Navy Dads

(I intended to post this over here - not in General - mods - please remove from General)

 

Son:   21 years old, in Goose Creek, after graduating from Power School.  My wife and I are pretty upset with our son.   In December, he had an underage drinking incident - was home on leave for the holidays, went to a concert, got drunk with some freinds.  He was masted, lost a rank, and lost pay.  Had also served a restriction to base in SC (he was in the Nuke program).    He had just graduated from Power school.  He was doing well, not EXCELLENT, but well.   Well, inexplicably, after saying how bad he felt, and that he would never do it again - - he went and did it again.  This time - he was two weeks over 21.  Went to Charleston with some friends, at a bar, and got summoned for public drunkenness.   He was masted again, I believe he lost another rank, and was just sent to Jacksonville on Sunday for a two week rehab stint.   He has not received separation papers yet, but - i suspect thats coming.   Can someone here, with knowledge (hopefully not because of 'experience') tell me what to expect ?   We are heartbroken that he has been so careless and reckless.   Fact is - I can't even talk to him.  My wife has been handling communications with him.  He had bombed out of college after 1 year before taking the ASVAP, nuke test, and enlisting in the Navy.  It seemed he really was making an effort to turn his life around.   Now, it seems he has torpedoed his Navy career.   If anyone has any advice or comments, I'd sure appreciate it.  I'm quite certain that if he is booted out, I will not allow him to come back home.  He's had every chance to be successful.  He needs to grow up.   I need some understanding of why, if they are going to separate him, why go to the effort of sending him to the rehab ?  Its really causing a lot of stress on my wife and I.  We are embarrassed and hurt by this.

Thanks in advance

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Replies to This Discussion

I doubt that they will kick him out of the Navy for this. However they might re-assign him and drop him from the Nuke Program. 

Navy cant kick a person out with a drug or alcohol problem without first getting them help.

I dont think they will kick him out of the navy, chances are very high though he will be booted out of the nuke program and sent out to sea as conventional em, et, mm whatever his rate is.

So sorry to hear of your sons troubles.  I feel for you.  I know that you want nothing but the best for your son and the pain that you feel right now is obvious by what you have written here.  However, I fear that your sons nuclear career is almost definitely over.  Having two masts is very serious, especially for those in the Nuclear program.  

He has a six year contract with the Navy and he will most likely be reassigned to a non nuclear rated field if they feel that he can be saved with rehab.  He may still have a chance to have a decent navy career outside of the nuclear field though.  He will have to stay completely clean if he does get reassigned.  

Even though your son graduated from power school there was no guarantee that he would make it through prototype. It sounds like he was drinking to help cope with the extreme pressure and stress. My son had a roommate while in Prototype who was removed from the nuclear program just two weeks before scheduled completion.  He had zero disciplinary problems, but they simply determined that he was not going to make the grade as a Navy Nuke. He was reassigned in a non nuclear field.

With two Captains Masts staying in the Nuke program is doubtful.  But, because he qualified as a Nuke candidate, the Navy knows that he has the smarts for almost any other field.  The pressure in the Nuke program is almost incomprehensible to those of us on the outside, and it is understandable (but unacceptable) that some people may turn to alcohol in a misguided effort to relieve some of the stress and pressure.  

I understand your anger and frustration with your son.  My son joined for exactly the same reasons as yours.  He jerked around in college for almost two years.  He needed the focus and discipline that the Navy offered.  I thank God that he made it through the program.  But just barely. He is now a First Class Petty Officer after doing two deployments to the middle east.

Rehab is probably what your son needs at this point.  Please reconsider your anger with your son and give him all the support that he needs if he is reassigned.  He will need plenty of emotional support from you.  

Best of luck to you and your son.     

Your sailor needs support and counseling - the Navy will provide some.

You and you wife need support - that's why you posted here, yes?  On that - I  don't have much good advice -- except the advice on the airlines "place your own oxygen mask on first" - otherwise you will pass out and die and not be able to help anyone.  Good on you for asking here - you have gotten some good advice on the facts of the nuke program.

About your anger and fear and feeling betrayed.  Lose it.  When you can -- and it might be a while -- be able to say calmly with no guilt or shame just factually - "that was a stupid thing you did, son" -- and don't ask why.  Ideally, he will then be able to say - "yup" without anger or fear or unkeepable promises.

I have two adult offspring - one in the Navy E6 nuke one working in a deli.  Both always understanding and helping their classmates and/or shipmates.  One dropped out of school (just quit listening) in 4th grade.  One got scholarships for this and that. Which is which?  Just like in the Navy - you take them as you find them and if they earn your trust -- good.

Advice so far seems good and consistent with what my kid let me know about the program. Back almost 5 years ago. 

Navy needs nukes, and cuts some slack for those who make a few mistakes.  (When my kid graduated Power School, at least two of the names on the program were SA - kid also introduced me to one shipmate who didn't grad PS and was waiting for reassignment)

But to be a nuke requires good judgment. 

Odds of staying in nuclear program not good, but possible, barely, depending on evals in prototype.  Already - nuke quick promotion and some of the signing bonus down the drain.  It's all in the contract.

As for support - the Navy rehab program is something - but me I don't know what.  Shipmates can be surprisingly supportive and know just what is going on - but that is hit or miss.

Ric,

Well said. My daughter who is 25 is in the Nuke program (powerschool). I also have a son who is 22. My daughter had various scholarships and finished 3yrs at a good college. She always had a job and was very responsible. My son dropped out of High school not once but twice, been arrested (minor) and doesn't work. I love them both more than life itself. I am not ashamed of my son however I also will not enable him. I will support him in anyway I can, especially in anyway that would better him and / or his life. He lives with his mom. He is a good kid but has his issue's. Same parents, brought up in the same neighborhood yet him and his sister are night and day. I would never turn my back on him but would do everything I could to help him help himself. Like SadDad, I was angry and embarrassed & like you said, I had to let all that go. Once I did, the situation was a lot easier to handle and deal with.

Totally understand your frustration and anger. We hope and do the best for our children and feel like our hearts are ripped out when they mess up.

I can only say is that you have to step back, take a breath and then step forward and be the support your son needs While he has gotten in serious trouble, he can still pick himself up, move forward and overcome his setback.

 

Support-understanding and listening are a big part.

 

Wish you, your family and your son all the best.

Sad Dad -  Very sorry to hear of your situation.  I do know of another sailor who was in your son's position. He was in my son's class a few year's back. He too was sent to rehab and given a chance to continue his naval career but no longer a member of the nuke program.  He unfortunately did have another incident after rehab and was given separation papers. As stated in other posts, the pressure of the nuclear program is so intense, some sailors may turn to alcohol as a stress relief.  It is the 3rd hardest school in the country, behind only MIT and Harvard law.  Please do not completely shut your son out.  He is looking for support and these incidents may be cries for help. God bless your son and your family during this troubling time.  My prayers are with you.

Sorry, had to come and post that what you said is far far far from correct. Third hardest schooling..... Not even anywhere close. It is hard for people but not that challenging. The hardest part is its treated like a job having to be in class for 8 hours a day which is much different from being in college

GP said:

Sad Dad -  Very sorry to hear of your situation.  I do know of another sailor who was in your son's position. He was in my son's class a few year's back. He too was sent to rehab and given a chance to continue his naval career but no longer a member of the nuke program.  He unfortunately did have another incident after rehab and was given separation papers. As stated in other posts, the pressure of the nuclear program is so intense, some sailors may turn to alcohol as a stress relief.  It is the 3rd hardest school in the country, behind only MIT and Harvard law.  Please do not completely shut your son out.  He is looking for support and these incidents may be cries for help. God bless your son and your family during this troubling time.  My prayers are with you.

Jeremy ---3rd hardest school was line given to my by an officer at Goose Creek.  I guess I just took it for granted.  Apologize for passing along erroneous information, but then again, it is the government.

Well - thank you, all of you who took the time to post.  My son was given his discharge orders this past Wednesday, so - its all over now, but for his return trip home to an uncertain future.  His mother and I are so far beyond sad that we can barely stand up, let alone think properly, and yet we need to arrive at an agreement of conditions under which we will let him return home, as he has no where else to go.   My son told my wife on the phone yesterday that he will be getting some separation pay for a period of some months, but that just makes no sense to me, and I just don't have the stamina to research it.  I suspect he either misheard, or is misrepresenting to us, the truth.  He was in a total of 18 months, and never got out of Charleston due to his restriction, so it makes no sense that he would qualify for ANY pay once he is shown the exit gate to the base in SC.   We are, of course, very disappointed, and I will likely not be back here until my second son gives the Navy a try.  He is three years from graduating HS, and told his mother and I last night that unlike his older brother, he will not let us down.  I did not post here often, but - I read a LOT and learned a ton from Dads in the know in the time I was on here.  When I do come back after my second son joins, perhaps I will change my username, but until then, I remain.... SadDad.

The tone of your post conveys the sadness and frustration that you and your wife are feeling.  I am sorry that you are going through this trying time with your son.  I posted previously and hoped that your son would be given another chance somewhere in the navy, but really I knew the chances were slim.

I am sure that your son is feeling pretty sick about it at this point as well.  Eighteen months is a significant investment in time and effort on his part, your part and that of the Navy.

I agree that before your son comes home you all arrive at some sort of agreement and conditions to assure that he makes a sincere effort to find a path that will offer him some success in life.  I wish you and your family well.  This is a very troubling time for you, but it will pass.

 

I am sorry for your trouble.  As a parent of a Nuclear Sailor, it is difficult to understand the stresses of the program.  I always worried that my son may not be able to handle it.  Please don't be embarrassed.  Your son is a better person if only for making the effort.   If I had the opportunity to meet your son, I would, without hesitation, sincerely thank him for his service.  I'm a firm believer:

Matthew 7:1-3: 

1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

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