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NAVSCIATTS Waterborne Instructor Course

NAVSCIATTS Launches Waterborne Instructor Course - Coastal


JOHN C. STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. (NNS) -- Thirteen students from seven different countries are set to become the first graduates of the Waterborne Instructor Course - Coastal (WIC-C) offered by the Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School (NAVSCIATTS) on Sept. 26.

NAVSCIATTS, which launched the course at the request of United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), has traditionally offered only a waterborne instructor course for riverine environments, known as WIC-R.

The riverine course was originally designed to support specific requirements from Colombia to help develop riverine mobile trainers, according to Cmdr. John Cowan, NAVSCIATTS commanding officer. Through the success of that first effort, SOUTHCOM saw the benefits of offering similar training programs to other countries in that region of the world.

"The impetus for a coastal version of this course came from SOUTHCOM, who has been leading the Geographic Combatant Commands (GCCs) by following a 'train-the-trainer' approach to Security Cooperation -- a methodology NAVSCIATTS practices daily," Cowan said. "We are seeing an increased demand signal from SOUTHCOM requesting broader opportunities to develop instructors from partner nations as an effective way to enhance regional interoperability and cooperation and build important relationships."

This advanced course is specifically designed for select junior officers and senior enlisted personnel who are graduates of NAVSCIATTS's Patrol Craft Officer - Coastal (PCO-C) course, or personnel with an equivalent level of training but, as NAVSCIATTS leadership stresses, not every PCO-C graduate is an ideal candidate for the WIC-C course.

"Students should be confident, well-spoken, patient, subject-matter-experts with a broad vocabulary to succeed in this course," said the course manager, a Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen currently assigned to NAVSCIATTS.

Classroom lectures and progressive sequencing of full mission profile operational scenarios allow students to fully master the skills needed to carry out small craft coastal missions and provide training to members of their armed forces or civilian equivalent organizations whose primary mission is to interdict illicit contraband, support counter-narcotic operations or provide waterborne Special Operations support in coastal environments, according to the course manager.

"The purpose of the course is for graduates to return to their country as well-prepared, confident instructors who can lead their home country training teams in complex training scenarios as well as provide positive assets for future joint training endeavors," said Bob Emry, NAVSCIATTS assistant learning standards officer and course curriculum developer.

According to the course description, successful graduates of this eight-week course will acquire the advanced skills and knowledge necessary to perform and teach group and individual tasks during day and night evolutions consisting of night vision, GPS and RADAR, introduction to computerized navigation, navigation rules, aids to navigation, plotting, piloting, dead reckoning, over-the-horizon navigation, principles of communications, weapons safety and employment, rules of engagement, mission planning, maritime interdiction operations, insertions and extractions, and board and search procedures.

"Learning in a multinational classroom environment will assist my country in streamlining operations so that my unit, and the region as a whole, can operate more effectively and efficiently," said Lt. Mauricio Serrano, an officer in the El Salvador Navy and a current WIC-C student. "Through this course, I've gained advanced knowledge in security procedures, the value of partnerships and lesson planning procedures that I can take back home to create a more elite unit," he said.

A demanding physical readiness requirement also sets this course apart from others offered at NAVSCIATTS.

Students are required to perform a timed physical fitness test during the first week. Students have to complete a minimum of 42 push-ups, 50 sit-ups, six pull-ups and run 1.5 miles in less than 15 minutes. Students must also perform a 500-yard swim and a float test in combat gear.

WIC-C, along with WIC-R, is an attrition based course. Students who fail to demonstrate patrol craft knowledge, skills, physical fitness and swimming requirements are dropped and returned to their country of origin.

"I received a high-caliber group of students," said the course manager. "They were easy to instruct and arrived skilled in operating in a coastal environment. I was able to add more advanced topics of discussion to the course because of it. It was refreshing and eye-opening."

NAVSCIATTS is the only Department of Navy security cooperation enabling schoolhouse operating under the U.S. Special Operations Command. To date, more than 10,000 foreign security force students from more than 100 partner nations have been trained. The schoolhouse offers 13 courses taught in both English and Spanish and WIC-C is currently offered once a year by special request.

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