Navy Dads

Hello. Brand new to the group and wanted to get a little bit better understanding of what my son is considering in going into the Nuke Navy. He graduated from High School in June 2014 with multiple honors, but felt he was not ready for college and was thinking about the Navy. We eventually went to the recruiter to start to get a grasp on what it might offer, what the overall recruiting process is like and all. He took a couple of weeks to think it over then finally contacted the recruiter to start the process. He seemed interested in the Nuke Program and expressed an interest in eventually becoming an officer.

He went in and took his ASVAB yesterday and scored a 91 on it and will be going in on Monday for the and the MEPS. I was wondering what the overall path is for going into the Nuke enlisted program getting on an officer track (he does not yet have anything towards a BS which seems to be a req. for OCS)...?

Any advice or perspective on this would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance. 

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Word of advice from someone who has been nuke enlisted for the past 11.5 years. If you son really want to join the Navy tell him to either A) Go to school and get his degree and then join, the Navy has some programs that will pay back some tuition. He can also try for a ROTC program. B) Apply and try to one of the programs the Navy has in place where you would go to college and then through the pipeline as an officer.

Yes people go in enlisted and then get picked up for officer programs but the number that do is far less than those that want to do it. Many recruiters will say join enlisted and then you can get picked up and become and officer, sure that is true but like I said the odds are against you.

To become an officer I think it is now mandatory that you have a BS or BA. The training for enlisted in nuclear is really tough, but to make it through the Nuke training that officers go through you pretty much need a degree in engineering or physics to start with. My son graduated from Penn State with a degree in Nuclear Engineering, but he struggled with the very specialized and advanced training for the Navy reactors. He joined the Navy NUPOC program around the start of his junior year and it then paid for all of his college.

I suppose you could also go in enlisted, serve your contract, and then go to college on the GI Bill and then go back in on an officer path. If your son isn't ready for college now then chances are that he will be after a few years in the Navy. Kids who take to the military discipline, responsibility, etc., can quickly mature well beyond their civilian counterparts. Then when he goes to college he should a be a much better student.

As Jeremy points out there are other approaches to this also.

The Nuke Navy career is very challenging and I suspect that qualified recruits at enlisted or officer level are always in short supply. So, recruiters are very eager to sign up promising candidates. However, starting out enlisted and then trying to to fit in college to get on the path to officer will be tough.

My son graduated from Maine Maritime Academy with two degrees and multiple honors; his route into the nuclear Navy included two Red Sea deployments and qualification as a surface warfare officer; training at Goose Creek and Ballston Spa.

Most folks in the Navy have the military option as their only experience at sea. Others, like him have been sailors first (from the time he was fifteen) and Navy men later. Many of his friends from Maine Maritime are in the Seattle area and they share their early exposure to maritime service. They are civilian sailors. They spend most of their lives at sea. 

In order to pursue these career choices, all sailors need a great deal of support from their families. Military sailors need the realization that the name of the game is world-wide deployability for at least twenty years. Otherwise, a single hitch for enlisted sailors or serving a minimum term of obligated service for officers is a much better option. For civilian sailors, living at sea is who they are.

As an Enlisted Commissioning Program Marine Mustang, Ive experienced serving in the naval service from both sides. There is little in life that is more rewarding or more demanding. Friends gained thus are forever, and the experience is without peer.

My advice to anyone considering the commissioned option would be to attend the USNA, the Coast Guard Academy, the US Maritime Academy, or any of the several state maritime academies. All of their programs include a regimented lifestyle and academics aimed at success: not attrition. Not a bad idea for a youth who may not think himself ready for college. 

STA-21 may be an option for your son.  Of the @ 100 enlisted sailors selected for STA-21 each year, @ half are Nukes.  Look at the Fleet Brief at the STA-21 website:  http://www.sta-21.navy.mil/fleet_brief.asp

My son enlisted at 18 in 2006 and went through the Nuke pipeline.  In order to get picked up for STA-21, he stayed at Ballston Spa instructing (SPU).  He got picked up for STA - 21 in Oct of 2010. He went pilot, but, the process is the same.  The STA-21 process is a ton of work, but, worth it for some.  In May of 2013 he graduated from The Citadel with a Commission and no debt. He got first class pay (base, BAH, and BAS) the three years he was at The Citadel. He's been in flight school since he graduated  from The Citadel.     

Sorry for the long delay in replying/updating what is going on with my son and thanking others for their replies. While going through physical at MEPS, the doctor fag a possible heart murmur. My sone had to go to a specialist and no heart/health problem was found and was given a clean bill of health. However, as his mother (my ex) is from England (permanent resident status) additional paperwork and background checks are being required to confirm Julian has no dual-citizenship acknowledgement from the UK (he is a natural born citizen, born in California 19 years ago).

But he did sign his contract and simply waiting for the security paperwork to go through before they update his contract and give him a ship date to basic (based on a Nuke program training cadence). So while not 100% there yet, he is vey excited (as am I) as he preps via the delayed entry program (gotta learn those standing orders to a T).

Yes, that is what Julian is considering. But he wants to wait and see how things go with Nuke school (and the Navy in general) to make sure he is a good fit for it (and vice-versa) and if so, then pursue the Seaman to Admiral program.

Chris B. said:

STA-21 may be an option for your son.  Of the @ 100 enlisted sailors selected for STA-21 each year, @ half are Nukes.  Look at the Fleet Brief at the STA-21 website:  http://www.sta-21.navy.mil/fleet_brief.asp

Good news!

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