(BPT) – When the Navy needs to complete seemingly impossible missions or track elusive targets, the job is often assigned to Naval Special Warfare (NSW) or Naval Special Operations (NSO) teams. These elite men and women work with dedication and intense courage in locations all over the world, and in every possible climate, to neutralize potential threats.
Although the young men and women interested in pursuing a career in the NSW/NSO community do not need to have a college degree to excel in these challenging environments, they do need to be specially trained to work closely and efficiently with other special forces to ensure the successful completion of missions around the globe. The training these individuals go through is truly life-altering: training can include advanced swimming and lifesaving techniques, diver and parachute training, maritime navigation and helicopter operations. Some of the careers individuals can excel in include:
* Aviation Rescue Swimmers (AIRR)
The motto of the Aviation Rescue Swimmer community is “So Others May Live.” The responsibilities vary from rescue and recovery to surveillance and operational support for Sailors who serve as part of this top emergency response unit. AIRRs are typically attached to an aircraft for their tasks, which can include saving pilots of downed aircraft, coming to the aid of civilians during natural disasters, rappelling to reach survivors at a remote crash site, collaborating with other forces on joint rescue missions, jumping out of a helicopter to pluck crewmembers out of frigid waters and conducting surveillance in anti-submarine warfare and drug interdiction operations.
Intense training is required for these Sailors. This includes nearly two years of training in advanced swimming and lifesaving techniques, as well as training in water and land survival, flight safety, search and rescue, Naval aviation and more. The training is as true to life as possible because work environments can be different for every situation.
* Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EOD)
EODs are brought in to deal with disposal of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. They clear IEDs, parachute out of aircraft, dive beneath ships – protecting others by handling situations with steady hands and even steadier nerves. They also investigate and demolish underwater obstructions, prepare coastal regions for amphibious landings and provide intelligence about potential threats, both in the United States and abroad. This work has EODs located all around the world, and missions could be by air, land or sea.
Training involves 51 rigorous weeks, including various levels of EOD preparation, diver training and parachute training. Duties of EODs may include demolition of hazardous munitions, pyrotechnics and outdated explosives, locating and identifying underwater foreign and domestic ordinances, performing parachute and helicopter insertion operations in support of missions, supporting military and civilian law enforcement agencies, and executing underwater mine countermeasure operations to clear waterways in support of the Fleet.
* Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman (SWCC)
Named the “Quiet Professionals,” SWCC provide critical mission support to Navy SEALs. They operate state-of-the-art, high-performance boats. They protect global waters from enemy combatants. This elite team carries out military actions that are beyond the capability of standard forces. These Sailors secure the freedom of global waters via the riverine and littoral environments by operating independently among small units or while integrated with other U.S. Special Operations forces or within U.S. Navy carrier and expeditionary strike groups.
SWCC perform direct action raids against enemy shipping and waterborne traffic, as well as provide rapid mobility in shallow water areas where larger ships cannot operate. They maintain ammunition, weapons, combat vehicles and other equipment associated with SWCC and other special operations missions.
Training for SWCC is as intense as all other NSW/NSO ratings, but Sailors interested in this opportunity may receive specialized training in areas including maritime navigation, radio communications, boat/propulsion systems engineering and parachute and helicopter operations.
The Navy is A Global Force for Good with many exciting and challenging career opportunities available. Visit navy.com to learn more about some of these opportunities, and the background required to serve.