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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I agree with the advice that I see posted here, but here is another view point.

IS is the rating my daughter wanted.  She also went through the pick another rating interview.  On the advise at MEPS she selected AO from among her list of rating choices.  She wanted to go into the service entering a training pipeline.  Her recruiter thought she made a good decision. She was encourage by several recruiters to consider another rating at the end of 2 years.  In the end after just over one year she likes the work as an AO.

The enlistment that your son is signup for is termed undesignated.  It is my understanding that there are several types.  My daughter met a young lady in Pensacola that was undesignated aviation.  She would go to an aviation command and be permitted to work in several jobs and be able to chose an A school from her experience. 

Check with the recruiter about options for udesignated sailors.  Check for similar ratings such as OS.  Get on the web site and read and research. Got to and search navy job descriptions.  See if your future sailor can find something else that he has an interest in.

Hi Mike and Brad you're conversations were interesting. The bottom line is everyone lies, and everyone's experience with different recruiters will be different. My sons recruiter was really good. They were at the Beckley WV branch and straight forward from the get go. Our son went in and took the computerized pretest ASVAB in the office and got a 92. They immediately took him down to MEPS and scored a 98. Most people could have done anything with that score, however because of poor choices he made in high school it excluded him from being a Navy Seal or going into Nuke program. It was very disappointing, however they're consequences for life's poor decisions. He was able to go into Navy with a waiver and obtained a rating and guaranteed A School. When I enlisted in the navy back in the 80's my brother who was an EM2 and also did a short time of recruiting a advised me to not enlist unless I was guaranteed an A and possibly C school. I took his advice and thoroughly enjoyed my time in and took advantage of the education benefits obtaining my nursing degree and Paramedic. I agree with Brad all recruiters are not bad. I don't understand why a recruiter wouldn't give a ASVAB score unless a person scored low and lied to let MEPS deal with it. Still not an excuse they should be straight forward. My sons recruiters tried to get waivers for him to obtain a navy seal rating or nuke however they were denied at this time because of his high school offenses. Sorry about the long response but my advice is the same my brother gave me. Don't sign up unless you have a guaranteed A school. If you don't think the recruiter is forthright then find another if possible. If they score poorly on the ASVAB have your son or daughter get the ASVAB book and study and keep taking it so they can obtain a rating and school. Good luck to your son and thank him for serving our country

Mike Smith said:

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...

Well, as a parent you have some clout. I have a nephew-in-law that was nuke, they kicked him out after 4 years due to being a fat body...he now makes 6 digits. So be careful, the nuke program is ardous and very difficult, even if he is guaranteed a nuke job, he can wash out of school and become undesignated. Going in undesignated allows the USN to place him where they need him, if he is a smart kid and the CPO sees potential in him, he will likely be picked for a great job with upward mobility. No one wants where you can't get promoted...but a new recruit can't see the forest through the trees. Its up to you to help them navigate those waters. You are doing a fine job hovering.....but not micromanaging. I went through the entire recruiting process with my daughter. She narrowed it down to two jobs, rather than tell her which one I would pick, I simply asked her if she wanted to be on ship or not. She chose to be a BU and is doing great. She has been promoted. She is going on her one yr anniversary and will be deploying later this month. Im happy in the job she picked. It brings her great satisfaction. I went in guaranteed contract Security Forces USMC, but was afforded yr opportunity to try out for Reconnaissance, and passed. It changed my whole career. You never know what job may present itself, but I understand your resentment...recruiters recruit. They are given slots and they fill them. I don't think they purposely lie, bend the truth perhaps, but they have only a few spots to put a lit of recruits. If he is the cream of the crop, he will natural rise to the top. I would, like you try to get him into the nuke program knowing what I know. I also had a colleague die at 45 because of a career as a Nuke (prostate CA) he needs to measure what is important to him. Unfortunately what you want doesn't matter any more. He is a grown man.

   This discussion got out of hand and became personal...We are here to assist each other along the way. As in any position, there are good representatives as well as poor. My daughter has been in for 2 years now. Our experience with the local Recruiting Office was stellar. They were straight up with our daughter and assisted well after PIR. The point of this posting was whether or not to go in undesignated...let's help this gentleman with his inital query. The main point that was made is that his son is not locked into anything as of yet! Let's help in making the right decision......

Boy, I was going to stay out of this and just enjoy the volley, but I can't.. My daughter went in undesignated as an E3 Airmen. The recruiter mislead, misguided (you choose which one, doesn't really matter which one). She believe what the recruiter was telling her and what I had to say didn't matter. I also joined the Navy back in the early 80's as non designated and worked my way up to where I wanted to be. So blanket or not John's opinion and statement is not only valid for him, but others as well. We also ran into the good cop bad cop routine from the recruiter, once my daughter realized she was being played.. that is where she began to realize the salesmanship of the recruiters in that office. She is stationed on a aircraft carrier and I believe she's working as a fueler, of course not what I had in mind for her, nor what she had in mind, but she had that decision to make for herself. I've read here where some of the Dad's here are staying there sailor had to decide for themselves, and then I see where there sailor's are E4 and above. Makes me wonder if that was there thought pattern when there Kid first approached them about joining the Navy. Sure wasn't mine, but I'm so very proud she did.

John I can talk to you about our situation and how we dealt with it, but it would have to be off-line

It just so happens yesterday that I stopped into a recruiters office to try and find out some information so I could turn off my son's phone plan temporarily and met a very upfront recruiter with 18 years in.

While chatting, I had to ask him, since Mike implied recruiters get a bonus, if they get paid in any way for signing up recruits and he assured me, his only bonus was getting to go home early for the day. He did have awards as a top recruiter, and did comment that bringing in Nukes or Seals does get him extra points towards his award though. As I figured, there is no way the Navy would be paying any sort of monetary bonus to recruiters.

With all that said, I have been in sales most of my life, and have actually trained people in sales techniques and can say without a doubt, most recruiters haven't a clue how to sell. I'm sure no one enters the Navy to become a salesman. I have also sat in the room, while waiting for my son, and listening to sales methods and have noted some "misinformation" given to these kids.

The answer is very simple, do your own homework. The best way in any sales experience to get the proper answers is to do your own research. In this way, you can easily detect who to trust and who you can't.

So, to once again summarize my recommendation, based on the military's current strategy of shrinking the armed forces by pushing for ERB for those who are not promoted within target periods, selecting a job is more important than ever.

Let's talk numbers:

I retired an Chief Petty Officer with over 20 years and made about $60K a year after I retired in jobs relating to my rating (SK). Meanwhile, my oldest brother was also in the Navy and did 6 years as a NUC and got out and now makes over $650K a year (plus profit sharing) for one of the biggest nuclear power builders in the country. And for what it's worth, the IS rating skills are not in high demand anywhere but in the US Navy. So the answers is simple- the Nuclear Power program is the best free education you're kid will ever get, so nab it if offered!

I hope that things have been going well for your son? The entire enlistment process can be very daunting! But as with almost all things, information is power!

First, my opinion. Unless your son is 'just searching for the right fit' I would NOT recommend going in undesignated. Yes, he should have opportunities to strike for a rating within 2 years. But there are many caveats that go with that, so I would not call it a guarantee. I would push for having his contract changed and an A-school assigned. I would agree with those that have said that he should only go Nuke IF he really wants it. But that is just my 2¢.

Now for Information. The truth is that most people in the Navy don't actually know what the rules and regulations actually say. They go on what has been told to them. (Sometimes it is even right) As I have advised both my Daughter and Son-in-law; know the regulations and allow them to work for you. So to assist you and your son following are links to Navy manuals and regulations that should assist you to know what is and isn't possible given your son's situation.

Navy for Moms Page with Links to the Navy Recruiters Manual I would look at Chp IV - Programs & Classification.

Naval Military Personnel Manual Links from - You probably want to look in the Personnel section (1000-1999). Section 1133 deals with Recruiting and Section 1220 deals with classification.

Naval Personnel Command Directives and Instructions - I include this for completeness. It has links to nearly all Navy/DoD directives, instructions, etc... that may be referenced in the other documents. 

I leave it to you and your son to determine what parts of these documents may be useful to your situation. But I have always found it useful to negotiate from a position where the regulations are on your side.

I hope that this helps. And if you have any specific questions or need further assistance navigating the regs., I would be more than happy to help.

Slightly off topic, but within the same vein, I was out to San Diego this week and ran across a fair amount of sailors and asked their opinions of the Navy and the route they had selected. One thing I did pick up was, if possible, get on a smaller ship. The sailors I spoke with were mostly on the USS Carl Vinson and commented that being on a large ship was much more strict and more tedious. They said, the benefits of being on a small ship is you get more face time with the officers and learn all the duties of the ship.

My son happens to be on a small ship, and I thought the larger ones might be better. Of course, it could just be a case of the grass looking greener on the other side of the fence, but it sounded like none of the sailors I spoke with were considering re-upping.

Just one more thing to consider I guess.

Brad, you are absolutely correct in your opinion. I served on submarines but also did some short stints on the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier, and smaller ships are better- hands down. On a big ship, you get lost in the shuffle easily and it's harder to stand-out for promotion time. On a smaller ship, you worker harder but you are also working in all aspects of your rating (job) than you would on a bird farm, and everybody knows everyone so it's easy to get a good reputation and it's remembered at promotion time. And, the benefits of being on a smaller ship include perks the bird farm guys don't get, such as not having to stand in line for an hour for chow, tighter crew and unit cohesion, get better liberty ports (you can't park a carrier anywhere you want to, where as tin cans can), etc. So in this one case in your son's life, bigger is NOT better! :)

I would suggest going up the chain. Something happened to me 22years ago and I got changed from undesignated seaman to IC A school and e4 after school. sn not bad just harder to move up. He will have to strike for a particular job. I would suggest taking nuke exam.

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