ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS)
-- Two hundred, fifty-six future surface warfare officers selected the ships they will serve on after graduation during the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) midshipmen Ship Selection Night Jan. 25 in Alumni Hall.
Ship Selection is the culmination of the service assignment process for Naval Academy midshipmen first classes assigned to serve as Navy Surface Warfare Officers (SWOs).
“It does not get any better than this,” said Vice Adm. Richard Brown, commander, Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet, and 1985 graduate of the academy. He welcomed the future SWOs to the community, offering his insight into the future of the Navy and what these new leaders can expect to experience in the Fleet.
Brown referred to the event as the “SWO NFL draft;” a comparison selection night has drawn in past years. The midshipmen are ranked by order of merit to determine their selection order and then, with the walkout music they selected, make their selections from a big board depicting all the ships available with their respective homeports.
“Believe it or not, in five or six months, you are going to be standing in front of a division of sailors and leading them at sea,” said Brown to the crowd of midshipmen, parents, friends, family, and past and present leaders from the surface warfare community. “There is no other community that gets to do that.”
Overall Order of Merit is used to determine the order for selection. This takes into consideration factors such as academic performance, military professionalism and athleticism. This year, Midshipman First Class Matt Vogel picked first and chose USS Porter (DDG 78), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer based out of Rota, Spain. Brown presented Vogel with a surface warfare pin, a congratulatory gift for Vogel to wear once he becomes a fully qualified SWO.
“This sets the course for your career,” Brown said. “When I look at the board, there’s not a single bad ship or bad homeport.”
Brown was joined by Rear Adm. Jesse Wilson, commander, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic Fleet, and Rear Adm. Ron Boxall, director, Surface Warfare (N96) - “team owners” and leadership of the surface community.
After Ship Selection, these future junior officers will graduate and receive their commissions May 25, and continue to develop and hone their professional knowledge and leadership skills in preparation for their first duty assignments.