Wednesday, March 6, 2013

NAICEX 2013 Introducing the team; LCDR John Woods

   Greetings, and thanks for following the USNA Polar Science Program (PSP)!  My name is John Woods, and I am the coordinator for the PSP.  I am originally from a small beach town in NJ, and graduated from the USNA in 2000.  I am currently a Lieutenant Commander METOC (meteorology and oceanography) Officer stationed as a Junior Permanent Military Instructor at USNA, which basically means that I will spend the rest of my career (until 2020) at USNA teaching.  This is a great deal, since I passionately love my current position, and am excited to see our program grow! 
   I have been married to my beautiful wife for over 12 years, and we have 3 great kids Jack (8 and into dinosaurs, all things oceans, and art), Van (5 all about Karate, Power Rangers, and being a Marine one day like Uncle O’sh), and Nell (5, yes twins, who is a girly girl into ballet, dolls, and being a sassy princess).  We keep busy with kid’s sports, play dates, after school programs, and all sorts of activities that seem to never end!  Both of my USNA roommates and a great group of other classmates all live within a mile from us, and we all seem to have growing families in the same age range, so it really is a perfect world for us around Annapolis.
   The Polar Science Program was born when I realized I would be able to complete my career here at USNA.  I was fortunate to get up to the Arctic for the first time in 2009, when we participated in a US Navy Ice Camp 200 miles NORTH of Alaska.  Yes, NORTH of our Northern Most State!  It was a great experience, and really solidified my fascination with this extraordinary environment.  Jackie, one of my MANY polar mentors, once told me that “The Arctic is a place that draws you in, and once you go there, you just want to keep going back”.  Well I really got that bug, and have been fortunate enough to go back each year since, and have brought students along with me each time.  We got to go to Thule Air Force Base in Greenland, and fly in a NASA P-3s within site of the North  Pole, and for the past two years, have been in one of the ‘coolest’ towns in the US, Barrow, AK.  Barrow is the Northern Most city in the US, and the people here are some of the nicest, warmest I have ever come across.  My goal our program is to get as many midshipmen, and future Naval Officers to experience the Arctic Environment, and to use this experience to help them later on in their careers, because I truly believe that the US Navy will have to deal with the rapidly changing conditions up here in their careers.  The PSP is constantly changing students and the Science and Engineering projects that we bring up here are new and varied each year.  These projects culminate the midshipmen’s 4 years of book work, and let them experience and test ‘in the field’, much more exciting than ‘in the classroom’. 

   I have so much more to share, and am excited for you all to follow along!  Please check in regularly, and I would love to begin a conversation with anyone who is interested to discuss any topics at all!  Just get in touch with us via comments or email at Will stay in touch!  LCDR John Woods, USNA Polar Science Program

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