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  1. So I am just wondering where the dipping of ESWS pins in saltwater started? What is the meaning behind this?
  2. Surface Warfare Officer The Surface Warfare Officer insignia is the first milestone qualification an eligible commissioned officer may receive in surface warfare. This device is commonly called the "SWO pin" in the U.S. Navy since "badge" is more of a European rather than American term for metal military insignia, and, jokingly, "water wings" or "mark of the beast. Those receiving the Surface Warfare Officer pin must qualify as Officer Of the Deck (both underway and inport), small boat officer, Combat Information Officer watch officer, and must be trained in shipboard engineering, damage control and quality maintenance (3M). For further, enterprise-level training, officers will attend Surface Warfare Officers' School (SWOS) in Newport Rhode Island. The Surface Warfare Officer pin is typically a prerequisite for Tactical Action Officer (TAO) training. Junior Officers, typically ensigns, assigned to the Surface Warfare community are known as “unqualified” or "non-quals" until they receive qualification as a Surface Warfare Officer and receive the Surface Warfare Officer pin. Such Junior Officers are granted 18 months to qualify as Surface Warfare Officers; they may be transferred to another branch of the navy or administratively separated if the qualification is not obtained in the requisite timeframe. Such officers are known as “SWO non-attainees” and this designation is entered into the Officer's permanent military record. The Surface Warfare Officer pin was designed to depict the traditional and typical elements of naval service: waves breaking before the bow of a ship, overlaid on crossed swords, rendered in gold. The insignia recognizing surface warfare officers was introduced in 1975. Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist On 1 December 1978, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral T.B. Hayward approved the Surface Warfare Specialist qualification program. This approval followed immediately by the promulgation of OPNAV Instruction 1412.4, which provided the specific details of the program. Since the introduction of the Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) qualification program in 1975, a strong advocacy for a similar program for surface enlisted was started. The program was initiated in 1977 when the surface warfare commanders (DCNO Surface Warfare, COMNAVSURFLANT and COMNAVSURFPAC) gave their conceptual approval to the development of a surface enlisted qualification program. Initial guidelines for the program at that time were: 1. Sailors were to reflect a level of qualification above and beyond the normal level of professional and performance criteria necessary for advancement. 2. The qualification was applicable to and reasonably attainable by all "surface" ratings. 3. Qualification was an attainable goal for dedicated enlisted serving on ships and afloat staffs. 4. Management of the program would not become an administrative burden on the ship. 5. Qualification criteria would be well defined and specific. 6. Participation was voluntary, and there was neither a financial reward nor hazardous duty associated with the qualification. The silver cutlass was available for the first time in April 1979. Specifically the criteria in 1979 to qualify was as follows: 1. Have attained the rank of Petty Officer 2. Have 24 months on a surface ship 3. Have a performance mark and leadership marks of top 30% for CPO's and 3.4 for Petty Officers. 4. Complete the PQS for Damage Control, Damage Control Petty Officer, Repair Party Leader, and 3M Work Center Supervisor. 5. Qualify in all watch stations for rating and pay grade. 6. Perform an oral board held by the Commanding Officer, Executive Officer or Lieutenant Commander. 7. Be recommended by the chain of command, and approved by the Commanding Officer. OPNAVINST 1414.9 is the Navy instruction that governs the enlisted warfare qualification programs. This instruction also cancels OPNAVINST 1414.2A. The Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist insignia also known as the ESWS pin, is authorized for wear by any enlisted member of the United States Navy who is permanently stationed aboard a navy afloat command and completes the Enlisted Surface Warfare qualification program and personal qualification standards (PQS). The Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist pin can be obtained at any while serving aboard a Surface unit. It has become common for Commanding Officers of Navy ships to award the ESWS pin to those in paygrades E-2 and E-3 after they complete the requisite qualifications. ESWS qualifications must be requalified upon arrival to a new platform and must commonly complete the Platform Specific portion (300 Series) of the PQS (e.g. I received my qualification on a CV, upon reporting to an DDG I must requalifiy to the new platform). Rguardless of secondary warfare (e.g. an Aviation rating where EAWS is the primary warfare) ESWS must still be requalified upon assignment to a new platform. An enlisted person who has qualified for his or her ESWS pin places the designator SW after his or her rate and rating; for example, Boatswain's Mate Second Class Jones, having qualified for his ESWS pin, is identified as BM2(SW) Jones. For those enlisted personnel who are subsequently commissioned as officers and are shipboard SWO's the enlisted surface warfare specialist badge is replaced. Unlike other warfare pins available to both enlisted and officers, the ESWS and SWO pins differ by more than just color (gold for officers and silver for enlisted is a common theme in U.S. Navy uniforms). The blade weapons behind the hull on the SWO pin are swords. The blade weapons on the enlisted pin are cutlasses. This can clearly be seen in the curvature of the blades and the shape of the handguards. This derives from the sword being a symbol of naval officers and their authority, while cutlasses were traditionally the sidearm of the enlisted men.
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