STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Mississippi –
A family tradition of service was on full display at the recent Special Boat Team 22 (SBT-22) change of command ceremony onboard Stennis Space Center in Mississippi on Oct. 28. Cmdr. Jerry Weers relieved Cmdr. Brad Schoultz as the commanding officer of SBT-22. The event marked a unique happenstance in Naval Special Warfare (NSW) history as both the incoming and outgoing commanding officers of the unit are sons of retired Navy SEAL captains who were also in attendance at the ceremony.
Retired Capt. Bob Schoultz, the father of outgoing commanding officer Cmdr. Brad Schoultz, graduated with BUD/S class 83 in 1975 and served at Underwater Demolition Team 21, with the German Kampfschwimmers, SEAL Team 2, and NSW Development Group. Additionally, he commanded NSW Unit 8 in Panama and was the commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group 2 from 1998-2000. In 2005, he retired from his dedicated career of service.
When asked about the role his father’s career played in his own decision to join the NSW community, Schoultz stated his father was “instrumental in me getting to where I’m at today.”
Almost two decades later, Schoultz demonstrated commitment to advancing the community in his own way. During his time at SBT-22, Schoultz was responsible for bringing a mindset of adaptation and evolution to the command. After studying how organizations change and adapt during his time at the Naval Postgraduate School, Schoultz applied his academic findings and made it a priority to increase the unit’s capabilities once in command, stressing a mindset of modernization. Throughout his tenure at SBT-22, he worked to balance readiness while preparing his unit of special operators, combat support personnel and combatant craft to fight and win in future conflicts. Schoultz discussed maintaining the strong foundation of SBT-22’s readiness while building in the mechanisms to adapt to shifting global threats. He said, “the longer you hold to a status quo the harder it will be to change.” The changes and policies instituted by Schoultz during his tour increased the dynamic capabilities of an already flexible force.
The Schoultz family is not alone in their legacy of NSW service. Retired Capt. Jerry Weers, father of the new SBT-22 commanding officer, Cmdr. Jerry Weers, enlisted in 1975 and graduated with BUD/S class 85 as a seaman. He later earned a commission, climbing to the rank of captain before retirement. The elder Weers also served with the German Kampfschwimmers and commanded SBT-20, SEAL Delivery Team (SDV) Team 1, NSW Unit 2, and NSWG4. He retired in 2006 after 31 years of dedicated service.
Of note, Cmdr. Weers, and his father served simultaneously for 11 years, from 1995 to 2006. “My dad never pushed being a SEAL on me, but he was absolutely preparing me,” said Cmdr. Weers. “We would dive, climb mountains, and work out together; my lifestyle was based on the Naval Special Warfare community.”
Reflecting on the lessons that he learned from his father, Weers stated that his dad taught him to be an empathetic leader and how to understand the impact that his decisions will have on others.
“My dad is a respected leader in the community. For my father and I, this is a family business,” said Weers. “He created a legacy to live up to.”
As he takes command of SBT-22, Weers is focused on creating the best and most professional boat detachment in the world. To face our nation’s current threats, he said that his team must be focused on creativity, innovation, and experimentation to continually gain the competitive advantage over our nation’s adversaries.
As the NSW community celebrates the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Navy SEAL teams this year, the community reflects on the considerable sacrifices and proud legacy of all NSW teammates, such as retired Capts. Schoultz and Weers, who blazed the path for today’s operators. SBT-22’s change of command illustrated the strong history and heritage of the NSW community and the powerful, and sometimes familial, influence one generation of operators has on the next.