JACKSONVILLE, N.C. – Amphibious Warfare (AMW) Warfare Tactics Instructor (WTI) candidates from Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center’s (SMWDC) AMW Division completed a three-day Marine Corps Fleet Immersion program, Feb. 6-8.
Typically, the Marine Corps Fleet Immersion program takes place within the first two weeks of a 15-week AMW WTI course of instruction, providing students with varying levels of AMW experience an opportunity to develop their understanding of Navy and Marine Corps integration in amphibious operations. In this instance, instructors and WTI candidates from SMWDC’s AMW Division visited Marine Corps units at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Stations Cherry Point and New River to baseline WTI candidate knowledge and to develop relationships with their Marine Corps colleagues. SMWDC’s AMW Division relied on the support of II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) to provide this training opportunity to WTI candidates.
“WTI candidate integration with the Marine Corps early in the curriculum provides them a fresh lens to view amphibious operations through the remainder of AMW WTI course of instruction,” said Capt. Darren Nelson, director of SMWDC’s AMW Division. “We couldn’t do it without the extensive support of II MEF. They go above and beyond to support this integration effort and it’s been a consistently positive experience for the AMW WTI cadre whenever we’ve had a chance to integrate with our Marine Corps teammates.”
During the program, WTI candidates participated in multiple round-table discussions ranging from the Marine Expeditionary Brigade down to the company-level, covering a multitude of topics including operational planning, asset allocation for mission sets, deployment battle rhythm, and staff integration considerations - all providing entry points of learning for developing plans for amphibious warfare.
Candidates also gained hands-on experience through a variety of dynamic displays, where Marine Corps instructors briefed the WTI candidates on the capabilities of fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, amphibious and ground vehicles, and multiple weapons systems.
“Having the opportunity to visit and interact with the Marine Corps was indispensable to me,” said Lt. Ashley Gernhardt, an AMW WTI candidate. “It was great talking with the Marines who operate the gear and getting hands-on experience with the static displays. This trip reinforced the need for our units’ cohesion starting from the planning phase onward through all aspects of amphibious warfare.”
After completing the AMW WTI course of instruction, WTI patch-wearers return to readiness production tours at SMWDC headquarters, one of the four SMWDC divisions, or selected training commands. In addition to the professional development and expertise WTIs gain through their duties as trainers and planners, they also teach the skills they learn through Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) – SMWDC’s premiere advanced tactical training exercise – and other Fleet training opportunities.
SMWDC continues to increase the lethality and tactical proficiency of the Surface Fleet as the Surface Warfare community’s Warfighting Development Center. It is headquartered at Naval Base San Diego with four divisions in Virginia and California focused on Sea Combat, Integrated Air and Missile Defense, AMW, and Mine Warfare.