NEWPORT, R.I. - Commander, Naval Surface Forces (SURFOR), Vice Adm. Thomas Copeman, visited the Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) Aug. 22 for a tour and update on school programs.
Copeman, who assumed command of SURFOR in July, was briefed by SWOS Commanding Officer Capt. Richard Brown, who spoke about how SWOS blends state-of-the-art technology with traditional classroom instruction to graduate students that are prepared to serve at sea the day they report aboard their ship.
"I am very proud of SWOS' commitment to developing officers who are ready to do their job from day one," said Brown. "I deeply believe in the SWOS mission. We provide a continuum of professional education and training in support of surface Navy requirements that prepares officers and enlisted engineers to serve at sea, and we're grateful for the opportunity to showcase our work and the amazing people who make it happen."
SWOS provides a wide range of professional development courses, including the Advanced Shiphandling and Tactics, Surface Navigator, Department Head, and Command at Sea. SWOS also provides training to newly commissioned ensigns from Officer Candidate School and is responsible for all enlisted engineering training for the surface fleet.
"The work they are doing here at SWOS is incredible," said Copeman. "The demand for exemplary training has never been higher."
Copeman took time to talk with students and to reinforce the phrases the CNO uses to focus the Navy's efforts: Warfighting first; Operate forward; Be ready.
"You are the Navy's war-fighting experts," said Copeman, addressing a group of students in the department head course. "You are going to be the ones that your commanding officers are going to count on to ensure that your ship is ready to fight when called upon; make sure you are up to the task."
Copeman toured the schoolhouse, including the Full Mission Bridge (FMB) simulator which is capable of simulating every Navy ship class and homeport, as well as other ports the Navy regularly visits around the world. The 360-degree view of the FMB provides the student with a realistic virtual environment unmatched by any other Navy trainer. Also presented on the tour were the Conning Officer Virtual Environment (COVE) stations that provide state-of-the-art navigation and shiphandling training for all surface warfare officers and the DDG full-size engineering trainer that provides students with valuable hands-on training of the ship's critical engineering systems.
"They really are at the forefront of utilizing cutting-edge technology to train our surface warfighters," said Copeman. "SWOS is doing a fantastic job training our surface warfare officers to support the maritime strategy and enabling the Navy to meet the missions of the 21st century."
SWOS is headquartered in Newport, R.I., and oversees nine learning sites which provide more than 1,000 courses a year to more than 67,000 Sailors.
SWOS uses a mix of blended-learning techniques comprised of instructor-led classes, hands-on labs, simulation and computer-based training. Courses include specialized training supporting all enlisted engineering ratings, and SWOs at every level. Building maritime partnerships, the command also provides training to many international students.