NORFOLK (NNS) -- Sailors attending the Surface Warfare Officer Schools (SWOS) Basic Division Officer Course (BDOC) participated in a ship handling competition, Oct. 4, in Norfolk.
From each class an Ensign was chosen to represent their wardroom in the evolution which was judged by senior surface warfare officers and ship handlers.
"Today was a culmination of 28 hours of work in the conning officer virtual environment (COVE)," said Lt. Jason Garfield, assistant officer in charge and instructor for BDOC. "Each student was handling the same class ship that they are stationed on."
The students had to land their simulated ship with 15 knots of wind and 0.4 knots of current using only one tug. Of the three students selected to compete, it was Ensign Ian Johnston who finished victorious.
"I was definitely nervous," said Johnston, who handled a digital version of USS Ross (DDG 71). "I told myself to stop thinking about what could go wrong and just focus on what I want to go right. Once I got in that mindset, things went exactly like I wanted."
Students who attended BDOC learned about many surface warfare subjects such as engineering fundamentals; navigation; rules of the road; basic division officer fundamentals; 3M; Gun safety; and Deck Department training.
"The thing that impressed me the most was their confidence in control of the ship," said Rear Adm. Mike Gilday, Commander Carrier Strike Group Eight and competition judge. "They get to practice so much more than junior officers have been able to do in the past and with more practice comes more competency. That was displayed today."
BDOC training sites in Norfolk and San Diego have staffs of seven, headed by a lieutenant commander and six lieutenant instructors. BDOC training facilities have been equipped with state-of-the-art electronic classrooms and shiphandling simulators including COVE. Junior officers attending BDOC will also use computer-based training (CBT) for advanced qualifications.
SWOS is headquartered in Newport, R.I., and oversees nine learning sites, providing more than 1,000 courses a year to more than 60,000 Sailors. SWOS uses a mix of instructor-led classes, hands-on labs, simulation and computer-based training. Courses include specialized training supporting all enlisted engineering ratings, and surface warfare officers at every level. Building maritime partnerships, the command also provides training to many international students.
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