Spring 2017 Corps Review    |    Back

First Class Raider Company midshipmen pose for a picture during the Navy and Marine Corps Birthday Ball with Maj. Ahmad Martin, Col. Julie Nethercot, and Capt. Melvyn Huber (retired).

Navy Ball
First Class Raider Company midshipmen pose for a picture during the Navy and Marine Corps Birthday Ball with Maj. Ahmad Martin, Col. Julie Nethercot, and Capt. Melvyn Huber (retired).

Virginia Tech’s Naval ROTC (NROTC) battalion had a busy and exciting fall semester.

The battalion sent several midshipmen to participate in the Army Ten-Miler and the Dronet Challenge, and they placed first and second overall. During our professional laboratory, we had the opportunity to engage with an enlisted panel that provided great insight to the midshipmen and gave some personal stories of what junior officers should do for their sailors and Marines. We also received an in-depth briefing on the Nuclear Surface Warfare community, which helped spur interest in nuclear power.

The NROTC unit continues to excel in physical fitness as well, reaching the highest overall fitness levels in recorded unit history.

We additionally, welcomed Capt. Michael Fisher, the new professor of naval science and commanding officer of the NROTC at Virginia Tech. We are excited for the new year and ready to tackle the challenges of the upcoming semester.

Dronet Challenge
By Midshipman 2nd Class Ian Pezzella ’18

On Oct. 29, 2016, 18 midshipmen traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to compete in the Dronet Challenge against other ROTC units around the country. The challenge was hosted by the Southern University NROTC and included the following events: endurance course, push-ups, sit-ups, water jug relay, pull-ups, and the Marine Corps Combat Fitness Test.

For the Dronet Challenge, the participants were split into two teams that competed against one another. Each team from Virginia Tech placed in the top two in each event, and by the end of the competition our teams took the overall first and second place trophies. This experience led us to become closer with each other and gave us the chance to meet other midshipmen and cadets we will likely see in the future. Overall, it was a great experience and everyone was thrilled that Virginia Tech NROTC was able to come out on top.

241st Navy and Marine Corps Birthday Ball
By Midshipman 3rd Class Sean Carlin ’19

The NROTC unit held its annual Navy and Marine Corps Birthday Ball on Nov. 5, 2016. Hundreds of people attended the festivities, including many from other services. Attendees included Fisher and Maj. Gen. Randal Fullhart, the commandant of cadets for the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. The guest of honor at this year’s ball was Col. Julie Nethercot, commanding officer of Marine Corps Officer Candidates School.

Nethercot commissioned in May 1993 and graduated from the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course, the Maritime Advanced Warfighting School, Command and Control Systems School, the Navy Command and Staff College, and the National War College. From June 2012 to June 2014, she served as the current operations chief, and then the Cyberspace Division chief for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and followed on as the deputy director for the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mitigation Oversight Task Force. She was able to bring her years of experience and deliver some words of wisdom to the attendees, as well as describe the fantastic opportunities offered by the military.

Winter Commissioning
By Midshipman 4th Class Matthew Kolb ’20

On Dec. 16, 2016, the NROTC battalion proudly commissioned five midshipmen as family and friends watched as they gave their first salutes as naval and Marine Corps officers. The former midshipmen were accompanied by six of their peers, who were commissioned as Army officers. The ceremony began with words of praise from guest speaker and alumnus Maj. Gen. Ted Harrison ’80, who complimented the Corps of Cadets for continually creating exceptional leaders for both the civilian and military sectors. Harrison reminded these young officers that America has been fighting the longest war in our nation’s history, and their jobs will be challenging as they start their careers for a nation currently at war.

Following the speech, each midshipman went forward individually to swear the oath of office.

2nd Lt. Jonathan Buford ’16 and 2nd Lt. Bryan Engelmann ’16 will report to The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, to begin training as Marine Corps officers. Ensign Andrew Ide ’16 will report to Pensacola, Florida, to begin his training as a naval flight officer. Ensign Alexander Brown ’17 will report to the USS Chancellorsville, CG-62, in Yokosuka, Japan, and begin his training as a surface warfare officer. Ensign William Herman ’16 will be reporting to Nuclear Power School and begin his training as a submarine officer.

As these junior officers head off to serve their nation, the NROTC battalion wishes them fair winds and following seas. 

Capt. Michael Fisher

Capt. Michael Fisher
Capt. Michael Fisher

Welcome Aboard

Capt. Michael Fisher assumed command of the NROTC unit in October, 2016, relieving Cmdr. Jerry W. Burkette, who had been designated as the commanding officer after the retirement of Capt. Robert V. James III in May 2016. Fisher checks into the unit from, Manama, Bahrain, where he served as the commanding officer of Submarine Squadron 21. He previously held command of the ballistic missile submarine USS Nebraska. We are excited to welcome him and his family to the community of Blacksburg and to the NROTC team.