Norfolk, Virginia - Seven of the Surface Fleet’s top surface warfare officers (SWO) completed the Amphibious Warfare (AMW) Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTIs) course and earned their WTI patch on August 23.
Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center’s (SMWDC’s) WTI program selects top surface warfare officers among eligible applicants for advanced tactical training in four warfare specialty areas – AMW, anti-submarine / surface warfare (ASW/SUW), integrated air and missile defense (IAMD), and mine warfare (MIW).
Rear Adm. Erik Ross, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) Two delivered remarks at the graduation ceremony held at AMW Division onboard Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. In his address to the students, he emphasized the importance of AMW WTIs in their role of increasing the lethality and tactical proficiency of amphibious warships.
“I am honored to be in the presence of the newest members of the WTI nation, who are going to help our Gator Navy ensure that we have combat-ready ships and battle-minded crews,” said Rear Adm. Erik Ross, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 2.
During the 15-week course of instruction, students focus on all aspects of amphibious warfare doctrine and tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP). AMW WTI course students also complete Ship-to-shore movement week focused on power projection ashore, and Marine Corps immersion training, which enhances understanding of Navy and Marine Corps integration in amphibious operations. Students learned TTP through demonstrations, student led briefings, practical application, open forum discussions and synthetic training evolutions like those provided at the Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) Ship’s Self Defense System (SSDS) training onboard Wallops Island, Va.
“You now wear the Amphibious Warfare Tactics Instructor patch, a badge which identifies you as a custodian of the fighting spirit and honored legacy of the Navy-Marine Corps team,” said Ross. “I charge you to remain humble, challenge conventional thinking, and work tirelessly to continue to hone your skills because you are the tactical experts we entrust to educate our amphibious fleet.”
Lt. Veronica Camiolo, selected as the Honor Graduate, will report to USS New Orleans (LPD 18) for her second Department Head tour as the Plans and Tactics Officer (PTO).
“I am proud of what I have learned and honored to become part of the AMW WTI cadre,” said Camiolo. “The broad scope of amphibious warfighting doctrine, TTP, and blue-green integration training that we received is a great foundation to build upon as we become the most tactically proficient warfighters.”
The course culminates with a Battle Problem - an amphibious mission presented to the students on a compressed timeline. Through mission planning, the students demonstrate knowledge of the Navy Planning Process, produce and deliver an executable transition brief to the instructor cadre, course director and AMW Division director – highlighting their ability to understand and utilize amphibious doctrine and TTP.
Seventy-five students have completed the AMW WTI course since its 2015 establishment as part of the cultural shift toward deliberate development of tactical expertise in the Surface Force.
As qualified WTIs, graduates will join more than 300 WTIs in the Fleet as the backbone of SMWDC’s four lines of operations (LOO) - advanced tactical training, doctrine and tactical guidance development, operational support, capability assessments, and experimentation and future requirements. WTIs support SMWDC’s LOOs through training events like the SSDS simulators at Wallops Island, Va., underway as a part of Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) planning and execution, as well as development and review of doctrine and TTP.
Among the course graduates, Lt. Megan Graham earned the Iwo Jima Leadership award presented for superb leadership qualities displayed throughout the course as selected by her peers. Graham will report to CSCS Dam Neck, Va. for her production tour.
SMWDC is a subordinate command of Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet and exists to increase the lethality and tactical proficiency of the Surface Force across all domains. SMWDC headquarters is at Naval Base San Diego with four divisions in Virginia and California focused on ASW/SUW, MIW, AMW, and IAMD.