PENSACOLA, Fla. — A pair of Hesperia, California natives are currently learning how to be Navy information warfare professionals, equipped with the vital skills necessary to defend America around the world.
Seaman Apprentice Amber Guss and Seaman Recruit Ashley Guss, twin sisters, are currently stationed at Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Corry Station training to become Navy Information Systems Technicians (IT) at IT “A” school onboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola Corry Station, Florida.
The Navy IT of the 21st century operates and maintains the Navy's global satellite telecommunications systems, mainframe computers, local and wide area networks, and microcomputer systems used in the fleet. Administrative support is also provided with the operation of automated equipment that keeps records of personnel training, disbursement, health, assignments and promotions within the Navy. They also ensure the all-important communications link between units at sea and stations ashore.
IWTC Corry Station is one component that makes up the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT) domain, headquartered at NAS Pensacola Corry Station, Florida.
“The Sailors and staff at Information Warfare Training Command Corry Station are fully invested in our students and shipmates. This team demonstrates that investment every day through exceptional competence, character, and connection. These virtues propel our command in providing highly trained information warfare professionals that our Navy and nation needs," said Cmdr. Zach McKeehan, commanding officer of IWTC Corry Station. "In the short time that I have been here, I have seen just how dedicated these professionals are to maintaining the highest of standards for themselves and the students. I am extremely proud of our warriors, and it is through the focus and dedication of our patriots that we will continue to be the greatest military force in the world."
Charged with developing the future technical cadre of the information warfare community, the CIWT domain leads, manages, and delivers Navy and joint force training to approximately 21,000 students annually. With roughly 1,300 military, civilian and contracted staff members, CIWT oversees about 200 courses at four information warfare-training commands, two detachments, and additional learning sites located throughout the United States and Japan.
CIWT is responsible for training enlisted cryptologic technicians, information systems technicians, intelligence specialists, and electronics technicians. CIWT also provides training to cryptologic warfare, information professional, intelligence, and foreign area officers that prepares them to be prepared to wage battle, and assure the nation’s success in this burgeoning warfare arena.
The Guss twins decided to leave their hometown to join the Navy where they both began basic training, or boot camp, together at Recruit Training Command (RTC) Great Lakes, Illinois. They were even assigned to the same division and graduated together. Boot camp is approximately eight weeks and all enlistees into the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes physical fitness, seamanship, firearms, firefighting and shipboard damage control along with lessons in Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline. More than 35,000 recruits are trained annually at RTC and begin their Navy careers.
“I decided to go IT because I thought it sounded cool. We went to the Military Entrance Processing Station and wanted to graduate together, so we joined together using the Buddy Program,” said Amber. “We asked what would be the most probable way for us to enter the fleet together, and were recommended to join the same rating so we both went in for IT.”
The twins shared boot camp was a lot easier to go through, since they were going through it together.
“I wasn’t homesick or struggling at boot camp because I always had someone to talk to,” said Ashley. “There was a familiar face. It was like I brought my support system with me.”
Once the twins graduated from boot camp, officially Sailors, they reported to IWTC Corry Station. They are both excited about their rating and being ITs in the fleet. They expect challenges, but plan to motivate each other with their own form of competition and support.
“My sister and I are motivated, and we sort of motivate each other too,” said Ashley. “We’re very competitive about it, so anything we do, we try to match it ten times better.”
When the sisters graduate “A” school, they hope to receive orders to the same geographic location so they may continue their Navy journey together. While they are hopeful about it, if they are not assigned to the same area, they are prepared for being away from each other.
“We want to at least be close to each other, but if we don’t get that lucky it’ll be okay,” said Amber. “We can call each other or write each other. Even though we’re in the Navy, we know that we’ll carry our bond no matter where we are. I feel like no one can really understand it unless you’re a twin yourself. My sister is a part of me and nothing can change that no matter where we are in the Navy.”
For news from the Center for Information Warfare Training organization, visit www.navy.mil/local/cid/, www.netc.navy.mil/centers/ciwt/, www.facebook.com/NavyCIWT, or www.twitter.com/NavyCIWT.