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Offline kdub1200

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Enlisted vs officer
« on: Mar 03, 2013, 08:19 »
I've only been in for a few years but I've decided that I want to either go 6 and out or stay in for the full 20.  I'm 21, married, electrician. Getting close to the time I would like to star, so I've been weighing my options.  If I stayed in for 20, anyone have any pros/cons between enlisted and applying for sta-21 and serving the 20 as an officer? Should I try to get my degree then go to OCS instead of trying sta-21?

Just have a few questions it's kind of hard to google, let's say I have 3 years enlisted+3 years in college (sta-21). At this point do I have 14 years before retirement as an officer or does the school time not count? As far as the civilian side goes, I'm assuming a 20 year officer is better than a 20 year chief, but is it worth the trouble with all the politics and whatnot I hear/see on the officer side? I'd really like to hear from an enlisted who went officer for their perspective of how it's different on the enlisted/officer front. Thanks!
« Last Edit: Mar 03, 2013, 08:20 by kdub1200 »


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Re: Enlisted vs officer
« Reply #1 on: Mar 04, 2013, 07:10 »
First question in almost any officer candidate interview;

"Why do you want to be an officer in the United States Navy?"

If your answer revolves around money, you're done.

The time you are in school you will still be on active duty.  In fact, the questions you are asking can easily be answered by checking out the Navy's various commissioning program webpages.  Google is your friend. 

The first, unspoken part of the officer screening process is to determine if a candidate has actually done some research into what they will be doing as an officer.  Can you find the info on your own instead of relying on others?  Can you successfully navigate your way through the cumbersome application and interview process?  If you can't accomplish these things, then again, you're done.

These responses will seem somewhat harsh.  However, they are the truth.  The expectations of a commissioned officer are to be a leader.  As a leader you should be out there finding the answers, bringing them back for everyone else who may be having the same ideas or questions that you have.

As far as being an officer versus being a Chief on the civilian side, my experience has been that the companies don't really care.  Having a degree, having been qualified as EWS/PPWS or EOOW/PPWO and having the prerequisite experience is more important than your previous rank.  Rank will help if applying for a supervisor type of job, due to having prior experience as a supervisor, whether as a Chief or an officer.  What you do to prep and sell yourself to a prospective employer is more important than whether you were an officer or not.

Take all this info and use it.  Best of luck. 

Offline kdub1200

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Re: Enlisted vs officer
« Reply #2 on: Mar 04, 2013, 07:26 »
I'm sorry, I didn't really mean to post an obnoxious question, I was more interested in the upper enlisted vs officer perspective... I'll have to try elsewhere, thanks.

Offline VCSInstNuke

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Re: Enlisted vs officer
« Reply #3 on: Mar 12, 2013, 10:52 »
Under the current STA-21 program, your time in school would not count towards active duty time. It would be added to your time if you went the full 20:

i.e  You enter school at your 3 year point, graduate, commision, you will still have 17 years to retirement, however at the end of those 17 years your retirement would be based on 23 years instead of 20 (assuming you spent 3 years in school, which is the typical STA-21 requirement)

This is the same system used for the Naval Academy grads.

STA-21 changed a couple of years ago to this model. When I went through the program in 2004, the time in school counted.

Hope this helps.

Offline spekkio

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Re: Enlisted vs officer
« Reply #4 on: Apr 04, 2013, 02:54 »
You should attempt to go to STA-21 if you do not have a degree. It is by far a better deal (you get paid E5 salary to go to school+BAH with no other duties except participate in NROTC instead of going to school in your spare time around a time-intensive job) but it is also highly competitive.

Agreed that you need to have some good answers to your interview questions, as well as a stellar enlisted service record that includes volunteering for command-visible collateral duties (CFL, MWR President, EDTA, etc). This applies to both STA-21 and OCS.

I have not been enlisted, but I can tell you that the stress is "worth it." The thing that allowed me to wake up every morning at 0-dark-whatever and function in my job is every day was a chance to positively impact the sailors. As a divo, you won't be able to revolutionize their world, so don't expect that. But if you can figure out something to streamline their work and get them home a half out earlier every day, that's a victory for them. As you get more senior and display competence, you may earn your seat at the table at planning meetings (as opposed to ordered to show up and silently sit in the corner). That is where you can really have an impact on your division as you are the link between their day-to-day routine and the bigger events that the DH/XO/CO are thinking about, and that is where you have the most value to affect the lives of your men. The thing is, this will be transparent to your division.

The question that you need to answer is: do you want a seat at that table, or do you want to be the guy in Shaft Alley teaching your division how to fix an RO unit? If it's the latter, you want to be a Chief.

I can also tell you that there can be a LOT of politics in the Goat Locker. The Master Chiefs select their Chiefs, Senior Chiefs, and other Master Chiefs. In general, the Goat Locker tends to be tighter knit just because they collectively decided to stay in the Navy, and so they've all drank the kool aid and fully bought in to the culture, even the ones counting down the days to retirement. By contrast, a good portion of JOs in the wardroom will be counting down their days to get out and look at the submarine force as what the job they have to do to pay back their free college and thus think they are "too good" for the Navy. But that doesn't absolve either group from politics, at times pettiness, and their own version of a pecking order. Chiefs and Officers are human, too, and like any group of people who spend a lot of time together drama can occur. As for post-Navy retirement career opportunities, they are different. But you're getting ahead of yourself assuming that you will be able to make it 20 years. There are a lot of promotions between now and then that you have to earn, and a lot of sacrifices to be made on the home front.
« Last Edit: Apr 04, 2013, 02:56 by spekkio »


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