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Midshipmen Experience SWO Life On Board USS Pinckney

Posted on: August 22, 2014 08:00 EDT by Ensign Kellie Hall, USS Pinckney Public Affairs

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91) welcomed 19 midshipmen from the Naval Academy and various ROTC programs on board this summer.

The midshipmen stood watches on the bridge, were given tours of the ship, sat in on meetings with the commanding officer, and conned the ship during a replenishment-at-sea evolution.

Pinckney underwent replenishment from USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187)  on Aug. 11 to prepare to pull into Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the following day. The midshipmen on board were lucky enough to witness the evolution, as well as help direct the ship alongside Kaiser under the instruction of other junior officers.

Naval Academy Midshipmen 1st Class Brandon Karpf and Maxine Camille Robinson were surprised to be given the responsibility of conning alongside during the replenishment.

“It was a thrill having that level of responsibility given to me by the captain, definitely a memory to pass on when I get home,” Karpf said.

“I learned the importance of the Conn during an underway replenishment. They are in charge of ensuring that the ship maintains the right course and speed so that the evolution can go as smooth and safe as possible,” said Robinson.

The midshipmen were able to shadow junior officers during evolutions, exercises, and day-to-day events in order to experience life as a surface warfare officer. The midshipmen found their time on the Pinckney beneficial.

“I feel like [surface warfare] is the best fit for me,” said Midshipman 1st Class Alex Brecht. “It is an opportunity to lead sailors, go to cool places, and do interesting exercises. Going SWO affords you the opportunity to expand and learn a lot of different things.”

Pinckney's Commanding Officer Cmdr. Frank Okata said the crew enjoys bringing mids on board to gain experience.

“As a prior midshipmen myself, I know how important it is to gain this knowledge before entering the fleet,” he said.

Pinckney returned to San Diego Aug. 21 following a 7-month Western Pacific deployment protecting and defending the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

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