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Offline Tylor

Currently Enlisted: Subs or Surface?
« on: Jan 24, 2015, 09:19 »
I'm an Electrician currently finishing up prototype in New York, and I've been seriously on the fence about volunteering for sub duty. I went to Groton this weekend and toured the USS Missouri, but still couldn't commit. I'm worried about advancement rates vs surface, as well as how the qualification process differs. My goal is to get EWS/E-div LPO by the end of my first sea duty, and to get stationed at power school for shore duty, and I'd like to know on which platform I could more reasonably achieve those goals. Any general career advice would be greatly appreciated as well. Thank you.
"There are no extraordinary men... just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with." -Admiral William Halsey

Offline Gamecock

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Re: Currently Enlisted: Subs or Surface?
« Reply #1 on: Jan 25, 2015, 10:49 »
There are two many Second tour E6s on a carrier for you to get a shot at LPO during your first tour, and you likely won't get a shot to qualify PPWS for the same reason. 

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 spekkio

Re: Currently Enlisted: Subs or Surface?
« Reply #2 on: Jan 25, 2015, 12:54 »
I'm an Electrician currently finishing up prototype in New York, and I've been seriously on the fence about volunteering for sub duty. I went to Groton this weekend and toured the USS Missouri, but still couldn't commit. I'm worried about advancement rates vs surface, as well as how the qualification process differs. My goal is to get EWS/E-div LPO by the end of my first sea duty, and to get stationed at power school for shore duty, and I'd like to know on which platform I could more reasonably achieve those goals. Any general career advice would be greatly appreciated as well. Thank you.
I think you should sit down with a couple of Chiefs coming off of boats to see if what you desire is realistic on a sub.

As I was transferring from a sub, the push was definitely toward the mantra that 'The Chief is the LPO and workcenter supervisor' (which has some technical basis that according to big Navy, a division Chief is the LPO while the LCPO is akin to a Dept. Chief). Some COs might adhere to this philosophy more than others, but the ones that the Commodores would consider 'good COs' generally do. The second 'push' was to not have E-5s standing supervisory watches... an exceptionally smart/mature guy could qualify the watch as an E-5, but shouldn't stand it until E-6.

Another thing is that even on a sub, your ability to qualify and stand EWS/EDPO will be pretty limited. The biggest hurdle for an E-divver is that there are almost never enough SROs to go around, at least on a SSN... unless the boat can do better than 4 section, port and stupid SRO in-port, you're not going to get onto the EDPO watchbill. This can be a big demotivator for some because it means that the only time you get to stand EDPO is when you are getting a bad deal out of it (holiday, family emergency, etc). Almost all of our EDPO E-6s were M-divvers simply because 13-15 Mdivvers + 5-6 ELTs standing SRW, which is pretty easy to qualify = fat watchbill with personnel to spare. The one that wasn't was a prototype sea returnee qualified EOOW who the command thought should be a Chief. Underway, you won't really stand EWS except during the times where all the eng dept Chiefs have to go to a meeting.

As for LPO, the same thing that GC posted happens on subs - you usually have a few 2nd tour E-Divvers who need the paper to advance more than you do.

This of course all assumes that you are a hot-runner who the EDMC can trust to be an EWS/EDPO, which takes not only brains but demonstrating a level of maturity and leadership far above your peers. Without that recommendation from him, you will not qualify EWS/EDPO.

In short, what you want to do is a gambit. You could, through circumstances completely outside of your control, end up permanently 3-section, port/stbd watch SRO in-port and stand EO underway and not be given the opportunity to qualify EWS/EDPO because the boat doesn't need you for it.
« Last Edit: Jan 25, 2015, 12:58 by spekkio »

Offline Tylor

Re: Currently Enlisted: Subs or Surface?
« Reply #3 on: Jan 25, 2015, 02:34 »
For the first post I've ever made on this site, this was extremely helpful. Thank you very much. If anyone has any more advice I would love to hear it, this is one of the most important decisions I can make, I feel. I would really like as much info as I can get.
"There are no extraordinary men... just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with." -Admiral William Halsey

Offline spekkio

Re: Currently Enlisted: Subs or Surface?
« Reply #4 on: Jan 25, 2015, 06:43 »
For the first post I've ever made on this site, this was extremely helpful. Thank you very much. If anyone has any more advice I would love to hear it, this is one of the most important decisions I can make, I feel. I would really like as much info as I can get.
NP. Seriously though, talk to some Chiefs both surface and sub. I'd be surprised if they said anything other than choosing a platform based on qualifying EWS or being promoted quicker was silly.

Offline Tylor

Re: Currently Enlisted: Subs or Surface?
« Reply #5 on: Jan 25, 2015, 06:50 »
It is pretty hard to find Surface chiefs at prototype, the only Chief I regularly talk to is an ET from subs. I had a chance to talk to an EMCS on a surface ship out of SD. He told me that on surface ships, if you're willing to work hard and be committed, you will shine over the majority of people who aren't as motivated. It seems like on subs, everyone (for the most part) is good at their job. So the choice becomes would I rather be surrounded by competent, hardworking people and possibly have a smaller chance of advancement and higher level qualifications, OR would I rather hard charge on the surface with thousands of people I don't know. There's a lot of give and take, with so many different aspects to both, that it becomes hard for me to compare just one aspect and make a decision. It could be the difference between loving the navy and staying in, or hating the navy and getting out.
"There are no extraordinary men... just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with." -Admiral William Halsey

Offline MMM

Re: Currently Enlisted: Subs or Surface?
« Reply #6 on: Jan 25, 2015, 07:37 »
Try heading over to MARF, there's at least 6 over there, at least there were when I left last summer. I think a couple might even be on daystaff.

Offline Tylor

Re: Currently Enlisted: Subs or Surface?
« Reply #7 on: Jan 25, 2015, 07:40 »
Awesome, thanks. If I get some free time between checkouts tomorrow I'll definitely hop over.
"There are no extraordinary men... just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with." -Admiral William Halsey

Offline MMM

Re: Currently Enlisted: Subs or Surface?
« Reply #8 on: Jan 25, 2015, 07:49 »
No, go either before or after shift or on a day off. If you go during your hours, YOU WILL GET YOUR ASS HANDED TO YOU!

Offline Tylor

Re: Currently Enlisted: Subs or Surface?
« Reply #9 on: Jan 25, 2015, 08:01 »
That makes sense.. I did some of my hold with MARF and those instructors weren't all that personable.. Didn't seem very eager to counsel students.
"There are no extraordinary men... just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with." -Admiral William Halsey

Offline spekkio

Re: Currently Enlisted: Subs or Surface?
« Reply #10 on: Jan 25, 2015, 08:27 »
It is pretty hard to find Surface chiefs at prototype, the only Chief I regularly talk to is an ET from subs. I had a chance to talk to an EMCS on a surface ship out of SD. He told me that on surface ships, if you're willing to work hard and be committed, you will shine over the majority of people who aren't as motivated. It seems like on subs, everyone (for the most part) is good at their job. So the choice becomes would I rather be surrounded by competent, hardworking people and possibly have a smaller chance of advancement and higher level qualifications, OR would I rather hard charge on the surface with thousands of people I don't know. There's a lot of give and take, with so many different aspects to both, that it becomes hard for me to compare just one aspect and make a decision. It could be the difference between loving the navy and staying in, or hating the navy and getting out.
I think that you'll find that regardless of platform, the nukes are going to be rather intelligent and over-worked.

The challenge of being on a sub is that there are fewer people, which means more work for each Sailor. For example, there are no non-nuke EMs on a sub...you will find that a disproportionate amount of your time will be spent fixing galley appliances (deep fat fryer, ice cream machine) and the ship's laundry dryer because idiots don't know how to empty their pockets before they do laundry. The other time-suck will be cleaning the SSMGs, one every other week, which was a full-day job for 3-4 E-divvers out of 10 on my boat. Neither of these would be a concern to you on a carrier.

Conversely, for those who want to skate by doing the bare minimum, it's easier to do that when there are more people each tasked with less work.

This is the same dynamic that you will find in virtually any small vs. large organization.

I wouldn't say that this makes sub EMs necessarily 'smarter' or 'better.'

Offline spekkio

Re: Currently Enlisted: Subs or Surface?
« Reply #11 on: Jan 25, 2015, 08:34 »
That makes sense.. I did some of my hold with MARF and those instructors weren't all that personable.. Didn't seem very eager to counsel students.
Staff at prototypes are under a lot of pressure to get the students through the program while simultaneously trying to uphold Naval nuclear power's high standards. The two goals often conflict. Usually when they are counseling someone, they're trying to figure out why PO3 Numbnuts can't seem to do better than 20% behind the curve while consuming an inordinate amount of individual attention from each staff member or why PO3 Retard just got a DUI despite listening to the DAPA tell everyone not to do it 2 days ago.

This is the 'good' counseling, which is far less hair-loss inducing. MMM is correct though - go outside of your shift and mando study hours.

Offline Tylor

Re: Currently Enlisted: Subs or Surface?
« Reply #12 on: Jan 25, 2015, 08:46 »
I completely understand, a lot of the staff at S8g have gone out of their way to give me advice about staff pickup and how I would go about volunteering for subs. I'm currently 10% ahead of the curve and I've been turning my attention to additional tasks such as my STA-21 application and talking to staff about future advice. The SSMGs are a legendary maintenance item I've heard about since day 1 of a-school, so that's a big check in the surface box. I guess I'm trying to make this decision a no brainer, but it doesn't seem to be the case. Every surface guy I talk to says he'd never want to serve on a sub, and every sub guy says the same about subs. Is either one going to be better for my career in the long run?
"There are no extraordinary men... just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with." -Admiral William Halsey

Druid

  • Guest
Re: Currently Enlisted: Subs or Surface?
« Reply #13 on: Jan 26, 2015, 01:39 »
He told me that on surface ships, if you're willing to work hard and be committed, you will shine over the majority of people who aren't as motivated.

That's life in a nutshell. And it is always more true of your "last command" than wherever you're stationed at the moment.  ;)

Offline Tylor

Re: Currently Enlisted: Subs or Surface?
« Reply #14 on: Sep 01, 2015, 05:26 »
Update: I volunteered for submarine duty, and got orders to a fast attack boat (USS Alexandria) out of prototype. But I got picked up SPU out of prototype.
"There are no extraordinary men... just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with." -Admiral William Halsey

 


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