Career Path > Navy:Staying In

Nuke School


My Son is in the Nuke Program in Saratoga, NY.  This is the last leg of the 18 month program.  He is having a very difficult time with this part.  He says that he doesn't understand anything.  Especially in the power plant where he is expected to know what he is doing and he doesn't.  He is miserable and hates it. Any suggestions and or help would be greatly appreciated.

Roll Tide:
For many of us that went through the Nuke pipeline, Prototype is a grueling experience. The book portion (from Charleston) just doesn't click in with the hands-on stuff for a while.

One day, he will have an epiphany. Suddenly his understanding will take a quantum leap and everything will fall into focus much better. He will still have to study and learn details, but the "big picture" will become his friendly companion instead of his nemesis.

Give him your full support, and maintain the confidence that your son CAN do this. Let him know how proud you are that he has chosen such a challenging field.

Already Gone:
That's a pretty normal reaction.  After all that schooling, it's a bit of a culture shock to get thrown into the real thing.  When I went through, the academics were loosely related to a reactor design that is no longer in use, but was still used then.  The prototype they sent me through in Saratoga was a plant that was only used once, and was obsolete before I could walk.  Then I went to the fleet and had to learn a brand spanky new one that neither of them taught me.

Tell him to look at the bright side.  If he had stayed in Charleston for prototype, he'd be training on an obsolete plant too.  At least the one that is still in Saratoga actually exists somewhere in the fleet.

It'll all click soon enough.  It sort of hits you all at once.  The best thing he can do is to learn the systems by walking them down and putting his hands on whatever he can.  If he tries to understand them by memorizing the drawings from the book, it will be harder.

I went to the S8G prototype. Class 8006. First class that actually got a complete training class "in-hull" . Much of the training guides and curriculum were still getting the bugs worked out then. They did have some sea-returnees go through first called "Trident design" schooling. They needed to tweak the program a bit to accomodate the green students like myself. I remember being discouraged there too. Very nearly every student assigned to S3G had qualified before the first student qualified at S8G. Tell him to not give up. The staff instructors will recognize his effort and help him out if he needs and wants it.


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