Rear Adm. Dave Welch, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 15, visited the Surface Warfare Schools Command (SWSC) at Naval Station Newport, Feb. 26.
During his visit, Welch observed a demonstration of the Conning Officer Virtual Environment (COVE) simulator used by students to hone their shiphandling skills as part of the COVE Junior Officer of the Deck (JOOD) course.
“I’m ecstatic with the COVE JOOD course,” said Welch. “As a former SWOS [Surface Warfare Officers School] commanding officer, bringing the power of technology for more practical training has been part of our vision for a long time.”
Welch believes the junior officers who graduate from the COVE JOOD course are already making a tremendous difference in the surface force thanks to the COVE simulator.
“The power of technology does a couple of things for us,” said Welch. “It allows us to do repetitive exercises where we can vary the complexity. We can control variables such as current, wind and visibility, but we also have the ability to go back and debrief and reinforce positive learning behaviors or learn lessons from mistakes. Being able to do all of this in a safe training environment is very beneficial.”
According to Welch, commanding officers in the fleet who have begun to get junior officers from the COVE JOOD course say they can see the benefits.
However, the students are not the only ones benefitting from the shift to more hands-on training.
“After an instructor spends a couple of years here they’ve got 1,500 or 2,000 hours of practical experience in that simulator,” said Welch. “We’re creating a cadre of subject matter experts on our mariner skills, and that’s important for the Navy and for the community.”
Welch said he is looking forward to seeing more COVE simulators around the fleet in the next few years.
SWSC headquarters is located in Newport and oversees nine learning sites worldwide. Its mission is to ready seabound Sailors to serve on surface combatants as officers, enlisted engineers, and enlisted navigation professionals to fulfill the Navy’s mission to maintain global maritime superiority.
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