MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The hot sun beat down upon the students as they sat on the ground, waiting anxiously for the aircraft to land in the field beyond them.
These students belong to the Career Orientation Training for Midshipmen program. Every summer the program brings groups of Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps students from colleges and universities all over the U.S. to Camp Lejeune to conduct Marine Week.
CORTRAMID is an introduction for midshipmen to what the Marine Corps and the Navy have to offer the future officers. During the week they are aboard Lejeune, they participate in a variety of training activities from patrolling, live-fire exercises, flying in a military aircraft and learning about an array of military weapons systems.
On this day, this particular group had a treat in store for them. They were going to be the first group of students, participating in the program, to ride in the V-22 Osprey.
While the students sat in almost silence among the trees in what shade they could find, the sound of the rotors beating through the air could be heard in the distance.
The sound grew louder and more intense and the students watched as the Osprey began its decent on the clearing in front of them. As it descended upon the ground, the rotor wash trampled anyone in its path.
When the (all clear) was given, out ran the students in a follow-the-leader pattern toward the rear of the Osprey. Everyone strapped into their seats and off they went.
Once reaching their destination at Marine Corps Air Station New River, the students filed out and scurried along the tarmac away from the Osprey.
“I thought that was amazing,” said Midshipman 3rd Class Anna Mansueti, a NROTC student with the University of Colorado. “That was my first time ever in a military aircraft.”
This once in a lifetime experience, for most of these students, is something they will always remember.
“I’m not keen on flying, but this was definitely an experience for me,” said Midshipman 3rd Class Casey McAuliffe, a student with the Citadel. “I would do it again. It was so surreal to be able to see in all directions.”
New to the Corps, this aircraft takes off like a helicopter and flies like a plane.
“Some people are sitting at home all summer long, and we are here training and flying in one of the newest aircrafts,” said Midshipman 3rd Class Josh Lockwood, a NROTC student with Virginia Tech. “It was awesome.”