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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Probably should give an update, but not before thanking you all for your (sometimes lively) input.  This group is amazing.

The one thing I accepted from the beginning is that I am an observer and an advisor, but my son is an adult and has to make his own decisions one way or the other.  He ended up accepting the "undesignated" designation.  It has calmed everything down around here but my spirit.  I have had to bite my tongue and try my hardest to accept his decision.  Like I have said before, we have never been "helicopter" parents, but it doesn't keep us from wanting him to make the right choices.

I have shared everyone's advice with him and he has taken it into consideration and now only time will tell.

Thanks again for all of your wise counsel.

Well said Chief.

Sammy Young said:

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!

Some reading suggestions for you concerning life at sea. The American Practical Navigator,Two Years Before the Mast, Moby Dick, Janes Fighting ships, The history of Submarines on the Dolphin News site. Welcome aboard. Your fears and concerns seem to be rather common. That just means you love your Son and want him to do well, nothing wrong with that. But being in the Nav is a Family business! Your job has only just begun. Become an expert advocate and constant presence in his time at sea. Get to know his Ombudsman ,Mom get involved with the Navy Wives they know every thing that I wasn't allowed to talk about some how.Write to him as often as possible (every day) words of support and news from home are so important.

A (Sea Story).West PAC 1983

It was a beautiful day in the South Pacific when we left Subic Bay PI and happily on our way to Singapore for a rare port of call and some well deserved liberty. The water wasn't deep enough for a vessel with a draft as deep as ours. So the entire transit was made on the surface. Rare for a boat like mine an SSN Fast Attack. Every one that cared to was able to go up and enjoy some fresh air and sun. My watch finally ended and I lay to the bridge where the Conning Officer and the look out were. When I arrived I took the watch as lookout so he could make a head call and wedged my self into the pooka. What I witnessed for the next hour was the most wonderful spectacle I'ld ever seen. The bow of the boat was pushing at the surface and formed two whirlpools just forward of the sail on either side of the ship. The water was so clear that  the ocean floor looked like dunes of white sand. Then it happened, first one and then another until what seemed like 10 or 15 dolphins were each racing to get ahead of us. It looked like the derby. Then the lead dolphin broached directly ahead of us and began to slow. He made no effort to get out of the way and in a few seconds was being washed over the top of our bow. he slid off on the port side directly beneath me and was being turned over and over in the eddy of churning white water. As he did pirouettes like a sea dervish the happy chatter and sound of laughter got the attention of every one aloft. one after another the creatures took their turn at the fun. This went on for hours. And it donned on me, this was not their first rodeo they had done this before.

QM2SS SMITH 



John H'ausen said:

Probably should give an update, but not before thanking you all for your (sometimes lively) input.  This group is amazing.

The one thing I accepted from the beginning is that I am an observer and an advisor, but my son is an adult and has to make his own decisions one way or the other.  He ended up accepting the "undesignated" designation.  It has calmed everything down around here but my spirit.  I have had to bite my tongue and try my hardest to accept his decision.  Like I have said before, we have never been "helicopter" parents, but it doesn't keep us from wanting him to make the right choices.

I have shared everyone's advice with him and he has taken it into consideration and now only time will tell.

Thanks again for all of your wise counsel.

John, I can understand your frustration. My son was also pushed to go into the Nuke program, but he resisted because his goal was to become a SEAL, so he took a rating he could easily transfer out of later. Now two years later and his promises of being able to switch to SEAL are slim at best. 

However, they are adults and have to live with the decisions they make. My biggest fear was talking my son into going Nuke, then him being miserable. 

I think you have done all you could. Hopefully, his career goes well for him. I am a firm believer that life goes where it's supposed to. Good luck to him.

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