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History of Naval Warfare Devices


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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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Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist insignia

    The Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist (EAWS) insignia is a military insignia of the United States Navy which was created in March 1980. The insignia recognizes those members of the Navy’s enlisted force who have acquired the specific professional skills, knowledge, and military experience that result in qualification for service in the aviation activities of the Navy. This includes most personnel who are trained flight deck personnel onboard Aircraft Carriers, Amphibious Aviation platforms, maintenance personnel at an Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Detachment, Air Department, Aviation squadron.


    The basic prerequisite for the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist insignia is that a service member be assigned in a sea-duty status to a deployable naval aviation unit or aviation capable ship. Most service members earning this insignia hold an enlisted rating designated in aviation (though a non-aviation rating is still eligible), or a support rating of the associated platform.


    The non-designated striker rates of Airman. Airman Apprentice, and Airman Recruit are also eligible to receive the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist insignia. However, due to the time involved in the qualification procedure, most service members obtain at least a Petty Officer Third Class rating before earning the EAWS insignia. Sailors outside the aviation community are eligible to attain EAWS designation; however they must first complete the warfare specialist qualification for their community (e.g. A surface rated Sailor on a CV must attain ESWS before beginning the enrollment in EAWS and vice a versa, an aviation rated sailor on a CV must obtain his/her EAWS before beginning enrollment in ESWS).


The qualification process to obtain the insignia is outlined as follows;


    Beginning with the Enlisted Aviation Personal Qualification Standards, also known as PQS, there are two PQS for the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist insignia. The first is the Common Core which consists of concepts, policies, and tasks that are common throughout Naval Aviation and provide a foundation for the sailor's knowledge. The second is a platform-specific PQS which consists of several training tasks and other practical experience on-the-job exercises relevant to the particular aviation community the sailor is currently serving in, for example an F/A-18 squadron or a Nimitz-Class aircraft carrier. The entire Enlisted Aviation PQS normally takes approximately one year to complete from the point of entering the enlisted aviation community though it can be completed much earlier with much dedication and effort.


    Those completing the Enlisted Aviation PQS must then pass a written examination and a review board conducted by senior enlisted aviation personnel, normally the rank of Chief Petty Officer or above. Upon passing both the examination and the oral board, the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist insignia may be presented by the Commanding Officer. The Sailor is then authorized to add the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist designator (AW) after his or her rate (e.g. ABH2(AW) Smith)


    Upon transfer to the Sailor's next aviation command, he or she is required to complete an abbreviated re-qualification process to familiarize the Sailor with the differences between various aviation platforms. This process must be completed within 12 months of reporting aboard or the Sailor loses the EAWS qualification.


    The Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist insignia is not required for continued advancement in the Navy, however for those in aviation rates the insignia must be obtained when serving at a command that has an established program.


    The Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist insignia is considered one of three primary warfare badges available to the Navy’s enlisted force. The other two aforementioned badges are the Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist and the Enlisted Submarines Warfare Specialist.


    OPNAVINST 1414.9 is the Navy instruction that governs the Enlisted Warfare Qualification Programs. This instruction also cancels OPNAVINST 1414.2A.


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Submarine Officer qualification / Enlisted Submarine Warfare Specialist


    On 13 June 1923, Captain Ernest J. King, Commander, Submarine Division Three (later Fleet Admiral and Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, during World War II), suggested to the Secretary of the Navy (Bureau of Navigation) that a distinguishing device for qualified submariners be adopted. He submitted a pen-and-ink sketch of his own showing a shield mounted on the beam ends of a submarine, with dolphins forward of, and aft of the conning tower. The suggestion was strongly endorsed by Commander Submarine Division Atlantic.


    Over the next several months the Bureau of Navigation (now known as BUPERS) solicited additional designs from several sources. Some combined a submarine with a shark motif. Others showed submarines and dolphins, and still others used a shield design. A Philadelphia firm, which had done work for the Navy in the field of United States Naval Academy class rings, was approached by the Bureau of Navigation with the request that it design a suitable badge.


    Two designs were submitted by the firm, but these were ultimately combined into a single design. It was a bow view of a submarine, proceeding on the surface, with bow planes rigged for diving, flanked by dolphins (in the form of artistically stylized heraldic dolphins), in a horizontal position with their heads resting on the upper edge of the bow planes.


    Today a similar design is used: a dolphin flanking the bow and conning tower of a submarine. On 20 March 1924, the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation recommended to the Secretary of the Navy that the design be adopted. The recommendation was accepted by Theodore Roosevelt Jr., Acting Secretary of the Navy


    Originally, the submarine insignia was to be worn by Officers and men qualified in submarine duty only when attached to submarine units or submarine command organizations. The right to wear the pin was revoked if the service member transferred to a non-submarine billet. In 1941 the Uniform Regulations were modified to permit a service member to wear the submarine insignia for the duration of his career, once so authorized.


    The Submarines insignia is considered one of the Navy's three major enlisted warfare pins, along with the Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist and the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist insignia. To earn the right to wear "dolphins", prospective submariners complete an extensive qualification process that lasts about one year (for both enlisted and officers, though the two programs differ significantly) and covers virtually all of the submarine's systems.


     Once an enlisted Sailor has earned the right to wear the "dolphins", (SS) is added after his rate of rank that stands for "Submarine Specialist".


Basic enlisted submarine qualifications;


    Upon reporting to his/her first submarine the unqualified submarine sailor, Non-Qual, Puke, or "nub", short for "Non Useful Body", completes a few days of indoctrination and is then assigned a Qualification Card, a qualification due date, and a command sponsor.


     The command sponsor monitors the non-qual's progress during the qualification process and his adaptation to life aboard the boat. The term "nub" may also be used as an acronym for "New Underway Buddy" or "No Use to the Boat."


    No one is exempted from the qualification process and no concessions are made to rank or rate.


Although submarine qualification methodology has changed throughout the decades the basic goal has remained:


1) to provide the submarine sailor with a basic knowledge of all systems on board, their uses, operations, and interrelationships with other systems.


2) to ensure all personnel can operate effectively under pressure in shipboard situations. Submarine damage control techniques are stressed throughout the qualification process.


    Progress is tracked by the Chief of the Boat (or COB). Each item on the qual card is worth a specified number of points; unqualified sailors must obtain a predetermined number of points per week. Failure to achieve the required number results in placement on a "delinquent list" (also causing the Sailor to be referred to as "dinq" and the assignment of additional study, monitored by the command sponsor. Each system signature is weighted and each phase has a maximum number of points.


    The qualifications process aboard the boat uses publications, training videos, computer programs and hands-on training with qualified personnel, but the principal focus is on the actual operation of the Damage Control, Atmosphere Control, Weapons, Countermeasures, Reactor, Mechanical, Hydraulic, Pneumatic, Electrical, and Electronic Systems on that particular submarine. Once the qualifying Sailor feels he has the requisite knowledge for the system he will ask a designated Qualification Petty Officer (QPO — an expert on the system in question) for a "checkout". The QPO will ask prepared questions concerning the system. He can also ask the Sailor to draw a line diagram and explain the system in various states and configurations. If the QPO feels the sailor has met his expectations, he will sign the Sailor's qual card and those points will be included in the Sailor's weekly point count. If the QPO isn't satisfied with the Sailor's knowledge level, he will require him to study further and return for another checkout.


    The qualification structure can be broken down into phases. The example listed below is only a basic guide and is not the rule for all submarines. For most phases of qualification, knowledge of basic rather than elaborate equipment operations is required, with the exception of Damage Control equipment and procedures. Among the most important goals of submarine qualification is providing each member of the crew - regardless of designated specialty - with the training to combat casualties anywhere on the submarine. In case of fire, flooding, or other casualty, each submarine Sailor must be confident that he can trust the man next to him to know the purpose, location, and proper use of each item of Damage Control equipment, as well as the location and operation of isolations for each electrical/air/hydraulic system.


    Each phase (or "block") of the qualification card has an overall "block review" where the qualifier ties in all the phase's systems and is verbally tested for his level of knowledge.


    After completion of all blocks, the qualifier must complete compartment walkthroughs, where a senior, qualified Sailor quizzes the nub as they walk through the submarine. If all walkthroughs are completed successfully, the qualifier's chain of command recommends that he be examined by a qualification board.


The "Qual Board";


    This is the most dreaded part of the New Qualifier's qualification process. The board is made up of a Submarine-qualified Officer, a Chief Petty Officer and a Petty Officer. Submarine Damage Control is the biggest factor discussed during the Board.


    During the Board, the examinee may be asked to draw and explain any of the systems he has learned about during the qualification process. After the Board the examinee is dismissed and evaluated by the members of the board. If the examinee passes the Board, he is then recommended for qualification to the Commanding Officer of the Submarine.


    Some boats have implemented an idea requiring the qualifier to perform on his feet, called a "Snapshot Board". Qualified personnel set simulations for the qualifier to treat as a real casualty. They have to make initial emergency report then lead the fight against the casualty. This type of board was formed to assure the qualifier has practical knowledge, not just book smart.


    The Commanding Officer reviews the Board's recommendation and upon his concurrence, the newly qualified individual is presented his "Dolphins" by the Skipper and designated as "Qualified in Submarines". The Dolphins presentation is considered an important event as it means the newly qualified submariner will be treated as a full member of the crew, instead of an object of scorn and ridicule.


    Appropriate annotations are made in the new Submariner's service jacket to reflect his qualification. Submarine Qualified Personnel are designated "SS" after the rate, such as STS1(SS) or MM2(SS). The "SS" stands for Submarine Specialist (OPNAVINST 1414.9).


Post qualification life;


    After the Sailor is designated "Qualified in Submarines", he is treated with a greater amount of respect and given more responsibility. He is required to continually qualify in areas other than his primary duty. This is to ensure in-depth cross-training is accomplished. This process continues throughout a submarine Sailor's tour. In addition to the basic submarine qualification process and his requirement to qualify in his most senior in-rate watch station, a submarine Sailor usually will become qualified in numerous in-port and at-sea watch stations not directly related to his own specific rating.


    When a submarine Sailor ordered to serve a tour ashore returns to sea duty (or whenever ordered from a boat to another submarine of a class on which he has not already sailed and earned his qualifications), he is again required to "re-qualify" on the new submarine, but will never again be a NUB (Non-Useful-Body or Non-qualified Useless Body). This qualification is normally completed by a walkthrough check with a senior qualified member of his chain of command or a submarine-qualified officer.


Officer submarine qualifications;


    In principle, the Officer Submarine qualifications are very similar to the enlisted submarine qualifications - they are designed to ensure that each Junior Officer has a basic level of knowledge of all the major systems on board the boat, and is capable of performing Damage Control efforts throughout the submarine. However, the Officer Qualification goes well beyond the basics of system knowledge and Damage Control that are required for enlisted personnel. The Officer Qualification is based heavily on the officer's ability to drive, and fight, the ship.


    The newly reported Junior Officer (JO) starts with smaller qualifications, including "Basic Engineering Qualifications", Battery Charging Line-up Officer, Rig for Dive Officer and Periscope Operator. These initial qualifications enable the JO to support his fellow Officers by performing important (but tedious and sometimes time-intensive) tasks.


    While the various qualification cards that comprise the Officer's qualification package are usually pursued in parallel, the focus for the first few months aboard is decidedly engineering. After having completed a year of nuclear power training, the new JO will learn the engineering systems of his new submarine and qualify as Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOOW) and Engineering Duty Officer (EDO). These are, respectively, the underway and in-port watch stations ultimately responsible for the supervision, maintenance, and safe operation of the submarine's nuclear power plant and associated engineering systems.


    With EOOW and EDO under his belt, the JO can pursue tactical (or "forward") qualifications. First comes Contact Manager, the Officer or senior enlisted who assists the Office Of the Deck (OOD) track other vessels and maintain safe navigation surfaced or submerged. Next comes part of the qualifications for Diving Officer of the Watch (DOOW), the officer or senior enlisted who supervises the Ship's Control Party in safely driving the ship and properly executing casualty procedures. Upon completion of EOOW and DOOW, the JO has acquired most of the systems knowledge and will focus on his tactical development.


    Finally, the JO will complete his Officer of the Deck (OOD) and Ship's Duty Officer (SDO) qualifications. (The OOD qualification is actually two qualifications, one for when the submarine is surfaced and one for when it is submerged.) Like EOOW and EDO, the OOD and SDO are the officers who supervise the ship's operations underway and in-port. They are at all times the direct representative of the submarine's Commanding Officer, acting on his behalf whether it be tactical employment or in-port force protection.


    As with the enlisted qualifications, upon completion of his Qualification Card, the Junior Officer must complete a Qualification Board, although by this point he has already stood half a dozen qualification boards for his subordinate qualifications. In an Officer's case, the board is led by the Commanding Officer. Finally, the officer must be observed by his Commanding Officer, in performing the duties of OOD, including the taking of the ship to sea and returning to port and docking. If the Junior Officer passes his Qualification Board, the Commanding Officer recommends to the Squadron Commodore (a post-command officer) that the Junior Officer be Qualified in Submarines.

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