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Johnston native trains U.S. Navy surface warriors

November 12, 2018

NEWPORT, R.I. — Lt. James Beja applied the lessons learned from Johnston, South Carolina, to become one of the most elite surface warriors.

“My hometown taught me the importance of humility and approachability,” said Beja.

Those lessons, along with training and application learned during Beja’s seven years of naval service, turned into an opportunity to teach the most innovative tactics of surface warfare at Surface Warfare Officers School, located in Newport, Rhode Island.

“I like being able to relate to other people and learning new experiences which helps me stay in touch with what’s happening in the fleet,” said Beja.

Considered one of the Navy’s greatest assets, the instructors of Surface Warfare Officers School train and mentor the students who will use what they learn to lead sailors at sea. The students must pass a rigorous course structure in order to serve as surface warfare officers.

The mission of Surface Warfare Officers School is to ready sea-bound warriors to serve on surface combatants as officers, enlisted engineers, and enlisted navigation professionals to fulfill the Navy’s mission maintaining global maritime superiority.

Once service members finish training they are deployed around the world putting their skill set to work aboard Navy ships, such as aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, amphibious warfare ships, mine warfare ships and littoral combat ships.

“At Surface Warfare Officers School, we are committed to training, developing and inspiring our Navy’s surface warfare officers,” said Capt. Scott Robertson, SWOS commanding officer. “Our graduates leave our courses ethically, intellectually, professionally and physically prepared to deliver professional leadership on every surface vessel in the fleet.”

Beja is a 2007 graduate of Strom Thurmond High School and a 2011 graduate of the Naval Academy.

There are many sacrifices and goals one must achieve to be selected as an instructor and Beja is most proud of helping someone from his hometown get commissioned as a naval officer.

“I was able to use my time to help someone get to where they wanted to be,” said Beja.

The future of surface warfare is rapidly changing, so the course and materials at Surface Warfare Officer School are constantly evolving to create the most dynamic, lethal, safe and professional warfighting team for the Navy the nation needs.

“It is critical that students report to the fleet with the academic baseline required to perform as warfighters in today’s maritime environment,” said Lt. Matt Gallagher, the command’s public affairs officer. “SWOS training is at the epicenter of professional development for surface warfare officers throughout their careers.”

Surface warfare has been a part of world history for more than 3,000 years, and the United States has its stamp on that history with actions ranging from the American Revolution to modern day operations at sea around the world.

As Beja and other instructors train future surface warriors, they take pride in what it means to serve their country in the United States Navy.

“The Navy has taught me the importance of teamwork and flexibility,” said Beja. “I think that military service is the ultimate culmination of a team sport. Wherever you go in the world, you go as a team and learn to understand personalities and values.”

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