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Navy Women's Lacrosse Summer Training Highlights

Oct. 12, 2010

Women's Lacrosse Summer 2010 Photo Gallery | 2009 Summer Recap

ANNAPOLIS, Md.- Following their record-setting 2010 championship season, members of the Navy women's lacrosse program embarked on a variety of summer training programs all over the world. Below are some of the highlights of the team's unique, real-world experiences that will shape their futures as officers in the United State Navy and Marine Corps.

Caitlin Mandrin Hill
Senior | Attack | Annapolis, Md.
Major: Oceanography

Caitlin Mandrin Hill receives her Firstie shoulder boards from Erin Rawlick

I could not have imagined a better summer. 2/C Ring Dance was amazing and truly set the tone for the next three months. Being able to share this accomplishment - making it to Firstie year - with my best friends and teammates is a memory I will cherish forever.

As that experience ended, a whole new one dawned - graduation, watching our seniors walk on the stage and accept their commissioning. Knowing two of my best friends were moving on to bigger and better things as Navy Pilots in Pensacola, I could not help but shed some tears as I saluted Mary Ruttum (her first as an ensign) and as Erin Rawlick passed on her Firstie shoulder boards to me.

I started off summer training with some Marine Corps motivation out on the west coast at Camp Pendleton. I shadowed Captain Over, Marine JAG officer, who taught me about life in the corps and how to be an effective officer. She took me to Court Martial's, legal assistance, and even let me help her with some investigations.

Finally it was time for Plebe Summer Detail, something I have wanted to do since my own plebe year. My position was Starboard Battalion Honor Adviser, which entailed teaching the plebes their leadership/honor lessons to prepare them for the academic year. There were so many valuable lessons that I learned while leading the class of 2014 about leadership, expectations, and standards.

Katrina Nietsch
Senior | Midfield | New Canaan, Conn.
Major: Quantitative Economics

Katrina Nietsch in Africa

I spent three weeks touring Africa in a trip fully funded by the International Programs Office. The whole purpose was to provide exposure to future officers of the U.S. military on Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA). I was one of eight midshipmen and seven cadets from West Point that were able to have the opportunity to tour one of the joint task forces of United States Africa Command, commonly known as AFRICOM.

We traveled to Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda, where we spent time at the U.S. embassies, forging military-to-military relations, and touring with the Civil Affairs team in each location, which is essentially the military's version of the Peace Corps. The entire trip was known as "Operation Unity Haven" and was an invaluable experience as a future naval officer. We were also privileged to go on a safari, attend a cultural dance, see the mouth of the Nile, visited several villages and medical clinics, completed the French Legion's Nautical Obstacle course, flew in a C-130 with the Air Force, and much, much more.

Plebe Summer Detail (Second Block): One of the most elite leadership opportunities that the Academy offers, Plebe Summer Detail is one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of many rising first class midshipmen. As a squad leader, I was in charge of the training and complete indoctrination of eleven plebes, and responsible for each of their personal well being. The training itself is twofold: first and foremost, the detailers, or "cadre," are leading the plebes everyday throughout different activities and training evolutions, but it is also the first, genuine leadership experience for rising first class midshipmen to lead from the front.

I can honestly say that although it is a lot of hard work and very little sleep, it has been one of the best trainings that the Academy has to offer. I have learned so much about myself as a leader and have perfected a leadership style unique to myself. It is invaluable for any officer candidate to be able to participate in a training like this in order to better themselves for commissioning come May 2011. The rewards of this training are also superior to any other summer training that I have done. On a personal level, seeing the plebes grow and develop through our training is extremely self-fulfilling and a critical element of my own professional improvement.

London School of Economics (Third Block): As a Quantitative Economics major, I elected to take a course at the London School of Economics during my leave in order to attend one of the world's premier institutions of learning and to broaden my horizons in my academic career beyond just the Naval Academy's curriculum. Because I have always had a commitment to lacrosse during the academic year, I thought that this trip would be the perfect chance to have a "study abroad" experience and live independently in London, where there is a wealth of history and a host of different activities and travel opportunities.

Elaina Ponchione during her Navy Marine Mammal Program internship

Elaina Ponchione
Junior | Goalie | Silver Spring, Md.
Major: General Sciences

Over the summer I got to participate in an internship with the Navy Marine Mammal Program in Pt. Loma, California. It was organized through the oceanography department and I got to spend 10 days with the Mark 6 Unit, helping them train and care for the Navy dolphins.

Kathy Young
Sophomore | Midfield | Berwyn, Pa.
Major: Ocean Engineering

Kathy and Beth Young and Jasmine DePompeo in Hawaii

In June I was a Summer Seminar squad leader. Just weeks after being the plebe, we were suddenly in charge of six to eight high school seniors. At least for me, it was so much work making sure they had everything they needed, trying to explain the Academy to them, keep them motivated and especially making sure they realize how they should be working as a team and becoming friends. One of my favorite parts though was seeing both the lax girls and other guy friends be in a leadership position - having these campers look up to them so much and hanging on every word they say.

After going home for a few days, I headed out to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. I was on the DDG-60 Paul Hamilton and following behind an EN2 in the engineering department. Having been thrown in to the department right in the middle of very important inspections, I really got to see them at their busiest. I absolutely love the technical work they do and my division's positive attitude and am considering switching to mechanical engineering now. We had to memorize a lot of navy knowledge during Plebe year and it was cool that it was all now actually makes sense. All the enlisted were very enthusiastic when it comes to explaining their jobs and they told us what they value in new ensigns. We were also able to explore the island of Hawaii. We went snorkeling with sea turtles, visited the SSBN Ohio,

However, the best part is that I was able to stay in Hawaii an extra two weeks because of the stand-by Space A flights we can use as active duty members of the military!

Jasmine DePompeo
Sophomore | Midfield | Sayville, N.Y.
Major: Political Science

Jasmine DePompeo aboard the USS Missouri

The summer training opportunities that I have been afforded have definitely been some of the most enriching experiences of my life. This summer, I spent the month of June as a Summer Seminar Detailer for rising high school seniors who are considering the Naval Academy for their future. It was a great way to practice some hands on leadership and take an active role in mentoring high school kids from all around the country.

During July, I spent four weeks on a ship, USS Laboon (DDG 58), where I was given the opportunity to follow around an enlisted running mate in order to get a better feel for the day-to-day life of a sailor. In addition to learning my way around the ship, it was great to meet people from all walks of life and there was still time for some rest and relaxation on the beach- an added perk of always being near the water!

During August, I maximized my leave by taking free space available military flights to Hawaii with my teammates Kathy and Beth Young. During our two-week adventure, we visited Oahu, Maui and the Big Island where we spent our time snorkeling, visiting volcanoes, and relaxing on some of the more beautiful beaches in the world. It was the perfect way to unwind from a busy summer and get refocused for the upcoming academic year.

##GO NAVY!##



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