I am not sure what to say! My sailor has completed the BECC portion of his A school and earned six Bravo Zulu's for going above and beyond during that period. We are driving up from Tennessee (11 hours one way) to spend Easter with him. He turned in 3 of his Bravo's with a request chit for a duty day off and 3 for a Liberty variation (he is phase 2) for us, his parents, to be able to sign him out for liberty. The duty day of simply was not signed (no explanation) and the variation chit was refused because he (nor we) know what room number we will be staying in at Navy Gateway (he was told that the chit was not signed because it was incomplete, but the yeoman that he turned it in to said that the room number was not necessary, because he would not be going over there!). When he tried to turn in a revised chit or speak to the Chief, he was told that the Chief was on leave until next week. We are going to drive 22 hours round trip to spend about 6 hours on Friday night (at either the Pier or McDonald's), Two hours if we are lucky on Saturday, and ten hours on Sunday (at either the Pier or McDonald"s), because of paperwork. When he asked one of the other NMTI's on his ship if there was anything that he could do, the reply was "yeah, but that would be favoritism...kinda sucks don't it?" What kind of response is that from a First Class Petty Officer to a Fireman? We were under the impression that senior enlisted encouraged junior sailors to make them better. My son joined the Navy with every intention of being a career sailor, but is REALLY discouraged! His last comment to me was that he now understood why everyone called it "Great Mistakes" and that if this was what it was all going to be, he didn't want any part of it...4 and out!!! THIS IS NOT MY SON'S CHARACTER!!!!! Any advice?????
Let me first say that we are all in agreement that the first priority is fleet and mission readiness. You are correct that the school is shut down, but the ships are not. Just like a ship in the fleet, everyday has duty responsibilities to keep the ship afloat. This Saturday is a scheduled duty day for him. At issue is that he was told that three BZ's would earn him a duty day off, and that three were required for a variation from liberty policy (which for a phase two is 1 battle buddy) for us (his parents) to sign him out. He did what he was supposed to do and because of bad info from a yeoman and (only heaven knows why else) he was denied both privelidges. all of his compartment mates are phase 1 and are on different duty day schedules than he is, so getting two of them to go with us at the same time is impossible. His ship's policy on chits is turn in by Weds and pick up on Friday (only problem is that the Chief is on Leave till next week).
NavyDads Co-Admin, Jim said:
First of all, he has not made a mistake by joining the Navy. He is only in A school being groomed for service in the fleet and learning a valuable skill to be used to keep us safe. I would say that on the surface what I'm seeing is that maybe he waited too long to request his leave time away from school. I also believe that the school will shut down over the weekend any way and he should have some time off to spend with you.
You just have to keep in mind that your sailor's main focus is learning his new job. They MUST get him prepared for fleet duty. I hate to say it, but seeing mom and dad take a back seat during this time of his training. I would think if you get some time with him for Easter diner is a win win!
We did make the trip and were able to spend Friday evening and Sunday with our Sailor. He was able to get the liberty pass variance for those days by requesting a conference with his ship's Duty Officer. This First Class Petty Officer then appealed to the Command Chief of another ship (per protocol, not going around his Command Chief), who approved and signed the variances. We were able to have some long discussions about what happened and even more specifically WHY it happened. Turns out it was a perfect storm of an outdated handbook (that he happened to have), mis-information from the yeoman, and his Chief taking a scheduled leave (all at exactly when he needed approval) All is well, we even got to see our friend Sarge on base. Thank you for your encouragement.