PENSACOLA, Fla. - Training future information warfare warfighters is absolutely mission essential, and in the face of the current COVD-19 pandemic, our nation still requires and deserves the finest and best-trained Sailors to ensure we’re ready for any and all threats.
As the pandemic mitigation measures remain a top priority, new-accession Sailors attached to Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Corry Station are leveraging their inner toughness to stay strong and are resilient in remaining agile while also keeping their spirits up.
“Our first and utmost priority is always the health, safety and well-being of our students, staff and families,” shared Cmdr. Zach McKeehan, commanding officer of IWTC Corry Station. “While we have established a new normal to continue operating at full training mission capacity in a COVID-19 environment and we are fighting through the pandemic to defend our nation, I can’t be more proud of how our students, staff and families have and continue to work together to adhere to the established prevention protocols. Resilient and tough, our team adapted rapidly and prevailed during the initial COVID-19 surge, and our team will continue to provide mission assurance to our nation and to our combatant commanders.”
For students like Information Systems Technician Seaman Micah Davidson, establishing a connection between themselves and other Sailors is essential.
“It isn’t always the easiest being stuck on base and having to feel like we’re isolated sometimes,” said Davidson. “I think having other Sailors on base to share the struggle with has been an essential part of keeping morale up though. We kind of push each other through everything and we make the best of everything together.”
The Corry Station Sailors have been doing more than just socializing to keep spirits up.
“Setting goals, having their own individual events like video game tournaments, social-distancing barbecues, and personal workout routines help,” said Information Systems Technician Seaman Amadou Jallow.
While new-accession Sailors are going through their own struggles, IWTC Corry Station staff Sailors have done a phenomenal job to help their junior Sailors along the way. They have worked together to plan and organize various socially-distanced events, and also provided additional coping techniques via counseling and religious services.
“I believe it is very important to maintain our resiliency” said Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 1st Class Kiso Faletufuga. “We’ve all been pushed to our limits and found very innovative ways to get the job done. Looking on the bright side, I think adjusting to every change brought the best out of us and challenged us to adapt on the fly. I think the main thing our instructors try to do the most is be as transparent as possible to our students. We all understand it’s going to be rough and the instructors try their best to throw events on base for students and communicate up the chain about different ways to boost the morale on base.”
Together, the Corry Station Sailors are making sure that as long as this pandemic lasts, and after, that they have the resources to make the most of their personal and their professional lives.
“The tools and connections the new-accession Sailors are discovering makes sure they know how to survive any struggle in the fleet,” added Jallow. “It really is good we are learning some of the things we are now. Some of the things we would have learned about anyways, because of the life skills course. But seeing and having to use some of those coping methods and seeing how if we just reach out to our other Sailors, we can help each other is a huge experience we can keep with us while we go through this and for after we leave here.”
The Sailors onboard Corry Station, and those in the fleet, are all having to deal with the extra challenges that come with COVID-19.
“As long as the Sailors are working together, they will continue to persevere until COVID-19 is no longer a pandemic,” added Faletufuga. “This year has definitely been a trying time for everyone, and I’m really proud of the way my shipmates and fellow instructors here at IWTC Corry Station are adapting and exceeding. We are definitely being thrown a lot of curve balls and dealing with a lot of obstacles. However, through it all, the Sailors here are showing a lot of grit and resiliency, and I’m very proud to be serving alongside each and every one of them.”
IWTC Corry Station is a part of the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT). With four schoolhouse commands, a detachment, and training sites throughout the United States and Japan, CIWT trains over 22,000 students every year, delivering trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services. CIWT also offers more than 200 courses for cryptologic technicians, intelligence specialists, information systems technicians, electronics technicians, and officers in the information warfare community.
For news from the Center for Information Warfare Training domain, visit www.netc.navy.mil/centers/ciwt/, www.facebook.com/NavyCIWT, or www.twitter.com/NavyCIWT.