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UH Midshipmen Participate in PACFLT Summer Internship Program

11 September 2023

From Chief Petty Officer Jonathan Trejo, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - University of Hawaii Naval ROTC midshipmen completed a summer internship program at U.S. Pacific Fleet on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Aug. 31.
Lt. Christopher Shaw (Left), from Plaquemine, Louisiana, communications officer assigned to Unmanned Surface Vessel Division One, explains to University of Hawaii Navy ROTC midshipmen the operational capabilities of the unmanned surface vessel Ranger during a tour of the ship on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Aug. 16, 2023. The midshipmen are participating in a Navy summer internship program at U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Lt. Christopher Shaw (Left), from Plaquemine, Louisiana, communications officer assigned to Unmanned Surface Vessel Division One, explains to University of Hawaii Navy ROTC midshipmen the operational capabilities of the unmanned surface vessel Ranger during a tour of the ship on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Aug. 16, 2023. The midshipmen are participating in a Navy summer internship program at U.S. Pacific Fleet. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jonathan B. Trejo)
Lt. Christopher Shaw (Left), from Plaquemine, Louisiana, communications officer assigned to Unmanned Surface Vessel Division One, explains to University of Hawaii Navy ROTC midshipmen the operational capabilities of the unmanned surface vessel Ranger during a tour of the ship on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Aug. 16, 2023. The midshipmen are participating in a Navy summer internship program at U.S. Pacific Fleet.
230816-N-XG464-1033
Lt. Christopher Shaw (Left), from Plaquemine, Louisiana, communications officer assigned to Unmanned Surface Vessel Division One, explains to University of Hawaii Navy ROTC midshipmen the operational capabilities of the unmanned surface vessel Ranger during a tour of the ship on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Aug. 16, 2023. The midshipmen are participating in a Navy summer internship program at U.S. Pacific Fleet. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jonathan B. Trejo)
Photo By: Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jonathan Trejo
VIRIN: 230816-N-XG464-1033


PACFLT, through partnership with UH, designed the paid internship program for Navy and Marine Corps ROTC students who do not have ROTC scholarships. This internship afforded the midshipmen a form of immersive training comparable to that experienced by U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen and Navy/Marine ROTC scholarship holders.

“I thought this would be a great use of my time to get accustomed to the many different sides of the Navy,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Dylan Verano, from Ewa Beach, Hawaii. “I’m currently not on scholarship so during the summer I had nothing to do besides summer classes.”

The majority of the midshipmen had limited exposure to the Navy prior to joining the ROTC program at UH. The internship was structured to give them a glimpse of what it’s like to work at the Pacific Fleet headquarters and other Navy commands on the island.

“My favorite part about the program is all of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities you don’t get in units on the mainland,” said Midshipman 3rd Class Aemlia Concepcion, from Livermore, California. “Being at PACFLT, we get to meet all of these flag officers who want to talk to us, tour the ships that are stationed here, and learn about the history of Pearl Harbor.”

University of Hawaii Navy ROTC Midshipman 3rd Class Amelia Concepcion, from Livermore, California, dons a firefighting ensemble during general firefighting training on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Aug. 9, 2023. The midshipmen are participating in a Navy summer internship program at U.S. Pacific Fleet.
University of Hawaii Navy ROTC Midshipman 3rd Class Amelia Concepcion, from Livermore, California, dons a firefighting ensemble during general firefighting training on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Aug. 9, 2023. The midshipmen are participating in a Navy summer internship program at U.S. Pacific Fleet. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jonathan B. Trejo)
University of Hawaii Navy ROTC Midshipman 3rd Class Amelia Concepcion, from Livermore, California, dons a firefighting ensemble during general firefighting training on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Aug. 9, 2023. The midshipmen are participating in a Navy summer internship program at U.S. Pacific Fleet.
230809-N-XG464-1158
University of Hawaii Navy ROTC Midshipman 3rd Class Amelia Concepcion, from Livermore, California, dons a firefighting ensemble during general firefighting training on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Aug. 9, 2023. The midshipmen are participating in a Navy summer internship program at U.S. Pacific Fleet. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jonathan B. Trejo)
Photo By: Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jonathan Trejo
VIRIN: 230809-N-XG464-1158


Throughout the summer, the students participated in a variety of activities and training events, to include small-boat handling, anti-terrorism force protection drills, and shipboard damage control training.

“There’s obviously been a lot of time and effort put into the internship,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Nathaniel Gawan, from Ewa Beach, Hawaii. “It’s not just ‘go here and we’ll show you what we do,’ but we participate to the full maximum level they are able to allow us.”

University of Hawaii Navy ROTC Midshipman 2nd Class Dylan Verano (Left), from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, and Midshipman 2nd Class Raphael Blair (Right), from Oahu, Hawaii, practices line handling drills on a small boat at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, June 29, 2023. The midshipmen are participating in a Navy summer internship program at U.S. Pacific Fleet.
University of Hawaii Navy ROTC Midshipman 2nd Class Dylan Verano (Left), from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, and Midshipman 2nd Class Raphael Blair (Right), from Oahu, Hawaii, practices line handling drills on a small boat at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, June 29, 2023. The midshipmen are participating in a Navy summer internship program at U.S. Pacific Fleet. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Gavin Arnoldhendershot)
University of Hawaii Navy ROTC Midshipman 2nd Class Dylan Verano (Left), from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, and Midshipman 2nd Class Raphael Blair (Right), from Oahu, Hawaii, practices line handling drills on a small boat at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, June 29, 2023. The midshipmen are participating in a Navy summer internship program at U.S. Pacific Fleet.
230629-N-AQ156-1021
University of Hawaii Navy ROTC Midshipman 2nd Class Dylan Verano (Left), from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, and Midshipman 2nd Class Raphael Blair (Right), from Oahu, Hawaii, practices line handling drills on a small boat at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, June 29, 2023. The midshipmen are participating in a Navy summer internship program at U.S. Pacific Fleet. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Gavin Arnoldhendershot)
Photo By: MCSA Gavin Arnoldhendershot
VIRIN: 230629-N-AQ156-1021


The midshipmen were assigned a research project on two topics, which they would create and present a brief to a flag officer at the end of the program. Research subjects included unmanned systems and lessons learned from recent world conflicts that could be implemented in the Pacific.

“Skills that are important to a young officer aren’t just their technical skills, but also being able to speak, think critically and write are just so important,” said Patrick Molenda, a PACFLT advisor for the internship program.

As part of their research project, the midshipmen ran a full wargame on new software-driven technology at PACFLT to test their hypotheses.

“Getting to learn more about the high-level operational side and being able to see why decisions are made helps put everything into perspective,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Nathaniel Coleman, from Thousand Oaks, California. “It gives you a better understanding of what’s going on in the Navy.”

University of Hawaii ROTC midshipmen tour the bridge of the guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) during a Navy summer internship program at U.S. Pacific Fleet on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, July 13, 2023.
University of Hawaii ROTC midshipmen tour the bridge of the guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) during a Navy summer internship program at U.S. Pacific Fleet on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, July 13, 2023. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Gavin Arnoldhendershot)
University of Hawaii ROTC midshipmen tour the bridge of the guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) during a Navy summer internship program at U.S. Pacific Fleet on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, July 13, 2023.
UH Midshipmen Tour Chung-Hoon
University of Hawaii ROTC midshipmen tour the bridge of the guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) during a Navy summer internship program at U.S. Pacific Fleet on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, July 13, 2023. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Gavin Arnoldhendershot)
Photo By: MCSA Gavin Arnoldhendershot
VIRIN: 230713-N-AQ156-1012


This was the second iteration of the PACFLT-sponsored internship program. UH’s Naval (Naval includes both Navy and Marines Corps member) ROTC program was founded in 2021, and is the nation’s newest Naval ROTC unit, with more than 40 midshipmen enrolled.

“I’m a big believer in the program,” said Molenda. “From what I see of this up-and-coming generation, we’re in good hands. It was eye-watering to see how quickly they were able to grasp this pretty complex wargaming system. Anyone who thinks they aren’t going to carry the torch, well they’re not looking at them close enough because I’m here to tell you, they’re very impressive.”
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