First Day Back!
August 10th, 2020
First day back on campus and the Cadre are ready to roll!
Lots of new protocols in place, this assimilation will truly be like no other. A great deal of thought and countless hours of dedication have made this day possible. The energy on campus is charged! It is so exciting to be back and see some familiar faces. Although we are all socially distant, I would say we have never felt closer as a campus community.
Staggered move-in times throughout the morning went well, and each Cadre member was medically screened upon arrival. Following lunch, the Cadre were given a warm welcome from LCDR Edgar Piñero and the Regimental Commander, Dominic Vaccari. In the evening, Dr. Cukor provided a thorough Medical Brief outlining the importance of our diligence and discipline throughout the Assimilation Program. We must all reshape our thinking and redefine our habits in the pursuit of success. Although these are unprecedented times, this group of young leaders appear eager to tackle the challenges that are to come.
Day Two of Pre-Assimilation
August 11th, 2020
Started the morning off right with some PT! With their masks up and spread out across the football field, the Cadre got themselves warmed up for a long day of drilling.
Throughout the day, the Squad Leaders practiced their marching skills. Cadences rang out through the air, and marching commands bounced around the courtyard. The skill that is being practiced now is the use of the diaphragm. Voice projection is an invaluable tool in leadership, it establishes a sense of confidence, demands attention, and creates a command presence. The Squad Leaders, with guidance from the seasoned Senior Staff members, are relearning how to march, how to instruct, and how to lead in adherence to the medical protocols.
In the afternoon, the Admiral welcomed the Cadre back to campus. He remarked that, while we are socially distant, we are still the tight-knit community of shipmates that we have always been. The Cadre were commended for their dedication to the academy and carrying out its traditions.
I must say Pre-Assimilation is coming along quite nicely! These squids are looking sharp. Lots to learn and practice in preparation for the incoming youngies, but these Cadets are doing fantastic… much more to come so stay tuned!
Day Three of Pre-Assimilation
August 12th, 2020
There is an abundance of learning going on here at MMA… The Squad Leaders have been hard at work drilling, attending countless presentations, and absorbing all the critiques that the Senior Staff have to offer.
As always, a quick PT session bright and early kick started the long day. Companies gathered for their socially distant photo shoots, and look as intimidating as ever. This Assimilation Program is truly history in the making.
In the ABS volunteers are hard at work assembling the uniform distribution center. Tape marks line the tile floors of our library to make for a smooth distribution process. A traffic pattern is being enforced throughout campus to maintain social distancing and minimize close contact with other cadets.
So much collaboration and hard work coming from everyone on campus! T-3 days until the youngies arrive!
Day Four of Pre-Assimilation
August 13th, 2020
The Squad Leaders have remained vigilant in their training, and the intensity and spunk has picked up today!
During the daily PT session the friendly and competitive banter between companies brought a smile to each of the Cadre’s sweat soaked faces. 2nd Co. was particularly energetic this morning, sticking by their company motto of “nasty”. This morning they truly were second to none. Shouts of encouragement and antagonistic chirps filled the football field and echoed through the bleachers as they pushed each other to be better, to stay motivated, and to sweat.
Later in the day the Cadre all enjoyed a different kind of presentation. Mr. Nobrega and Mr. Todman put together an activity in which the Cadre were taught an invaluable lesson on inclusion and diversity.
In the activity, the cadets were placed into groups. They then had to make a set of rules for how to pass a beach ball. Once the Cadre had developed their plan of action Mr. Ortiz and Mr. Nobrega took them by surprise and instructed certain individuals leave their group to learn another group’s new rules… but there would be no talking.
This ingenious and entertaining team building exercise expressed the concept of culture, and the difficulty of learning and adapting to something new. Not only does this aid in shaping the perspective of Squad Leaders who will be introducing youngies into our MMA culture, it is a lesson in empathy and perspective that these cadets can apply to life.
Campus is bustling with excitement as the fateful day draws near when the 2nd Battalion Cadet Candidates arrive for 2020 Assimilation. Our team is looking great!
Day Five of Pre-Assimilation
August 14th, 2020
As usual, the Cadre started off their days before the sun. PT in the morning. With only one day left of Pre-Assimilation, the Cadre have successfully geared up to welcome the freshman.
Today was a bit different from the rest of the week. It was a more relaxed kind of day, a day where everyone had the chance to strengthen their relationships and bond as a team… today was field day! We started off the fun with a cookout behind 5th Co. Looking out on the water we enjoyed some burgers and hot dogs, it was a perfect day. Afterwards, all sorts of different games were set up on the parade field. The cadets had the chance to compete in games of Spike Ball, Frisbee, tug of war, and Kan Jam.
Later in the day, there were pictures taken for the Cadre who participate in athletics. This was of course followed by more drill and meetings.
The days of Pre-Assimilation are soon coming to a close, and everyone is more than excited for the next two weeks! Almost go time!
Day 6 of Pre-Assimilation – We’re Ready
August 15th, 2020
Today was sadly the last day of Pre-Assimilation. However, that means that it is time to put our leaders to the test!
The Cadre got together this morning for another PT. In keeping with the traditions of the academy, even in these changing times, the Cadre cooled off with the celebratory Cadre Swim. The water was cold and so was the morning, but that didn’t stop them from jumping into Buttermilk Bay and kissing the bow of our beloved ship, the T.S. Kennedy.
There was one last meeting to wrap up the week. Both Battalions carried out an After Action Review to assess the effectiveness of this year’s training program. Seeing the compliments and the constructive criticism that people had to share, the dedication that everyone is putting into this week is truly paying off.
This group of Cadre are now locked and loaded with the skills to overcome the unforeseen challenges that may come their way in the next couple weeks. We know that they will do great training the youngies to become the next wave of cadets at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. This group of leaders are outstanding role models for the incoming Cadet Candidates emulate.
It’s go time! Bring on the youngies…