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Naval ROTC hosts leadership conference

Sonia Rao | Monday, March 5, 2007

More than 100 midshipmen arrived on campus Friday with 40 of the 56 ROTC programs in the country to participate in Notre Dame’s 12th annual Naval Leadership Weekend. The ROTC members, who were mostly junior undergraduates, came from across the country to listen to speakers discuss what leadership and ethics mean to military officers. “[The speakers] were by far the biggest names we’ve been able to have come in all year so it was a big weekend for all of us,” said Battalion Operations Officer Chase Gund, the event’s coordinator. The cast included Notre Dame graduate Brigadier General Michael Brogan of the U.S. Marine Corps, four-star Admiral Kirkland Donald of the U.S. Navy, Major General Michael Ennis of the Marine Corps and retired Navy Seal Chuck Pfarrer. Topics ranged from giving general advice to young members of Naval ROTC to leadership and “sea stories,” Gund said.”It was basically a packed weekend of lectures, talks and discussion about what it means to be a leader in our field,” Gund said.Military ethics were also a focal point, especially in Saturday’s panel discussion featuring Daniel Dell’orto, a Notre Dame graduate and Deputy General Counsel for the Department of Defense. “The main question throughout [the panel discussion] was, ‘Can you sacrifice some ethics for the security of our country? Where do you draw the line? Where can you bend it and where can you break it?'” Gund said.In addition to Dell’orto, four other panel members to provided different perspectives about the balance of national security and ethics, Gund said. Gund said Brogan discussed the delicate balance between ethics and security during his talk as well. “One thing that stuck out in my head from the weekend was the one line I took away from Brigadier General Brogan,” he said. “It was, ‘The difference between ethic and morals is that morals is choosing between right and wrong, whereas ethics is choosing between right and right.'”