Price Native Trains U.S. Navy Surface Warriors


Photo by Dusty Good

By Alvin Plexico, Navy Office of Community Outreach 

Cmdr. Keith Foster applied the lessons learned from Price, Utah to become one of the most elite surface warriors.

“I learned the importance of hard work,” said Foster. “Growing up in a small town in the mountains of Utah, you had to work hard. When I was thinking about joining the military, I talked with a reserve Air Force colonel who told me that whatever you do, be the best at it.”

Those lessons, along with training and application learned during Foster’s 30 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.

“I get to mold the leaders of the future,” said Foster. “Training young officers to take charge and take care of their sailors is very rewarding.”

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.”

Foster is a 1983 graduate of Carbon High School and a 2009 graduate with an associate’s degree in applied marine engineering from Coastline Community College.

There are many sacrifices and goals one must achieve to be selected as an instructor and Foster is most proud of seeing a ship get underway.

“As an engineering limited duty officer, it’s rewarding to see a ship go through a major repair in the shipyard, and then go on to pass the certifications to get underway and be successful,” said Foster.

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.

“It is critical that students report to the fleet with the academic baseline required to perform as warfighters in today’s maritime environment,” said Lt. Matt Gallagher, the command’s public affairs officer. “SWOS training is at the epicenter of professional development for surface warfare officers throughout their careers.”

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.

As Foster and other instructors train future surface warriors, they take pride in what it means to serve their country in the United States Navy.

“Making sure that I protect the freedoms of my family, my friends and everyone else in our country is very important to me,” said Foster.


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