SPOKANE, Wash. (NNS) -- A Sailor assigned to Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Spokane earned the Navy's expeditionary warfare designation July 11 while assigned to Maritime Expeditionary Security Division (MESD) 94 in Spokane, Wash.
Boatswain's Mate 1st Class (EXW) Tamra Ward, a full time support (FTS) staff member of NOSC Spokane, earned the expeditionary warfare specialist (EXW) designation while on temporary assigned duty (TAD) to MESD 94.
Ward was sent to MESD 94 in October 2009, serving as the unit's leading petty officer. In addition to gaining leadership experience, Ward also desired to earn a warfare designation.
While attached to MESD 94, Ward was responsible for three FTS staff members and more than 100 Navy reservists serving at three different NOSC facilities.
During that time, MESD 94 executed a major unit mobilization to Kuwait, of which Ward was involved. While still assisting NOSC Spokane with administrative duties and attending Park University in pursuit of a bachelor's degree in human resources and business management, Ward also earned the EXW designation in nine months, something ordinarily taking a year to complete.
"So much was hard and fun at the same time," said Ward. "The hardest part for me was the technical side; I am a hands on person."
Ward went through numerous exercises and activities while at MESD 94, which helped her prepare for the warfare examination.
"We went through a mobilization; that helped with mission planning," said Ward. "Preparing for the test itself, I used the PQS [personal qualification standards] manuals, technical manuals and the hands on training I received."
Ward also said she spent a significant amount of time studying technical boat operations, the Seabee construction battalion handbook and force protection weapons handling procedures.
Ward passed the EXW written examination with a 93 percent, successfully navigating the first phase of the qualification process.
"To prepare for the oral board, I would read questions and answers out loud and say them over and over," said Ward. "I spent twelve hours a day studying and preparing. Senior Chief Operations Specialist (EXW) Sean Barley helped me study."
Ward said it had always been important to earn a warfare designation, but opportunities in her naval career limited that possibility. The MESD TAD opportunity provided the perfect opportunity for Ward to achieve this goal.
"Being FTS, it is very rare for a female to be assigned to a ship and get the opportunity to earn the surface warfare pin," said Ward. "Being TAD to the security detachment gave me the opportunity to receive expeditionary warfare training and the pin and sets me apart from the normal FTS shore command Sailor."
Ward said earning the EXW qualification has further opened doors for her Navy career.
"I have gained self discipline, a sense of pride in myself, and this sets me apart when coming up on the chief's board," said Ward.
Although obtaining the warfare device is a significant accomplishment, Ward said maintaining pride in her Navy service remains forefront in her mind.
"My greatest accomplishment is to always maintain the three core values whether in or out of uniform," said Ward. "To continue to push forward in these times of war."
Earning the EXW qualification also places Ward in the position of mentor to Sailors, particularly females.
"Never give up on yourself, never give up on your integrity and never give up on your love for the Navy," said Ward. "Keep pushing forward."
For more news from Navy Operational Support Center, Spokane, visit www.navy.mil/local/noscspokane/.