Joliet Native Trains as a U.S. Navy Surface Warrior

Lt. Joseph McElroy/Photo by Dusty Good

Lt. Joseph McElroy applied the lessons learned from Joliet, Illinois to become one of the most elite surface warriors.

“When I was in high school I learned the importance of a strong work ethic,” said McElroy. “Sometimes you have to work hard to get the job done and do it well.”

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’ve wanted to be in the Navy since I was six,” said McElroy. “”I enjoy driving ships. There is something fun about taking a ten thousand ton warship and making sure we navigate safely.”

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.”

McElroy is a 2006 graduate of Joliet Township High School West and a 2010 graduate of Loyola University.

There are many sacrifices and goals one must achieve to be selected as a surface warfare officer and McElroy is most proud of being a part of Operation Native Fury.

“As part of that operation I was responsible for offloading marine equipment from maritime position forcing ships,” said McElroy. “It required a lot of coordination to make sure the equipment was safely offloaded and get across the United Arab Emirates.”

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.

“I have a lot of military service in my family’s background that encouraged me to join” said McElroy. “That legacy ensures that I want to leave every command I touch better than I found it.”

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

“The Navy has taught me that if you see a problem address it early,” said McElroy. “It’s better to solve it early before it becomes a big problem. If you take the initiative, you can get any problem solved quickly.”

Press Release By Alvin Plexico
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