I am currently the Engineering Department Master Chief on a submarine. I have been in 20 years and retire in the next few months. I see young kids like your son come to my boat every day. I will give you a list of the things that I would recommend, some of which are a repeat of the information already posted.
1. Work hard and do what you are told (within reason) from the time you enter the program until you get out.
2. Get all qulifications done as soon as possible so you can start working on college and going to Navy schools. If he has a choice and want to get an education, try to get on an SSBN(tident submarine) so he will have more time for school. He will also get more Navy schools.
3. Learn about your college benefits and do not leave the Navy without a degree. He can take couses onboard ship for about $50.00 each. CLEP exams are free and he can take as many as he wants. Tuition assistance is 100% (books not included) but is limited to about 12 credit hours a year. If he is going to sea he probably wont have time for more than that. Old Dominion University and Thomas Edison State College have programs in Nuclear Engineering Technology that give him credit for Navy Nuclear Power School.
4. Reenlistment bonuses are enormous (40-60,000 dollars). If I was new to the Navy and didnt want to stay in for 20 or more years I would re-enlist at my two year point in the Navy and tough it out until my time was up. Under programs that currently exist reenlisting at that point will only require him to stay in for 8 years total. That way he would get out with enough money to buy a house (assuming he saved it) and a college degree.
5. Depending on his technical specialty he can apply for DOL jouneyman apprenticeship program and get credited for half of the 8000 hours required to complete the certification. He will get credit for the rest of the hours for what he is going to be doing on a daily basis. All he has to do is fill out the paperwork. It may no seem like musch but a journeyman electrician makes pretty decent money.
6. Log on to this website often and keep up with the industry if he wants to do this for a living. I have learned a ton here in the last few days.
This may seem like alot of information but these are all things that I have learned the hard way. The number one lesson I learned is that you have to take care of yourself and ask the right people questions.
You can find more information www.navy.mil
, and www.bupers.navy.mil
USS Von Steuben
USS Daniel Webster
Submarine Squadron 16