Lt. Cassie Redner
Anti-Submarine/Anti-Surface Warfare Tactics Instructor
Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center Sea Combat Division
Iam originally from Allendale, Mich. I joined the Navy on Feb. 2, 2002. I was going to complete medical
school and I wanted become a pediatrician. However,
joining the military was always on my bucket list. If
I waited until after school and became busy with my
career, then I might not actually have had the chance
to serve my country — so I went with my heart and
joined the Navy.
I was going to come in as a corpsman and go to “A”
school; however there a 12-month delay. I wanted to
join early, so I opted for deck seaman because I knew
my options for cross-rating would be valuable, and I
could see different rates and make an educated decision for the best rate for my career. It was a case of
choose your rate — choose your fate.
I cross-rated to operational specialist after a year of
deck department, and soon became an operations specialist first class petty officer, and later transferred to
ATG [Afloat Training Group]. Toward the end of that
tour, I put in my packages for Officer Candidate School.
I was accepted and I transferred to Newport, R.I., to
fulfill my commissioning process in October 2010. I
was commissioned as an ensign/surface warfare officer
[SWO] in January 2011.
Being a SWO means simply learning from doing.
My education has little to do with my profession as
my degree is in psychology, with a specialty in neuro-psychology. I pursued my education while in the Navy,
during off-duty hours. I felt that I didn’t want to come
into the Navy thinking that it, A, was going to be a full-time career or, B, what if I wanted to do my four or six
years and separate to satisfy other life goals?
I learned something within my first two years in the
Navy. I discovered that I absolutely loved it. I love the
drive — the ambition — the pace and learning something new at each duty station.
I really enjoyed the operations specialist realm, it was
very tactically involved. You’re always in the combat information center on the ship — the brain. And I became an
air intercept controller and a tactical datalink coordinator
as well while I was enlisted. It was a lot of fun.
Once commissioned, it got even better. I went to
USS Stockdale and became the strike officer onboard,
as well as the legal officer. I then fleeted up there,
which meant I stayed onboard the ship, and became
the anti-submarine warfare officer.
I did my second division officer tour there, fin-
ished my qualifications and then headed to the
Anti-Submarine/Anti-Surface [ASW/SUW] Warfare
Tactics Instructor [WTI] course at SMWDC [Naval
Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center,
which opened in San Diego, June 9, 2015.]
We were “the dirty dozen” — the first ASW/SUW
WTIs. We graduated in April. Our second group of
ASW/SUW WTIs graduated in November. SMWDC
has now graduated more than 100 WTIs in the sur-
face warfare community across three discipline areas:
Amphibious Warfare, ASW/SUW, and Integrated Air
and Missile Defense.
Our program is unique in a sense that, yes, you
are an instructor, a teacher and a mentor, yet you also
have to be productive within the fleet. I’m currently
the ASW instructor at SMWDC’s Sea Combat Division
where we teach future WTIs and future anti-submarine
officers. As many of us [WTIs] are fulfilling roles as
the teachers, we’re simultaneous looking at advancing
capabilities. We’re very involved with the teaching and
Lt. Cassie Redner showcases the Warfare Tactics Instructor (WTI) badge she received upon graduating from the
Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center
(SMWDC) April 12. Redner and Lt. Solomon Lu, right, were
two of the first 12 surface warfare officers to graduate
from SMWDC’s intensive anti-submarine/anti-surface WTI
course at Naval Base Point Loma, Calif.