The recent decision by commander, Naval Surface Forces, Vice Admiral Richard Brown to restrict the surface warfare officer device, commonly known as the surface warfare officer (SWO) pin, to unrestricted line surface warfare officers was a step in the right direction to professionalize the community. But it does not go far enough. His goal of ensuring the SWO pin maintains its position as the professional equivalent of naval aviator wings of gold and submariner dolphins is laudable. However, the SWO pin equivalence argument misses a larger issue—the SWO qualification process on board ships does not begin with a solid academic foundation from a schoolhouse, as it once did.
SWO Professionalism Starts with a Solid Knowledge Base
By Captain Pete Pagano, U.S. Navy (Retired)