Surface Warfare Officer School
A roaring wall of flames rolls over Sailors' heads as the hose team - made up of Sailors who just checked into their first ship - inches its way through a smoke-filled room.
When the team reaches the glowing ball of fire, the team leader yells out, telling the nozzle man to engage the class alpha fire. (This is a fire that consists of wood, trash - anything that leaves ash behind.) Steam billows over the Sailors as the flames begin to diminish. Once the fire is out, the leader calls to his team: "Class alpha fire out. Set re-flash watch," ordering a Sailor to remain near the extinguished fire with a charged hose, ensuring no new fire breaks out.
Fortunately, this scenario isn't real. It's one of many courses Sailors undergo at Surface Warfare Officer's School (SWOS). In fact, from the time a Sailor first sets foot aboard a ship to when a commanding officer prepares for his or her first command, all Sailors will have attended SWOS, continuing their advancement in the knowledge of naval surface warfare.
Established in 1961, SWOS sets a standard for Sailors from across the globe, and is responsible for teaching every Sailor aboard a naval vessel. Today, SWOS offers different types of training facilities wherever they are needed around the world, from navigation refresher courses in Yokosuka, Japan, to basic damage control trainer classes in Rota, Spain.