Story Number: NNS140624-32Release Date: 6/24/2014 10:29:00 PM
By Mass Communication Specialist David Flewellyn, USS Antietam Public Affairs
USS Antietam, At Sea (NNS) -- Life on a forward-deployed Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser can be a unique experience compared to other Navy assignments.
A hectic schedule, port calls in foreign countries and frequent patrols are just a few of the experiences that await Sailors ready to take on the challenge of being a part of forward-deployed naval forces (FDNF).
During June, five midshipmen - four from the U.S. Naval Academy and one from Georgia Tech - got a taste of what life is like as a part of FDNF. The midshipmen boarded USS Antietam (CG 54) in Yokosuka, Japan and sailed with the ship for two weeks while on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations.
"We did a lot while we were aboard," said Midshipman First Class Samantha DaSilva, from Hellertown, Pennsylvania. "We got to (operate the helm) during an underway replenishment. We saw the 5-inch and the (close-in weapons system) shoot, and I got to shoot an (M4 service rifle)."
Midshipman First Class A'Journae Webb, from Detroit, Michigan, enjoyed training in a rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB).
"It was so much fun going fast," said Webb. "Everyone on board the ship was awesome. They all work so hard."
The visit was part of the midshipmen's summer cruise training program, which is designed to enhance their professional development.
"The purpose of these visits is to introduce midshipmen to the tasks at hand and the daily routine of life at sea," said Ensign Oheneba Duodu, Antietam's midshipmen training officer. "This summer cruise serves a larger purpose of enabling midshipmen to make informed career decisions about their future naval careers."
For the midshipmen, life on a cruiser was different than anything they had previously experienced.
"My last cruise was on a much larger ship," said DaSilva. "This was a very different experience. It felt more tightly knit, and makes me really think I might want to try and get on a cruiser or destroyer."
Antietam is on patrol with the George Washington Carrier Strike Group in the 7th Fleet area of operations supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
For more news from Commander Task Force 70, visit www.navy.mil/local/ctf70/ .