Commissioning 2023

Monday, June 5, 2023
An Ensign cover and program pamphlet lay on a balcony table with Independence Hall in the background

On May 13th, 2023, the University of Pennsylvania NROTC Consortium commissioned nine Midshipmen as Ensigns and 2nd Lieutenants in the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The commissioning ceremony took place at the historic National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Commanding Officer and Professor of Naval Science Colonel Vincent J. Ciuccoli offers his remarks from a podium
Colonel Vincent J. Ciuccoli, Commanding Officer and Professor of Naval Science, shares his insightful remarks, imparting valuable wisdom and guidance to our newly commissioned officers as they embark on their journey in the United States Navy and Marine Corps.

Below are photos of each of the ensigns and 2nd lieutenants and their first duty stations.

CAPT Mole gives his commissioning ceremony speech from a podium

The ceremony’s Guest of Honor was Captain Kurtis A. Mole. CAPT Mole hails from Bowie, Maryland. He enlisted in the Navy as a Cryptologic Technician and later commissioned through the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelors of Science in Economics and a minor in Chinese. CAPT Mole also holds an Information Systems Operations Certificate from the Naval Postgraduate School, a Masters of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, and a Masters of Business Administration from National University. He is currently slated to report to CTF-70 in Yokosuka, Japan as Information Warfare Commander. 

The commissioning ceremony hosted two university guests, Ms. Sharon Smith and Dr. Steven Weber.

Ms. Sharon Smith applauds in her front row seat
The unit was privileged to host Ms. Sharon Smith, Associate Vice Provost for University Life at the University of Pennsylvania.
2nd LT Conway stands with his family and Dr. Weber with his commission warrant in hand
We were also privileged to host Dr. Steven Weber from Drexel Univesrity. Dr. Weber serves as a full Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and is the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Curriculum and Education at Drexel.

We are grateful to all our graduates for their dedication and service to our unit. We extend our heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to these exceptional individuals as they embark on their new chapters.

MIDN Hannah Wang

Midshipman Third Class and a rising Second-Year Student at the University of Pennsylvania

Original article written by Ensign O’Connor of the University of Pennsylvania. 

Spring Review 2023

Friday, May 12, 2023
On April 21, 2023, the University of Pennsylvania NROTC performed the Spring Review ceremony with their sister battalion at Villanova University.
Spring Review is a long-standing military tradition, beginning with formation and awards, and culminating in a Pass in Review, wherein the midshipmen are marched past a reviewing officer. 
The University of Pennsylvania Battalion in formation
The University of Pennsylvania Battalion in formation
Coach Wright addressing the Philadelphia Consortium
Coach Wright addressing the Philadelphia Consortium

This year’s reviewing officer was the renowned former Villanova Men’s Basketball coach Jay Wright. Coach Wright served as the Villanova basketball coach from 2001 to 2022, garnering numerous awards and accolades – in 2021, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. 

During the ceremony, Coach Wright gave an inspiring speech on the values all Midshipmen hold nearest to their core: honor, courage, and commitment – in particular, he noted how these values shape lives and set a high standard for future officers. He is an upstanding member of the community, and the entire Philadelphia Consortium was honored by his performance as the Reviewing Officer for this most august ceremony.

Midshipmen receiving awards
Embodying these core values were the awardees of the ceremony. Senior midshipmen are traditionally honored at the Spring Review ceremony for exemplary performance in their battalions.

Each of these midshipmen have demonstrated their tenacity and grit in their dedication to the unit, and will undoubtedly continue to exemplify these values throughout their careers.

Midshipman Scurio passing command to Midshipman Tinney

The Spring Review Ceremony also included the Change of Command ceremony. Midshipman first-class Dominic Scurio transferred command of the University of Pennsylvania Battalion to Midshipman second-class William Tinney. In this ceremony, the unit flag is handed from the outgoing to the incoming Battalion Commanding Officer, and the new BCO takes command of the formation. Change of Command occurs at the end of each semester to prepare the battalion for a successful next term, and the ceremony is an essential part of the transition.

For the freshman class, this was their first Spring Review, and it served as the culminating event of the year, bringing to mind the rigor and commitment that NROTC calls for. For the seniors, this was their last Spring Review, and served as a reminder of the years they have spent dedicated to making the unit a more effective institution. For all, it was an important milestone in their development into better leaders. 


Ms. Barbara Hewitt, executive director of Penn’s Career Services
Penn MIDN with Ms. Barbara Hewitt, Executive Director of Penn’s Career Services
Dr. Rebecca Weidensaul, Drexel’s Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Success
Drexel MIDN with Dr. Rebecca Weidensaul, Drexel’s Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Success
Both Battalions after Spring Review
Both Battalions after Spring Review

MIDN Hannah Wang

Midshipman Fourth Class and First-Year Student at the University of Pennsylvania

Original article written by Midshipman Fourth Class Carney of Drexel University and Midshipman Third Class Suh of the University of Pennsylvania. 

Marine Options Participate in FEX

Friday, April 28, 2023

Last weekend, the University of Pennsylvania Navy ROTC’s Marine Option midshipmen participated in a weekend-long Field Exercise (FEX) at Quantico Virginia. The overall FEX was organized by the George Washington University’s NROTC program, with Marine Options coming to Quantico from as far away as SUNY Maritime.

Marines in the field
MIDN Button looking motivated at FEX
Pictured: MIDN Button, looking very motivated.

Marine Options conducted a variety of training evolutions, including the obstacle and endurance course, Small Unit Leadership Evaluations (SULEs), patrolling, Leadership Reaction Course (LRC), and pugil stick fights (MCMAP). They spent the entire time in the field, learning and/or practicing valuable field skills, including sleeping in a bivouac system outdoors.

Overall, this Field Exercise was a good learning opportunity, and provided a good opportunity to practice skills for underclassmen, good reps before OCS for 2/C, and an opportunity for 1/C to practice the fundamentals, but also higher skills like terrain association and basic platoon level attacks. 

MIDN Hannah Wang

Midshipman Fourth Class and First-Year Student at the University of Pennsylvania

Original article written by Midshipman Third Class Suh of the University of Pennsylvania. Adapted for this forum by MIDN Wang.

Military Pride in the Philadelphia Community

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Moto Run with Army ROTC

Philadelphia Navy and Army ROTC at Philadelphia Museum of Art

This week the University of Pennsylvania Navy ROTC performed a Moto run alongside Drexel Army ROTC. Midshipmen and cadets sang cadence songs as they ran to the Rocky steps outside of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The run put an important spotlight on our military pride and unit culture within the Philadelphia community while also strengthening cross-branch cooperation.

We are incredibly thankful for our Battalion Commander Midshipman Scurio, our Physical Training Instructor Midshipman Jacobs, and Drexel Army ROTC Event Coordinator, CDT Mackenzie Greiner, for setting up this important event!

MIDN Hannah Wang

Midshipman Fourth Class and First-Year Student at the University of Pennsylvania

Original article written by Midshipman First Class Conway of the University of Pennsylvania. Adapted for this forum by MIDN Wang.

Alumni Spotlight

Friday, February 17, 2023

LCDR Amanda Day and Capt Gabriel Benjamin

The University of Pennsylvania NROTC Battalion celebrates Class of 2012 Alumni USN Lieutenant Commander Amanda Day (maiden name Spaeder) and Class of 2014 Alumni USMC Captain Gabriel Benjamin. The battalion proudly recognizes alumni contributions to our great nation long after they leave our unit and earn their commission. 

LCDR Day was the Battalion Commanding Officer in the Spring of 2012. Following graduation and commissioning, she served as a Surface Warfare Officer on the USS PRINCETON (CG 59), the USS PHILIPPINE SEA (CG 58), the German Bundesmarine frigates FGS SACHSEN (F 219) and FGS HAMBURG (F220). 

Fluent in German, Arabic, and French, which she studied at the Defense Language Institute, she then laterally transferred and became a distinguished Foreign Area Officer (FAO). 

LCDR Day’s next duty station will be in Abu Dhabi, UAE, where she will serve as a Security Cooperation Officer.

Receiving the award from NPS President VADM Rondeau -- September 2022
LCDR Day received the Naval Postgraduate School’s Superior Service award in the fall of 2022 for her efforts performing volunteer work with the local Girl Scout troop in Monterey, California. The Superior Service Award recognizes community engagement and sustained excellence in academic performance.

Since the fall of 2020, LCDR Day has volunteered over 125 hours each year. She helped coordinate badges and events with Junior, Daisy, and Brownie Girl Scout levels. In 2022, her efforts contributed to Girl Scouts earning 17 badges and seven girls earning their Bronze Award. The Bronze Award is the first of three nationally recognized community service-based awards Scouts can earn through their volunteer efforts. LCDR Day served as the Point of Contact for the community garden at the Girl Scouts’ school.

LCDR Day graduated with distinction from the Fall 2022 National Security Affairs Department. Bravo Zulu Lieutenant Commander Day!

Capt. Benjamin current headshot

UPENN NROTC Battalion also recognizes USMC Captain Gabriel Benjamin. 

Captain Benjamin is a 2014 Drexel University graduate of the PENN NROTC Battalion. Captain Benjamin received the Naval Postgraduate School’s Marine Corps Association Superior Service Award for Outstanding U.S. Marine Student. “This award is presented to an outstanding student based on quality point rating (GPA), thesis/capstone project, curricular, and extracurricular activities.” 

Captain Benjamin received an M.A. in Eurasian Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in September 2022 in addition to his M.S. in Cyber Security from National University.

Since graduation, Captain Benjamin has excelled in his career, deploying to Okinawa, Japan, Syria, Iraq, and Kuwait from 2016 to late 2019 in support of various foreign partner exercises and military operations. Captain Benjamin was also attached to the Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). He has overseen many communications and cyberspace operations.

Fluent in Russian, Captain Benjamin now serves as a Eurasian Foreign Area Officer out of Riga, Latvia where he supports U.S. foreign policy efforts in Eurasia in multiple capacities.

Capt. Benjamin in Service Dress Blue uniform
Capt. Benjamin- CORTRAMID
Captain Benjamin in 2012 as a Midshipman
Capt. Benjamin- CORTRAMID 2

While at NPS, Captain Benjamin achieved an impressive 3.84 cumulative GPA with a complementary 3.8 GPA at the Defense Language Institute (DLI). He also completed an abundance of volunteer hours for various non-profit organizations. Serving as the Treasurer for the Foundation Wine Club with the NPS Foundation and Alumni Association, he recorded 130 volunteer hours, conducting annual budget negotiations, training new personnel, and reconciling the club treasury balance. Additionally, Captain Benjamin logged 100 hours serving as the Financial Operations Secretary with Grace Church Monterey Bay, establishing an automated cost management system and an Amazon non-profit business account while ensuring the financial policy was synchronized with the organizational mission. In addition to Financial Operations Secretary, he also served as a security consultant with the church, advising on risk management policies and assisting in security equipment research development. Semper Fidelis.

MIDN Hannah Wang

Midshipman Fourth Class and First-Year Student at the University of Pennsylvania

Post adapted from article written by ENS Overend and Midshipman Fourth Class Himes of the University of Pennsyvlania.

Fall Battalion Change of Command Ceremony

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

In the military, the Change of Command ceremony is a common but important event that takes place when a new commander accepts responsibility for the unit. The University of Pennsylvania Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps conducted its change of command on Friday, 02DEC2022, during which time MIDN First Class Conway passed the reins to MIDN First Class Scurio.

"I am proud of the work we have done this semester and I can’t wait to see the work we continue to do."

"I will serve you to the best of my abilities and I want to continue to grow and excel as a Battalion."

Post adapted from article written by Midshipman Fourth Class Richmond of Temple University.

VADM Cheeseman, Chief of Naval Personnel, Visits Penn NROTC

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Vice Admiral Cheeseman, Chief of Naval Personnel, visited the Philadelphia NROTC Consortium on Monday 14NOV2022 to address the unit and tour Penn’s and Drexel’s campus. VADM Cheeseman also met with Drexel University President, Mr. John Fry.

4th Class Midshipmen Bond over Leadership Lessons

Monday, November 7, 2022
4th Class Midshipmen and their upperclassmen mentors pose before departing Outdoor Odyssey after a week of intensive programming.
4th Class Midshipmen and their upperclassmen mentors pose before departing Outdoor Odyssey after a week of intensive programming.

During Halloween weekend, 4th Class Midshipmen and active duty staff from the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova University Naval ROTC units took part in an overnight retreat to Outdoor Odyssey in western Pennsylvania. Outdoor Odyssey is a camp founded by retired Marine Corps General T.S. Jones that includes adventurous activities paired with leadership and team-building lessons that transfer to everyday life.

4th Class Midshipman Wang prepares to take a "leap of faith" at the high ropes course.

Midshipmen participated in many events including a “leap of faith.” Midshipmen, secured to a harness, climbed a 15 foot ladder onto a wooden beam. After walking to the edge of the beam, the Midshipmen would jump off, attempting to grab a bar hanging from the ceiling. This exercise allowed Midshipmen to conquer their fear of heights and trust their gear.

Midshipmen were also split into smaller groups and participated in “Leadership Reaction Courses.” Interspersed through the mountainous terrain of Outdoor Odyssey are wooden structures that represent real-world obstacles. Each Midshipman was given an opportunity to lead others in overcoming the obstacles.

Midshipmen lead each other through Leadership Reaction Courses specifically designed to test their teamwork and problem-solving capabilities.
Midshipmen sit around a campfire at night

Later in the night Midshipmen were able to set around the campfire and listen to the upperclassmen mentors discuss different leadership theories, such as emotional bank accounts and the 5-4-3-2-1 most important words of leadership.

Emotional bank accounts convey the amount of trust that has been built up in a relationship. It’s the feeling of safety you have with another human being. When the trust account is high, communication is easy and effective.

“During Outdoor Odyssey the experiences in which I felt I learned the most about leadership were the obstacles which we went through in small groups. Our ability to work as a team progressed as we went along and faced more challenges. At first my group struggled in communication, and it felt more like an individual task. However, as we rotated the leadership positions, we learned the importance of hearing everyone’s ideas and, as the leader, taking all the best ideas your group had to offer into one plan. I learned that leadership is not simply delegating tasks but listening to your subordinates and bringing their different ideas into one solution.”

                            Midshipman Foran on his experiences at Outdoor Odyssey

Midshipmen walking through Flight 93 National Memorial
Flight 93 National Memorial in a distance against a blue sky

To conclude the weekend, Midshipmen and active duty staff paid a visit to the Flight 93 National Memorial. Midshipmen were able to witness first hand the crash sight of one of the four planes hijacked on September, 11th 2001.

Article adapted from original story by 4th Class MIDN Pryor, edited by 4th Class MIDN Wang.

UPenn Midshipmen Participate in Military Excellence Competition

Friday, November 4, 2022
Cornell MEC

On the weekend of October 21st, nine University of Pennsylvania Midshipmen (MIDN) traveled to Cornell University, where they participated in the 2022 Cornell University Invitational Drill Competition. Combined with MIDN from the Villanova NROTC Unit, they competed in a wide range of athletic and drill events. Other schools in attendance included the Naval Academy, West Point, the Coast Guard Academy, the University of Rochester, the College of the Holy Cross, SUNY Maritime, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The events included a Color Guard competition, Platoon Drill Competition, Squad Drill Competition, Individual Drill competition, Individual 5k Race, 4x400m Relay, and 4×100 Freestyle Relay. Over the course of the weekend, University of Pennsylvania midshipmen competed to test their athletic and military skills, displaying to the rest of the attendees the caliber of midshipmen that our Unit creates and supports.

Marine Officer Instructor, Captain Torres, participated in a Staff Fitness Competition that included ammo can presses, rowing, and sprints around the track, finishing with a lap around the 200m track while carrying the ammo cans.

The Color Guard competed against more than ten other Color Guard teams. They completed movements such as Left and Right Wheels, Counter Marches, Eyes Right, and Presentation of the Colors. Below MIDN Tinney, MIDN Zegarksi, MIDN Button, MIDN Grady, and MIDN Robbins conduct a Left-Wheel and Presenting the Colors.

UPenn midshipmen participate in the Color Guard competition, conducting a "Left Wheel."
UPenn Color Guard executes "Presenting the Colors."

MIDN Himes, MIDN Conway, and MIDN O’Connor all competed in the 5k, pictured below. The 4×400 relay team consisted of MIDN Dwyer, MIDN Grady, MIDN Himes, and MIDN Conway, while the 4×100 Freestyle relay consisted of MIDN Grady, MIDN Conway, MIDN O’Connor, and MIDN Robbins. The weekend proved to be a valuable test of military drill skills and athletic performance. Brazo Zulu, Midshipmen!

MIDN O'Connor crushing his 5k race.
MIDN Conway, the Battalion Commanding Officer, pushing his way through 3.1 miles.
MIDN Himes, a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, represents the consortium in the 5K race.
MIDN Dwyer off to an electric start in the relay race.

Article adapted from original story by Battalion Executive Officer, MIDN Robbins.

Kilo Company Integrates with Battalion

Sunday, October 23, 2022

On September 23rd, 2022, the University of Pennsylvania Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) welcomed the newest class of Midshipmen to our battalion after their graduation from Kilo Company. Kilo Company is an intensive two-week New Student Orientation Program designed to acclimate 4th Class Midshipmen to the unit, and provide them with the skills to be successful college students who are also burgeoning Naval and Marine Corps Officers.

Kilo Company midshipmen raising their right hand and reciting the Oath of Office

Incoming 4/C Midshipmen’s journey began on Onboarding Day, when they reported to the unit for the first time. One of the most important parts of Onboarding Day is reciting the Oath of Office, which was administered by our Commanding Officer, Colonel Ciuccoli. The midshipmen were then given a tour of the facilities, issued their uniforms, and received an introductory brief on NROTC.

4/C Midshipmen recite the Oath of Office

MIDN 4/C Andre Richmond, a freshman midshipman who graduated on the 23rd, noted that “Kilo Company sets the standard for this Consortium.” He stated that all midshipmen, whether or not they were able to attend the three-week New Student Indoctrination at Naval Station Great Lakes over the summer, had much to gain from the Consortium’s New Student Orientation.

Gunnery Sergeant Martinez, unit Assistant Marine Officer Instructor, teaches 4/C Midshipmen the fundamentals of drill.

Gunnery Sergeant Martinez, Assistant Marine Officer Instructor, teaches Kilo Company the basics of drill.

Midshipmen doing squats on Franklin Field

At 0600 on Friday the 23rd of September, all twelve midshipmen marched to historic Franklin Field where they began their final evolution, a physical crucible, before joining the battalion. After a 20 minute warm up, the midshipmen did nonstop calisthenics for 40 minutes, consisting of exercises like planks, jump squats, and sprints.

Midshipmen participating in Crucible on Penn Park
Midshipmen doing pushups during Crucible on Penn Park field

Midshipmen then transitioned to Penn Park where they continued to physically train (PT) another forty minutes. The exercises included burpee broad jumps, push-ups, flutter kicks, and buddy drags. Colonel Ciucolli joined the intense training, as well.

Battalion Commanding Officer, Midshipman Conway, addresses Kilo Company Commander, Midshipman Mole.


Kilo Company then returned to Franklin Field, where the remainder of the Battalion was waiting to receive the 4/C midshipmen for their integration with the rest of the Battalion. Pictured left is our Battalion Commanding Officer, MIDN 1/C Ian Conway, addressing the Kilo Company Commander, MIDN 1/C Mole, and the rest of Kilo company.

Thank you to the Kilo Company staff for their dedication to training the future of this unit. 4th Class orientation is an incredible responsibility that the Kilo Company Staff did not take lightly. Staff included Company Commander MIDN 1/C Kara Mole and Platoon Commanders MIDN 2/C William Tinney and MIDN 3/C Bryan Suh. Finally, Bravo Zulu to the 4th Class Midshipmen for successfully graduating Kilo Company! The Battalion is excited to welcome you into our unit family and help unlock your full leadership potential during your time at UPenn NROTC.

Original article written by Midshipman First Class Jorgensen of Temple University and Midshipman First Class Mole of the University of Pennsylvania.