I don't even know where to begin on how to describe the experience of SWIFT. There were so many lessons learned and a wealth of knowledge absorbed. There were days of complete frustration, adrenaline pumps, smooth days, extremely stressful days. I can honestly say every day here I learned something new about myself or my team. I joined this group a little over a month ago and I now feel like these ten people and two instructors are some of my best friends. Sure we have had our differences here and there, but being the mature soon to be Naval Officers we are, we have overcome the hard times leading to a mission accomplishment. I am so thankful for this opportunity, it really allowed me to take what was taught to me in the classroom and apply it to a real world scenario. Even days we thought we did everything right we didn't see the storm we were expecting and it only taught us to be patient with ourselves, learn from our failures, and to realize even the best performances don't always give the best results. I would highly recommend this training to any rising First or Second Class. It is a true test of leadership and your ability to function with a diverse group of personalities. Some of the things I saw during SWIFT were simply awesome and some were horrifying. The first two tornadoes we saw left me in amazement at what our atmosphere was capable of. The second day we were chasing in Oklahoma was horrifying, I thank the good Lord above that we weren't in Moore, OK when the storm hit and that my shipmates and I are going home to our families safely. The storm hit that town hard and the images I saw of the elementary schools that were demolished really struck a nerve. But I kept my emotions in check, if I lost it I knew my team would soon follow.
I was so proud to see the team come together over two weeks. We started as a complete group of strangers in the same major and over the time we spent together we learned to play to each others strengths and get the jobs required of us done in an efficient manner. If anyone reading this wishes to know more about my experiences please feel free to look me up on Facebook or send me an email. I wish everyone reading and the SWIFT Team of 2013 fair winds and following seas.
MIDN 1/C Joshua Davis Whitt