I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on becoming a Surface Warfare Officer. And every time I get on a forum about SWO life everyone says that hated it or know someone who did hate it. They speak of long hours, hard quals, and lots of responsibilities. I couldn’t believe it. But then I started to think, maybe that’s because most officers that go SWO, never really had a “nack” for sailing and didn’t really know what they were getting into.

A little about myself, I am a senior at a state maritime academy, recently passed my 3rd mates license exam. I will be graduating in Dec. and have been leaning toward re-enlisting In to the navy as a SWO. I just wonder if life as a SWO could really be that bad, I don’t think I would have to much trouble getting qualed for my navigation watches. Also, how I should go about putting in a package for OCS, or DCO. (Probably should speak to a recruiter)

If anyone has taken either one of these paths to becoming a SWO and could advise me in this process I would really appreciate it.

SWO is a hard life, but it can be very rewarding. There is a high level of BS that you have to endure, but like most things in life if you are willing to make the most of the opportunities you get you will thrive. There’s also a lot more to being a SWO than ship driving, so whether or not you have a knack for the bridge be humble and apply yourself to your quals.

What was your rate in the Navy? Did you have an opportunity to work with SWOs? There is a range of quality and motivation, like most professions. If you have SWO-specific questions, I would recommend visiting www.sailorbob.com; that is the main SWO forum. I believe all state maritime academies have or are affiliated with an Navy ROTC unit; they should have at least one SWO on staff who can talk the life or options to pursuing a commission.