By Lt. Sandra Niedzwiecki
Rachel Hardesty, a native of Cold Spring, Kentucky, wanted to follow in her grandparents’ foot steps.
Now, four months later, Hardesty has the opportunity to learn leadership at the Basic Division Officer Course (BDOC), part of Surface Warfare Officers School San Diego.
BDOC is an intensive, nine week course of instruction designed to provide foundational classroom training to prospective surface warfare officers.
“I have been in leadership positions my entire life, being able to apply leadership from sports and clubs I have been in has helped tremendously,” said Hardesty.
Hardesty, a 2012 graduate of Newport Central Catholic High School, is training to become a surface warfare officer.
“I’m training to become first lieutenant on my ship, who is in charge of the ship’s deck department,” said Hardesty.
The course places emphasis on classroom instruction and Conning Officer Virtual Environment (COVE) simulators, which simulate every class of ship in the U.S. Navy and all their homeports, in addition to many routine ports of call around the world. COVE reinforces concepts in navigation, seamanship, and shiphandling. BDOC also provides instruction on maritime warfare, divisional officer fundamentals, engineering, leadership and damage control.
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.
There are many sacrifices and goals one must achieve to be selected as a surface warfare officer and Hardesty is most proud of graduating Officer Candidate School.
“Being able to overcome the obstacle that I faced and being able to work as team with the other candidates in my class made me very proud,” said Hardesty.
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.
A key element of the Navy the Nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, according to Navy officials, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.
“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
As Hardesty and other surface warriors continue to train, they take pride serving their country in the United States Navy.
“Serving in the Navy is something that I can be proud of, something to accomplish with the support from my family and friends,” said Hardesty.
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jackson Brown