CORTRAMID offers insight for future officers

19 Jul 2011 | Pfc. Nik S. Phongsisattanak

Being an officer in the United States Marine Corps or Navy is a position that displays devotion to service and is built on the foundation of leadership. But how did some officers gain insight on who, where and how they wanted to lead before joining the military?

The Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps’ summer training program for the Navy and Marine Corps offers the annual Career Orientation Training of Midshipmen for the men and women who’ve decided to follow the path for becoming an officer.

Navy ROTC midshipmen from across the eastern region of the country were given an opportunity to immerse themselves in the lifestyles of Marines as part of a CORTRAMID training phase aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, recently.

“They are all freshmen going into their sophomore year. They have stars in their eyes, and I can tell that a lot of them are excited,” said Capt. Joleen Young, the operations officer for the group of midshipmen and Marine officer instructor with Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. “This whole week is to expose them to all that is the Marine Corps. For a lot of the Navy midshipmen, this may possibly be the only experience with the Marines for their entire career. This gives them the opportunity to see the way we live, how we act, both professionally and off duty. It also shows them the ethos that makes us Marines.”

The CORTRAMID program is held in the country’s Pacific and Atlantic region. The western region’s CORTRAMID was held in the San Diego area, May 26 through June 25 and the eastern region’s was held in the Norfolk, Virginia area, July 7 through Aug. 6.  Training is conducted under the direction of host commands in each region. Two groups of approximately 500 midshipmen consisting of eight companies, of up to 70 midshipmen each, are rotated through training over a four-week period.

Each week is dedicated to one of the four phases of the training, such as the aviation, submarine, surface warfare and Marine Corps phase. Most of the training seemed to emphasized “doing” rather than “watching.” During the evolution of the training midshipmen had a chance to fly in aircrafts, board a fleet-ballistic missile submarine, spend time at sea aboard a surface warfare ship and fire weapons with Marines.

During the Marine phase, the midshipmen were given a chance to ride in amphibious assault vehicles, ospreys and helicopters. They also rappelled down walls, viewed controlled demolition and participated in a firefight using M-16A4 and M-4 semi rifle carbine through simunition rounds, which were similar to paintballs.

“(CORTRAMID) is awesome,” said Logan Hartzog, a Marine Corps option midshipman with the University of South Carolina. “Everything we’ve done so far has been fantastic. I especially loved the demolition part because I like blowing stuff up.”

The training had many fun events, but more importantly, it provided a chance for the midshipmen to identify the role of operational service members in various working fields.

“I’ve gained a better understanding of what Marines actually do,” said Hartzog. “This is just another step that’s gotten me closer. I hope that exposure during Officer Candidate School and The Basic School give me a better idea of want I want to do in the future.”

The training program’s purpose is to further the professional development of midshipmen by introducing them to different aspect of the Marine Corps and Navy, so the midshipmen can have an idea of what path they want to follow toward becoming an officer.

“They really have a nice experience because their college is paid for,” said Young. “They are learning military skills, but they are still living as a regular college student, so this is a chance for the midshipmen tolearn about military lifestyle outside of the classroom.”