Career Path > Navy:Staying In

STA-21 trying to become a nuke officer

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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.

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!

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

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.)

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.


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