Navy Dads

To me the worst case scenario just occurred:

My son, who is a sophomore in college made the decision to join the Navy.  I support it as he is struggling to pay for college and worrying about no jobs when he gets out. ASVAB score of 93. Recruiter has been pushing nuke, while my son was wanting IS.

After researching this forum and other resources we went in with the strategy of either signing for a job you want or going back to college in the fall. NO going in without a job.

He gets to MEPS, goes through the processing and gets to the career selection portion and they give him nuke and a number of other jobs he wasn't interested in.  They told him IS wasn't available (perfectly understandable) and to pick one of the others.  He initially said he wasn't interested in going any further and would rather leave than sign up for a job he wasn't interested in.  They took him to the top guy and he tore him up for a bit and told him my son was wasting his time and to make a decision.  So they parked him for a couple hours and someone (obviously the "good cop") came by and said enlisting as a seaman wasn't so bad and that as soon as he got in he could strike for the position he wanted.  They told him in the mean time they would keep checking for the IS slot and if it came up would get him in if possible, so he signed on as a Seaman (SN.)

Needless to say when he got home I couldn't even look at him.  Not that I was angry with him, but that they got over on him.  We met with the recruiter, who was calling ME sir by the time I was finished, and he suggested my son go ahead and take the nuke test as going nuke was the only way to change his contract.  I told him that the other way was for us to just cancel it and that we were willing to do so to avoid him going in as SN.  I know the Navy needs paint scrapers, but this guy is an absolute waste if they have him coiling ropes on the deck.

His whole goal with the Navy was to leverage his time inservice to his country with a job that would translate to a real world job/experience that he could use.  He doesn't have to go in and doesn't feel it is a good investment of these years of his life working food service.

VERY IMPORTANT to note that I am not a helicopter parent trying to run his life.  He made this decision on his own and I respect that.  He is a strong minded, independent young man who charts his own course.  I have just jumped in to do the research so I can help him navigate these murky recruiting waters because I know a number of military guys and they all talk about how their recruiter got over on them or did something dishonest to help them enlist.  One guy we talked to today had the same experience as my son (20 years ago) and ended up scraping paint.  He said my job every day was either scraping paint or laying paint.  Not the best way to go in my book.

The point of this whole thing IS: is a SN a dead end for him, or should he push through because good things happen to those who trust in the system.  Would you send a boy, who can do anything with his life that he chooses, in as an SN and hope someone sees his true value and gives him a real job?  Am I overreacting?  Is it any of my business?  Help!

John JBARH Homrighausen

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his future is up to him...there are no dead end ratings and where he ends up will be up to the dedication and hard work he puts into this.  No one will "give" him a job--- he'll have to push and work for it.

Strike as soon as he gets in? I don't think that is how it works. They have to be in for some time before they strike. 

Perhaps you should encourage him to be a bit more flexible. His rating doesn't have to directly relate to a civilian goal to be valuable, and it is hard to anticipate how experience will change his outlook. Too, it is pretty common to sign up at MEPS and then reclassify while in DEP. Have him go through the rating sheets and see what he could live with. I would think a recruiter wouldn't want a Class I recruit going in undes, so should be pretty willing to do a change, especially if your son is a good kid who stays out of trouble. Of course he'd really like to sign up a nuke because they get bonuses for that, but your son shouldn't do nuke unless he really is motivated to.

Here's something that concerns me, though. You said the recruiter said "going nuke was the only way to change his contract". Well, no it isn't. There is some paperwork called a DAR, I think it stands for Dep Action Request. They can request all sorts of things, but it is work for the recruiter and they have to stay on it. Maybe he meant that Nuke was the only way that he was sure the DAR would go through (before the ship date). Sometimes the recruiters say things that are strictly true but in a way that you are likely to hear what they want you to hear. They aren't suppose to lie. The manual for recruiters is online. Look for COMNAVCRUITCOM INSTRUCTION 1130.8J. It is kind of interesting. One item in it is the long list of reasons for requesting exit from DEP, and the standing order that all such requests are to be approved.

When is his ship date? If it is real soon, that could be a problem. Note that should he succeed in reclassifying with a DAR, it is likely to change the ship date. It pushed back my son's by 5 months.

Hmmmm, my thoughts...

1. He's an adult and they will treat him like one. While your opinion may get some attention, he's going to have to make his own decision and be proactive, and this may cost him.

2. I wouldn't want my son going undes. Personally, (and not to offend anyone), I would definitely want my SR to have an assigned A School before going in. 

3. No matter what his job, he's going to do some paint scraping. My son is an ET and currently describes his job as slave labor for the first couple months until he gets his time in. He says, everyone has had to do it.

4. Your son shouldn't go NUKE unless he really wants it. The school is very tough, with an extremely high drop out rate, and unless he is highly motivated, he's likely not to make it. Then you're back to problem 1 which is, your son will be reassigned to UNDES.

5. Until he actually swears in right before shipping out, he hasn't committed himself to anything. He CAN change his mind.

6. IF he chooses number 5, he needs to talk to his recruiter immediately. The recruiter may try to work with him, or the recruiter may just release him. Then you get to start the process over again, and considering how difficult it is to qualify these days. His "opportunity" to join the Navy may be gone.

7. Before you (or really your son) does anything, seek out Craig here on this website and discuss it with him. He works with DEPpers and will have much more information regarding the situation than any of us. 

8. Good luck! But it's time for your son to take responsibility for his actions. His life. His future. His decisions.

P.S. If he goes in as NUKE he HAS to sign a 6 year contract.

My son scored a 98 on his ASVAB however due bad choices in high school he was excluded from going into jobs with security clearances particularly the Nuke program like he wanted. He still enlisted for the military benefits education to serve his country and its a job in this tough economy. You should be very proud your son scored high on his ASVAB and he's eligible for the Nuke program. Nukes are the fastest promoting Rate in the military and jobs for experienced nukes start around $180,000 to $200,000 a year in the civilian world. By the time they are done with nuke school they will almost have completed a Bachelor degree. Only 1 percent of people taking the ASVAB are qualified for the nuke program. All enlisted recruits begin as an E-1 SR Seaman Recruit however are offered higher ranking when enlisted for certain life experiences such as college credits. It sound like your son was offered to enlist as a Seaman E-3 two rank advances due to his college. That is good! It sounds like your son is very smart and wants to use the military to continue his education. I believe this is a smart choice and would give him a challenge excellent life experience and a asset to the United States Navy. Be very proud of him and encourage him to explore his options in the Navy He will go far his possibilities could be endless. I served 6 years in the USN as a Corpsman HM2 and got out in 1990. I have no regrets and would do it all over. Tell your son congrats on score

Thanks gentlemen, all wise counsel. 

He is actually going downtown to take the nuke test tomorrow and we will see from there how things progress.  He is a good student and very self disciplined and has done his own research on the difficulty of nuke school, etc.  If he chooses to go that route, I have no doubt he will be successful.

I was happy to hear about the DAR and will introduce it to him after he takes his test if necessary.  His date is 3FEB14 so we can only hope that gives him some wiggle room to make adjustments.

Thanks to everyone and for giving us a lighthouse to navigate these waters.

A couple of things. One is, recruiters lie, I'm sorry if that offends anyone's sensibilities, but it's true. When my son took the ASVAB his recruiter told him the he (the recruiter) don't have access to his scores and could not give them to him. Said " you will find out at meps". I called him and he told me the same thing. I sent a email to RTC asking if there was a way to get his scores, they said yeah, get them from his recruiter. I forwarded the email and had the scores that afternoon. Recruiters want to put recruits where they want to put them. Probably based on needs and bonuses. After getting the scores, he and I sat down and went through a process to pick 4 ratings that he would accept. He went to maps, and was offered one of the four. However my second thought is, there is probably no downside to going in undes. I don't believe the Navy wants a smart guy chipping paint for 4 years. They will want to utilizes his skills. Also, he still gets the same benefits no matter the rating. But, if you don't like the deal, cancel the contract.

Mike, it's awfully unfair of you to make a general statement like that. As has been discussed before, SOME recruiters lie. They are stuck in a sales job with little training and expected to get results. As true with many sales people, they may lack sales skills and therefore tell a recruit what they think they want to hear rather than what they need to hear. 

For the life of me, I can't imagine why a recruiter wouldn't share your son's ASVAB scores with him? My son received a copy of both his practice score and his real score immediately. Not to offend your sensibilities, but unless your son did poorly and the recruiter needed to figure out if your son could proceed further, I don't know why he would lie about knowing the results. 

As to going undes, it may work out, but I certainly wouldn't want to have seen it for my son. I've heard positive stories about sailors going undes, but more negative ones.

As to the Navy not wanting a smart guy chipping paint, there seems to be many things the Navy does that confounds me. There may be a good reason for their decision, but one must always remember they do what's in the best interests of the Navy, not necessarily what is in the best interests of your sailor. 

The reality of our military's future may well be, don't get promoted quickly enough and you will find yourself released. Better to take a job if possible that gives you the best chance of advancement. 

That would be my advice, anyway. 

My son did fine on the asvab. His rating is AC. The recruiter was just lying. His motives are unknown to me. I didn't make a blanket statement.

No blanket statement??

 One is, recruiters lie, I'm sorry if that offends anyone's sensibilities, but it's true.

My son is not a recruiter, but someone on this boards' son may be. 

I believe you may have actually hit the exact definition of blanket statement...


Ok, I really dont intend to keep vollying with you, but lets examine my statement and see where it runs afoul shall we. "one is" I stated i had a couple of things. = true. "recruiters lie" recruiters is plural, meaning more than one. I didnt say "all recruiters lie" that would be a blanket statment. Based on the testamony of the OP and myself we have established plurality. = true. I apparently did offend your sensibilities, refer to my post, I am sorry. Finally, "but it's true" = true. Now I'm done with this. One more thing, If someone's Son is a recruiter, and they don't lie to potential recruits, I wasn't talking about them obviously.


OP, I hope you and your Son get this worked out in way that is beneficial to both your Son, and the Navy.

Brad said:

No blanket statement??

 One is, recruiters lie, I'm sorry if that offends anyone's sensibilities, but it's true.

My son is not a recruiter, but someone on this boards' son may be. 

I believe you may have actually hit the exact definition of blanket statement...


Very well done Mike, except by merely stating "recruiters" implies all. When I responded with "some" you could have just said, "well yes, that's true", but you continued. Perhaps correcting yourself is not something you're willing to do. 

My sensibilities were not offended, I merely intended to state clearly that disparaging some of our sailors as a whole was improper (or even more than one with no evidence). 

If I said ACs' are useless, perhaps you might understand the viewpoint and come to their defense. Then again, perhaps not. 

BTW, John never said anyone lied to his son.

Glad to hear we are done with this. 

OP, I am sorry my reply to your post caused you valid question to cause your thread to be hijacked. I am also sorry that your son was put in this situation and was "mislead" as you say. I truly hope this works out for your son, who after all is the one who matters in this situation.


Brad, your trying to defend the indefensible is tough for me to take. I said I was done, and I was until you made this personal by making assumption about me, my motives, what I may be implying and what I may or may not be able to do. Recruiters lie..that is irrefutable. I never said all and I never implied all. Now take your sheild of virtue and leave me alone. If you still need to argue with me, send me a friend request and we can take this private.

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