By: Ensign Eric Koch, USN
This past summer, I spent five weeks in Newport, RI for the Officer Development School (ODS). While at ODS, I learned about the Navy and also learned some valuable leadership skills that will be useful as an officer. Another great aspect of training was the ability to meet other students from across the nation. One of the focuses during training was to teach us how to correctly wear the uniform. Preparation for my uniform inspections required quite a bit of effort; from getting my hair cut and polishing my shoes, to trimming off those little threads that hang off your clothes. While at first, some of the regulations seemed ridiculous, it didn’t take me long to appreciate why the military has such high standards. I realized it the first time I put on my uniform. As a shiver went down my spine, I felt a sense of pride that I had never felt before.
On the fourth of July, my class was invited to march in the Bristol, Rhode Island parade. This particular Fourth of July parade is one the oldest in America. The crowd began applauding as we started marching and did not stop until the parade was over. All I could think to myself was, “I haven’t even done anything yet…” but it didn’t matter. We represented the United States Navy! Each soldier represents the entire Navy, as they have gone before us, fighting to protect our way of life. The media portrays each soldier as a celebrity. While everyone’s goal is to fulfill his or her responsibility to serve the nation, if you step out of rank or exploit others, you are highly scrutinized. For me, I just eagerly await the opportunities that are to come!