View Full Version : SEALs and SWCCs drop source ratings

11 October 2006, 12:10
NAVY TIMES - October 16, 2006

SEALs and SWCCs drop source ratings
Move will allow sailors to focus on spec ops duties

By Gidget Fuentes
Staff writer

SAN DIEGO - Drawn from different enlisted rates but united for years as the Navy's tip-of-the-spear commando force, Navy sea-air-land commandos and special warfare combatant-craft crewmen are now in a community all by themselves.

As of Oct. 1, each SEAL and SWCC retired his original source rate and took on one of two new ratings, with SEALs becoming "special warfare operators," or SOs, and SWCCs becoming "special warfare boat operators," or SBs. The change, part of the Navy's "Sea Warrior" program designed to streamline classifications but expand on sailors' skills, affects the growing naval special warfare community - about 1,770 SEALs and 500 SWCCs.

With the new rates, SEALs and SWCCs can take at least one load off their back: No longer will they have to juggle the demands of a wartime operator and the need to stay current in their source rating. They will compete for advancement within their own community and be evaluated in their specific skills and naval enlisted classifications.

The top SEAL officer, Rear Adm. Joseph Maguire, called the establishment of the new rates "a watershed event."

The community's high operational tempo since Sept. 11, 2001, left little time or opportunity for the men to stay updated in their source rates, which Maguire noted is critical for their advancement and professional development.

"Operationally, with what we are doing in the war on terrorism demands that we no longer have a secondary [Navy Enlisted Classification] but a primary rate of special warfare operator and special warfare boat operator," Maguire, who commands Naval Special Warfare Command, said during the Oct. 2 ceremony, held on the beachfront lawn outside his Coronado, Calif., headquarters.

For five years, naval special warfare has become a supported force instead of being in a supporting role. The new rating reinforces the priority on developing SEALs and SWCCs within their own rating, not in their naval enlisted classification specialties, Maguire said. "Now we no longer are a community of secondary NECs," he added.

Shifting the focus

Over the years, SEALs have raised the issue of creating their own rating. It was an oft-discussed subject during annual command master chief conferences but was sidelined by other concerns, such as the lack of senior enlisted billets to support healthy advancement opportunities through the ranks.

Several years ago, with the Sea Warrior concept afloat, naval special warfare took a fresh look at the idea.

That came as the Navy launched its Sea Warrior human capital strategy program, designed to streamline classifications, revise assignments and broaden sailors' training and skills across the fleet.

Taking the lead, Naval Special Warfare Command spent $300,000 to establish the new rates and a new center to oversee the changes.

Repeated deployments and the force's small size made it tough for SEALs and SWCCs to go to sea or hone the technical skills and qualifications demanded by their original source ratings.

"We no longer have the luxury to take people off out of their primary job and send them off someplace else," Maguire said.

The changes mean SEALs and SWCCs won't have to drop their pack and dust off little-used training manuals to study for exams in their original rates - jobs that many hadn't done for years.

Instead, they will still have to put their head in the books, but with their focus solely on the skills they're using.

Even after completing his "A" school to become a quartermaster, Special Warfare Boat Operator 3rd Class (SWCC) Greg Curry hardly spent any time in that rate after he arrived at Coronado and became a SWCC.

"My experience ... is 'A' school," said Curry, 23.

Special Warfare Operator 3rd Class (SEAL) Adam Crocker is in a similar situation. Although he enlisted in the Navy as an aviation ordnanceman, Crocker, 20, spent little if any time at sea on a flight deck.

He entered Basic Underwater Demolition team/SEALs training and became a SEAL, but still was an AO.

Both young men say they are motivated by the changes and are glad to have off their shoulders the pressure of maintaining knowledge and being current in their original source rating.

But they know that advancement won't be automatic. They will have to be better than the rest.

"You're going to have to study more of what is in your specific job," Curry said.

"It's going to take a lot more time," Crocker added. "You're not going to be the only ones" competing.

The new ratings will pit them against fellow teammates and friends for advancement to that next paygrade.

"It'll be a friendly competition," said Crocker, smiling.

Managing their own

Their development, and that of their teammates, is being steered by the Center for SEAL and SWCC, a naval special warfare learning center in Coronado established last year to implement the rate conversions and focus on the professional development of the community.

Command leaders have gotten the E-8 and E-9 authorization and commitment for enough billets to support promotion opportunity.

Master Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Clell W. Breining said the changes will develop a more professional force.

"We're going to have SEAL and SWCC operators study SEAL and SWCC stuff to get advanced, and doing SEAL and SWCC tasks to get advanced, and taking SEAL and SWCC jobs to get advanced," Breining, most recently the force master chief, told the audience at the ceremony. "We're going to promote our own. We're going to have our own promotion boards."

Breining, a boatswain's mate who became an experienced SEAL operator, this summer became CenSEALSWCC's senior enlisted adviser. "We're going to have improved force management," he added.

New SEALs and SWCCs will continue to be trained at their initial courses - BUD/S and Basic Crewmen Training - at the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado.

Both courses became the "A" school for naval special warfare, so sailors get their SO or SB rating upon graduation. At follow-on training - the SEAL Qualification Training or Crewmember Qualification Training course - each enlisted sailor or officer will receive his SEAL or SWCC warfare designator.

Exams for advancement within the SO and SB ratings are scheduled to begin with the E-7 exam in January.

11 October 2006, 16:59
And to think it only took them 63 years to wise up.

11 October 2006, 17:06
And to think it only took them 63 years to wise up.

Right on Flapjack!!!

I think you are now Senior Frog On Board, anyone earlier?

11 October 2006, 20:47
Amen!!! Good by AO hello SB. I F$%$ing hated that exam.


11 October 2006, 20:48
Don't know. I cosider myself a living fossil.;)

Graphic Ed
12 October 2006, 16:58
I was going to ask how this would affect the HMs, but I found this related article and didn't have to.

October 9, 2006
SpecWar corpsmen become ‘SEAL medics’

By Gidget Fuentes
Staff writer

SAN DIEGO — The advent of two new ratings for the Navy’s commando force means changes for the elite hospital corpsman who become Navy SEALs.

As of Oct. 1, these corpsmen no longer are managed by the enlisted community manager for hospital corpsmen, but instead now are considered special warfare operators and fall under the control of Naval Special Warfare Command, said Master Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Clell W. Breining, the senior enlisted adviser for the Center for SEAL and SWCC.
Help Someone Today!

“They will not be corpsmen anymore. They will be SEAL medics,” Breining said. “They will be wearing the SEAL rating badge. They will have a certification and qualification as a combat medic.”

That’s right, medic. It’s not just an Army term.

After Oct. 1, new SEALs who entered the naval special warfare force as hospital corpsmen and SEALs who opt to become a corpsman no longer will attend “A” school at the Navy’s Corpsman School. Instead, their new “A” school will be the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL course in Coronado, Calif., where they would earn their warfare qualification as a SEAL. Those who attend and graduate the Special Operations Combat Medic Course, a seven-month course taught at Fort Bragg, N.C., will get the naval enlisted classification as a SEAL medic.

“They are still going to be trained at the same level as the guys in the past,” Breining said.

The change will give SEAL medics — hospital corpsmen — expanded opportunities as they advance in rank to lead and take on non-medical roles and responsibilities within their teams, he added.

SEAL medics will be billeted by their NEC, said Ron Cooper, director of the Center for SEAL and SWCC and a retired master chief.

The new ratings won’t mark a major change to their medical training, officials said.

After their medical training, they will serve with SEALs and SWCCs. “For corpsmen, it’s more or less a name change,” said the force’s senior medic, Master Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Mike Beske. “We’re going to keep the training pipeline the same,” he added.

SEAL medics will compete for advancement with other SEALs, as SOs, Beske said.

“I’m a SEAL … who happens to be in a medical role,” he said.

12 October 2006, 19:47
Amazin how times are a changin..............

30 October 2006, 22:19
Just 2 cents from an old Jarhead .... no disrepect intended toward any old timers, nor to tradition, but this seems like a really great idea! This probably should have happened a long time ago. Kudos on a common sense change that will most likely be a lot better for the guys. Congratulations to everyone effected by the rating change. (I never understood what a Yeoman was anyway! - joking/LOL)

31 October 2006, 02:39
Rating conversion is good news and definately should have happened a long time ago. Studying was non-existent if you had a rating that required a clearance, as getting your hands on those publications was futile.

"After their medical training, they will serve with SEALs and SWCCs"

I wonder what is going to happen with IDC. in NSW.

6 November 2006, 23:10
Sent to me by a distant family member with a SWCC background. Congrats guys, I know this will portend good things for your community.

6 November 2006, 23:25
Thanks for the pic.


27 November 2006, 19:59
Yes now all that has to be done to make chief is to convince all the other LPO's not to study... LOL.. I'll be buying free drinks for anyone up for chief at the Tuna for a month prior to the exam..

Honeslty my only reservation about the change is the Platoon LPO qual for Chief. Don't get me wrong it's a good idea, just sucks if you are waiting for an LPO slot, thats just a two year long line.