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M.sailor92

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Enlisted Nuclear to Nuclear Officer Questions
« on: Feb 10, 2011, 11:40 »
I'd like to start by saying that I'm new to this site and forums all together, so sorry if some of this has been on the forum already. I did try searching for answers to my questions but I couldn't find specific or clear enough responses. Any and all help is very appreciated.

So I enlisted in the Navy as a Nuke (or is it Nuc?) a while back and head off for boot camp at the end of the month. Everything has been going great, I'm excited to leave and experience life in the Navy first hand. I don't want to make it seem like I'm getting ahead of myself with these questions, but I've received so much information while in DEP that I would like some advice and opinions from other sailors in the Nuclear program.

Before I heard of things like the STA-21, BOOST, and even active duty tuition assistance, etc., I was more than happy knowing I would gain valuable knowledge in the Nuclear pipeline, spend the next few years of my life with the Navy, and have the GI Bill to put me through school after and when I decided to get out. But hearing of all these new learning opportunities in the Navy, it was just too good to pass up.

1. I'm straight out of high school. Which means ZERO college. So my overarching question here is how does an enlisted Nuke become a Nuke Officer?

  • Is it possible to get a college degree while enlisted? And I don't mean "yes" or "no" but more on the lines of can it be done? How long would it take? I know I'll be very busy as a Nuke so I haven't read or heard about too many people who have done this.
  • If it is possible and I do get a degree, can I be accepted into OCS? What are my chances?
  • I do plan on applying for STA-21, however. I know it's very competitive. How many chances do I have of applying if I don't get accepted the first time?
  • I've also read that choosing and getting accepted into STA-21 automatically volunteers you for subs. Is this true? I'm still not sure if I want to go carriers or subs but I want to know my chances of getting either one if I do get accepted in this path.

Lastly, if down the road I do become a Nuclear Officer, what exactly is my job now? On the Navy website they list SWO, Instructor, and Engineer. Are those the only officer positions?

Sorry if this post was too long or redundant, I just wanted some clarity and hopefully some answers about a potential future as an officer. Thanks so much for any answers!


M.sailor92

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Re: Enlisted Nuclear to Nuclear Officer Questions
« Reply #2 on: Feb 11, 2011, 01:53 »
Wow very helpful link, I feel embarrassed for not seeing it earlier. Couldn't find too much on my questions about automatic sub volunteer and Nuclear Officer job roles, however. Any answer or link to an answer would be awesome.

Many thanks, Justin.

Cycoticpenguin

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Re: Enlisted Nuclear to Nuclear Officer Questions
« Reply #3 on: Feb 14, 2011, 08:07 »
To be blunt. If you are so concerned about becoming an officer before you enlist... heres an idea... GO TO SCHOOL. That way you can ensure your success, and only have yourself to blame not "the man" stickin it to ya.

Other wise, you have a different set of priorities when you get in. Focus on getting through boot camp, and the pipeline if you choose to do so.  You can get picked up for STA-21 relatively easily in the pipeline.

When you get through boot camp, and make your impressions on A-school, talk with your LCPO about STA-21 process there, instead of here.

Last but not least, go spend time with friends and family. You have a few months before you need to worry about this stuff if you decide to go in now. You wont be able to apply for sta-21 until NEXT year anyway (2012). So that means you gotta get your butt in gear, and focus on your schooling at hand, not what-ifs that you have now. 

Offline Caz

Re: Enlisted Nuclear to Nuclear Officer Questions
« Reply #4 on: Feb 25, 2011, 12:14 »
Hey 92,

I enlisted in 2004 and got picked up STA-21 while in nuke prototype training 1-2 years later.  I'll try to answer some of your questions with my personal experience, observations and opinions:

To get accepted for nuke STA-21 you need good grades in nuke training.  That's mostly what it boils down to.  They grade on a 4.00 scale for both A-school and Power School.  While A-school does matter, your power school grades are probably the most important factor.  The class average is usually somewhere between 2.9 and 3.3.  In order to have a borderline chance, you need a 3.60.  3.70-3.79 and you've got a solid chance of getting picked up.  Close to 3.80 and higher is almost a lock to get picked up.  So, in essence, you need to be a rock star student near the top of your class which is hard to do.  This is just for Nuke Officer STA-21 (carriers and subs).  I'm not sure if the numbers are the same, but most years they'll accept 50 nuke STA-21's and typically 30-35 are students, and 15-20 staff... so if you can manage to be top 5 out of the 25-30 in your section, you've got a decent chance to be once of those 30-35 getting accepted that year.

To realistically get picked up STA-21 Core (you can pick whichever Officer job you want essentially) you're competing against the whole fleet, not just nuke staff and students, so you need to put some time in on a boat and get some great evals for a couple of years before having much of a shot to get accepted STA-21 Core and leave the nuke community.  As far as reapplying, you can apply every year and getting denied one year shouldn't hurt you when applying for it the next year.  They may even admire you a bit more for your determination and resolive.

Another option that I think might be even better for you is the Naval Academy.  You can get picked up for the Naval Academy out of Nuke school, but if I remember correctly, you can't apply for both that and STA-21 at the same time.  Since you are very young and have no college experience, I think the Naval Academy might be a great option for you to persue.  Getting your degree as enlisted and going OCS while technically possible, isn't really feasible IMHO.

As far as what an officer does... you don't really have a lot of options.  If you go enlisted to officer from the nuke program, they will in all likelihood force you to go subs.  They said they'd never force me to go subs, but that's what they ended up doing, and what they've done for the past 3 years now due to being undermanned there.  For STA-21 you will get sent from nuke training to NSI in Newport, RI for a mini-bootcamp like experience, then report to one of the 19(?) colleges with approved programs for nuke STA-21.  You'll then have 3 years to complete your degree there while receiving full pay and allowances and finally get commissioned an Ensign.  If you go Naval Academy, you'll probably be sent to NAPS in Newport, RI first for 6 months or so to do some academic prep work, then go to the Naval Academy afterwards and commission.l

After that, you'll go back to power school (a lot harder the second time around for me) and prototype, then to SOBC (learn sub tactical stuff) for 2 months, and finally report to your first submarine.  Once there you'll qualify EOOW, then work on qualifying stuff up forward like OOD.  Every officer on a sub is a nuke (except the Supply Officer), so at one point or another you'll likely be responsible for just about everything on the sub from the engineroom to driving the boat to the weapons and sonar.

If you have any other questions you think I can help with, let me know.

Offline Gamecock

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Re: Enlisted Nuclear to Nuclear Officer Questions
« Reply #5 on: Feb 25, 2011, 07:51 »
Hey 92,

I enlisted in 2004 and got picked up STA-21 while in nuke prototype training 1-2 years later.  I'll try to answer some of your questions with my personal experience, observations and opinions:

To get accepted for nuke STA-21 you need good grades in nuke training.  That's mostly what it boils down to.  They grade on a 4.00 scale for both A-school and Power School.  While A-school does matter, your power school grades are probably the most important factor.  The class average is usually somewhere between 2.9 and 3.3.  In order to have a borderline chance, you need a 3.60.  3.70-3.79 and you've got a solid chance of getting picked up.  Close to 3.80 and higher is almost a lock to get picked up.  So, in essence, you need to be a rock star student near the top of your class which is hard to do.  This is just for Nuke Officer STA-21 (carriers and subs).  I'm not sure if the numbers are the same, but most years they'll accept 50 nuke STA-21's and typically 30-35 are students, and 15-20 staff... so if you can manage to be top 5 out of the 25-30 in your section, you've got a decent chance to be once of those 30-35 getting accepted that year.

To realistically get picked up STA-21 Core (you can pick whichever Officer job you want essentially) you're competing against the whole fleet, not just nuke staff and students, so you need to put some time in on a boat and get some great evals for a couple of years before having much of a shot to get accepted STA-21 Core and leave the nuke community.  As far as reapplying, you can apply every year and getting denied one year shouldn't hurt you when applying for it the next year.  They may even admire you a bit more for your determination and resolive.

Another option that I think might be even better for you is the Naval Academy.  You can get picked up for the Naval Academy out of Nuke school, but if I remember correctly, you can't apply for both that and STA-21 at the same time.  Since you are very young and have no college experience, I think the Naval Academy might be a great option for you to persue.  Getting your degree as enlisted and going OCS while technically possible, isn't really feasible IMHO.

As far as what an officer does... you don't really have a lot of options.  If you go enlisted to officer from the nuke program, they will in all likelihood force you to go subs.  They said they'd never force me to go subs, but that's what they ended up doing, and what they've done for the past 3 years now due to being undermanned there.  For STA-21 you will get sent from nuke training to NSI in Newport, RI for a mini-bootcamp like experience, then report to one of the 19(?) colleges with approved programs for nuke STA-21.  You'll then have 3 years to complete your degree there while receiving full pay and allowances and finally get commissioned an Ensign.  If you go Naval Academy, you'll probably be sent to NAPS in Newport, RI first for 6 months or so to do some academic prep work, then go to the Naval Academy afterwards and commission.l

After that, you'll go back to power school (a lot harder the second time around for me) and prototype, then to SOBC (learn sub tactical stuff) for 2 months, and finally report to your first submarine.  Once there you'll qualify EOOW, then work on qualifying stuff up forward like OOD.  Every officer on a sub is a nuke (except the Supply Officer), so at one point or another you'll likely be responsible for just about everything on the sub from the engineroom to driving the boat to the weapons and sonar.

If you have any other questions you think I can help with, let me know.

You are mostly right.....but not exactly.

You don't have to select for "Nuclear-option" to get STA-21.  You can apply for any of the other options, however, you can only get "nuclear option" while at a nuclear training command.

If you apply and get accepted for the Naval Academy, you don't have to go through NAPS. 

If you end up as a submarine officer, you might go to SOBC prior to starting nuke school, or even prior to starting NPTU.  Pipeline issues effect where you go, and when.

Cheers,
GC
“If the thought police come... we will meet them at the door, respectfully, unflinchingly, willing to die... holding a copy of the sacred Scriptures in one hand and the US Constitution in the other."

Offline yota

Re: Enlisted Nuclear to Nuclear Officer Questions
« Reply #6 on: Feb 27, 2011, 04:29 »
You are mostly right.....but not exactly.

You don't have to select for "Nuclear-option" to get STA-21.  You can apply for any of the other options, however, you can only get "nuclear option" while at a nuclear training command.

If you apply and get accepted for the Naval Academy, you don't have to go through NAPS. 

If you end up as a submarine officer, you might go to SOBC prior to starting nuke school, or even prior to starting NPTU.  Pipeline issues effect where you go, and when.

Cheers,
GC

The word passed down to us through the CoC (recently as the STA-21 application process just started for 2011) is that all officer billets are open to students in the pipeline however, the chances of getting something besides nuke are slim. From what we were told, there have been a few (2-3?) pilots and a couple of supply officers picked up from this command over the years.

Offline Gamecock

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Re: Enlisted Nuclear to Nuclear Officer Questions
« Reply #7 on: Feb 27, 2011, 04:48 »
The word passed down to us through the CoC (recently as the STA-21 application process just started for 2011) is that all officer billets are open to students in the pipeline however, the chances of getting something besides nuke are slim. From what we were told, there have been a few (2-3?) pilots and a couple of supply officers picked up from this command over the years.

Not true....
“If the thought police come... we will meet them at the door, respectfully, unflinchingly, willing to die... holding a copy of the sacred Scriptures in one hand and the US Constitution in the other."

Offline MMM

Re: Enlisted Nuclear to Nuclear Officer Questions
« Reply #8 on: Mar 07, 2011, 08:11 »
The word passed down to us through the CoC (recently as the STA-21 application process just started for 2011) is that all officer billets are open to students in the pipeline however, the chances of getting something besides nuke are slim. From what we were told, there have been a few (2-3?) pilots and a couple of supply officers picked up from this command over the years.

This is usually put out to the students to get them to stay in the nuke community. I've seen guys put in their application right after getting to the ship and get selected for Core, Pilot, and a few others.

I've also seen plenty of people get their degree while in the navy and get selected for OCS: non-nuke SWO (two good friends), Supply (my first LCPO), Aviation Maintenance (didn't know him as enlisted, but he was AIMD QAO on my ship). I also know some nukes put in for RHO and go work for Medical as well.

Offline goobs22xx

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Re: Enlisted Nuclear to Nuclear Officer Questions
« Reply #9 on: Mar 13, 2011, 12:33 »
I got picked up in FY10. We signed page 13's saying that accepting the Nuc option volunteered us for subs.

 


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