News: Midshipmen conn alongside during at-sea replenishment
By Ensign Kellie Hall, USS Pinckney Public Affairs
USS PINCKNEY, At Sea - The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91) welcomed 19 midshipmen, from various ROTC programs as well as the U.S. Naval Academy, on board last week for their summer training cruise. The midshipmen stood watches on the bridge, were given tours of the ship, sat in on meetings with the commanding officer, and even conned the ship during a replenishment at sea evolution.
The Pinckney underwent replenishment from the USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187) on Aug. 11 to prepare to pull into Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the following day. The midshipmen on board were lucky enough to witness the evolution, as well as help direct the ship alongside the Kaiser under the instruction of other junior officers.
The midshipmen, including Midshipmen 1st Class Brandon Karpf, Maxine Camille Robinson, and Hannah Hayes, of the U.S. Naval Academy, were surprised to be given the responsibility of conning alongside during the replenishment.
“It was a thrill having that level of responsibility given to me by the captain, definitely a memory to pass on when I get home,” Karpf said.
Hayes agreed. “I was nervous and afraid of making a mistake but also very excited for the experience,” said Hayes.
“I learned the importance of the conn during an underway replenishment. They are in charge of ensuring that the ship maintains the right course and speed so that the evolution can go as smooth and safe as possible,” said Robinson.
The midshipmen were able to shadow junior officers during evolutions, exercises, and day-to-day events in order to experience a potential surface warfare officer.
The midshipmen found their time on the Pinckney beneficial.
“I feel like [surface warfare] is the best fit for me. It is an opportunity to lead sailors, go to cool places, and do interesting exercises. Also, going SWO affords you the opportunity to expand and learn a lot of different things,” Midshipman 1st Class Alex Brecht, of the U.S. Naval Academy, said.
“I was fortunate enough to learn quite a bit about the ship's cytological equipment, which I found interesting and new. Also, in my discussions with the captain, I learned everything from military history to career advice to graduate school suggestions,” Karpf said.
Pinckney's commanding officer, Cmdr. Frank Okata, said, “The USS Pinckney enjoys bringing midshipmen on board so they gain more experience at sea. As a prior midshipman myself, I know how important it is to gain this knowledge before entering the fleet.”
Pinckney will return to its home port San Diego on Aug. 21 following a seven-and-a-half-month Western Pacific deployment protecting and defending the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.