Navy Dads

Hi everyone-

I was hoping to get some feedback on whats going on with my sailor right now. The first issue is this: basically, his recruiter lied to him about the PACT program. He wanted to be an AO, but he comes to find out he has to wait 2 years, before that even becomes an option. He's devastated by this news. I'm not sure if anyone has any advice for him about how to get on-track for this. He's undesignated in PACT. 

That in and of itself it troublesome enough. But what's more concerning to me is this: he's getting the impression that noone wants to spend any time with him. When they sent him to Pensacola about 10 days ago, for some reason, that makes no sense to me, they put him in a building where he knows absolutely noone. Everyone he knew from BC is in different buildings, and all bunking with each other. They also put him alone, he has no other roommates. It seems to him like the guys in his building have all been there awhile and they all know each other, but are unreceptive to his attempts at even a conversation. I'm not really sure why command thought this was a good move...but doesn't it seem contrary to what the military is all about? Teamwork...camaraderie, etc.

When he contacts any of his friends from BC, they're are out doing things but they don't give him a call (my take on that is it's just a product of him being physically away from them, that they're not willfully excluding him). He's an extroverted kid, he's never had any issues making friends in the past. I think he's been ok dealing with all that (or trying to, to the best of his ability), but now that he fully understands what 'undesignated' means....I'm really concerned for him. I spoke to him last night and he's really depressed, which is very out character for him. I'm not sure what I can do to help him. 

Trust me, I know what you're thinking...I'm being a 'helicopter parent' and that I'm dealing with a high school issue. But this feels different. He's far from home, finds out he's pretty much screwed, in terms of his immediate career aspirations, and he's dealing with this social BS, to boot. I'm genuinely concerned for his well-being and feel a bit helpless. I spoke to him a few hours ago, and he didn't sound much better, relative to yesterday. I told him he has to go to command to at least address his bunking issue. He flat out refuses.

I'm sure many of these kids come from very tough backgrounds, others not so much. For most of his life, I've been a single dad. Sadly, his mother is pretty much out of the picture. From where I stand, that is a bit of a blessing. But he's always had trouble dealing with that...and as a result, he's probably more sensitive to the social issue, than others would be. I think he making a parallel between the 2 issues...in his mind it's about rejection. 

After that very long-winded background, could anyone offer up any advice? We've all had those moments as parents where we're legitimately scared....and for me, this is one of those moments. I'm being there for him to vent, which is probably very helpful to him, but other that that, I don't know what to do, or tell him. He's not dealing well with being isolated (both literally and figuratively). 

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Well, that does suck big time!

But lets start with this:

http://www.navydads.com/forum/topics/a-pact-aviation-professional-a...

Follow this link and it will take you to the different aviation PACT ratings that are available. If you scroll down the page, you will also see other PACT ratings that are available. But that doesn't mean that the Navy needs any of those particular ratings. I don't see why he can't strike for another aviation rating as long as his ASVAB score was high enough.

But keep this in mind, he belongs to the Navy now and he is going to have to help himself to move along in his career. Dad can't really interfere. He can only advise and push him along. But he is going to have to take the bull by the horns and charge of himself. He should be talking to his immediate command master chief. He has to follow the order of command. If he goes over the head of a higher up, it will be harder for him. 

As for the social things, he will, I'm sure, figure that out. Having a room to his own is not so bad either. My son loved it when he was in Pensacola. If he's an extrovert like you say, he should have no trouble making new shipmates.

I'm a little long winded here, but I think you get the idea. I hope some others will weigh in on this.

Second what Jim said....always always follow chain of command.  He's gonna transition to new commands for the career int he Navy and not know anyone....part of the world he lives in and he will adapt.  You can be positive and supportive while letting him let his way. 

And I've heard of many sailors that were undesignated and had very successful years in the Navy.  Work hard, be positive, and strike for a rate when he time comes. 

Thank you both. The more research he does about his situation, it doesn't seem so bad. I guess he was just having a really REALLY bad couple of days. I never once saw him (we were on FaceTime), even close, to the state he was in. Scared the crap out of me, it really did.

That's good to hear! If he applies himself, I'm sure he still can be a good sailor and have a great career!

Hi Chris.....PACT has never been popular with me, but that is water under the bridge. Realize that he was separated from home and everything familiar when he headed off to Basic Training. As if that wasn't bad enough, upon Graduation, he lost all of his new friends and surroundings. No wonder he is out of whack! If he is an extrovert, he will soon tire of the quiet and go seek out some of the Sailors he knows.....who will quickly bring him into the fold. It really is just another form of "homesickness" that the majority of new sailors experience. He will find his way.....just like thousands of others have. It is just so hard to watch as a parent. Things will all come together given a little time. In the meantime....offer him encouragement and point him in the right direction.....all that you can do now!

Hey Chris,

Almost exactly two years ago my son was in a similar situation in Pensacola.  After he and I had a couple of conversations he started volunteering for every bit of extra duty he heard about and managed to catch the attention of several Chiefs; things turned around for him almost immediately.

Even though the "New Navy" is rather more regimented than it used to be, there are still many avenues which allow the cream to rise to the top.

Keep us posted.

Wow, tough call. I too am a single parent, however, my son is an introvert and part of the reason to join was to overcome this. As far as worrying about him, you have every right too, however, he is an adult and although you probably worry about his happiness as I do incessantly, we need to let them go..grow and become adults. He is adjusting and will get through this. Honestly, maybe you could point out the plus side of being alone, quiet undisturbed sleep, no waiting for the head, etc.. I always look for the plus side when things get tough..works for us..

Good luck, just be strong for him and let him know it's a part of life..

Thanks Dale, everything seemed to work out for the best. As time past, he settled in and things slowly got better. 

Dale Shipman said:

Hey Chris,

Almost exactly two years ago my son was in a similar situation in Pensacola.  After he and I had a couple of conversations he started volunteering for every bit of extra duty he heard about and managed to catch the attention of several Chiefs; things turned around for him almost immediately.

Even though the "New Navy" is rather more regimented than it used to be, there are still many avenues which allow the cream to rise to the top.

Keep us posted.

Thanks everyone, everything did work out in the end, but not before getting worse.

There were a couple other things going on in the background, all of it coupled together, overwhelmed him. 

I think I've completely blocked the whole event from memory. Definitely the single most challenging thing (thus far, knock on wood) I've had to deal with, as a parent.

Thanks for the support everyone!   

That's good news Chris! I just knew it would all work out!

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