As the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the country this summer, much of the Maritime College community was affected. Perhaps the class with the experience most foreign to normal operations at Fort Schuyler was the incoming freshman, Class of 2024.
Under normal circumstances, when students seek to join the Regiment of Cadets at Maritime College, they are required to participate in a ten-day period of physical training, exposure to military and regimental customs, and seamanship classes known as Indoctrination (INDOC). Due to the need to enforce guidelines designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, INDOC 2020 was delivered in three phases: Phase I (September 4-7), Phase II (October 16-18) and Phase III (October 23-25). The non-consecutive nature of this year’s INDOC allowed the Mariners Under Guidance (MUGs) to have several weeks between the phases, allowing them to become familiarized with the traditions and rules of the Regiment of Cadets.
MUGs were provided with numerous training modules in the final two phases, including regimental drill, search and rescue, seamanship, fire hose training, lifeboat operation, and various waterfront based training. Striving towards a common goal of gaining practical experience, academic knowledge, and leadership skills, MUGs and the Cadet Leadership have shown remarkable resiliency.
Cadet Randy Duong 4/C stated that the “transition back to the INDOC mindset has been very difficult,” but also noted he “could not have asked for a better group of people to go through INDOC with,” emphasizing that his leadership and peers have been very supportive in these trying times.
In terms of leadership, plans to overhaul the previous leadership model were in place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and for the first time, 1/C cadets were integrated into the INDOC experience while 2/C cadets served as peer mentors and training officers. The change now allowed inclusion of 1/C cadets and their extensive knowledge. Most of these cadets took the task to heart, striving to educate and discipline their charges, and helping them integrate into the Regiment of Cadets. For Cadet Kieran McLaughlin 2/C, who served in INDOC last year, this year has been a learning experience for him as well as his MUGs. “I have definitely grown as a person,” he stated. “I’ve improved not only as a leader, but as a member of the Maritime Community.” While the INDOC staff faced its own unique challenges, they managed to keep the INDOC experience as genuine and educating as in previous years.
Now that Phase III of INDOC is complete, we congratulate and welcome the MUG class of 2024 into the Regiment of Cadets.
Photos of INDOC 2020 Phases I, II & III are available here.