Newest Department Heads Bound for Sea Duty

Story Number: NNS171204-02Release Date: 12/4/2017 9:45:00 AM
A  A  A   Email this story to a friend   Print this story
By Lieutenant Megan Chester, Surface Warfare Officers School Public Affairs

NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) graduated 46 students from its Department Head Course Nov. 30 in the Michael G. Mullen Auditorium onboard Naval Station Newport.

The surface warfare officers completed the 27-week course in preparation for tours as department heads afloat on all classes of ships.

The training is divided into two major subdivisions of tactical action officer (TAO), which focuses on areas such as undersea warfare, air defense, and surface warfare, and operations, readiness, training, and engineering (ORTE), which explores the specifics of each student's prospective assignments.

Capt. Scott Robertson, SWOS commanding officer, congratulated the graduates for reaching this pivotal personal and professional milestone and thanked the family and friends of the graduates for supporting their loved ones.

The guest of honor for the ceremony, retired Rear Adm. Richard West, shared his reflections on leadership in the Navy and charged the graduates to run their ship.

"You are required to simultaneously be a leader, manager, professional seaman and warfighter, so do your best, each and every day," said West.

Many of the graduates will arrive at their respective ships within the week to begin 18 or 36-month tours.

Lt. TJ Goss was selected by his classmates to receive the Arleigh Burke Award. It is awarded to the student possessing the strongest leadership, industry and perseverance that best exemplifies the fighting spirit of Admiral Burke's famous Destroyer Squadron 23, the "Little Beavers."

Lt. David Siebel received the Newport Navy League Award for academic excellence as the top graduate for the class, and the "Top Gunner" award, given to the prospective department head with the highest grade point average in the TAO curriculum.

Lt. Rosemarie Sphuler received the City of Newport Award for demonstrating the highest qualities of professionalism and leadership, and Lt. Nicholas Hurley was selected for the "Top Snipe" award, as the prospective engineering officer with the highest grade point average in the engineering curriculum.

After more than 50 years, the department head training remains the flagship course at SWOS. Approximately 275 students attend it each year.

Headquartered in Newport, Rhode Island, and overseeing nine learning sites worldwide, SWOS readies sea-bound warriors to serve on surface combatants as officers, enlisted engineers, and enlisted navigation professionals to fulfill the Navy's mission to maintain global maritime superiority.

For more information about Surface Warfare Officers School, visit or

For additional information on the Naval Education and Training Command, visit the NETC website: or Follow us on Facebook at and Twitter @netcpao.

For more news from Naval Education and Training Command, visit

For more information, visit,, or href=''>

Navy Social Media
Sign up for email updates To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please click on the envelope icon in the page header above or click Subscribe to Navy News Service.