CORTRAMID is designed to give third-class midshipmen a sampling of different career paths that are available to them. The cruise lasts four weeks to allow midshipmen to spend a week with each community—Aviation, Surface, Submarine, and Marines. Aviation Week involves simulator flights, a ride in a T-34 trainer plane, and a chance to see the aviation community in day-to-day life. During Surface Week, midshipmen are attached to a ship and are able to get a taste of shipboard life and some of how the surface community works. The highlight of Submarine Week is a stay on a submarine, where they get to taste outstanding submarine food and see how the submarine force operates. Marine Week is a high-intensity experience where midshipmen participate in a multitude of Marine Corps operations. These include training on a firing range, live fire demonstrations, urban combat simulations, and night exercises. Often viewed as the highlight of the first year in NROTC, CORTRAMID leaves midshipmen better informed on the range of career options available to them upon graduation and commissioning three years down the line.
Second Class Cruise
Second class cruise is a midshipman’s first real Navy or Marine Corps experience. For four to six weeks, they are attached to a unit where they are able to get a true feel for day to day routines, as well as the different jobs and responsibilities that an officer can have. The cruises can be either on a surface ship or submarine for Navy options, or amphibious unit afloat or Mountain Warfare Training Command for Marine options. Locations are wherever Navy and Marine units operate, and past locations have included everywhere from Bahrain to San Diego to Italy. The cruise usually consists of following around an enlisted member of the crew to get a feel for what they do. Learning about and experiencing the lives of enlisted personnel is essential to becoming a conscientious leader, and second-class cruise is the best opportunity to gain insight into the lives of the people they will be commanding.
First Class Cruise
First class cruise puts the midshipmen in the daily routine of a junior officer. It is tailored as best as possible to each midshipman’s preference for service selection, which they express in submitting their service selection packages in the Spring of junior year. Structured to provide exposure to the life of a junior officer, this cruise provides excellent opportunities. Midshipmen attached to air wings often accrue flight hours, and those aboard ships usually spend some time driving and calling out commands. Midshipmen on Special Warfare Cruises have physically demanding experiences, but get a first-hand look at the training and operational schedules of SEAL and EOD units. Also available is an exchange program with another country’s Navy to promote cross-cultural awareness and teamwork with allied navies. In general Midshipmen shadow junior officers and learn what life is like for them. This cruise serves to give first class midshipmen one last hands-on opportunity to learn about life as a Junior Officer before they commission.
First-Class Midshipmen Marine Options attend Marine Corps Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia. This high-intensity course is a prerequisite for becoming a Marine Corps Officer, and Marine Option Midshipmen spend part of their junior year preparing for it.
Nurse Option Cruise
Navy Nurse Option Midshipmen participate in two Nurse Cruises, increasingly becoming integrated into the routine of the unit they join. They are attached to a Nursing Staff on an amphibious ship or aircraft carrier, and will also be sent to shore-based hospitals to gain experience with nursing operations on bases.