Photo Information

Midshipmen practice military operations in urban terrain training using simulated rounds during the Professional Training of Midshipmen program aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, July 16, 2015. The PROTRAMID program is designed to expose midshipmen to opportunities for junior Marine Corps officers in order to bring interest in a Marine Corps commission.

Photo by Cpl. Seth Starr

The Midshipman Experience

24 Jul 2015 | Cpl. Tony Simmons I Marine Expeditionary Force

Second-year students from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland arrived aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, July 13, 2015, to participate in the Professional Training of Midshipmen program.

The purpose of the PROTRAMID program is to expose midshipmen to opportunities for junior Marine Corps officers in order to help them decide whether they will pursue a Marine Corps or Navy commission.

“I want them to take away an appreciation for not only what the Marine Corps does, but to recognize how hard the Marines and sailors they may be leading work to get the job done,” said Major John McNulty, an English instructor and the PROTRAMID officer in charge for the Naval Academy.

To get a better understanding about the Marine Corps ground combat force, midshipmen were brought to Camp Pendleton to participate in week-long training.

To show midshipmen some of the capabilities of Marines and their equipment, they began training at the rappel tower and gas chamber where they received periods of military education and hands on experience with Mission-Oriented Protective Posture gear.

“They did very well when it came to keeping their calm,” said Cpl. Christina Santos, a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense specialist with 1st Marine Logistics Group. “They only coughed a little bit, which is great for a group of people that has never done it before.”

After completing the gas chamber and tower, students broke for lunch before being brought out to a firing range.

“They received a demonstration of 81 and 60 millimeter mortars, followed by a familiarization fire of different weapon systems within an infantry battalion,” said McNulty.

Midshipmen fired M16A4 service rifles, .50 caliber machine guns, M240B machine guns, M249 Squad Automatic Weapons, and M203 and MK-19 grenade launchers during a live fire range after watching an infantry unit conduct platoon attacks.

The following day, midshipmen received classes about amphibious assault vehicles before riding in them.

McNulty said the classes on AAVs and the opportunity to ride on them helped enforce the Marine Corps concept of amphibious assault before taking the midshipmen to a military operations in urban terrain combat town.

During the final two days aboard Camp Pendleton, the midshipmen were split into squads to learn and conduct MOUT training using simulation paintball rounds.

”While I’ve been at the academy I’ve elected to go back to the Marine Corps as an infantryman,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Michael Fleming, a former infantry assaultman for the Marine Corps and student at the Naval Academy. “To be here back at Camp Pendleton in a different uniform, doing the same training, has been the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Traditionally, approximately 20 percent of the midshipmen will decide to join the Marines. The PROTRAMID Program is designed to help show junior year Naval Academy students who may not know which branch to commission under through education and hands-on training.