By Lt. j.g. Alanna Strei, Naval Surface Forces U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
-- Twenty-eight ensigns were recognized Aug. 19 for completing the San Diego Surface Warfare Officers (SWOS) Indoctrination course during a graduation ceremony held at Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet (SURFPAC) headquarters.
The course, affectionately called "Baby SWOS", is offered to ships in San Diego, Norfolk, Va.; Mayport, Fla.; Everett, Wash.; Pearl Harbor, and Yokosuka, Japan; and has graduated nearly 1000 students since it began in 2008.
The four-week course focuses on improving warfighting readiness through interactive lectures, simulator training, and exposure to senior leadership. It is designed to empower new surface warfare officers (SWOs) by providing them with the basic knowledge and skills to make an immediate impact on the ships to which they are assigned.
Students dive into practical, hands-on training to learn about damage control, engineering, navigation, seamanship, shiphandling, and maritime warfare during the first four weeks; a fifth and final week is focused on leadership development.
"Feedback shows that students particularly took to the 'on the job' training, especially on the school ship, the USS Howard," said Lt. Diane Mayhugh, Afloat Training Group Pacific SWOS indoctrination director. "It is great to have their training experience conclude at SURFPAC, the same place SWOS students graduated from 30 years ago."
The ceremony was hosted by Vice Adm. D.C. Curtis, commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Keynote remarks were provided by Capt. Ricky L. Williams, Naval Base San Diego commanding officer.
"Good leaders are made, and the Navy excels at the process of developing good leaders," said Williams. "Congratulations at reaching the first milestone in this process."
Notable moments included a presentation by retired Vice Adm. John Nyquist, San Diego Surface Naval Association president, to class honor graduate, Ens. Kristen Gall.
Gall was awarded a binocular set and plaque in acknowledgment of her academic achievement and professionalism.
The SWOS Introduction curriculum is a precursor to a longer program, Surface Warfare Officer School, Division Officer Program, which the students will attend prior to attaining their SWO pins.
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