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Houston native trains as a U.S. Navy surface warrior

November 10, 2018

NEWPORT, R.I. — Lt. Vanessa Brown applied the lessons learned in Houston to become one of the most elite surface warriors.

“I learned confidence and the importance of being strong while growing up in Houston,” said Brown.

Those lessons turned into an opportunity to learn leadership and the most innovative tactics of surface warfare at Surface Warfare Officers School, located in Newport, Rhode Island.

“I like the challenges of being a surface warfare officer and the ability to practice one of three different fields, including engineering, which is what I’m in now,” said Brown.

Considered one of the Navy’s greatest assets, surface warfare officers must first train and be mentored at Surface Warfare Officer School. These 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.”

Brown is a 2005 graduate of Elsik High School and a 2010 graduate of the University of Texas Pan American, now the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

There are many sacrifices and goals one must achieve to be selected as a surface warfare officer and Brown is most proud of serving as a member of the commissioning crew of the littoral combat ship, USS Little Rock.

“This experience gave me a sense of ownership and responsibility along with job satisfaction,” said Brown.

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.

Brown is continuing a family tradition of military service.

“My mother and father were both hospital corpsman in the Navy,” said Brown.

As Brown and other surface warriors continue to train, they take pride serving their country in the United States Navy.

“Serving in the Navy has given me a sense of duty and maturity,” said Brown. “It’s put me on the fast track to life.”

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