NROTC students receive prestigious Navy assignments
The Citadel’s Naval ROTC unit is once again making a name for itself on a national level.
This year nine midshipmen and officer candidates who will graduate in May were selected to receive competitive Surface Warfare Officer assignments. Three of those are in the top 10 in the nation. One is ranked the No. 1 pick in the country.
Throughout all NROTC units nationally, there are 307 Surface Warfare Officer assignments available for graduating seniors. No other school but The Citadel has more than one selection in the top 10, and six of the nine Citadel students are ranked among the top 150, said Marine Col. Paul B. Dunahoe, commanding officer of the NROTC unit The Citadel.
“The outstanding achievement of our students reflects great credit on the college and the NROTC unit,” Dunahoe said. “Coupled with our superior performance last summer at Officer Candidate School, our students are shining examples of principled leadership that set them and the college apart from the other institutions with NROTC programs.”
Midshipmen (all cadets) and Officer Candidates (all active duty military) are ranked by order of merit against their peers nationally. It is a competitive process and Dunahoe said it is the defining factor in where these future officers will begin their military careers.
Officer Candidate (OC) Sean Feeney was the No. 1 overall selection in the nation. OC Russell Allen ranked No. 5 and Cadet Joseph Washington III rounded out the top 10. Feeney and Allen are enrolled in the Seaman-to-Admiral (STA-21) commissioning program for enlisted sailors. STA-21 is one of two programs at The Citadel that gives enlisted sailors and Marines the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree and an officer’s commission. The active duty servicemen and women attend classes with the South Carolina Corps of Cadets. Approximately 80 active duty military personnel are currently enrolled at The Citadel.
In addition to receiving highly regarded Surface Warfare Officer assignments, all nine Citadel students received their first or second choice of duty ships shown below:
- OC Sean Feeney – USS Forrest Sherman, Norfolk, Va.
- OC Russell Allen – USS Farragut, Mayport, Fla.
- Cadet Joseph Washington III – USS Roosevelt, Mayport, Fla.
- OC Frederick Saporita – USS Carney, Mayport, Fla.
- Cadet Robert Helfer – USS Cape St. George, San Diego, Calif.
- Cadet Zachary Aardahl – USS John S. McCain, Yokosuka, Japan
- Cadet Matthew Hearl – USS Oscar Austin, Norfolk, Va.
- Cadet Justin Allgood – USS Cole, Norfolk, Va.
- Cadet Alexander Anderson – USS Gonzalez, Norfolk, Va.
Last summer during Officer Candidate School, Marines and sailors in the NROTC unit performed among the best in the nation. Cadet Gregory Nolan was named top honor graduate while Staff Sgt. Kristopher Turner, who is enrolled in the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP), was the academic honor graduate. MECEP Sgt. John J. Parry finished third out of 390 candidates, missing first place by a narrow 8 tenths of a point
Of the 56 Citadel students who attended OCS last summer, 16 graduated with honors, and The Citadel outperformed the OCS average in academics, leadership and physical fitness.