Fall 2017 Corps Review    |    Back

Bradley Polidoro ‘17 completed his first-class cruise with the Royal New Zealand Navy this summer.

Bradley Polidoro ‘17 and otthers stand on the bow of a the HMNZS Canterbury.
Bradley Polidoro ‘17 completed his first-class cruise with the Royal New Zealand Navy this summer.

The Naval ROTC battalion began the fall 2017 semester with approximately 320 midshipmen. 

In May, Virginia Tech’s Naval ROTC unit commissioned an impressive 37 naval officers and nine Marine Corps officers. Virginia Tech was responsible for commissioning three of the top 10 surface warfare officer selects in the nation and also produced a strong number of nuclear officers into the surface warfare and submarine warfare communities.

Officer Candidate School 

This summer, seven midshipmen from Raider Company successfully completed Marine Corps Officer Candidates School in Quantico, Virginia. Midshipman Quinton Cookis ’18, Kyle Rushford ’18, Michel Begis ’18, Ian Campbell ’18, Jared Filzen ’18, Bradley Gifford ’17, and Mike Kashuba ’18 all completed the rigorous evolution, furthering our impressive six-year streak of 100 percent successful officer candidates school completion. 

The mission of Marine Corps Officer Candidates School is to train, screen, and evaluate candidates on their potentials to lead as officers in the Marine Corps. Officer candidates school is a six-week course that teaches Marine Corps leadership, tactics, and history. The course also includes physical training and close-order drill. Candidates are evaluated through written tests, fire team- and squad-sized leadership evolutions, physical fitness tests, and basic infantry field tactics and exercises.

A Summer with the Royal New Zealand Navy
By Bradley Polidoro ’17

I was afforded the opportunity to complete my first-class cruise with the Royal New Zealand Navy aboard the HMNZS Canterbury. The cruise lasted from June 25 to Aug. 11, or 48 days. 

The ship was deployed from Auckland, its home port, from June 28 to Aug. 11. During this time, Canterbury participated in Operation Talisman Sabre 2017 and hit several ports in Australia, including Townsville, Gladstone, and Mackay. Because Canterbury is an amphibious ship, the typical day-to-day operations were centered around deploying the embarked Kiwi and Australian soldiers to the beachfront via the ship’s two landing craft. Additional routine operations included helicopter personnel transfers, rigid-hulled inflatable boat operations, and damage-control exercises.

I was not assigned a running mate nor put on the watch bill. This allowed me the flexibility to observe what I wished, whenever I wished. I took advantage of every opportunity I was given and received good exposure to every department on the ship. I stood watch on the bridge, traced and sketched systems in the engine room, plotted the ship’s position using a sextant and the stars, presented briefs to the engineering officer and assistant engineering officers about shipboard systems, went for a flight in the ship’s SH-2 Sea Sprite, participated in damage-control exercises, and deciphered fleet tactical radio signals in the ship’s operations room.

In addition to the New Zealand officers, Canterbury had Canadian, British, and Australian officers on board as well. The diversity of leadership philosophies and exposure to foreign naval doctrine was immense and educational. This fact, coupled with Canterbury’s involvement in the joint exercise Talisman Sabre 2017 has given me a one-of-a-kind experience for which I am very grateful.

Welcome Aboard to New Staff Members

U.S. Navy Lt. Tyler Williams ’11 assumed the duties as Delta Company advisor in June. As a graduate of the Virginia Tech Naval ROTC and a former Highty-Tighty, Williams and his wife are excited to be back in Blacksburg. He is reporting to the unit from the USS La Jolla (SSN 701), homeported in Norfolk, Virginia, after serving on board the USS Newport News (SSN 701) and deploying on the USS Springfield (SSN 761). He is looking forward to creating and shaping leaders for the Navy of the future.

U.S. Navy Lt. Jeffrey Mathews reported in June from the USS John C. Stennis, where he worked in damage control, auxiliaries, and maintenance support. He has taken over as the Bravo Company advisor and is looking forward to sharing his experiences and lessons learned with midshipmen over the next three years.

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Stephanie Lomeli assumed the duties as the Marine officer instructor in June. She was forward deployed on the USS Boxer, Marine Expeditionary Unit West, and was responsible for directing overall operations and maintenance production for 25 fixed and rotary wing aircraft. Previously, Lomeli was combat deployed to Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Djibouti in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Anthony Roess assumed the duties as the assistant Marine officer instructor in August. He reported to the unit from 1st Battalion 6th Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He is excited to be here at Virginia Tech and looks forward to mentoring and molding future Marine officers.