Posted by: Jacqui Murray | May 12, 2015

What Happens After USNA Graduation?

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USNA graduates end up in any position that is manned by US Navy personnel. That includes stateside, overseas, Marines, pilots, intelligence, SEALs–even in other military  branches like the Army or Air Force. Graduates might also be sent to college for Masters or simply additional training to prepare for a more rigorous position (such as nuclear power school). USNA offers a thorough look into those at this link on career opportunities.

The most common choice is the Surface Warfare community where commissioned offers become Surface Warfare Officers onboard Aircraft Carriers, Cruisers, Destroyers, Frigates, Dock landing ships, and other surface vessels, and manage professional and highly trained Sailors to maintain and operate the ship’s systems.

What do they do? Surface Warfare Officers are involved in virtually every aspect of Navy missions. Antisubmarine warfare, anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, land attack, theatre air missile defense, support for Marine Corps and Navy Special Warfare (SEAL) missions, communications, damage control, and shipboard management all rely on the knowledge and expertise of Officers in the Surface Warfare community. During a sea tour, Surface Warfare Officers are in charge of any number of shipboard operations and activities and work with or within the following forces:sw-o1_small1

  • Aircraft Carrier Forces: Provide and coordinate air defense from conventional and nuclear-powered carriers
  • Cruiser-Destroyer Forces: Provide ship attack and defense measures with a wide array of missile and fire power capabilities providing antiair, submarine, and surface warfare support
  • Amphibious Forces: Embark and transport vehicles, cargo, and troops for amphibious assault operations
  • Combat-Logistics Forces: Provide combatant ships with fuel, ammunition, food and supplies, and provide repair, maintenance, and rescue capabilities through fleet support ships
  • Mine Warfare Forces: Detect, identify, and neutralize threats to maritime forces from hostile use of mines

Shore duty may involve a tour-of-duty at the Pentagon, a student assignment at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, or command and management positions at shore bases and stations across the globe.

Before the Surfaced Warfare Officer earns his/her pin (showing s/he has accomplished all hurdles toward this moniker), they attend the Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) located in Newport, R.I., where they are trained to navigate a virtual vessel through any number of simulated hazards in the school’s full-mission bridge.


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of dozens of books on integrating tech into education, webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, adjunct professor in technology-in-education, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

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