In the Navy, I’m classified as a SWO, which stands for Surface Warfare Officer. Without going into too much detail, we operate the ships. We drive them, and we operate the engineering plants. We man the combat spaces and make sure the ship looks nice. Pretty much the only parts of ship life that don’t fall on us are supply and medical. We’re really a jack of all trades and master of none.
Most mornings, I’m out the door before the rest of my family wakes up. This morning, for some reason, my wife and kids decided to get up before I left. It’s a very small thing, but it’s nice to be able to eat breakfast with them and give them hugs before I go to work.
As we were sitting at the table, eating our bagels, our daughter looked at me and asked what the pin was that was on my uniform. I replied that it was my SWO pin, and it made me awesome. She looked at me and asked, “Does it have any super powers?” While I couldn’t really think of any at the moment, there are a ton of powers associated with that little piece of metal. Here is just a few of them that I’ve come up with so far.
The SWO Pin gives me
- the ability to go without sleep for 3 days straight.
- the ability to sleep in a broom closet when I do sleep.
- the ability to drive a ship in a straight line with only 6 other people helping out.
- the ability to make myself heard across a noisy engine room to someone who is wearing hearing protection.
- the ability to trust mayonnaise that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
- the ability to drink milk that has been onboard for 2 months.
- the ability to give my superior officer confidence that I know what he’s talking about when I was technically asleep for half the conversation.
- the ability to watch the same 10 movies for 6 months straight without losing my mind.
- the ability to immediately find an Irish pub in every port city in the world.
- the ability to not get sea sick unless given express permission (in writing) from the commanding officer.
These are just a few of the super powers that come around when you wear that SWO pin on your chest. I’m sure that some of my shipmates can think of many more. It’s hard work being a super hero.