U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Derien C. Luce

Surface Warfare Schools Command holds Change of Command Ceremony

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Derien C. Luce, Naval Education and Training Command Public Affairs

Surface Warfare Schools Command (SWSC) held a change of command ceremony at Naval Station Newport April 22.

Capt. Alexis Walker relieved Capt. Christopher Alexander as commanding officer of SWSC, as well as Surface Warfare Officers School Command (SWOS). Alexander has been the commanding officer since April 2019.

“I believe that never in our history have we made more of an impact on the United States Navy than we have in the last two years, and we accomplished it in one of the most challenging operating environment imaginable,” said Alexander.

SWSC is a learning center that reports to Naval Education and Training Command as part of the MyNavy HR Force Development pillar.

Alexander led a staff of nearly 1,200 military, civilian, and contract personnel in 21 learning sites across 12 locations through a dynamic and highly challenging period, which included the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As I sat to write this speech, it was my original intent to list our many accomplishments over the last two years,” said Alexander. “I quickly realized the list was too long and there isn’t enough time, but it has been an incredible two years.”

During his tour at SWSC, Alexander was responsible for the execution of the $700 million Mariner Skills Training Program, which was designed and developed to improve the navigation, seamanship, and shiphandling skills of the surface fleet. The program included construction and renovation projects for training facilities at many locations, including the creation of two new major training centers with 11,000-square-foot buildings at the waterfront in Norfolk and San Diego.

SWSC launched an intensive four-week Junior Officer of the Deck Course along with follow-on officer of the deck and other new surface warfare courses. This complemented an effort to define and implement a robust performance assessment process for mariner skills, along with incorporating warrior toughness throughout the training pipeline from enlisted “C” school through major command.

“Since the creation on this institution over 60 years ago, SWSC has always been blessed to get the best and brightest that our navy has to offer,” said Richard Callas, Executive Director at SWSC. “This has been particularly true when it comes to commanding officers, each of them has brought their own unique talent and leadership skills and have often done so at the time when the command has needed it most.”

Moving forward, Alexander has been selected for promotion to rear admiral (lower half), and he will be assigned as commander, Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center, San Diego, where he will continue to train and build warfighters to increase the lethality and tactical proficiency of the Naval Surface Force. He received the Legion of Merit for his service with SWSC.

Walker brings 32 years of naval experience to SWSC, including at-sea tours aboard frigates, destroyers, and cruisers. He served as commanding officer of USS Stockdale (DDG 106) and as commodore of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7. One of his previous shore assignments was as a destroyer/cruiser gas turbine instructor at SWOS, and his most recent tour was as deputy chief of legislative affairs at the Navy Office of Legislative Affairs.

“I am stepping into really big shoes,” said Walker. “Hopefully I can continue what has been set into motion and keep this institution the premier and elite organization that it is.”
SWSC prepares sea bound Sailors to serve on surface combatants as officers, enlisted engineers, and enlisted navigation professionals to fulfill the Navy’s mission to maintain global maritime superiority.

Like Newport Buzz? We depend on the generosity of readers like you who support us, to help with our mission to keep you informed and entertained with local, independent news and content. We truly appreciate your trust and support!