To the editor:
Five sailing vessels of the U.S. Naval Academy recently arrived home after a two-week journey that took them, 40 midshipmen and 10 safety advisers on a round trip between Annapolis, Md., and Rockport.
The reason for the journey was to provide a real and practical offshore experience to help these students and future Navy and Marine Corps officers realize the value of their professional studies and to appreciate the dynamics of ocean and atmosphere.
It was also an opportunity for these midshipmen to learn more about their own limits and to help instill in them some of the character traits that are typified by the names of the vessels: Courage, Honor, Commitment, Daring and Brave.
The residents of Rockport and Gloucester, however, provided lessons that we could not provide at sea. These were lessons of how a community can come together to show these young (and old) sailors that the citizens of this nation care deeply about the young people who volunteer for military service.
In our overnight stay at Gloucester, goodness came in the form of a warm shower, a hot meal in town, and fun at your St. Peter's Fiesta activities. During our weekend in Rockport, it came in the form of sharing of homes, friendship, sportsmanship on the playing field, bountiful meals, and unparalleled community spirit.
Behind the scenes, but obvious, was the superb organizational skills and hard work of the Rockport Navy Committee, led by Roger Lesch and Sharon Grandmaison.
Everyone who acted as family sponsors and those who helped us with transportation to events and frequent visits to the boats at their moorings made our stay even more enjoyable.
Residents of Rockport and Gloucester, thank you! Thank you for inviting us to your harbors and homes. Thank you for your care and for your patriotism. We will all treasure the memories of this trip far into the future.
Carl E. Wick, D.Sc.
Executive Officer, NA-29 Brave
Professor, Dept. of Weapons and Systems Engineering
U.S. Naval Academy