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ESWS fever catches hold on Milius. (Around the Fleet).

The Constellation (CV 64) Battle Group (CBG) was learning to work together during its composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX), USS Milius (DDG 69) Sailors were increasing their knowledge of their ship and its capabilities.

During this intensive underway, where every warfare area was practiced to perfection, 25 Milius Sailors earned their warfare pins. After meal hours, the mess decks filled with Sailors from every division and department working together to earn their pins. Experts conducted lessons in each area of the Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) program: operations, combat systems, engineering, navigation and supply.

"Getting my pin was the hard part," said Gas Turbine Systems Technician Mechanical 3rd Class (SW) Daniel De La Garza. "It took a lot of teamwork, starting first thing in the morning before I had my coffee, working on it throughout the day and even staying up late at night during watch. My chief gave me some time off to work on my pin, which really helped. Now that I've got it, I'm back to work. I love wearing my pin."

The most successful technique used throughout the ship has been the teamwork. Engineman 3rd Class (SW) Edward Foldes concurs.

"Teamwork was the No. 1 factor in getting my pin," said Foldes, who qualified with a group of three other people. "We kept pushing each other."

Leadership is key to helping young Sailors realize the long-term benefits of getting their ESWS pin.

"I've tried to emphasize to my division the importance of their pins in relation to their career in the Navy," explained Chief Operations Specialist (SW) Nicholas Ruotola.

"It's a tremendous milestone to achieve for each Sailor," said fire control officer LTJG Andrew Schimenti, who had several Sailors preparing for their ESWS pins. "It's representative of their hard work and dedication to the Navy. Most of all, each individual finds the attainment of the pin is merely a beginning of the learning process.

Studying for ESWS starts as soon as a new Sailor checks on board.

"What better way to learn about your new ship. We give ESWS walk-arounds on the ship during (indoctrination)," explains ESWS coordinator Senior Chief Electronic Warfare Technician (SW/AW) Hayden Jones. "Divisions allow Sailors to have 'ESWS time outs,' giving them three to four hours out of a day just to work on ESWS. Once all the (personnel qualifications standards) are completed, I give them a walk-around sheet that they must take to the departmental ESWS coordinator -- usually a petty officer first class."

The divisional ESWS coordinator walks through the spaces as the Sailor tells him what he sees. Upon successful completion of the walk-arounds, which can take up to a week to complete, the Sailor goes to see the commanding officer.

"On board Milius, ESWS designation signifies a Sailor has achieved a level of excellence and proficiency," said Command Master Chief (SW) Rob Hetland. "The ESWS insignia signifies that the Sailor is competent in his rate and has acquired additional general knowledge that enhances his understanding of war fighting, mission effectiveness and command survivability. Sailors who wear the ESWS insignia stand out as significant contributors to the surface force and this great ship. The goal on Milius is to have every Sailor qualified within one year on board and to set the standard for the rest of the fleet to follow."

Milius warriors worked together for long hours to help realize their dream of being qualified Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialists. It could not have happened without shipmates willing to take time out of their schedule to assist in the learning process.

Fire Controlman 2nd Class (SW) Christopher Ross expressed his pleasure in helping his shipmates, "I think it's great that people will take the time out of their day to learn more about their ship. I really like to teach people about my radar and the wonders of combat. After all, that's my job."

Ross' enthusiasm helps make it easier for Sailors to get their pin; they could not help but learn.

"Milius warriors are doing a fantastic job both in their rates, as exemplified by our outstanding participation in COMPTUEX, and as being shipmates," said Commanding Officer CDR Jeffery A. Harley. "The level of participation has been staggering. I am really proud of the groups of people sitting around the table working on ESWS together. Milius is such a great ship because of the teamwork attitude. We work together, learn together, succeed together."

For more information on USS Milius, go to For more USS Constellation news, go to

Story by ENS Angela Vasquez assigned to the public affairs office, USS Milius (DDG 69)
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Publication:All Hands
Date:Sep 1, 2002
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