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Face of Defense: Surface Warfare Officer Recalls Path to Success

By Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Mathew Diendorf, USS Makin Island DoD News Features, Defense Media Activity

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SAN DIEGO, December 14, 2015 — When Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ty Wiese decided he was going to enlist, it didn't take too much to convince his father, a retired senior chief missile technician, and his grandfather, a former Navy pilot, of his decision to follow in their footsteps.

"Both my parents were supportive but initially wanted me to wait," he said. "I was only 17, but my father, a 21-year submarine veteran, was able to convince my mother that I would be okay, and the Navy would take care of me."

Wiese, a Satellite, Fla., native, began his career by attending missile technician school, where he was one of only four sailors to graduate in a class of 16.

He then reported to the ballistic missile submarine USS Henry M. Jackson, where he realized early on that he could do more with his career.

"In the submarine community, you work side by side with enlisted and officers in small groups," Wiese said. "Knowledge is power. It doesn't really matter what rank you are. The officers would come up all the time to learn the different systems, and I just realized they really aren't that much different than me."

After completing nine submarine deterrent patrols with the Jackson, Wiese became an instructor at the Trident Training Facility in Bangor, Washington.

Becoming an Officer

During his time on shore duty, he began taking night and weekend classes at Southern Illinois University, earning his four-year degree in only two years.

"After I graduated, I wanted to keep challenging myself," Wiese said. "I applied for Officer Candidate School, and three days after submitting my package, they called me at home to tell me I was selected," Wiese said. "Being selected for OCS felt amazing, but with all the excitement of telling my family and friends that I was going to be an officer, reality hit that OCS in itself was going to be a whole new set of challenges."

In November 2000, Wiese met those challenges and was commissioned as a Navy surface warfare officer.

During his career as a SWO, he served aboard the fast combat support ship USS Bridge, the guided missile destroyers USS O'Kane and USS Shoup, and also the USS Makin Island, an amphibious assault ship, where he was named Commander, Amphibious Squadron 5 Surface Warfare Officer of the Year in both 2010 and 2011.

Wiese attended the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, following his tour on the Makin Island.

"The Naval War College was a fantastic tour," he said. "From day one we were treated very well. The classes were filled with officers from many communities, including international students. The assigned reading was intense, but all worth it. I learned a ton about history, critical thinking, and the importance of strategic communication."

Return to the Gator Navy

After graduating in June 2013 with a graduate degree in national security and strategy, he served two years at Carrier, Strike Group Nine. But he wasn't done in the “gator navy” -- the Navy’s nickname for the amphibious fleet.

In May of 2015 he once again reported to the Makin Island and serves as the ship's damage control assistant.

Wiese was recently selected for promotion to commander, and as he looks back on his career he said he sees how far he's come.

"Coming in the Navy as an E-1, I never would have thought I'd be where I am today," he said. "Being selected for commander is just so humbling, and I'm so excited to be given the opportunity."

"It's been an interesting ride, and I'm just getting started," Wiese said.

As a 25-year Navy veteran, he has been able to balance a career and his 21-year marriage to his wife, Stephanie.

"I wouldn't be able to do what I do without my wife," Wiese added. "We've always backed each other up. When I was going to school, she was taking care of the house. You can't be successful in this community unless you have the support at home."