night and prepared themselves for the PT test the following morning. With another full day of training and learning under their belts, the candidates are one day closer to mini-cruise, and graduation.

Above the Chaos – Day Six

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Another beautiful morning rises over the canal and as per usual, the day has already begun for Cadre and CC alike. Beginning the day with a motivating PT Session, these CCs are starting to understand the grit and determination required to be a disciplined and engaged cadet in the regiment.

By now, the youngies have learned and are starting to practice the actions that allow them to rise above the chaos and approach many different stressful situations in a calm and collected manner. By improving their management skills, they are building even more foundations for their bright future as tomorrow’s leaders. They have been endlessly studying, learning, and drilling all the knowledge and skill required of them during Orientation.

They have continued to navigate the jam-packed schedule while maintaining high standards of bearing, and professionalism throughout the day. Their ever-present, and perfectionist Squad Leaders and Senior Staff constantly push the candidates to be better versions of themselves and to be better teammates. They’re standards have only risen over their time here, making this incoming class strive for perfection.

Following evening Patio and meal, the youngies sit through their nightly classes and head back to the dorms for some much-needed sleep.

Striving for Excellence – Day Five

Friday, August 26, 2022

The morning spreads over buzzards bay illuminating the already awake regiment actively working out under the lights of the football stadium, or running down academy drive. Following the usual schedule, the CCs showered, ate, and moved to their respective activities for the day.

As companies moved through different things they continued to study all their required knowledge and hone their military drill skills. Marching from place to place around campus they have come a long way from day one, increasing their skill set and knowledge.

Later in the day 7th. Company did special presentations on the different components within their company. The Band, Drill Team, and Honor Guard all presented their respective activities for the 7th. Company youngies.

Other companies continued to exercise and have fun with intramurals.

Following all the day’s activities, the CCs continued to be tested on their knowledge on patio. After dinner, they sat through another succession of meetings and lectures in Admirals hall. Completing yet another day, these Candidates are beginning to understand and master the groove of things here during orientation. By repeatedly striving for excellence during this process, without realizing it, the youngies are making excellence a habit. Aristotle once said: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Here at Mass Maritime, we exemplify this work ethic in every part of our days here with the Cadet Candidates. through thick and thin these youngies have continuously and actively sought out perfection and excellence. This is yet another reason we produce such great leaders, and why we are the Commonwealths Leadership Academy. Today’s Cadet Candidates, tomorrow’s Cadets, and the future’s leaders.

Check back soon for more updates! Click here to read comments from Regimental Commander Ms. Pope on the upcoming Orientation Graduation!

Traits of a Leader – Day Four

Thursday, August 25, 2022

The day began as all others have with an earlier morning wake-up followed swiftly by PT on the football field. When the regiment has gathered on the field they are split into their respective battalions, 1st or 2nd Battalion. From there one battalion does the run for the morning, and the other does calisthenics on the turf.

After showering the youngies headed to breakfast followed by Morning Formations. Business ran as usual following morning formations as each company split up continuing to educate and train the youngies for their time here at the academy, and preparing them to be the leaders of tomorrow. The main curriculum here circulates around firefighting, shipboard knowledge and survival skills, and regimental knowledge. Each of the larger components such as pond day focus on certain aspects of the stated curriculum. For example, at pond day the CCs become familiar with basic ship terms, and boat handling and they even get to relax a little bit.

Rear Admiral McDonald visiting Pond Day

One of the other main activities that companies have been rotating around is pool day where they have been learning critical water survival skills and knowledge.

And finally one of the most important parts of the orientation program is the firefighting training administered to all youngies. Firefighting is crucial knowledge for all who are to sail on a ship. With the Orientation Mini-Cruise coming soon, youngies must learn and master firefighting before stepping onboard.

On top of all these courses and activities, these candidates have been constantly drilling and practicing their drill movements as a platoon in preparation for orientation graduation and the marching competition.

Even after such a long day filled with activities the youngies still sit through meetings after dark, meeting Academy staff and learning about the different things going on around campus during the school year such as ROTC programs or career services. Finally, after night has rolled over campus the CCs are marched back to the dorms and sent to bed, ready for the next day.

Bearing and Fortitude – Day Three

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Wednesday began with the now familiar high-paced wake-up all around campus. From silence to bustling, the campus begins to glow with the sunrise, and the songs of cadence runs. The CCs begin their morning with PT and today they attacked every exercise with rigor and motivation.

Following a workout and breakfast, the youngies settled back into their daily routine. Moving between classes and activities all over campus, ranging from many different curriculums. The CCs have begun to learn that bearing and fortitude are valuable traits to develop in order to excel at what they do here at the Academy.

The CCs also engaged in daily intramurals and had a blast building stronger team bonds within their companies. The results of the company intramural games count towards the Admiral’s Cup which is given to the best company at the end of Orientation based on their marching, motivation, intramural scoring, and more.

3rd Co. Vs 2nd Co. Water Polo

Following Intramurals the CCs ate dinner and sat through more meetings and informative lectures in Admiral’s Hall then went to bed, ready for whatever comes tomorrow.

Discipline, and Knowledge – Day Two

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Following a long first full day on campus, the youngies woke today bright and early in a similar fashion as the day before. Up before the sun and asleep well after the sun they are just beginning to understand the relentless pursuit of discipline. To become truly disciplined you must learn time management of long and exhausting days. It’s easy to become momentarily motivated but to become disciplined you must be motivated during all aspects of your day and life. As they move through all the different portions of their day this year candidates without realizing are building incredible discipline and gaining more knowledge with every activity they partake in.

Today marks their first official day of PT and they all stepped up to the challenge. On their first day, they were tasked with completing the Acadamey’s PT Test.

With the PT Test completed the youngies all showered, ate, and finished morning formations. The companies then all went their separate ways to partake in the various programs running within orientation such as Pond day, where cadets go to Great Herring Pond and sail, row, and learn to paddle Monomoys. Another program is the water survival and firefighting curriculums that are also running simultaneously around campus.

For the majority of the day, the companies rotated around to their respective areas acquiring the necessary knowledge that all youngies are required to learn to become Cadets here at the academy. From the activities listed before to lectures on shipboard knowledge and life skills, these youngies do it all. In order to provide some time to recover and relax the Academy gives the candidates daily intramural games which engage in friendly company competition while also allowing the candidates to have some fun and run around. Games such as dodgeball, ultimate frisbee, and water polo take place on a daily basis engaging squad leaders and CCs alike in a fun and competitive environment.

Following intramurals, the CCs showered and ate, then headed into their evening meetings and lectures in Admirals Hall. As the day draws to a close, preparations have already begun for the next day of training. For many days now and for the rest of Orientation, the Academy has made a huge combined effort to provide this year’s Cadet Candidates with the highest quality program they can. Their dedication to forming the leaders of tomorrow is yet another example of the level of discipline and integrity that is the norm here on campus. A norm that these CCs will soon be a part of.

We’ll be back later with another update on our future leaders! Check in again soon!

Attention to Detail – Day One

Monday, August 22, 2022

As the moon slips away into the night sky and the deep dark of night begins to turn into a dull blue haze, the campus is already awake with the high-paced activity of youngie wake-ups. Today the youngies will be meeting the cadre on the football field and the Cadre are already in formation waiting. After the Cadet Candidates are introduced to their leaders and commanding officers they head back and get breakfast. Among the various lessons that the youngies will be learning today the most important of them all will be their attention to detail.

Following the morning meal the youngies all began their first day of learning. They have been learning all new things ever since they stepped foot on campus. Things such as military drill techniques, their youngie knowledge, shipboard knowledge, and other various traditions and customs at the Academy. A prime example of assimilation to the Academy is the Cadet Candidates’ first ever morning formation.

Some companies spent their day doing drill, sitting through various lectures, and refining youngie knowledge. Other companies began to learn critical shipboard knowledge such as firefighting in order to properly prepare the candidates for their orientation mini cruise.

Later in the day as the weather turned south, the Candidates and their companies moved indoors to work on bringing their dorms up to inspection standards and learn about the various activities that are the norm here at Massachusetts Maritime, such as watchstanding.

All in all this year’s Cadet Candidates had a long day full of lessons, and various activities. Throughout the day they have begun to understand one of the fundamental traits of both a successful follower and an admirable leader. Attention to detail stuck out in every aspect of their day as squad leaders continued to hold the CC’s to a high standard. They were expected to perform in intense and stressful situations while simultaneously remaining calm and collected enough to remember all the details. As Admiral William H. McRaven said, “If you want to change the world, start by making your bed.” This incoming class of freshmen is beginning to understand the meaning of this quote as they are quickly learning that in order to be trusted to complete the larger task, you must first be able to get all the little tasks right. Ranging from making your bed to the angle of your feet at the position of attention all the little details matter. The youngies have embraced this lesson well today and continue to strive for excellence as they move forward with their orientation process.

Please check back in tomorrow for another update on the class of 26′.

Weather the Storm – Day Zero

Sunday, August 21, 2022

As dawn broke over the bay, the quiet bustling of Massachusetts Maritime Academy grew into a constant buzz as preparations for the youngies were drawing to a close and the check-in process was beginning. Friends and families began to fill the campus carrying bags and goodbyes. While the families and cadet candidates file around campus, the Cadre do their annual Cadre Run.

Once everyone checked in Commander Dillon, Dean Ortiz, and Regimental Commander, Ms. Pope introduced themselves and the Cadre. The Cadre did their traditional oath which involved their promise of care and coaching for the cadet candidates that are being entrusted to them. And after a few brief motivational words, Cadet Candidates said their final goodbyes and stepped forward into their new lives.

Following the ceremonies and goodbyes, the new cadet candidates were formed into platoons and directed toward the mess deck for lunch.

After lunch, the Squad-Leaders guided the Cadet Candidates to the gym where they got hair cuts and picked up their seabags. Cadre used downtime in between the in-processing to sharpen the Cadet Candidate’s youngie knowledge and facing movements.

Soon the cadet candidates began to memorize the knowledge in their chafing gear and their efforts were put to the test on patio. During patio senior cadets test the youngies knowledge by asking them a series of questions and judging not only their responses but also marching and volume.

The Cadet Candidates complete their day with a presentation from Dr. Cukor with words of wisdom and inspiration, while simultaneously informing the incoming candidates what they can do to remain healthy and sanitary through the next two weeks.

All in all, it was a busy day for our cadet candidates, and their journey has just begun. Over the next two weeks the learning and development they will undergo will help to shape them into professional and disciplined Cadets here at the academy. The knowledge gained in the next couple of days will lay the foundations for many years of success ahead of them. Knowledge never comes easy so now it’s up to them to weather the storm and stay the course. Check back in tomorrow for another update on our CC’s.