Navy Service

Hueyguy

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Dec 6, 2012
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Looking for some wisdom:
A neighbor's nephew took his ASVAB and did very well, and was offered a slot in the nuc program(enlisted). Since I am an old Marine he asked me what I know, which is zero. I imparted some thoughts about military life in general, and life aboard ships, but that's about all I could offer. Seems a pretty awesome opportunity; any drawbacks? Any help is appreciated, fully aware of the need for clearances, infosec, etc. Not asking for drawings, just trying to point a kid the right way. THX!
 

TNT

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Oct 30, 2006
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Nuclear Power Program is pretty challenging/demanding, but the guys he'll be working with are some of the best. There have a been a few scandals lately about cheating on written exams, which are taken routinely to maintain qualifications - make sure he knows not to take any shortcuts ever. The ratings are a bit heavier on the academic side than others, but he'll definitely be getting his hands dirty. Better opportunities than most upon getting out for civilian employment. Drawback is that you spend a lot of time on a sub or a carrier staring at an instrument panel.
 

VJJPunisher

Necromancing the stone
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Apr 30, 2010
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looking back I would say any job that gets uncle sugar to train you while drawing a paycheck, and is in high demand on the civilian side, is win win. Is nuclear stuff highly sought jobs, I havent a clue, but that is always my first piece of advice when someone is interested in joining one of the branches, pick a job you can shift over easily into civilian world making good money and not ten other billion fuckoids with the same skills set already out there.
 

UNCIVILIZED

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Jul 21, 2004
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It's been a while since I was on active duty, but said program has always had a rep for being top notch. And one definitely learns a lot via that career path... including valuable skills when/if he gets out of the service.
One other thought is that if he's scoring that well on the ASVAB, odds are he could likely get into one of the programs where you wind up as an officer. Though if he makes it through the schooling which you're asking about, that's a BIG feather in his cap should he want to become an officer later. And or in terms of showing his skill & commitment to the higher ups when he later on requests different postings, & or desires to attend further schools.

Sub duty's generally a good gig. The guys who serve on them are motivated to be there, well educated, & generally have their s**t together (are more mature). How much "interesting" stuff you & your boat does is pretty much dependent on the type of sub which you pick to serve on. There are a good number of options there as well.
 

roggom

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Mar 29, 2011
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The Nuke program is very challenging, I have met more x-nukes than actual rated ones. If he has the aptitude and can stay focused, there will be good opportunities, both technical and military (leadership and advancement).

Now , remember most recruiters will try to pimp the Nuke program. If he is qualified for Nuke, then he is most likely qualified for any other brainiac rate. He has to take a real good look at the rates and choose one that he will want to do for a long time.

Like the saying goes, "choose your rate, choose your fate"

What is meant, is that three guys enter at the same time. All with different rates (jobs), but getting basically the same pay. Sailor one is hanging over the side with a needle gun chipping paint. Sailor 2 is in CMC (command control) air conditioned and tracking some cool shit. Sailor three is down in the bilges @ 120 degree temps, cleaning up valves.

All respectful rates and jobs, each with opportunities for advancement and qualifications. Just day to day life is completely different. On the other side, one must follow the advancement statistics for each rate. Ten years later the Snipe could easily be CPO with his package in for Senior, while the EW is stuck at Second class, because his rate is locked.

No matter what he chooses, the most important thing is 1) get any promises written in the contract. 2) once he is in, find a good mentor. Someone who has made it though the ranks and is currently doing the job he wants to do. 3) there is no bowling alley on ship or a mail buoy, lol.
 
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High Binder

Resident Tribologist
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Jun 18, 2008
502
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If I was given the opportunity to do it over, I would have gone to college first, THAN (and only than/and maybe not at all) would I have joined.


get any promises written in the contract.

To this point ^^ There was a day at Great Lakes where my whole division got pulled into some building (I think it was the same building where we signed up for the GI-bill/got a TB test/signed up for Great Lakes Credit Uniion/etc..) and they basically gave everyone a new MO, didn't matter what you signed up with or what was in your "contract," I don't remember the details because as anyone knows who/has been there you're in a pretty serious state of sleep deprivation so everything is a blur. In a nut-shell the idea was that they were ditching the needs the Navy had when you signed up and because those needs had changed in how ever long, they were putting people where they needed them currently. My point is that even if you sign up as "XXX" doesn't mean you will end up as "XXX". I was probably one of ~five out of a total of ~80 who didn't get a new MO that day. Food for thought and a little warning as I think recruiters will tell you anything (Gynecologist/Nuke-tech/SEAL/etc.) to get you in and then once you're in then they re-classify you as a paint-scraper/etc.
 
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Bill Larson

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If I was given the opportunity to do it over, I would have gone to college first, THAN (and only than/and maybe not at all) would I have joined.




To this point ^^ There was a day at Great Lakes where my whole division got pulled into some building (I think it was the same building where we signed up for the GI-bill/got a TB test/signed up for Great Lakes Credit Uniion/etc..) and they basically gave everyone a new MO, didn't matter what you signed up with or what was in your "contract," I don't remember the details because as anyone knows who/has been there you're in a pretty serious state of sleep deprivation so everything is a blur. In a nut-shell the idea was that they were ditching the needs the Navy had when you signed up and because those needs had changed in how ever long, they were putting people where they needed them currently. My point is that even if you sign up as "XXX" doesn't mean you will end up as "XXX". I was probably one of ~five out of a total of ~80 who didn't get a new MO that day. Food for thought and a little warning as I think recruiters will tell you anything (Gynecologist/Nuke-tech/SEAL/etc.) to get you in and then once you're in then they re-classify you as a paint-scraper/etc.

This can happen.... in any branch....
 

1J04

Lost Squirrel
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  • Aug 7, 2011
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    I've worked with Career Counsellors, Canvas Recruiters, and have ran Training Departments and ESO's (educational services offices) and School Quotas and TAD desks.

    This is so up my alley. I'll keep it short and sweet. ^^^^^ Go to school first? Absolutely. If not, then you better get everything agreed upon signed in blood. You want to know when your A or C schools start up, your place in line, where and when to report and if you're gonna get a Crow upon completion. Speak to whomever you possibly can, including a hella sharp PN and even up to a Detailer. Get a list of CREO groups to find out manning levels on Rates you're interested in and if they are SRB (Selective Re-enlistment Bonus) authorized and how much. CREO groups are listed as A, B, C, etc. If I remember right C is 110% manned or over. You don't want that one. Too hard to make Rate and definately no SRB. If you don't want OCS you can always later go LDO or CWO.

    I'd go to school first, then let them send me to school and pay me. Become a Zero, do your 20 + and then go double dip.

    PM me if you'd like.
     

    Cobracutter

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    Feb 28, 2006
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    The Navy is a very honorable alternative to military service.

    With that being said, that is one of the few programs worth dropping everything and getting into. If he can actually hack the mental aspect and is determined, he could carve out a hell of a future for himself. By the time he comes out of nuke school, he will damn near already have a bachelors of nuclear engineering or similar. Huge signing bonuses, and a lucrative market out there. When I worked for DOE, virtually all the leadership (junior and SES/Cabinet level) were former nuke officers. Its like a golden ticket to a well paying Fed job or you can go work for a power station somewhere taking naps for big money during your shift.

    If he doesn't mind be stuck on a carrier or sub, then he will like it. That is where nuke guys live.

    Like most thing sin the military, if you fail out your job becomes needs of the service and they will send u wherever they want. Not sure if there is an option to discharge if you flunk out or not with that pipeline.
     

    diverdon

    Constitutionalist, by choice
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  • Dec 21, 2011
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    I was a non-nuk ET on a nuclear ship. CVN-70 the USS Carl Vinson. The USN has a nearly perfect nuc safety record. To get that they drill until perfect performance is reflexive to all team members. I can remember days when I heard "reactor scram number one reactor room" perhaps as many as 40 times. When they are doing workups, I saw them sometimes go for days, sometimes weeks with out getting more than 1 hours sleep at a time. I was glad I did not choose the nuc path.

    On a side note, the recruiters sell the nuc program real hard. I was told (I would be glad to hear updated accurate info) that the recruiters got three credits for each nuc recruit. He could sign up as a non-nuc for one of the nuc Source rates then see if he still felt he wanted to go nuc when he finished A-School. If he has done well up to that point they will still be asking him to go nuc. If he has not done well to that point then he would probably be wishing he had not gone nuc with its attendant six year commitment.

    I believe there are Three Navy job specialties, called “ratings”, are included in the NF community: Machinist’s Mate (MM), Electrician’s Mate (EM), and Electronics Technician (ET).

    If he signs up for the 'nuc' program the navy will pick a rating for him. If he wants to pick up his own rating he could sign up for that rating and then wait until A-school to go nuc.

    My point being your neighbors nephew should watch the requiters attitude changes as he discusses these options.
     

    Hueyguy

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    Dec 6, 2012
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    Thanks a ton to all! I've pointed them to this thread, it's too much to just tell them at this point. Please keep them coming! As usual, 'Hide members stepping up and helping like nobody else can. Really, really appreciate the guidance!
     

    marduk185

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    Feb 3, 2009
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    they push everyone with a decent percentile toward nuke. basically if he can get nuke contract he can qualify for any program. nuke field is academics heavy and if they make it thru schools they can look forward to multiple undersea adventures with other geniuses for the rest of their enlistment/s.
    if i had it to do over again i would have asked for hospital corpsman school at great lakes followed immediately by the x-ray tech c-school. dude will get a very sought after go anywhere in america and get hired skillset and the whole enlistment he'll spend surrounded by the best tail the nurse corps has to offer. just my take
     
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    Hairball

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  • Jan 31, 2013
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    i did my time on the "Chucky V" as well 94/96. While one of my NEC's was a 9588 (command career counselor), the most important questions for this young man shoud be "Why do you want to join the Navy" and "What do you want to do in the Navy". I worked with several people over the years that pulled 99 ASVAB scores but chose rates that did not require this level of ASVAB. As he apperas to have a high score, have him pick the job he wants and not the one the recruiter is trying to fill. Enlisted Nuke is a good rate as the opportunity for advancement is way up there and outside job opportunities are good but don't let the recruiter fill his head with how much money he will make so he picks something he really has no interest in. If he needs to ask specific questions, send me a PM.
     

    oldgrayone

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    Sep 28, 2008
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    If the young man is looking for a military career there are many other paths to take than a nuke. The nuke program is very demanding while going through school and prototype. Once you hit the fleet it will not give up. You will learn that 4 hours of sleep is more than enough and you can not get through life without drills and working long hours. The nukes are the heart beat of the steam driven vessel. If the vessel is not getting power and water from pier services the nukes will be running the ship to provide those services. They are the first ones to get liberty secured and the last ones to get liberty call back. This can become very old and trying to make a 20 year career out of it.

    On the other hand if he is looking for some world class training which he can use in the civilian world, it just may be the way for him to go. The enlistment is for 6 years active of which he will spend at least half of that in school. Some are lucky enough to get almost 5 years of school and only one year in the fleet. This option is for the sharp extra mile nuke school grad that gets offered to hold over at school and be an instructor.

    There is a reason why nukes get a large re-enlistment bonus. I have heard up to 70K at times. It Is because the retention rate is very low for nukes and the reason it is so low is due to the conditions they work and live in. Surface nukes will get to see some of the world but most will be from the deck of the ship as it floats by. A sub surface guy wont get to see anything to speak of. Subs have specific duties and that is to sink and hide so if he thinks living in a tube without sunshine and fresh air for long periods is something he would like then that may be a route to take.

    What ever path he takes he must remember that recruiters push everyone that can into the nuke program. The recruits are filtered from day one with a few losing their contract before boot camp is done. Then the filtering continues through A school, C School and nuke school. You can get dropped for grades, traffic tickets, fighting and numerous other reasons.

    If he can get through school and keep his nose clean in the fleet and get out with an honorable discharge he will find rewarding opportunities back in the real world. I got out of the navy back in 1990 and went straight into the commercial nuke power generation business as an operator. There are over 100 plants operating in the US currently and on the average they will hire between 6 to 12 operators every 24 months. When hired you will sit in class for the first 18 months with a starting pay of around 65K. After the 18 month training program is completed they will jump up to about 80K base pay with over time and shift pay taking them to 6 digits very easy. After 2 or 3 years on shift they will be given an opportunity to go back to class for 24 months and earn a Fed License (NRC) to become a reactor operator and base pay will go up nicely. You can even go one step higher and shoot for a Senior Reactor Operator which is supervisor level.

    The down side to all of this is you will train at least 176 hours a year to keep your license. You will re-exam every year on reactor emergency control in a simulator and take a written every 24 months. You will never get away from drills, exams and rotating shift work while in the operations department. The up side is the power plant never leaves the pier and you get to go home every day and sleep in your own bed.

    Operations is where the money is at but there are also opportunities for nukes to hire into the electrical department, the mechanical department and the instrument department as well as plant chemistry.

    Hope this provides some insight and if the young man would like to talk PM me for a phone number.
     

    Spicerack

    Misanthropic Ginger
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    Dec 6, 2013
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    Hueyguy,

    I am going to go out on a limb and go against most of the previous posts about going to school first, coming from the perspective of a Marine of about 19 years TIS (one more to go!) . I went to school right away and found that I was too unfocused as a youth to excel. So it didn't work even though I was an ace student in high school. It took me a few years to gain some adult experience in order to realize that college was the opportunity that it is and would take some real effort. So here I am going on 40, getting ready to retire from service and going through an Mech. Eng. program now on Uncle Sam's dime (Post 9/11 GIB plus Wisconsin GI Bill plus scholarships).
    This scenario is not regretable to me at all, since one should remember all the intangibles that military service can provide that are NOT taught in ANY conventional school intitution: leadership(!), teamwork, tenacity, problem solving, communcation, etc. These are all characteristics that employers will have to take into consideration and end up leveraging for the benefit of the company after they realize that their new hire possesses these. This equals higher esteem in the workplace, not to mention salary.
    Starting in a competitive and academically rigorous program, such as the navy nuke program might give the individual a chance to figure out if he can hack the scholastic part. If yes, great. If not, then he can still have a fulfilling job/career in the service and can knock out some extra night classes along the way to get started on a degree once he hangs up the uniform.
    But this is all extremely dependent on the individual; everyone is different and this is just what worked for me. If he is a bright kid, he will take all the info he is given and make the right choice for himself.

    Semper Fidelis,
    Aaron
     

    pizzamanny

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    Dec 9, 2011
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    The kid should also look at what he can take concerning political correctness. The mil. is a federal agency and all of the PC agenda is in full force in the armed forces.