GREAT LAKES, Ill.— As the new year begins, it is worthwhile to look back at a snapshot of the many changes, events, successes of Surface Warfare Engineering School Command (SWESC) Great Lakes during 2020.
Students and staff of the command were up to the challenge brought upon by COVID-19 to continue the absolute mission essential work at providing highly trained Sailors for the fleet.
In addition to the continued handwashing and face coverings, the schools spaced their classes out to facilitate the six-foot social distance protocol and administered daily temperature checks to ensure a safe learning environment.
At SWESC, student training encompasses all surface engineering rates. They begin in Basic Engineering Common Core before continuing on to one of nine rate-earning programs or apprenticeship-level training schools, and advanced training at “C” Schools.
This year saw new leadership ushered in as Cmdr. Shawn Gibson relieved Cmdr. Terrance Patterson as the commanding officer during a change of command ceremony January 24.
Sailors in a number of rates now have the opportunity to take three “C” School courses focused on surface ships’ upgraded steering gear technology.
SWESC began offering Electricians Mate’s, Machinist’s Mates, and Interior communications electrician third class petty officers to master chief petty officers Surface Steering Gear Electrical and Surface Steering Gear Mechanical “C” schools. Surface Steering Gear Common Core “C” School are available for Electronics Technicians and Enginemen.
This year saw seven first class petty officers selected for promotion to chief petty officer and one staff and two students advanced to the rank of first class petty officers. In addition, SWESC Great Lakes’ Commanding Officer Cmdr. Shawn Gibson advanced Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Donovan Jemison to first class petty officer utilizing the Meritorious Advancement Program (MAP).
The command’s Petty Officer Association and the Chief Petty Officer Association stepped up multiple times during the year to help break up the monotony, benefit morale and raise awareness. This Includes holding a silent march to increase awareness about suicide prevention. Over 50 Sailors participated; displaying their designed posters to remember the 540 service members and 6,000 veterans lost each year.
On December 7, Sailors from SWESC Great Lakes traveled to the home of Colleen Valentine in remembrance and honor of the life of her son Machinery Repairman 3rd Class Jack Valentine who died following steam pipe rupture in the engineering spaces of the USS Frank Cable December 1, 2006.
The past year’s review, along with previous ones, is impressive. SWESC Great Lakes has created a long annual tradition of successes proving that the command can look forward to great accomplishments in training.