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The Steve Wilkins Memorial Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) Thread

Jim123

DD-214 in hand and I'm gonna party like it's 1998
pilot
We're already there. All you need to do is walk down the piers at Norfolk and see all the ships that are moored everyday.
You don't even have to get over to the piers- just try to drive anywhere on I-564 between about 6-7 in the morning and you can tell there are waaaaay too many ships in port right now... :banghead_

(I don't miss that routine :) )
 

skim

Teaching MIDN how to drift a BB
None
Contributor
Headaches and hassles aside, how personally satisfying is it to be able to encourage, lead, and support the enlisted sailors as an SWO? Does trying to build a positive environment and watching the people under your guidance excel at their jobs make up for the tediousness of SWO-life?
Very and Yes.
 

flyersfan12

New Member
Jesus Tapdancing Christ, man. "Encourage, lead, and support the enlisted sailors"? You sound like you write Official Navy Bullshit for a living. You sure you're not a troll from CNO's office?


Yeah yeah, I was trying to find something more positive than "manage and oversee" without sounding like a complete douche, but with 3:00am insomnia it looks like I only partially succeeded. :icon_tong



And Skim, thank you for the response, if there are good tangible benefits like that, it sounds like it'd be worth it. (Besides, how often do you *really* get the opportunity to drive a 500-ft boat that's armed to the teeth??)
 

scoolbubba

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
And Skim, thank you for the response, if there are good tangible benefits like that, it sounds like it'd be worth it. (Besides, how often do you *really* get the opportunity to drive a 500-ft boat that's armed to the teeth??)
Hopefully only once, and it was on summer cruise.
 

Uncle Fester

Robot Pimp
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Besides, how often do you *really* get the opportunity to drive a 500-ft boat that's armed to the teeth??
I've been told that I stomped on the dreams of the last bright-eyed SWOlet-wannabe who came 'round a tad too hard. So I'll just say, if by "driving" you mean giving rudder orders while the Captain yells at you from CIC, then chase those dreams, baby.
 

Steve Shedd

PERS-41 Detailer
None
Wow!! After reading this thread all the way through I'm not quite sure what the motive for SWO bashing has been in this thread, although clearly some HSL bubbas in the mix have some baggage. I think it's all about perspective and here's mine:

1) SWOs, Aviators and Submarines compose the combat arms of the Navy. They are all critical and also distinct in culture. I would rather be combat arms than anything else. We all picked our paths, hopefully for good reasons...it is what it is!

2) Everyone who joins the Navy will end up on ships if they want to stay competitive. Ships = Navy. No surprise there. Carrier pilots will cruise on the "boat," HSL bubbas will cruise on small boys, JAG, Docs, nurses all get some form of sea time to stay competitive. Even HR Officers will now be TRAINOs aboard CVNs in order to remain competitive at the statutory boards.

3) Keeping a ship running and trained for combat operations is labor intensive. It requires an enormous amount of hard work with a lot wheel spinning at times and certainly not all fun. I don't believe for second other communities are all rosy. Each community has goods and bads.

4) The more senior you get, the working hours and level of effort seem to reach parity. The Aviator CO of an LPD has the same responsibilities as the SWO CO of a CG. Different mission sets, of course, but the same burden of commanding a ship. I can't compare Squadron CO to Ship CO, simply different animals. But, still time-consuming and challenging.

5) A good deal of pain within a ship or squadron is caused by entities outside the life lines. Staffers wreak havoc. For example, the random Thursday tasker from some GS-7 at NAVSEA or NAVAIR that trickles down to TYCOM and reaches commands Friday afternoon with a COB deadline. I don't believe for a moment the Aviation Community is immune to this. I've also experienced and witnessed churn created by non-SWO active duty staffers. The enterprising O-4 non-SWO on the Fleet staff who decides to innocently shoot an e-mail directly to a ship XO/OPS about a sked change or something to that effect. The XO/OPS thinks the information is valid, assuming the decision has been properly staffed and approved, gets the ball moving only to find out the information/decision was not staffed and was not approved and skipped a number of rungs in the chain-of-command.

That's the perspective part.

As for my decision to go SWO, I wanted to be one since I was 12 and first smelled a ship....yep...that fresh paint mixed with generic cleaner mixed with neverdull mixed with who knows what. I wish I could bottle it up as a cologne. After my first U/W on mid-cruise that was it for me. I did flirt with the Marine Corps a little, but in the end I realized I loved ships. I have thoroughly enjoyed the leadership aspects and challenges of each job I've had as a SWO. And by saying challenges, I'm not saying pain. Each job I've had as a SWO has been different and I've been able to learn new skills. The more senior I get the smaller and tighter the brothers and sisters of the community get - of course that's true for all the communities.

Leading Sailors aboard ships at sea is the foundation of our service and I honestly can't think of anything I'd rather be doing. But its all cool. I'd certainly jump at the chance to get a CAT shot in an F-18 or do under-ice ops in a sub or be a riverine OIC. It's all great. I only wish we could stay in for 40 years and also stay 25 years old for the entire time. If someone figures out how to do that, let me know!
 

BigRed389

Registered User
None
Wow!! After reading this thread all the way through I'm not quite sure what the motive for SWO bashing has been in this thread, although clearly some HSL bubbas in the mix have some baggage. I think it's all about perspective and here's mine:

1) SWOs, Aviators and Submarines compose the combat arms of the Navy. They are all critical and also distinct in culture. I would rather be combat arms than anything else. We all picked our paths, hopefully for good reasons...it is what it is!

2) Everyone who joins the Navy will end up on ships if they want to stay competitive. Ships = Navy. No surprise there. Carrier pilots will cruise on the "boat," HSL bubbas will cruise on small boys, JAG, Docs, nurses all get some form of sea time to stay competitive. Even HR Officers will now be TRAINOs aboard CVNs in order to remain competitive at the statutory boards.

3) Keeping a ship running and trained for combat operations is labor intensive. It requires an enormous amount of hard work with a lot wheel spinning at times and certainly not all fun. I don't believe for second other communities are all rosy. Each community has goods and bads.

4) The more senior you get, the working hours and level of effort seem to reach parity. The Aviator CO of an LPD has the same responsibilities as the SWO CO of a CG. Different mission sets, of course, but the same burden of commanding a ship. I can't compare Squadron CO to Ship CO, simply different animals. But, still time-consuming and challenging.

5) A good deal of pain within a ship or squadron is caused by entities outside the life lines. Staffers wreak havoc. For example, the random Thursday tasker from some GS-7 at NAVSEA or NAVAIR that trickles down to TYCOM and reaches commands Friday afternoon with a COB deadline. I don't believe for a moment the Aviation Community is immune to this. I've also experienced and witnessed churn created by non-SWO active duty staffers. The enterprising O-4 non-SWO on the Fleet staff who decides to innocently shoot an e-mail directly to a ship XO/OPS about a sked change or something to that effect. The XO/OPS thinks the information is valid, assuming the decision has been properly staffed and approved, gets the ball moving only to find out the information/decision was not staffed and was not approved and skipped a number of rungs in the chain-of-command.

That's the perspective part.

As for my decision to go SWO, I wanted to be one since I was 12 and first smelled a ship....yep...that fresh paint mixed with generic cleaner mixed with neverdull mixed with who knows what. I wish I could bottle it up as a cologne. After my first U/W on mid-cruise that was it for me. I did flirt with the Marine Corps a little, but in the end I realized I loved ships. I have thoroughly enjoyed the leadership aspects and challenges of each job I've had as a SWO. And by saying challenges, I'm not saying pain. Each job I've had as a SWO has been different and I've been able to learn new skills. The more senior I get the smaller and tighter the brothers and sisters of the community get - of course that's true for all the communities.

Leading Sailors aboard ships at sea is the foundation of our service and I honestly can't think of anything I'd rather be doing. But its all cool. I'd certainly jump at the chance to get a CAT shot in an F-18 or do under-ice ops in a sub or be a riverine OIC. It's all great. I only wish we could stay in for 40 years and also stay 25 years old for the entire time. If someone figures out how to do that, let me know!
Aww crap....a detailer! Now all the SWO JOs need to tread carefully. :icon_tong
 

ea6bflyr

Working Class Bum
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
4) The more senior you get, the working hours and level of effort seem to reach parity. The Aviator CO of an LPD has the same responsibilities as the SWO CO of a CG. Different mission sets, of course, but the same burden of commanding a ship. I can't compare Squadron CO to Ship CO, simply different animals. But, still time-consuming and challenging.
I beg to differ on your analogy and here's why:

I'd agree that in general driving a BOAT and the CO responsibilities are the same for CG & LPD.

But a CG commander is also the AIR DEFENSE COMMANDER. In that respect a CG CO has much more on his plate, than an Airdale driving an LPD. Apples and Oranges, IMHO.

As for my decision to go SWO, I wanted to be one since I was 12 and first smelled a ship....yep...that fresh paint mixed with generic cleaner mixed with neverdull mixed with who knows what. I wish I could bottle it up as a cologne. After my first U/W on mid-cruise that was it for me. I did flirt with the Marine Corps a little, but in the end I realized I loved ships.
You, sir, need to seek medical and/or psychiatric help immediately.


-ea6bflyr ;)
 

Steve Shedd

PERS-41 Detailer
None
Big Red - We've been on Sailor Bob for a number of months now and it's all good - no one has to watch what they say. We're on here to answer any general SWO career questions from the audience - from the horse's mouth so to speak.

ea6bflyr - good point about ADC duties. I still feel the jobs are comparable as the LPD CO still has a lot of moving parts. Nice poke on the seek mental help recommendation!
 

Uncle Fester

Robot Pimp
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Big Red - We've been on Sailor Bob for a number of months now and it's all good - no one has to watch what they say. We're on here to answer any general SWO career questions from the audience - from the horse's mouth so to speak.

But just in case, all posts are to be appended with full name, last 4, current billet, and CO's direct phone number.
Okay, I made that last part up. Or did I? :D
 

Spekkio

He bowls overhand.
I've been told that I stomped on the dreams of the last bright-eyed SWOlet-wannabe who came 'round a tad too hard. So I'll just say, if by "driving" you mean giving rudder orders while the Captain yells at you from CIC, then chase those dreams, baby.
Serious question here...

I've read many a story of SWO captains being fired for something that a JO OOD does, but I never read stories of aviator COs being fired for a JO pilot's screwup. Even as a submariner, I've been told that all a nub JO represents is a new opportunity for the captain to be fired. Are aviators just better at covering things up, or does aviation just do a better job at holding junior people accountable for their own actions? Does the discrepency in the job risk account for the higher amount of supposed micro-management?
 

Uncle Fester

Robot Pimp
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
The Aircraft Commander bears the same responsibility as the captain of a ship. If someone else on a crew screws up, the PIC bears responsibility, even if he's not directly at fault. Squadron commanders can be held responsible if it's decided a failure of leadership put a crew in a bad position (e.g., pressured to take an aircraft against the PIC's judgement, lax Maint Control, etc). Of course, if the skipper is the aircraft commander in a mishap, he's responsible that way, too.
 

BigRed389

Registered User
None
Serious question here...

I've read many a story of SWO captains being fired for something that a JO OOD does, but I never read stories of aviator COs being fired for a JO pilot's screwup. Even as a submariner, I've been told that all a nub JO represents is a new opportunity for the captain to be fired. Are aviators just better at covering things up, or does aviation just do a better job at holding junior people accountable for their own actions? Does the discrepency in the job risk account for the higher amount of supposed micro-management?
Actually, for both the ARLEIGH BURKE and PORT ROYAL incidents, the CO and XO were directly involved.

Any time there is an evolution with above average risk, the CO/XO are expected to be involved. I'd be interested to hear about a CO being fired due solely to the actions of a JO.
 

BusyBee604

St. Francis/Hugh Hefner Combo!
pilot
Super Moderator
Contributor
Accountibility

The Aircraft Commander bears the same responsibility as the captain of a ship. If someone else on a crew screws up, the PIC bears responsibility, even if he's not directly at fault. Squadron commanders can be held responsible if it's decided a failure of leadership put a crew in a bad position (e.g., pressured to take an aircraft against the PIC's judgement, lax Maint Control, etc). Of course, if the skipper is the aircraft commander in a mishap, he's responsible that way, too.
In additon, a Squadron/Ship CO can be held accountable for a lack of or inadequate TRAINING, which is determined to have caused or contributed to a mishap or incident.
BzB
 
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