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Midshipman Theo Freidenrich (center) and Midshipmen Austin Pitcher (right) are taught Marine Corps Martial Arts Program techniques aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Aug. 8. The Midshipmen visited the air station as part of their summer cruise, to experience the aviation side of the Marine Corps. While aboard MCAS Beaufort, they visited Marine Aircraft Group 31, visited F/A-18 Hornet squadrons, VMFAT-501, and took a MCMAP class.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Benjamin McDonald

Midshipman get a glimpse of the Marine Corps

3 Aug 2017 | Lance Cpl. Benjamin McDonald Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

Marine Aircraft Group 31 gave Midshipman form the United States Naval Academy a glimpse of the Marine Corps during their summer training block.

            The Midshipman were given the opportunity to learn about the MAG and the Marines that make up the unit and all of the working parts that allow the MAG to operate.

            “Showing these Midshipman what the Marine Corps is all about is crucial so they can make an educated decision when they graduate,” said Lt. Col. Adam Levine, the commanding officer of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501. “These candidates are exposed to the different components of the Navy and Marine Corps, it is only right they see what the MAG has to offer.”

             After Midshipman finish the academic year, they go through a summer cruise. The summer cruise gives Midshipman the opportunity to experience different parts of the Navy and Marine Corps to help them gain perspective of life in the two Branches.

            “This summer I was able to go on a submarine cruise and then experience Marine Corps aviation at MAG-31,” said Midshipman Theo Freidenrich, a first year Midshipman at the USNA. “It was cool just to see a glimpse of what the Navy and Marine Corps have to offer. I can’t wait for my next summer cruise and learn a little more about the two branches and one day commission in either of the two.”

            The Midshipman spent a month aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort learning everything about MAG-31. They were able to visit an F/A-18C Hornet aircraft squadron to learn about being a hornet pilot and visited Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 to learn about the maintenance that goes into keeping the hornets in flight. The Midshipman were also able to visit VMFAT-501 and see the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and witness the short take-of and vertical landing capabilities of the aircraft.

            I was proud to showcase the future of Marine Corps aviation to possible future Marine Corps officers,” said Levine. “These summer cruises help determine the path the Midshipman take when they are commissioned. Watching an F-35B display its STOVL capabilities could possibly be the decision making factor for a Midshipman to request a commission in the Marine Corps and even maybe apply for a flight contract. I hope we get more Midshipman next year so we can show what the aviation side of the Marine Corps is all about and help Midshipman decide what they want to do after graduation.”

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