Story by MCSN(SW) Amanda S. Kitchner
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Naval officers assigned to several commands aboard Fleet Activities, Yokosuka visited Nile C. Kinnick High School to speak with students about their experiences in naval education opportunities such as Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) and the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA).
“The mission of these events is to provide students with post-secondary options,” said Foster Jones, Nile C. Kinnick High School’s guidance counselor. “Being overseas there are not as many resources for our students as there might be for a stateside student. Students in the states can visit potential schools or get internships, so we try to pull from our greatest resource, the community.”
During the event, Cmdr. John Stephens, executive officer of Region Legal Service Office, Japan, spoke to students about his experiences while participating in the University of Michigan’s NROTC program. He spoke about what a day in the life of a NROTC Midshipmen was like to give the students a better understanding of what the program entails.
“It’s important to let the students know how many options are out there,” said Stephens. “I didn’t have this opportunity when I was in High School, so I am excited to speak to the students and answer their questions.”
The next presentation was provided by Lcdr. Jed Espiritu, Officer-In-Charge, Personnel Support Detachment, Yokosuka, an alumnus of the USNA. Espiritu used his prior experience to describe the day-to-day life of a Naval Academy Midshipmen.
“I think it’s important to let students know that there is a singular institution out there that can help them gain commission in the Navy that’s tuition free and provides them all their education and an opportunity to serve their country,” said Espiritu.
After each session, students were invited to ask questions to gain a clearer understanding of the Navy’s mission. Students were given the opportunity to learn more about career paths that could be open to them if they were to choose to attend NROTC or USNA.
“I learned a lot about life at the academy and ROTC. I have a lot of knowledge about what they do but I never really realized the weight of it. They really sounded like they enjoyed it,” said Timothy Kohatsu, a 17-year-old senior. “I’m glad I attended this presentation because going to ROTC or the academy is a path that I’m really considering. I am always striving to seek out more information on these topics and, thankfully, these officers were a big help.”