Career Path > Navy Nuke

Pro's and Con's

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Well there are more reasons to reenlist than just money.  Some people do it because their family has medical problems that private insurance won't cover or costs too much to cover.  Others do it because of the retirement benefits.  Others do it because they know they can't hack it in the civilian sector.  Some do it because they actually enjoy it but those people are generally not quite right in the head.  Not all senior nukes are a mess, but you don't get promoted to higher up positions unless you learn to play nuclear politics, which usually leads to burning a lot of common sense bridges in the process.  But this is also just one guys opinion who happened to spend 3 years at protohell and see a lot of people who should not have gotten through get pushed through because they need replacements.

Something else I forgot to mention.  ASVAB and NFQT(if they still give it) scores don't mean JS when it comes to nuke school.  Knew a guy in A school got max score on both and flunked out after the second subject.  Seen guys who barely got in excel.  It is all about you ability to think critically(all pun intended) and suck down the firehose of info they feed you.  Some words of wisdom for you though

1. No good deal goes unpunished.  If you find yourself in a situation where life is really good, be prepared for life to suck in the near future.  The level of suck rarely if ever is below the level of good.

2. No matter what you do, what your situation, or what problems you have; someone in your command has been through that same situation.  Seek out their help and use their experience in the matter to help you through yours.

3. The stupid shall be punished.  This rarely means those that are not intelligent but rather those who are smart enough to know better but refuse to fully engage that mass of matter between their ears.

4. The amount of time that you will have a good Chain of command is approx. 1/2 to 1/4 of the amount of time that you will have a crappy COC.

I have recently gone through the pipeline and am now on medical hold on a ship.

1) A school and Power school are pretty much cut and dry. You are constantly supervised, your hours are VERY straightforward, and you work a 5 day work week with some study time on the weekends. the amount of time you spend at work depend 100% on your ability to pay attention, take notes, ask questions, and apply the knowledge you have learned.

2) Prototype is VERY different. You get subjected to 12 hour days in a schedule like this - 7 days of 7 am - 7 pm, "2" days off (you will understand), 7 days of 11 am - 11 pm, "1" day off", 7 days of 7 pm - 7 am, "3" days off, 4 days of 7am - "7"pm, 4 days off. repeat this for 4 months. The problem with Prototype is the lack of supervision. You pretty much make your own noose at prototype. If you work hard, keep your nose clean, and bust your butt, you will notice your time is a lot easier then others. However, since you dont have people over your butt 24/7, its rather easy to slip into a vicious cycle of slacking off. Dont be one of those guys.

3) once you report to the ship, the hours stabilize in port/shipyard, however you are more pressured to qualify and support your watchbill. However, theres still a lack of supervision, so you get the same "make or break" thing at prototype. HOWEVER the key difference here is that you live and work with these people for the next 4-5 years!   

Basically with prototype and shipyard/port (I have not gone to sea, so I wont skepticize what happens), the old adage "Dont crap where you eat" applies. Oh yeah, and enjoy 4 section duty when the rest of the ship has 8 section ;) Prepare to work harder then you have ever had in your life.

As for the bad things, the navy is what you make of it. Each person has their own good and bad things that are unique to them.

Good Luck!

SN Bass:
Thanks for all the information guys.  I do have one more question though.  What will my average shifts usually be while in shipyards and on a ship.  And will it still be 7 days a week?

I was on the Truxtun in the Bremerton yards in 82. The nukes were on the prototype shift rotation which was pretty nice. No duty days. That is until we got steam back in the engineroom and we did port and starboard for a month until we left the yards. Over all it was pretty good duty.


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