Path to Surface Warfare Supply Corps Officer on Zumwalt Class Destroyer

By Lt. j.g. Nick Ormsby, Assistant Supply Officers, USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000)

Capt. Carlson, commanding officer of USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) presents the SWSCO pin to Lt. j.g. Nick Ormsby. –photo by Lt. Robert Kelly

I am one of the many Supply Corps officers that entered the Supply Corps from a different community. In my case, I left aviation after struggling with airsickness. Throughout my time at Navy Supply Corps School (NSCS), I knew I wanted a non-traditional first tour as a Supply Corps officer. Ultimately, I wanted either an expeditionary unit or a challenging tour on a surface ship. My dreams became a reality when it was my turn at orders reading and I saw the picture of the Navy’s newest destroyer on the screen behind me. Realizing I was going to be the first-ever Supply Corps officer from NSCS to be a division officer aboard this ship was both exhilarating and intimidating. I wasn’t sure of the type of challenges I would face on reporting to USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) since the ship has had only one
supply officer since commissioning, but I was more than prepared
for the challenges.

Fast forward to a long drive to San Diego and checking aboard. I was immediately introduced to a fast-paced work tempo. I assumed duties as assistant supply officer, being the division officer for S1, S2, and S3. I was told from the start that Zumwalt is not a typical DDG, and I would have my own unique experience compared to that of my supply officer. I knew even then that this firsthand experience would help me adapt to challenging aspects in billets later in my Supply Corps career.

After a few months aboard, I felt like I understood the supply aspect of the ship well enough and was ready to start focusing on qualifying Surface Warfare Supply Corps Officer (SWSCO). I knew from the start earning my SWSCO qualification was going to be a challenging process. Being on Zumwalt is like nothing I had ever experienced before; this is not your traditional DDG/CG. I had to learn everything about the Zumwalt class, from the latest combat systems software, advanced weapon systems, and unique engineering plant, in addition to the capabilities and limitations of the rest of the surface fleet.

After months of studying, countless boards, and hundreds of line items later, I found myself standing on the flight deck, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, receiving my SWSCO from our commanding officer, a mere 11 months after reporting aboard. It has been an extreme honor to be one of the first officers to earn a warfare qualification aboard a Zumwalt class ship, and I hope this will help pave the way forward for countless others.

Less than a year after I left the NSCS basic qualification course, I have been to San Francisco Fleet Week, participated in first-in class testing, and learned more than I thought was possible about the supply system. I am proud to say the leadership, mentorship, and strenuous curriculum at NSCS set me up for success in an extremely challenging, yet rewarding, first tour assignment. The best advice I can give to an officer graduating from the basic qualification course is to keep pushing toward your ultimate goal of earning your SWSCO, and don’t be afraid to break through the adversity you may face.