Following a recent trip to Guam, Japan and New Zealand, I ran into a co-worker in the hallway of our San Diego office at the Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) where I work as a Warfare Tactics Instructor (WTI).
As he welcomed me back with a smile he said, “We should just scrapbook your last few months of Facebook posts for our WTI roadshow presentations!”
Later that day, as I looked at the pictures from my trip I realized he was right. My WTI production tour at SMWDCs Sea Combat Division has allowed me to travel to some pretty amazing places - Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, Guam, Washington, D.C. and Hawaii. A production tour is a WTI’s chance to bring what we learn in the training pipeline to the warfighter in a substantive way.
During that trip, I provided advanced tactical training and capability assessments, experimentation and future requirements around the world. In New Zealand, I supported the Maritime Warfare Centers Forum (MWCF) at Devonport Naval Base, which brought together five allied nations - the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand - to improve our maritime interoperability and combat effectiveness. In Guam and Japan, I provided training and helped plan exercises for the Ship Anti-Submarine Warfare Readiness/Effectiveness Measuring (SHAREM) program.
Being the day-to-day manager of SHAREM is one of my favorite duties at SMWDC. SHAREM identifies and develops solutions to tactical problems, informs future SONAR requirements for the Fleet, collects and analyzes high quality data to improve the effective employment of weapons and sensors and, ultimately, improves overall surface ship ASW readiness and effectiveness. It’s an interesting program which has run for 48 years, operates out of several Numbered Fleet commands, and recently started incorporating WTIs for support. I help the cadre of civilians who plan the exercises, observe events, and provide feedback to both the ships and SMWDC. The opportunity to influence a major program that has been occurring for nearly half a century is one of the things that make being a WTI fun and rewarding for me.
While my fellow WTIs and I are busy when we’re on travel, we usually have enough downtime to explore and reconnect with old friends and shipmates. For me, the WTI program has mirrored the well-known Navy marketing campaign, “Join the Navy- See the World!”