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dtirey

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STA-21 trying to become a nuke officer
« on: Sep 14, 2004, 10:17 »
I’m an active duty IC1 who is in my senior year in college. I was picked up for the STA-21 three years ago, and really didn’t have a clue about what type of officer I wanted to be. I figured I would be like an LDO and stay in Engineering. Well, now it is time to decide what I want to do. I have decided I want to be a nuke. It isn’t about the money, but I want to stay in the engineering environment. I couldn’t see myself as a first LT in deck. I really don’t feel like I’m that smart, especially compared to nukes ( I served on 2 CVN). I’m a history major, but took Calculus I and II, along with Physics I and II. I got a “F” and “D” in Physics I and Calculus II my first semester in college (hard going back to school after 8 years in the fleet). I retook the classes and got an “A-” and a “B+”. My GPA is a 3.0.  Anyways, does anyone think I have a chance at an interview, and what should I expect in the interview along with what to expect in nuke school for officers.
« Last Edit: Sep 15, 2004, 05:06 by Beer Court »

Offline CharlieRock

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Re: STA-21 trying to become a nuke officer
« Reply #1 on: Sep 16, 2004, 09:10 »
What university are you in?  You should have an NROTC detachment with a nuke officer (or somebody who knows one) close by.  Anyway, I was a SWO(N) so I'll tell you what I know.  Your chances are only fair to get an interview.  On the negative side, you're a history major (and not a USNA guy obviously) who failed (I know you took them again) basic Physics and Calc.  Your overall GPA is definitely on the low side for a history major.  The only three guys I know of (not a statisically definitive sampling) that got in with less than a 3.2 were two ex-enlisted nukes, both of whom had qualified on supervisory watchstations, and a Chem Eng major.  I think NR is hurting for Chem Engs.  All three guys were engineering majors, two at Duke and one at Carnegie-Mellon.  Pretty good schools.

In the interview:  its pretty basic stuff - area under a curve, rate of change, heat transfer stuff, basic mechanical and electrical theory.  What threw me was chemistry.   I hate chemistry.  I bulled my through a pH/concentration problem.  Most NROTC detachments that I know of have a good prep guide for the NR interview.  It gives some great examples of what to expect.

Now as to your real problem - don't think being unrestricted line means you're deck div.  You'll get to do great things as a SWO. See my other posts nearby for why being a SWO is a helluva lot of fun.  Real Navy wears black shoes!

HavardofFlint

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Re: STA-21 trying to become a nuke officer
« Reply #2 on: Oct 04, 2004, 05:07 »
I can tell you how it went for me.

I was a previous nuke ET who did very well.  I made made instructor and qualified PPWS just shortly before leaving after 6 years and received a NAM for my accomplishments in these areas.  I had no negative history.  I was dual warfare (SW/AW)  and got outstanding evals recommending me for officer programs.  I decided I wanted to get my degree myself as soon as possible so that I may go Nuke officer as soon as possible without having to wait through 4 more years of college.  I got out and got my Thomas Edison Degree after I learned any accredited bachelors degree is accepted for OCS.  I finshed my degree with a 3.8 GPA.  I applied first to three non-nuke programs (Pilot, NFO, and Intel) after my recruiter told me repeatedly that all the nuclear programs and SWO (my initial three choices were Naval Reactors Officer, Nuclear Engineering Officer, and SWO) were filled until 2006.  I later found this was untrue and the programs he directed me towards and I applied for were the ones that were "filled" until then.  I complained of the misdirection I was given after I learned this and then was given a response that I was somehow not accepted into the Nuclear Program and I was reminded that enlisted opportunities that were availiable.

This frustrated me alot.  I knew it couldn't be due to my past military performance as many of my peers who had relatively lower scores, lower evals, and lower amounts of experience in positions of authority with the same  amount of time in were accepted in ROTC programs and the such.  I knew it couldn't be due to my degree as I recall speaking with Nuke officers who were ENGLISH and PHILOSOPHY majors (who I instructed and taught and was recommended by).  I had a discussion where I had proved my RTA (a principal assistant to the Reactor Officer (Dept Head)) wrong in a theoretical arguement regarding nuclear power (respectfully of course) and even he (who is now an XO) recommended me citing my "superior intellect".  It was this discussion that led to instructor position being assigned.  I have no real understanding of how I ultimately was not accepted.  My recruiter tried talking to me like most officers have Master Programs (which I KNOW is bull).  He tried telling me that they deny Olympic Athletes and all these other "great guys" and I know they either had no relation or he was trying to make officers appear to be some UNTOUCHABLE class which I (respectfully) know is not true.  After telling my Navy peers of how I was not accepted they can not believe it as we have many common friends who were accepted who did not have as much of a successful experience as I had. 

My point is --whether or not you qualify for Nuke Officer programs seems to be completely random and I would apply regardless of whether you feel qualified or not.  I have a friend who was responsible for two separate incident reports due to her lack of knowledge and gross negligence and she still was selected for a ROTC program which I am sure she will end up as a nuke out of.

I have considered reapply this cycle but I found out that my officer recruiter requires me to get NEW letters of recommendation and he also stresses that he believes I should complete a master's program before even considering reapplying.  I can't express how insulting this is when I know other officers who not only did not have a master program; but, also slimed their way through the completely unrelated bachelor programs (like political science, and philosophy for example) and had NO prior nuclear experience.  Needless to say, I also do not feel it should be necessary to have to ask for all new letters of recommendations.  Considering that there were also many communication problems with this recruiter I believe it would be a complete waste of time for me to attempt to apply again.

Good luck on on your being accepted,

I just wanted to bring into perspective how completely random the process seems to be.  You may very well be accepted as I have seen others with a bad college experience accpeted in.

Gregory R. Havard

jeepgirl1

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Re: STA-21 trying to become a nuke officer
« Reply #3 on: Oct 06, 2004, 03:13 »
Gregory,
Why don't you just apply again next year with a different officer recruiter?  Are you not allowed to switch recruiters once you start? 

(To the original poster, sorry to hijack the thread, just interested in why Greg didn't "jump ship", so to speak.)

HavardofFlint

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Re: STA-21 trying to become a nuke officer
« Reply #4 on: Oct 07, 2004, 04:57 »
In fact I did try to jump ship.  I tried to go through a Portland officer recruiter (I am in Seattle currently), but she told me that unless I am living in her area I can not go through her and she can not process my application. <Shrug>. 

Her name is LT K________ S_______.  She did give me a lot of advice and seemed to much more "on the ball" than the guy I worked with in Seattle.  His name is LT K__ A________.

I just can't believe that this guy was trying to tell me I should get a Master's before trying again.  He was speaking as though I knew nothing of the Navy and as though it's practically impossible to become one.  And the idea that I would need to resubmit my Letters of Recommendation seems odd, especially since I was given some letter recently saying that I was automatically going to be held over for the next selection process because I was so highly competitive and that not everyone who is not selected receives that.  What was held over?  Even the LSDAS (Law School Data Assembly Service) has my Letters of Recommendation from over two years ago.  Shady-shady.
« Last Edit: Oct 07, 2004, 05:19 by Roll Tide »

Offline Roll Tide

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Re: STA-21 trying to become a nuke officer
« Reply #5 on: Oct 07, 2004, 05:22 »
Please make sure you only send actual names via PM. The libel concerns make this a blanket rule. Of course you can use your own name.

Good luck with your recruiter!
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HavardofFlint

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Re: STA-21 trying to become a nuke officer
« Reply #6 on: Oct 07, 2004, 07:06 »
Sorry.....It is all definitely true, but I understand your point. :)  The names aren't crucial to any point really.  Good luck?  I'm done.

Offline CharlieRock

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Re: STA-21 trying to become a nuke officer
« Reply #7 on: Oct 10, 2004, 11:28 »
I absolulety don't want to start a flame war here but I did want to comment on Harvard's post.

There is no doubt in mind that there are lousy officer recruiters, just as their are lousy enlisted recruiters.  Its very possible you got a lousy recruiter.  My experience (with both O and E recruiters), however, is that most recruiters are doing the job they were assigned with the utmost professionalism and dedication.  Their job is to get the best qualified people into the slots that the Navy needs most - the phrase we all know is 'Needs of the Navy'.  That's what being in the SERVICE means - your needs come after those of the Navy.  You serve the Navy. (gets off soapbox) One of the most important things to realize about OCS is that it is a 'backfill' for the other officer accession programs (USNA/NROTC/ECP), including re-designator boards.  These other programs get first crack at filling the available officer designators.  What's left is sent to OCS, as well as some short-term shortfalls in given communities.   As to Nuke officers - the competition for OCS slots right now is VERY tight.  NUPOC applications are at an all-time high and USNA/NROTC continue to give their usual quota (yes a USNA history major with the right coursework and decent grades will get a nuke billet).  Additionally the SWO(N) community continues to right-size as LDOs are given more billets on CVNs.  What does this mean?  It means you have to be very competitive in those areas that a community wants.  In this case its academics.  I will tell you (without any judgement) that many people in the nuke program look down on the Edison degree.  I don't necessarily agree but its a fact.  Given the choice of a former nuke with an Edison degree or recent grad from Carnegie-Mellon, Purdue, Case Western, etc. - the Edison degree is not perceived as competitive.  Also, I take it you got out (you're not active duty).  There is a distinct preference give to active duty OCS applicants.  Example:  You got out after 6 years (I know PPWS quals, taught in RT, etc.) and another guy goes to prototype or NPS (stays in the Navy) and you both got Edison degrees - he wins almost everytime.  After all, he stayed in. 

I'm not trying to bash you, just pointing out that competition is very tight right now and you might not be perceived by some recruiters as overly competitive for nuke.

HavardofFlint

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Re: STA-21 trying to become a nuke officer
« Reply #8 on: Oct 11, 2004, 11:45 »
Why are you bashing me?   :) Just kidding.....I really wasn't trying to give a harsh tone at all. 

I wasn't trying to just complain and all that.  My post was intended to let the initiator know that I do know of those who are able to get in who have similar backgrounds with him/her.  I understand active duty have first "dibs" and I was given opportunities and such while I was in too.  I got out so that I could concentrate on finishing my degree as fast as possible.  Obviously, in hindsight that was a mistake in helping gain my commission.

Again, I understand the needs of the Navy idea.  You were talking about recent grads from Carnegie-Mellon, Purdue, Case Western, etc....and that the Edison degree is not perceived as competitive; however, I never met any Nuke Officers on the USS Enterprise who had a degree related to Nuclear Engineering from any of those schools.  But, that isn't the real point of my prior post.  It is just to let it be known that if I was the initiator I would not be intimidated; because, I've seen it go both ways.  Unfortunately, it went the "wrong" way for me. :)


In relation to getting a bad recruiter......I completely agree.  I believe I did.  But, that doesn't mean that the initiator would.  I found out from a moderator on this post of a couple of "misleadings" he gave me as well; but it is unnecessary to go into them here.  Just let it be known, I still have the utmost respect for all the Navy still officers and enlistees.  I loved my time in.

I wish I wasn't informed of the Edison degree at all from the Navy now.  It's like they (our ESO) were trying to shove it down all of our throats as a while we were in; but now...... :(

So, if you were trying to consider me for a OCS program of any sort (because I was trying to meet ANY of the needs of the Navy as an Officer-not just Nuke), would you say that a Master's Degree is really required, or that I may have just attempted to go in on a bad cycle??


Offline CharlieRock

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Re: STA-21 trying to become a nuke officer
« Reply #9 on: Oct 11, 2004, 09:16 »
Harvard - I agree with your assessment of the TESC degree.  Some ESOs push it too much.  I always counseled my guys to get a 'real' engineering degree (not trying to start anything), but for many folks its just not possible to go back to school full time for 2-3 years (even with nuke school credits) so if you have to - any degree is better than no degree.

As to any OCS program - SWO is full.  In fact, some junior SWOs are being given their walking papers as the Navy downsizes.  Pilot  and NFO I don't know about.  Intel is not full, but in the last manning conference I attended, the Intel community detailers were talking about the guys they had applying with M.A.s/PhDs in Arabic, Farsi, Russian History, etc.  very stiff academic competition it seems.

If you are dead set on being an officer, make yourself competitive - a Master's will help.  Keep touching base with the recruiter and find out about the prospects.

In other news, I hear the Army's OCS program is pretty much accepting anybody with a pulse.  You can always cross-deck after a few years leading an infantry platoon.

 


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