by NOVALEE MANZELLA, Petty Officer 3rd Class, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77)
ATLANTIC OCEAN – Every summer future naval officers, known as midshipmen, have the opportunity to go underway with U.S. Navy ships for training opportunities.
For Claire Brophy, a Wakefield High School graduate and currently a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, this particular summer training proved very special because she was united with her father, Rear Adm. Rich Brophy, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 4, during Father’s Day weekend aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77).
“When I started my summer training, I did not even think it was possible that I would cross paths with my dad,” said Midshipman Brophy. “I was excited to see my dad when I landed on the ship, and it was the first time that I got to see him work at-sea.”
There are 22 midshipmen embarked aboard the George H.W. Bush for their summer training. Three midshipmen, including Midshipman Brophy, started off on the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG 103) for three weeks and then took a helicopter to the George H.W. Bush for additional training.
While on George H.W. Bush, Midshipman Brophy trained with shipboard flight deck shooters, so that she could “shoot” her father off the flight deck in his aircraft, an F/A-18 Super Hornet. Shooters are assigned to carriers to signal aircraft when to launch and they ensure the safety of movement on the flight deck.
“Summer training for midshipmen allows prospective officers to see the best of all sides of the Navy, from surface warfare to aviation,” said Midshipman Brophy. “I’m really grateful for the experience to come out to sea and to learn so much.”
Midshipman Brophy utilized her time on the destroyer as a learning experience.
“Personally, I’m glad I got the chance to go to a destroyer for the majority of my training,” she said. “To work closely with both the enlisted crew and the officers was really unique. The enlisted truly run on the show on the destroyer. I genuinely enjoyed seeing and learning more about the Sailors and their jobs. I particularly liked working behind the scenes with the culinary specialists and food-service attendants. They work so hard and have some long days.”
Midshipman Brophy aspires to be a pilot and hopes to follow in the footsteps of her dad, grandfather and great-grandfather. On her mother’s side of the family, her great-grandfather and grandfather both flew jets.
With the remaining scheduled training aboard the George H.W. Bush, Midshipman Brophy gets to see up close and personal the path she wants to take in the U.S. Navy, being a fighter pilot.
“Coming aboard the aircraft carrier really solidified my desire to be a pilot,” said Midshipman Brophy. “To see first-hand the men and women who take flight in action was inspiring and exciting.”
Rear Adm. Brophy considers this time spent with his daughter as a time that he will cherish forever.
“I am extremely proud of my daughter, as I’m sure all parents are of their children who have selflessly decided that they want to serve their country,” he said. “The training provided to midshipmen during the summer is critical for their overall development as leaders and understanding of various communities within the U.S. Navy. It was great to be able to share my passion for flying and for the Navy with my daughter on the George H.W. Bush.”
The George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group is underway completing a certification exercise to increase warfighting capability before a future deployment.