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Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman (SWCC)

Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) are members of special boat teams (SBTs) operating under Naval Special Warfare Command (NAVSPECWARCOM).

Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman - Role

The primary role of SWCCs is to insert and extract Special Operations Forces (SOF), typically SEALs. They operate a range of specialised surface boats over the ocean, around coastal areas and along river networks. SWWCs are capable of carrying out a range of maritime special operations:

  • Counterterrorism
  • Unconventional Warfare
  • Foreign Internal Defense
  • Direct Action
  • Special Reconnaissance
  • Hydrographic Reconnaissance
SWCC Combatant Craft Medium
SWWCs from Special Boat Team 12 traverse San Diego bay in a Combatant Craft Medium (CCM).
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy M. Black/Released

Special Boat Teams

SWCCs are assigned to special boat teams (SBTs). Special boat teams consist of an HQ element, administration, ordnance, engineering, communications, training, medical, intelligence and supply elements and an operations element that fields boat detachments known as SPECBOATDETs.

SPECBOATDETs are typically made up of 2 craft, their SWCC operators and the combat service support (CSS) personnel who maintain the boats.

Special Boat Teams 12 and 20 deploy SPECBOATDET-Coastal detachments. These carry out operations on the open ocean and the litoral environment. Special Boat Team 22 deploys SPECBOATDET-Riverine detachments who operate along river networks.

Master Mariners

SBT-12 and SBT-20 can deploy SPECBOATDETā€“Master Mariner detachments. These are 4-man elements made up experienced SWCCs who have trained to operate a selection of commercial and civilian vessels. The Master Marine detachments allow the SWCCs to operate in a covert manner when the use of identifiable U.S. vessels are unsuitable.

A number of SBT-12 and SBT-20 detachments are certified for maritime craft aerial delivery system (MCADS) operations. MCADS employs special platforms and parachutes to enable compatible boats to be paradropped onto water from C130, C17 and C5 aircraft. SPECBOATDET-MCADS consist of 4 NSW RHIBs, 2 of which are kept rigged to MCADS platforms, ready for rapid deployment.
U.S. DoD Photo

SWWCs from Special Boat Team 12 aboard NSW RHIBs undergo Maritime External Air Transportation System (MEATS) training. MEATs allow watercraft to be airlifted into position by CH-47 or CH-53 helicopters (MH-47G flown by the 160th SOAR pictured).
U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Christopher Prows, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

SWCC - Training

Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen candidates undergo an initial SWCC basic crewman training (BCT) program. This 7-week course focuses on navigation, boat tactics, physical fitness, water competency, seamanship, team work, weapons, communications, maritime insertion and extraction, coastal patrol and interdiction and mental toughness. BCT includes a 51-hour exercise which tests navigation, boat tactics and swimming.

Those passing BCT move on to Crewman Qualification Training (CQT), a 21-week course which covers weapons, seamanship, navigation, communication, maritime patrols, marksmanship, first aid, close quarters combat (CQC), language training and Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE).

Those who complete SWCC training are designated as NSW boat operators and are assigned to a special boat team.

SWWC operators may specialize in a number of areas: ordnance, navigation, intelligence, communications, engineering, tactical ground mobility, military freefall and air operations. A given SPECBOATDET will have SWCC specialists trained in crew-served weapons (M2HB, MK-19 etc), stand-off weapons, Joint Terminal Attack Control (JTAC), language skill, master mariner (use of commercial / civilian vessels) and the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems.

swwcs on SOC-R
SWWCs from Special Boat Team 22 operating a Special Operations Craft-Riverine (SOC-R) during a training exercise. Note the firepower present on the boat. When coming in for a hot extraction of SEALs, the SWWCs will pour huge amounts of suppressive fire into the shoreline and treelines surrounding it in order to keep any heads down. SOC-Rs can carry an array of GAU-17/A 7.62mm miniguns, .50 cal MSHB machine guns and M60, M240 7.62mm belt-fed machine guns and even 40mm automatic grenade launchers.

Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman - Notable Operations

  • 2003 - present - Iraq - Operation Iraqi Freedom
    SWWC/SEAL teams secured several off-shore oil platforms, ensuring they could not be destroyed by Iraqi forces
    SWCC boat teams secured the Khor Al Abdullah, Khor Az Zubayar and Shat Al Arab waterways

SWCC - Video

Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman - Resources

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Featured SWCC Photo
SWCC soc-r minigun
SWCC operator mans a GAU-17/A minigun mounted on a SOC-R boat.
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more SWCC photos

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