Rear Adm. Scott Robertson, commander, Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC), visited the dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) at Naval Station Norfolk, Oct. 16.
During the visit, Robertson met with the ship’s triad as well as its officers, where he highlighted the continuing evolution of what it means to be a Surface Warfare Officer.
“The surface organization has unapologetically raised standards to become a professional organization,” said Robertson. “We are getting tougher in an effort to ensure that our surface warfare community can not only drive a ship well, but can also fight a ship well.”
SMWDC’s mission is to increase the lethality and tactical proficiency of the Surface Force across all domains.
Robertson also emphasized his focus of Surface Warfare Officers as leaders, challenging the wardroom to do something each day to ensure that they will be prepared to effectively make tough choices in the face of future challenges.
“Every organization has a standard distribution of talents and experiences,” he said. “I challenge you to strive to be in the top of the curve to ensure the highest chance of operational effectiveness, best leadership of our sailors and highest confidence in your ability to make challenging decisions.”
Whidbey Island, commissioned in 1985, is the oldest dock landing ship in the fleet. Most recently the ship deployed in 2016 as part of the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group, supporting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. The ship is completing an extensive maintenance period, after which it is scheduled to begin the basic phase of training.