Northfield Native Trains U.S. Navy Surface Warriors
Lt. Matt Gallagher applied the lessons learned from Northfield, Minnesota, to become one of the most elite surface warriors.
“I learned the importance of hard work and perseverance,” said Gallagher. "Also, I learned the importance of rigorous study."
Those lessons, along with training and application learned during Gallagher’s eight years of naval service, turned into an opportunity to teach the most innovative tactics of surface warfare at Surface Warfare Officers School, located in Newport, Rhode Island.
“Preparing the next generation of surface warfare officers in the fleet is very rewarding,” said Gallagher.
Considered one of the Navy’s greatest assets, the instructors of Surface Warfare Officers School train and mentor the students who will use what they learn to lead sailors at sea. The students must pass a rigorous course structure in order to serve as surface warfare officers.
The mission of Surface Warfare Officers School is to ready sea-bound warriors to serve on surface combatants as officers, enlisted engineers, and enlisted navigation professionals to fulfill the Navy's mission maintaining global maritime superiority.
Once service members finish training they are deployed around the world putting their skill set to work aboard Navy ships, such as aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, amphibious warfare ships, mine warfare ships, and littoral combat ships.
“At Surface Warfare Officers School, we are committed to training, developing and inspiring our Navy’s surface warfare officers,” said Capt. Scott Robertson, SWOS commanding officer. “Our graduates leave our courses ethically, intellectually, professionally and physically prepared to deliver professional leadership on every surface vessel in the fleet.”
Gallagher is a 2007 graduate of Northfield High School and a 2011 graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois.
There are many sacrifices and goals one must achieve to be selected as an instructor and Gallagher is most proud of completing a 10-month deployment to the Arabian Gulf aboard USS Carl Vinson.
"I qualified as officer of the deck, responsible for driving the aircraft carrier,” said Gallagher. “We helped push back ISIS from strongholds in Syria and Iraq. It felt good to fight back against the evil things that ISIS was doing at the time. Not only were we defending our own homeland, but we were also making it better for nations in that region."
The future of surface warfare is rapidly changing, so the course and materials at Surface Warfare Officer School are constantly evolving to create the most dynamic, lethal, safe and professional warfighting team for the Navy the nation needs.
Surface warfare has been a part of world history for more than 3,000 years, and the United States has its stamp on that history with actions ranging from the American Revolution to modern day operations at sea around the world.
Gallagher is continuing a family tradition of military service.
“I'm fourth-generation military,” said Gallagher. "My dad went to the Naval Academy and served in the Marine Corps. My brother, Scott, is an F-18 pilot stationed in Virginia Beach."
As Gallagher and other instructors train future surface warriors, they take pride in what it means to serve their country in the United States Navy.
“I have an opportunity to give back and serve my country,” said Gallagher. "We're beneficiaries of what people before us provided through their sacrifices, and it's an awesome responsibility to carry on their legacy."