Marion Native Trains U.S. Navy Surface Warriors
Original story by Alvin Plexico, Navy Office of Community Outreach.
Petty Officer 1st Class William Kenny applied the lessons learned from Marion, Massachusetts, to become one of the most elite surface warriors.
“My town is a small town so everyone knows everyone,” said Kenny. "Living aboard small confined spaces aboard ships, you have to apply those lessons to learn and work with everyone because that's all we got is each other."
Those lessons, along with training and application learned during Kenny’s nine 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.
“Being able to serve here gives me the chance to interact outside of the enlisted world,” said Kenny. "I get to see the officer world and take both and combine them and hopefully become a chief."
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.”
Kenny is a 2002 graduate of Old Rochester Regional High School and a 2006 graduate of Bristol Community College.
There are many sacrifices and goals one must achieve to be selected as an instructor and Kenny is most proud of being able to mentor and teach junior sailors.
“Being able to help someone else reach their goals is what I like to do,” said Kenny. "Being able to see the smile on their face after an achievement brings happiness to me."
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.
Kenny is continuing a family tradition of military service.
“I am a fourth generation sailor,” said Kenny. "When I first joined it was a feeling of having to live up to them, but as I continued serving, I figured out it's about what I am able to do and start carving my own path.”
As Kenny and other instructors train future surface warriors, they take pride in what it means to serve their country in the United States Navy.
“Serving in the Navy means that every one of my friends are able to enjoy the freedoms that they have because I serve,” said Kenny. "It's a privilege to serve and someone has to earn those freedoms that we hold dear.”