USS Makin Island
“Gung Ho”
Enlisted to SWO: A DCA story
By MC1 Mathew Diendorf
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- It didn't take too much to convince his father, a retired senior chief missile technician, and his grandfather, a former Navy pilot, of his decision to follow in their footsteps.

"Both my parents were supportive but initially wanted me to wait," said Lt. Cmdr. Ty Wiese, of Satellite, Fla., as he reminisced about the road to get where he is today. "I was only 17, but my father, a 21-year submarine veteran, was able to convince my mother that I would be okay and the Navy would take care of me. He was also a prior detailer so that helped with my enlistment contract."

Wiese began his career by attending missile technician school, where he was one of only four to graduate out of a class of 16. 

He then reported to USS Henry M. Jackson (SSBN 703B) where he realized early on that he could do more with his career. 

"In the submarine community, you work side by side with enlisted and officers in small groups," Wiese said. "Knowledge is power. It doesn't really matter what rank you are. The officers would come up all the time to learn the different systems, and I just realized they really aren't that much different than me; maybe I can do that too."

After completing nine submarine deterrent patrols with the Jackson, Wiese became an instructor at Trident Training Facility in Bangor, Wash. 

During his time on shore duty, he began taking night and weekend classes at Southern Illinois University, and was able to earn his four-year degree in only two years.

"After I graduated, I wanted to keep challenging myself," Wiese said. "I applied for Officer Candidate School (OCS), and three days after submitting my package, they called me at home to tell me I was selected," Wiese said. "Being selected for OCS felt amazing, but with all the excitement of telling my family and friends that I was going to be an officer, reality hit that OCS in itself was going to be a whole new set of challenges." 

In November 2000, Wiese met those challenges and was commissioned as a surface warfare officer (SWO) in the United States Navy. 

During his career as a SWO, he served aboard USS Bridge (AOE 10), USS O'Kane (DDG 77), USS Shoup (DDG 86) and, eventually, USS Makin Island (LHD 8), where he was named Commander, Amphibious Squadron 5 Surface Warfare Officer of the Year in both 2010 and 2011. 

Wiese attended the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., following his tour on Makin Island.

"The Naval War College was a fantastic tour," he said. "From day one we were treated very well. The classes were filled with officers from many communities, including international students. The assigned reading was intense, but all worth it. I learned a ton about history, critical thinking, and the importance of strategic communication."

After graduating in June 2013 with a graduate degree in national security and strategy, he served two years at Carrier, Strike Group Nine. But he wasn't done in the gator Navy. 

In May of 2015 he once again reported to the Makin Island, and is currently serving as the ship's damage control assistant.

Wiese was recently selected for promotion to the rank of commander and as he looks back on his career he said he sees how far he's come. 

"Coming in the Navy as an E-1, I never would have thought I'd be where I am today," he said. "Being selected for commander is just so humbling, and I'm so excited to be given the opportunity."

Wiese is still pressing to grab that next big opportunity. He is being screened for command, a decision that will be made in December 2015. 

"It's been an interesting ride, and I'm just getting started," he said.

As a 25-year veteran, Wiese has been able to balance a career and his marriage to his wife Stephanie of 21 years.

"I wouldn't be able to do what I do with out my wife," he added. "We've always backed each other up. When I was going to school, she was taking care of the house. You can't be successful in this community unless you have the support at home."
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