Two weeks, eight storms, and two tornadoes later we are finally leaving the plains and heading back to the academy. SWIFT has not only been beneficial on an academic level, but it has also contributed greatly to my professional development. During SWIFT, I was challenged mentally everyday while still having some great times with my new found friends. SWIFT has easily been the most challenging yet rewarding training that I have experienced so far in my academy career.
Each day the SWIFT team was broken up into two separate groups: weather and logistics. The weather team was in charge of finding where the storm was going to be that day, and logistics served to provide us with all of the group's road trip needs (hotel, lunch/dinner stops, gas, navigation, ect.). Previous to SWIFT, everyone in the group had very little experience in forecasting weather which made made the weather team very challenging. We were practically thrown into the deep end while learning how to forecast, so quick learning was the only option available. Although the weather team had its difficult moments, the logistics team had many challenges of its own as well. Every detail of each day had to be planned out in order to make our trip as efficient as possible. It also proved to be very challenging during chase days when we didn't even know what city we were staying in until an hour before we arrived, so we had to make all the evening plans on short notice. Each group challenged us in different ways every day, and I was able to learn something new from every experience.
SWIFT differs from any other training that I have experienced because it is the first time at the academy where the midshipmen actually controlled the training. LCDR Woods and Dr. Barrett made sure that the midshipmen were in charge everyday of where we were going, what we were doing, and how we were going to do it. SWIFT was a great opportunity for peer leadership, which is going to be a crucial skill needed in being an officer. Overall, SWIFT has been one of the best applications of academia and leadership, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is considering it for the future.