Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman (SWCC, pronounced “swick”) are a special operations force that operate small watercraft used to support special operations missions, particularly those of the U.S. Navy SEALs. Individually, SEALs and SWCC go through separate specialized training programs that emphasize special operations in the maritime environment. SWCC are trained extensively in craft and weapons tactics, techniques, and procedures. Focusing on clandestine infiltration and exfiltration of SEALs and other special operations forces, SWCC provides dedicated, rapid mobility in shallow water areas where large ships cannot operate. They are physically fit, highly motivated, combat-focused, and responsive in high-stress situations to complete Special Operation missions worldwide.
A tactical force with strategic impact, Naval Special warfare (NSW) mission areas include unconventional warfare, direct action, combating terrorism, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, information warfare, security assistance, counter-drug operations, personnel recovery and hydrographic reconnaissance. Although NSW personnel comprise less than one percent of U.S. Navy personnel, they offer big dividends on a small investment. SWCC units’ proven ability to operate across the spectrum of conflict and in operations other than war in a controlled manner, and their ability to provide real time intelligence and eyes on target, offer decision makers immediate and virtually unlimited options in the face of rapidly changing crises around the world.
The SWCC insignia is a military qualification badge of the United States Navy which was first conceived in 1996, though the design was not approved for wear until 2001. It was updated in 2016 to three variants:
SWCC Basic Insignia: A two and one-half by one and one-fourth inch silver matte metal pin showing a background of a cocked flintlock pistol, a crossed naval enlisted cutlass, and a MK V Special Operations Craft atop a bow wave.
SWCC Senior Insignia: A two and one-half by one and three-eighth inch silver matte metal pin showing a background of an anchor, cocked flintlock pistol, a crossed naval enlisted cutlass and a MK V Special Operations Craft atop a bow wave.
SWCC Master Insignia: A two and one-half by one and three-eighth inch silver matte metal pin showing a background of an anchor with a banner and three gold stars, cocked flintlock pistol, a crossed naval enlisted cutlass and a MK V Special Operations Craft atop a bow wave.
The insignia is authorized for wear by volunteer members of special boat teams (formerly special boat units) under U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command. Candidates must pass the SWCC basic crewman training and crewman qualification training.
Special boat teams can trace their history back to World War II. Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three rescued General Douglas MacArthur (and later the Filipino president) from the Philippines after the Japanese invasion and then participated in guerilla actions until American resistance ended with the fall of Corregidor. PT boats subsequently participated in most of the campaigns in the Southwest Pacific by conducting and supporting joint/combined reconnaissance, blockade, sabotage, and raiding missions as well as attacking Japanese shore facilities, shipping, and combatants. PT boats were used in the European Theater beginning in April 1944 to support the Office of Strategic Services in the insertion of espionage and French Resistance personnel and for amphibious landing deception. While there is no direct line between organizations, United States Naval Special Warfare Command embracement is predicated on the similarity in craft and mission.
The development of a robust riverine warfare capability during the Vietnam War produced the forerunner of the modern special warfare combatant-craft crewman. Mobile support teams provided combat craft support for SEAL operations, as did patrol boat, river (PBR) and patrol craft, fast (PCF) sailors. In February 1964, Boat Support Unit One was established under Naval Operations Support Group, Pacific to operate the newly reinstated patrol torpedo fast (PTF) program and to operate high-speed craft in support of NSW forces. In late 1964 the first PTFs arrived in Da Nang, Vietnam. In 1965, Boat Support Squadron One began training patrol craft fast crews for Vietnamese coastal patrol and interdiction operations. As the Vietnam mission expanded into the riverine environment, additional craft, tactics, and training evolved for riverine patrol and SEAL support.
SWCC detachments have participated in nearly every major conflict since then, particularly in the Persian Gulf theater during the 1987–1988 period of conflict and the 1991 Gulf War to the more recent War on Terrorism. In August 1996 while attached to USS Sides during counter drug operations in Colombia, SBS1 came under attack in the Antioquia Valley region while conducting field operations by members of FARC, Colombia’s counter revolutionary movement. Six SBS1 members held off a force of approximately 150 rebels. The battle lasted for three days and nights and members of SBS1 found themselves surrounded and cut off from each other on several occasions. Short of ammunition and water, SBS1 held on until first light on day three, regrouped and counter-attacked, punching a hole in the FARC defense line and linking up with Colombian special forces sent there to assist them. An estimated 43 FARC rebels were killed during the battle and four were captured with only one team member being wounded. Members of the team were cited for their heroism and bravery.
SWCC are now recognized as masters of a special subset of maritime special operations, and employ their specialized training, equipment, and tactics conducting missions worldwide, both independently and in support of United States and foreign special operations forces.
Basic Crewman Training; Naval Amphibious Base – Naval Special Warfare Command
SWCC Basic Crewman Training trains, develops, and assesses SWCC candidates in physical conditioning, water competency, teamwork, and mental tenacity. This phase starts with a three-week indoctrination. The SWCC Basic is eight weeks long. Physical conditioning with running, swimming, and calisthenics grows harder and harder as the weeks progress.
Students mental fortitude and teamwork skills are tested during an arduous 72 hour long evolution involving constant exposure to the elements, underway boat and swimming events, coupled with testing previously taught navigational skills and boat tactics, under stressful and sleep deprived conditions. Physically, you will participate in weekly timed runs, timed obstacle courses, swim in the pool, bay and ocean, and learn small boat seamanship. Upon the completion of SWCC Basic you will graduate and move on the Combat Qualification Training.
Enlisted Physical Screening Test (PST)
-500-yard swim using breast and/or sidestroke in under 13 minutes
– Perform a minimum of 42 push-ups in 2 minutes
– Perform a minimum of 50 sit-ups in 2 minutes
– Perform a minimum of 6 pull-ups (no time limit)
– Run 1 ½ miles wearing running shoes in under 12 minutes and 30 seconds
- US Citizen.
- Uncorrected vision can be no worse than 20/200 in each eye. Both eyes must be correctable to 20/20.
- 30 years old or less. You may request an age waiver which are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
- ASVAB Scores – AR+WK=104, MC=50 (For ASVAB 5, 6, and 7; use WK score)(For ASVAB 8, 9, and 10; use VE score).
- Must be a male.