First Class of New SWCC Rates Graduate
Release Date: 11/17/2006 4:09:00 PM
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman
Daniel A. Barker, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Pacific
CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- The first Special Warfare Combatant Craft
(SWCC) class for the new rates of Special Warfare Boat Operator (SB) and
Special Warfare Operator (SO) graduated during a commencement ceremony at
Naval Amphibious Base Coronado Nov. 9
The new ratings replace
previous source ratings, which had been used to distinguish SEALs (Sea,
Air, Land) and SWCC by job classifications, and will allow SEALs and SWCC
to take advancement exams relating to their own rating.
active-duty graduates of Basic Underwater Demolition School and Basic Crew
Member School officially became SOs and SBs Oct. 1. The changes for Navy
Reserve members who are E-5 and below are scheduled to take affect April
Capt. Evin H. Thompson, commodore of Naval Special Warfare
Group 4, said during the graduation speech the 14-week course of
specialized training included over 300 miles of running, 1,000 pull-ups,
420 hours of classroom instruction and numerous nights in San Diego Bay.
Now the new graduates are ready for whatever deployment they may have.
“These Sailors and their crafts operate all over the globe in
austere environments,” said Chief Special Warfare Boat Operator (SWCC)
Sandy Sandness, who helped develop the course. “They are usually cold,
they are wet, they are tired, and they are performing in miserable
conditions. This training will prepare them for what they will face
Sandness said it takes highly trained individuals to
maintain the state-of-the-art, high-performance craft. These crafts are
used in maritime special operations missions, such as coastal patrol and
surveillance, and the boarding and searching of vessels suspected of
smuggling contraband or terrorists.
"This is a basic taste of what
it’s going to be like to operate in a special boat team in a naval special
warfare environment,” said Sandness.
The Naval Special Warfare
Center, which trains SEAL and SWCC candidates, is now an “A” school for SO
and SB ratings. Students who graduate from the “A” school will advance to
E-4 and receive the SO or SB rating.
For Special Warfare Combatant
Craft 2nd Class (SWCC) Alex Sherlock, the most challenging aspect of the
training was the long days and long nights, then waking up and doing it
all over again.
“It was definitely worth it in the end though,"
said Sherlock. "I feel prepared for even the most challenging missions.”
“If you have the perseverance to push through, I think it’s a
great field to be in,” said Special Warfare Boat Operator 3rd Class (SWCC)
Luke Howardvesci. “It’s a long journey, but if you really want to do it,
it’s something that you can do with the proper training and
For more news from around the fleet, visit http://www.navy.mil/.