Driving Fleet Lethality WTI Candidates Complete First Phase of Training Pipeline
190520-N-XT039-1022 SAN DIEGO (May 20, 2019) Lt. Caleb Bekemier, integrated air-missile defense (IAMD) Warfare Tactics Instructor (WTI) assigned to Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) as the standardization officer, center, instructs Lt. Virgil Fermin, an Amphibious Warfare (AMW) WTI candidate, on briefing standards as part of SMWDC’s Instructors and Tactics Course (ITC). ITC is the initial course every WTI candidate must complete before specializing in one of four warfare areas. SMWDC headquarters is located at Naval Base San Diego with four divisions in Virginia and California focused on AMW, IAMD, Anti-Submarine Warfare/Surface Warfare, and Mine Warfare. The command’s mission is to increase the lethality and tactical proficiency of the Surface Force across all domains. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jesse Marquez Magallanes/Released)

SAN DIEGO (NNS) – Twenty-nine warfare tactics instructor (WTI) candidates completed Instructor and Tactics Course, the first stage of WTI qualification at Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center’s (SMWDC) Headquarters onboard Naval Base San Diego May 23.

“The objective of the Instructor and Tactics Course is to develop expert instructors, and to build a cohesive group of networked professionals who will benefit from the specific knowledge and skillsets each brings to the table,” said Lt. Caleb. Bekemeier, SMWDC standardization officer and integrated air-missile defense (IAMD) WTI. “We have an excellent group of candidates that are ready for the next step in the WTI pipeline.”

The Instructor and Tactics Course is designed to train candidates as instructors before proceeding to their warfare area specialty course of instruction. After completing the COI, most WTIs complete production tours where they further refine their skills while also increasing tactical proficiency and capability in the Fleet.

“I think it’s important they bring every flavor of WTI candidate together so we can meet and interact with each other to start forming a community,” said IAMD WTI candidate Ensign Kristen Ringwall. “The next step in the process is much harder and the instructors have prepared us for that. I feel like my expectations are set; I know that the coming weeks are going to be difficult, but I am looking forward to when it all culminates to earning my WTI patch, and more importantly, taking the processes and principles we learn and bringing them back to the Fleet.”

After completing the Instructor and Tactics Course, candidates go to SMWDC’s respective warfare area divisions to complete specialty training leading to WTI qualification. WTIs are trained in four primary warfare areas; anti-submarine warfare/surface warfare (ASW/SUW); amphibious warfare (AMW); mine warfare (MIW); and IAMD. This class includes 7 AMW, 13 ASW/SUW, and 10 IAMD WTI candidates.

“I have learned a lot about myself as far as being an instructor,” said ASW/SUW WTI candidate Lt. Christian Freudenberger. “I have become aware of my teaching style and with the guidance of the facilitators have been able to hone it. I have also learned more about the value WTIs bring to the Fleet and what my role will be in my production tour after I complete my training.”

After earning their patches, WTIs are assigned to a variety of production tours where they bring their expertise to bear by training the fleet, developing tactics and doctrine, and providing operational support to the fleet.

“The demand signal from the Fleet for the products SMWDC and WTIs provide is high,” said Rear Adm. David Welch, SMWDC commander. “Each of these candidates meet rigorous standards so they are prepared to meet the challenges the Fleet needs them to address when they graduate.”

SMWDC is a subordinate command of Commander, Naval Surface Forces, and its mission is to increase the lethality and tactical proficiency of the Surface Force across all domains. It is headquartered onboard Naval Base San Diego with four divisions in Virginia and California focused on ASW/SUW, IAMD, AMW, and MIW.

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