Welcome to the family. Your son will get to choose which rate he wants but the Navy still decides what they need. He will find out about 3-4 weeks in, as I recall.
James, there should be a FAQ section somewhere that covers this, but your son will know his rate before leaving boot camp. Somewhere around training week 5 he will meet with a classifier and get his assignment. Rates are assigned based on 1. the needs of the Navy, 2. ASVAB/NAPT scores, 3. the sailor's preference. Probably in that order.
When my son joined, we were under the impression that rates were assigned at A school. The recruiter could have done a better job of communicating how the process works.
Your son will get his rate before leaving boot camp. They ask the sailors preference but really the field that he ends up in is determined on his test scores and the needs of the navy, and lastly they might consider the sailors preference, but that is waaay down on the list!
Scott and James, as Jonathan mentioned, welcome to the family. After 2-1/2 years my Nuke is on his first patrol and I am excited for you both. What I recall a Master Chief from Goose Creek comes up in the 3 - 5 week range and visits with the SR's. They do get to choose but, as always, it is the "needs of the Navy". I do not recall hearing that someone did not get their choice but it can happen.
Enjoy the Ride!
As a recently retired Nuke Chief ET, I can tell you that a few weeks before your son's PIR he will be told what the Navy has chosen for him. The selection is based on scores, needs of the Navy and his requests (generally in that order).
My son's PIR date is also 11/27 and from the last conversation I had with him, he will ship out to Goose Creek on either Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving and from what he is being told he will likely get leave for two weeks around the end of December, but he doesn't know that for sure yet, or what the dates would be.
On another note, he did meet with the Nuke Classifier and was given the Rating of ET(NUC), so he is excited, now for the hard part, all that schooling.
Scott, I'm no expert, but it's my understanding that the phase I, II, or III restrictions apply to liberty, which is different than leave. 'A' school is on stand down 12/20 (16:00) to 1/5, so it's likely that he will be able to go home. Your son will probably not have much leave time accrued, but I believe this command allows them to go negative in their account.
Scott - what Jim C. just replied should be correct. Our son had PIR on 12/21/12 and he flew from Chicago home (to Cali) with us because the school was on holiday stand down. Then he reported to GC for school right before the New Year. He of course didn't have leave time accrued but they do let them go in the hole for it. They have plenty of time to earn leave after that. When he graduated A school in April we went out for the ceremony and stayed until Monday and then he & some of his buddies drove to Florida for the rest of the week. At 4th of July he flew home for 4 days.....so he's had leave time with no problem. He's getting ready for Power School grad on 12/13 & he already told us that leave will be either 12/20-1/13 if he is grad n go to New York or 12/20-1/6 if he stays in GC. They will get extra time if it's NY so they can move. AND he did say that it doesn't actually count towards his leave because it has to do with his orders for the next school - I wasn't exactly sure about that, but hey I'm not going to complain. At least he will get to come home for Christmas!