GREAT LAKES (NNS) -- Surface Warfare Officer School Unit (SWOSU) Great Lakes said farewell to one commanding officer and welcomed a new one during a change of command ceremony held, September 29, at Naval Station Great Lakes, when Cmdr. Terrance Patterson relieved Cmdr. Eric Williams as commanding officer.
From Seattle, Washington, Patterson enlisted in the Navy in November 1986 and was promoted through the ranks as a machinist's mate to chief petty officer prior to being commissioned ensign under the Limited Duty Officer Program in 2000.
Assignments include machinist mate technician, USS Hepburn (FF 1055); leading petty officer, USS Prairie (AD 15); and leading chief petty officer for both USS Dubuque (LPD 8) and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).
Other assignments include damage control assistant and electrical officer, USS Coronado (AGF 11); main propulsion assistant, USS Ford (FFG 54); chief engineer, USS Safeguard (ARS 50); chief engineer, USS San Diego (LPD 22); main propulsion assistant and chief engineer, USS Peleliu (LHA 5); and chief engineer, USS Boxer (LHD 4).
Patterson has also served as officer-in-charge, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility, Detachment Everett; surface LDO/CWO engineer detailer; and officer-in-charge/director of student management, Training Support Center, Great Lakes.
"It's wonderful to be back at Great Lakes - home of apprenticeship fleet training," Patterson said. "Cmdr. Williams and SWOSU Great Lakes team have done a tremendous job in ramping up and revising both "A and C" school curriculum in an effort to restore our Navy's engineering excellence.
"I'm extremely proud and enthusiastic in joining the SWOSU team and continuing the ground breaking efforts in training our '2047 Engineer.' Every new prospective engineer that walks through the door is a potential 30-year master chief petty officer, which means they would retire in the year 2047. The United States Navy needs highly competent leaders and expert engineer technicians [aboard] our surface warships to support sustained combat operations at sea. SWOS Unit Great Lakes is absolutely critical to this effort in developing the very best engineer. The future success of our Fleets depends upon our ability to deliver excellence."
Williams, a 32-year Navy service member, served as commanding officer for SWOSU Great Lakes since July 2014.
Originally from Vaiden, Mississippi, Williams enlisted in the Navy in January 1985, and was promoted through the ranks as interior communications electrician to Chief Petty Officer prior to being selected and commissioned to Ensign under the Limited Duty Officer (LDO) program in 1998.
Enlisted sea tours included duty on ships home ported in East and West coast ports as well as in Japan and include USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56).
Subsequent officer sea tours include auxiliary/repair officer, USS Vella Gulf (CG 72); main propulsion assistant, USS Ponce (LPD 15); electrical inspector/senior engineer, President Board of Inspection and Survey; chief engineer, USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19); chief engineer, USS Denver (LPD 9); and chief engineer for both the USS Essex (LHD 2) and USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6).
Ashore Williams's assignments included Naval Historical Center Washington D.C., Machinery Systems Console Maintenance Course, recruit division commander, Great Lakes, Illinois, and maintenance officer in Beach Masters Unit TWO Norfolk, Virginia. His Staff assignments as assistant chief of staff, Training Readiness (N7), assistant chief of staff for Maintenance-Material Readiness (N43) and appointment as deputy commander (temporary), Amphibious Force 7TH Fleet Expeditionary Strike Group SEVEN Sasebo, Japan.
"Simply put, I have had fun and enjoyed every minute of my assignment as commanding officer, SWOS Unit Great Lakes; I could not have asked for a better place to serve or at a better time in my career and in my life," Williams said. "The Change of Command ceremony is special in so many ways. It truly is a ceremonial display of transfer of complete power and authority from one officer to another.
"It is also an opportunity to stand before an audience and display my appreciation and say thanks to my staff of military and civilian personnel for supporting and trusting in my leadership throughout my tour as well as to show homage to my family and everyone that, throughout my life, has prepared and shaped my personal and professional character to serve others. I welcome Cmdr. Patterson and his wife Malia to SWOSU Great Lakes and I wish them the very best."
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