Surface warfare is unique in the Navy in that it offers command billets for junior officers. These opportunities are invaluable in leadership development and allow surface warfare officers to have professionally rewarding experiences as young officers. Even though there is risk in commanding early, the rewards are enormous and well worth your time and effort.
Command of a coastal patrol craft (PC) or mine countermeasures (MCM) ship is no less satisfying than vessels of any other command, despite their smaller size. As Admiral James Stavridis wrote in Command at Sea, “Though the size of a ship may be important as a measure of her capability or durability, the smallest minesweeper is equal to the largest aircraft carrier in terms of responsibility or reward.” On a smaller ship, you are “alone and unafraid” for the majority of your underway time. PCs and MCMs frequently operate independently, which will allow you great autonomy in running your ship’s daily operations. These are advantages that more senior commanding officers may not always have onboard a larger vessel.