Last summer surface warfare officers learned about an exciting new opportunity for small-unit leadership on a cutting-edge platform in the Navy's Coastal Riverine Force. For the first time, surface warfare officers tracking to successfully complete their division officer tours can compete for command-at-sea billets on the Mark VI. Additionally, post department head surface warfare officers screening for early command can now serve as Mark VI company commanders, commanding three of the boats. The first screening board is complete and the first officers have been selected. Let's meet the first surface warfare officers who will soon embark on a training pipeline putting them one step closer to assuming Mark VI command:
Lt.j.g. Matthew Harvey, from Oakboro, North Carolina. I’m currently serving as a fire control officer on Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Oscar Austin in Norfolk, Va. I’ve been selected to serve as one of the Navy’s new Mark VI patrol boat commanders. The reason I pursued this unique opportunity was because I saw the chance to remain operational while I continued serving at sea. The Mark VI patrol boat also supports many of the mission areas I’m interested in. I’m looking forward to working with the Riverine Squadron and the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command.
Lt. Andy Bergstrom from Dallas, Texas. I’m currently the Navigator on USS Lake Erie here in San Diego. I was recently selected to be the commanding officer of the Navy’s new Mark VI patrol craft. The reason I competed for this opportunity was the unique chance to lead Sailors after just two Division Officer tours, as well as the high capabilities of the craft itself and the proficiency of the crew.
Lt. James Browning, from Dallas, Texas. I’m currently serving as an anti-submarine warfare officer on Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Stockdale in San Diego, California. The experience of command at sea and the opportunity to better myself and lead Sailors as a commanding officer this early in my career is too significant to ignore. I am excited and honored to have been selected.
Lt. Cmdr. Jorge Roldan, originally from Guatemala City, Guatemala. Currently I’m the Main Propulsion Assistant on USS John C. Stennis homeported in Bremerton, Wa.. I’ve been selected for early command as the Navy’s first Mark VI Boat Company Commander. I joined the Navy in 2005 for the adventure and the opportunity to serve my nation. From the early days of my first assignment, I quickly grew to enjoy the unique leadership challenges of those small units, as well as the personal and professional rewards. Rarely do professions allow you to suddenly be thrust into leadership situations that really test you mentally, physically, and emotionally at such an early stage in your career. Small boats and the Riverine Force have an extensive heritage in US Naval History. I’m superbly honored to be chosen to serve my nation in this leadership role, and I look forward to the exciting challenges of command at sea.
Congratulations on your selection, gentlemen, and the best to you as you embark on this new professional journey.