Naval Special Warfare Group 4 Holds Historic Conference



Naval Special Warfare Group 4 Holds Historic Conference
Story Number: NNS061006-07
Release Date: 10/6/2006 2:25:00 PM

By Naval Special Warfare Group 4 Public Affairs
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. (NNS) -- Naval Special Warfare Group 4 (NSWG 4) hosted more than 50 leaders of U.S. Special Operations Command’s (USSOCOM) premier, special boat community for its 2006 Commander’s Conference in September.

The conference attendees included NSWG 4 Commodore, Capt. Evin Thompson, all Special Boat Team commanding officers, more than half of the Special Warfare Combatant-craft crewman (SWCC) master chief petty officers, and leaders from all departments in the community.

It was the first time since SWCC became a closed loop community that so many of its senior enlisted leaders and officers met in one room. It was an excellent opportunity to shape the future for Naval Special Warfare’s surface component and the warriors that serve it.

“I think it is important to get everybody’s perspective,” said NSWG 4 Command Master Chief (CMC), Master Chief Scott Harris. “We all sit in different seats. The training master chiefs, operations master chiefs, guys taking detachments out, other CMCs, we all have ideas from where we sit.”

NSWG 4’s three boat teams, Special Boat Team 12 (Coronado, Calif.), Special Boat Team 20 (Norfolk, Va.), and Special Boat Team 22 (Stennis, Miss.), are spread out on three coasts, making this kind of meeting a logistical challenge. While video teleconferencing (VTC) is regularly used to bring the teams together, face-to-face discussion is preferred.

“To look an individual in the eye, to have uninterrupted conversations unconstrained by technology, and most important to have sidebar conversations in and around the general discussions can never be replicated in a VTC environment,” Thompson said.

What happens outside the conference room can be just as important as what happens in it.

“Being in one location at the same time is great, and not just for what happens during the conference. During runs, [physical training] and after-hours, you have time for discussions and informal meetings,” said Harris. “You don’t have time for that during a VTC.”

Topics ranging from SWCC manning and training, to boat team operational capabilities during the global war on terrorism, were discussed frankly and without hesitation.

“Leadership and knowledge are not intuitive skills one is born with. They come as one experiences the success and failures of others by capturing and learning each time you hear or see something. Only by having open dialogue do we grow as professionals and become even better warriors so that we can uphold our commitment of defending the constitution,” said Thompson.

The September conference was the first, but will not be the last for the SWCC leadership. The next conference is scheduled for Spring 2007.

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