SAN DIEGO - Four commanding officers from San Diego-based ships shared their guidance and expectations with 35 junior officers in the latest Surface Warfare Officer School Indoctrination (SWOS Intro) class held at Afloat Training Group (ATG), San Diego Sept. 27.
Cmdr. Jeff Oakey, USS New Orleans (LPD 18); Cmdr. Jeff Miller, USS Rentz (FFG 46); Lt. Cmdr. Elaine Brunelle, MCM Crew Leader/USS Warrior (MCM 10); and Lt. Cmdr. Jim Rushton, MCM Crew Constant/USS Chief (MCM 14); took part in the seminar which has been an on-going part of the five-week curriculum since the courses' inception.
In addition to answering questions from junior officers, commanding officers were also able to impart their leadership philosophy.
"Ask a lot of three-letter words – 'how?'... 'why?' You should be curious enough and persistent enough to understand how these different systems come together to make a warship go," said Cmdr. Oakey.
"Do the right thing even when no one is looking," said Lt. Cmdr. Brunelle.
Capt. Mike Taylor, ATG San Diego commanding officer, said open and candid discussions with commanding officers, department heads, command master chiefs and fellow division officers contribute to SWOS Intro.
"It has proven to be a valuable method to have students interact with and learn their expectations as a division officer directly from the waterfront commanding officers, as well as critical others in their chain of command," said Taylor.
Students are afforded the opportunity to visit ships to observe maintenance and conduct space inspections, as well as earn their weapons qualifications at the gun range in preparation for their duties as shipboard division officers and watchstanders.
Coupling the hands-on training with classroom and simulator training in damage control, engineering, navigation, seamanship, shiphandling, and maritime warfare, the course receives positive feedback from students and waterfront leadership. With 52 ships in San Diego, access to leadership and actual shipboard equipment is only a short walk away.
"The level of cooperation we get (from the ships) is tremendous," said Taylor. "This is not a static course. This is extremely dynamic in content, presentation and location."
The SWOS Intro Class, offered in fleet concentrations areas, has been conducted on the waterfront at ATG San Diego since early 2009. Two hundred ten officers have graduated from the San Diego course, with more than 800 graduates fleet-wide.
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