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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » My Ship has Come in: A Landmark Thread (Update) Deployment Soon (Page 1)

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Author Topic: My Ship has Come in: A Landmark Thread (Update) Deployment Soon
The Reader
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This story begins in December of 2006 when I received an Associates degree in Business Management. I thought I was ready to take on the world after that. Naively, I thought that my degree would lead my current supervisors to consider me a leading candidate for a promotion. That never happened, and it was partly my fault. I never pursued anything, instead expecting something to fall into my lap.

Even as I hoped for a promotion, I still considered a Bachelors degree. I was offered a scholarship to a small private university that would have paid for about a third of the tuition. I intended to get a degree in English. Some of you probably remember that I started a thread asking for advice for a major in English.

I almost went to that school, but decided to end my time there before I started when I realized that it would cost way too much money and it just wasnít what I wanted to do, as appealing as it first was. That was at the beginning of 2007. I spent most of the rest of the time between then and the summer thinking about what I really wanted to do with my life. I decided then that I wanted to go into Business Forensics, which is kind of like Forensic Accounting, but it is closer to investigation, which is a field that I find fascinating. I took classes for that over a semester. I found the classes fulfilling and beneficial, but even then I was utterly unsatisfied with school and dreadfully bored with my life.

Before and during that semester I applied for several jobs to replace the awful and repetitious one I had then, and still have now. I didnít receive so much as a ďnot interestedĒ call, which was such a blow to my ego and confidence. These rejections, combined with my lack of direction really left me wondering what I could do. This was in August, and was about the time I first started considering the military.

Keep in mind, this is not to say that I considered joining as a last resort or because there was nothing else worthwhile for me to do. My decision has nothing to do with that. I know that I could have kept looking and found a job I would have liked, and in which I could have made a career.

I joined to change my life. I was beginning to see a future for myself in which I would do nothing remarkable or meaningful, even in a private sector career I probably would have enjoyed. That was frightening. I wanted to do something important and exciting, no matter how small that importance might be.

Of course, it isnít only personal improvement I was thinking about either. I have had an overwhelming urge to serve my country in any way I could. I decided the best way, and the only right way, was to join the military. At first I tried to contact an Air Force recruiter, but I always got the voicemail and could never talk to the person directly. Additionally, I could get no information about when I could go in person. Itís like he didnít care. When this happened, I stopped considering the Air Force and started looking in to the Navy. I have always found life at sea interesting, and the chance to travel and be part of an organization I respect sealed the deal.

So, fed up with the lack of interest from the Air Force recruiter, I called the local Navy recruiting office and a person answered! I asked if the office would be open by the time I got home from work, and the man on the other end said they would be there. I went in the same day, talked to the two guys who were there and heard the options. I took a few days to think about it, and said yes. A few weeks later, after signing everything I needed to sign and bringing in the other information they needed, I was on my way to MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station).

I got a very high score on my ASVAB, and high scores in every category, which means that I am qualified for just about everything. Originally, I wanted to go into law enforcement and investigation, which would be a Master at Arms, but once my recruiter saw my test scores, he told me to forget about that because there is no option to be an officer and the responsibilities were limited. He told me to go with my second choice, Intelligence and Communications, because that field requires more skill and has a greater range of responsibilities. Thatís not what I ended up choosing either. At the very end of MEPS when I met the liaisons that would help me find a job, which I still had a choice in, I was offered a job in the Submarine Electronics Computer Field. It was something I had never thought about, but because it was so far away from what I expected and is a field that is so different from what I originally wanted, I accepted it. I believe that if I am going to make a change to my life, then I should make the change to something absolutely different from what I have now. As if joining the Navy wasnít a big enough change!

Now Iím in the Delayed Entry Program. I entered that so I could get in shape and divest myself of most of my belongings. Iíll be leaving for boot camp at the end of May.

Since the end of MEPS I have had my doubts and fears. Iíve been afraid that Iím not tough enough to make it through boot camp. Iíve been afraid of being away from my family for so long. Iíve been afraid of giving up civilian life. Iíve even been afraid of being yelled at in boot camp. I still have those fears, but they donít deter me. I canít afford to be afraid when those fears will ultimately be trivial, even as their bases arenít. To fend off the fear, I keep reminding myself why I joined: to make myself a better person and to serve my country.

I am excited and happy about what Iíll be doing and I just canít wait to go. If I could leave sooner, I would. Right now, I have to get used to hurry up and wait.

[ January 04, 2011, 01:04 AM: Message edited by: The Reader ]

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rivka
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Good luck!
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ketchupqueen
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Good luck! I have known very, very few people to not make it through boot camp. The whole point is that they MAKE you tough enough to make it through. [Smile]
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airmanfour
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Interesting choice. I would have recommended the CT rates myself, but it sounds like you know what you want and I'm excited for you.

Hint: When you get to boot do your damndest to get on "ship's staff".

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ClaudiaTherese
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Sounds like you have a well-thought-out and considered plan. Have fun!
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Dan_raven
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My brother's brother-in-law went into Submarines right out of High School. He loves it. The pay is great. The only thing I'm confused about is that he spends most of his time in a Navy base in the middle of the country, far from any sea.
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pooka
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Good luck with getting into shape, TR, and I hope you find this a rewarding enterprise.
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Tammy
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You sound very happy about your decision. I wish you luck! [Smile]

I'm curious, what do your friends and family think about your decision?

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Phanto
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Best of luck =).

The military can turn a lot of people around. One of my friends was mixed up with some bad stuff, and the National Guard helped him kick it - or at least I hope.

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paigereader
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Awesome for you. At 31 i am still trying to find out what i want to be when i grow up. I dated a guy that went thru boot camp for the Marines. He said the yelling brings you closer to the guys you have to depend on and depend on you. everything is designed to train your brain and body what to do and when to do it. good luck!
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Threads
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I hope everything turns out as planned. Sounds like a great opportunity!
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The Reader
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_raven:
My brother's brother-in-law went into Submarines right out of High School. He loves it. The pay is great. The only thing I'm confused about is that he spends most of his time in a Navy base in the middle of the country, far from any sea.

He has to protect his country in those Amber Waves of Grain! [Big Grin] Unless he's in Chicago at the Recruit Training Center.

Originally posted by Phanto:
quote:
The military can turn a lot of people around. One of my friends was mixed up with some bad stuff, and the National Guard helped him kick it - or at least I hope.
I know this is the reason many people join. It's probably the best bet before they end up in trouble serious enough to get into prison. As for me, I just need a push forward.
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The Reader
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quote:
I'm curious, what do your friends and family think about your decision?
They're happy for me. My mom and dad are very happy to see me find something I want to do. My younger siblings aren't very excited, especially my three-year-old brother. He has been coming up with excuses for my mom, like "do you know they can't drive cars in the Navy?"

That's kind of heartbreaking because I have been like an idol for him. But he'll be fine. It's not as if I am the only person he knows.

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ketchupqueen
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I'm wondering if your little brother isn't just worried about you. That sounds like three-year-old for "my idol is going away and I'm worried is never going to come back." Reassuring him and talking to him about exactly what is really going to happen and when might help.
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The Reader
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I know that's what he's worried about. I think our mom has told him that as well, but I'm going to tell him too. He's smart enough to know I won't be going away for good, he just needs to hear it from me.
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ketchupqueen
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It might also do him some good to give him something concrete he can do, as kind of a way to take control of his emotions and the situation. "When I leave, I am going to miss seeing your beautiful pictures. I would really love it if you would draw me special pictures to take with me, and send me more in the mail after I leave."
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ketchupqueen
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(I know that kind of thing works well with my three-year-old. She has been anxious about going to Primary-- the three-year-old class-- when she has been used to going to the Nursery in church. I hit upon the idea of writing her a note that says "I love you Emma" every week, and asking her to take care of it for me. Every time she gets anxious she can pull out that note and remember my reassurances that I'll be back to pick her up, and then put it carefully away and know she is doing something that I asked her to, which makes her feel more in control.)
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The Reader
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Actually, I want to get him and two of my sisters teddy bears dressed as sailors and some toy submarines. After boot camp and when I'm not on a boat I'll be able to call regularly. And even when I'm on a ship, I should be able to send e-mail. Though I don't yet know how that works.
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ketchupqueen
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That might be fun. I still recommend asking him to do something for you, even if it is just taking care of the teddy bear very carefully, or send you photos of him and the teddy bear playing together, or something.
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The Reader
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He would be more likely to dictate a story of the latest trouble he is in. I'll ask him to do something like that. That's a good idea, kq!
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ketchupqueen
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Oooh, you could get "The Continuing Adventures of Sailor the Bear" in serial form every month or so! That would be awesome. And I bet he'd love it.
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The Reader
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The Cute Temperature here is rising fast.

It's more likely that I'll get stories of how he filled the toilet with rocks and dirt, which dad had to go in the crawlspace to fix.

Or something like how he decided to "help" fix the house by painting an area that didn't need it.

He has not done either of these, but it is entirely within his realm of ability.

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ketchupqueen
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Well, that would be cute too.

Your shipmates would all think you were crazy for your fits of laughter every time you got a letter from him. (I've taken dictation for my three-year-old. She comes up with some doozies. "Dear Jaden," (her cousin) "I hope you have a good birthday. And that your sister doesn't smell poopy. My sister smells poopy. I am going to go change her diaper. Love, Emma.")

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Farmgirl
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Congrats to The Reader for such a major decision on life.

I still have my dad's dolphin pins from his time serving on the USS Queenfish sub, as an engineman. (in the 1950s - the Queenfish is no longer).

Takes a certain character of man, I think, to work in the close quarters and environment of a submarine. Good luck toyou.

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The Reader
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Yes, it does. I think I'll be able to tolerate the idiosyncracies, as long as no one chews loudly or whistles. [Wink]
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The Reader
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About a month ago I received a call from my recruiter. He asked me if I was satisfied with the job I had originally chose, Submarine Electronics/Computers. I said yes, but he asked me if I would consider changing to Nuclear Technology. I initially turned it down, but he said that I should consider taking the nuke test to see if I would be able to do it. I agreed, and I passed the test. I don't know how I scored, but I think I probably did well.

This is one of the most challenging careers possible in the military, which is why I decided to reclassify to Nuclear Technology. I'm certain I can do it, and I'm going to remain a submariner, which is great!

I'm really excited about it now, the only problem is, and it's not a big problem, my new ship date is October! I knew that my date would be pushed back because openings in the school are limited, I just didn't think that it would be that far. The school is in Charleston, SC. I used to live near Columbia. I never thought I would be going back to South Carolina, and there are some friends there I'll get to see again, when I have the time.

Initially, I was shocked to see my ship date go that far back, but now I think it's great. I can do some more physical training, I'll be able to talk to my recruiter more often, and I'll get to enjoy the summer. I'll also end up being one of the more experienced people in my DEP pool, which I think can only be positive.

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rivka
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[Smile]
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ClaudiaTherese
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It sounds like such a positive thing for you. Congratulations! [Smile]
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AvidReader
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Woo hoo. My dad's a nuclear engineer and loves it. A friend of the family started out as a tech on the Enterprise before switching to the private sector. After he retired, he and his wife did missionary work in China and taught English in Mongolia.

Some of the folks at the plant used the money to start their own businesses. One guy is selling high end real estate, and another is an orchid dealer. You'll be able to do anything you want with a job like that.

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DarkKnight
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I would have chosen the CT field...if they even have that field anymore...I'm so old [Smile]
Congratulations! The Navy can be a very rewarding experience. I usually tell people that one of the best things about the Navy is that you will get to see and do things most people in the world never get to do.....Unfortunately you have to see and do things most people in the world never have to do.
As far as boot camp goes, most of the stress is mental, not physical. Just try to do what you are told, exactly how they tell you to do it. Folding your underwear exactly how they say isn't to get you to obey without question, it's to teach you to pay attention to the smallest detail. Teamwork is also key. If you are having an inspection, make sure you use teamwork. I think you have to fold all your own stuff but make sure your bunkmates check it and you check their stuff too. Encourage everyone to doublecheck themselves and each other. A lot less stuff gets missed that way. Also, when cleaning your compartment, clean EVERYTHING including the tops of the door jambs!
If you really want to get ready for boot camp, or military life in general, be prepared to Hurry Up and Wait. Most of the time there will be frantic periods of activity followed by absolutely nothing, then back to frantic again.
I know you don't leave until October but once you do leave, keep in touch with us!

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The Reader
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I'll take that advice to heart, DarkKnight. I really should learn how to fold my underwear properly. [Wink] Seriously, I'm not afraid of boot camp. That kind of attitude won't get me anywhere. I'm nervous and excited.

I had thought about joining the FBI after my enlistment is over, but now that I'll be receiving extensive training in another field, I think I'll look into either training to be an officer, or going into the private sector.

As for staying in touch, I'll have to see what the Navy's policy is on Facebook or Myspace pages. They may not be too fond of it.

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airmanfour
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quote:
Originally posted by DarkKnight:
I would have chosen the CT field...if they even have that field anymore...I'm so old [Smile]

They do, and he should have.
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The Reader
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Oh well, I've made my choice. I'll stick with it. [Smile]
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The Reader
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(bump)

The time is near. I leave in a week. I have cut my internet connection, so my posting will be sparse, but it always is.

I'm going to choose the ET section (pending approval, of course) of the nuclear field. I'll be able to work with computers and electronics, something I've always wanted to do.

I have to keep this short because I'm on a library computer, and I think it closes soon.

I'll be able to give a good rundown of Basic Training some time in December. Meanwhile, I have to move out of my apartment. All of the rest of my loose ends are tied up now.

And I'm really going to hate missing "The Sarah Conner Chronicles", "Fringe", and the local radio morning show.

(Oh, yeah, and my friends and family too. [Wink] )

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The Reader
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I made it! I'm on post-graduation weekend liberty, in the hotel room my dad checked with my sister and brother.

What a time boot camp was. I had some fun, but it was mostly grinding work, especially because I was the divisional yeoman. I have some advice for those going into the Navy: don't be the yeoman. You will miss too much training that is very necessary. It can be made up, but it's very hard. It takes a lot of commitment.

I also was voted the honor recruit by the division. It was a close race, but I edged by one vote. I am so honored by that award. At graduation, I got to meet a Rear Admiral (Lower Half), A captain, and many other officers and Master Chiefs. That was so exciting. I hope I never have to meet them again because if I do, I am in big trouble. [Wink]

I hoped to go to Chicago and visit the Sears Tower today, but the weather turned bad. We are stuck here in the hotel room watching football. I would like to do more, but having the opportunity to watch football is quite a treat. Maybe I'll get to come back to Chicago after "A" school, but I will never, by the grace of God, visit RTC Great Lakes again.

By this time next week, I'll be in my own room, with a roommate. I won't know how to react to that much privacy! I am so excited about leaving RTC. I am glad I did it, but I never want to do it again.

I'll be avoiding all Ender in Exile threads. I am expecting to receive it for Christmas!

Anchors Aweigh!

Edit to add:
I made MM. I hoped for ET, and it was my first choice, but the Navy needs more MMs in the nuclear power field.

I "get" Ender's Game much more than I did before. In the absence of family and friends, the guys you end up become like famiy. I am going to miss many of them.

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ketchupqueen
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Wow, congratulations! Sounds like you are excelling, and this was a good choice for you. Good job, Hatrack is proud!
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Wonder Dog
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You, sir, are so many kinds of awesome.
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Kwea
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Gratz! Nuclear is a good field to be in once you get out. I bet we move more to that type of power plant in the years to come, and people who served in the Navy in a nuclear field usually get preference on those jobs.


Good luck!

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AvidReader
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We've got four plants looking for aproval here in Florida. It's not a perfect fuel source, but it's better than coal. [Smile]

Congratulations, Reader. I'm glad you made it through!

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Wonder Dog:
You, sir, are so many kinds of awesome.

Indeed! [Smile]
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Tatiana
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Yes, I work as an engineer in commercial nukes and it's a great area with lots of opportunity opening up. Lots of our guys are ex-navy. It really gives you an advantage. Good luck! It's great to hear that you're doing so well. Keep up the good work, sailor! [Smile]
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airmanfour
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Good luck at A school!
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Miro
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Congratulations! Do you find yourself doing things the boot camp way in the civilian world? Where is your A-school?
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The Reader
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I'm not in the civilian world yet, so I can't say whether I'll be doing things the boot camp way. The "boot camp way" is to be tidy, quick, and organized, not stiff as a board. We didn't even work out as much as I had hoped.

"A" school is in Goose Creek, SC, about 30 miles from Charleston. I used to live near Columbia, so I am somewhat familiar with the area.

I'm in Goose Creek now, waiting to be grouped with a class. I arrived with around 30 other people, and more are showing up. All we are doing is cleaning and waiting. We don't get assigned to a class until after the new year. Thankfully, We won't be staying here for Christmas. We are going to be sent home on leave because we aren't qualified to do anything yet, and we'll be in the way.

Otherwise, the place is nice, for a swamp. [Wink]

I expect this to be my home for the next 1 1/2 years. I expect to have a lot of fun in that time.

I really expect to obtain a career in nuclear power when I leave. World events seemed to come together at the right time. I still have dreams of joing the FBI, but I'll see how that works out. Meanwhile, I plan to excel in the Navy.

I won't get to talk about much that I do here. The secrecy thing is so cool! [Cool] A security clearance is a heavy responsibility to have though. I'll have to be on my toes to get and keep it.

There is an enourmous difference between boot camp and here. At boot camp, you are instructed to be wary of all Petty Officers, Chiefs, and Officers. Here, most of the Petty Officers, the third class ones anyway, (E-4) and officers, who are nearly all Ensigns, (O-1) are students. There is nothing to fear from them. The uniform the day rules are different, so are inspections, musters, and even walking. There is no Keeping to the Right when traveling. We even have cable TV access in our rooms!

We are still not allowed to drive for four weeks, and then on weekends only for the next four. I miss driving. [Frown]

Thank you, Wonder Dog! I work very hard to be this awesome!

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BandoCommando
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I'm afraid this may be a question revealing my ignorance of most things military: what is the reason for not being allowed to drive?
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The Reader
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I believe it is because we are supposed to be acclimated to the routine first. Driving is a priviledge and there are other things that we have to learn first.
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The Reader
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I figured it was time for an update, because it has been a year and a half since the last one.

I have made it through A school, Power School, and I have started the third phase of training, Prototype. I have had a great time and made many, many friends, but it isn't perfect. I haven't done as well as I thought I would, but I'm making it.

I have been on a couple of holds forever because of certain Navy-caused delays. Allow me to explain:

A School has a graduation every week, but power school classes only start every two months, so there is a hold period after A School. I was on that one for a full two months because my class just missed the previous power school class-up. That's no problem, and is normal.

After Power School, there was another hold period due a bottleneck of students at Prototype. The bottleneck was caused by routine, scheduled, yet major maintenance on one of the two moored training ships here in South Carolina. This one MTS is currently off site, so naturally, students can't use it.

As of earlier this week, there was a problem with our other MTS, the one I am on. Nothing that could cause injury or serious damage (or any damage, I think), but work-stopping anyway. AFAIK, this one will have to be moved as well. If this is the case, I would have to go on to another, unplanned hold.

I have no idea when I will actually get to the fleet. I can honestly say this really stinks. I have been looking foraward to getting out of here. Plus, the Navy really needs its nuclear operators. If there is a bottleneck of operators in the fleet, then that means there are fewer of us to run ships. That is bad, as you can imagine.

Now I just sit here and wait to find what happens, while still working 12 hours a day as if nothing at all has happened. This is so frustrating.

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Tstorm
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Hang in there. There are bound to be snags in any career track. The best thing you can do is handle everything in a positive way. There's an old adage/cliche about life being composed of how you react to it...

[Smile]

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The Reader
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I have not been reacting very positively lately, so maybe that's part of my problem. Still, I have been looking forward to ending the training because it is so draining, and is hardest thing I have ever done.

Plus, it's not easy to find a girlfriend with the schedule we keep, but I think I just need to be more outgoing.

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School4ever
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My BIL is a nuclear guy on a sub. Has been for years. His last re-up bonus was HUGE because the navy needs nuclear guys so badly.

My grandfather was also a nuclear guy on a sub - one of the first - the U.S.S. Robert E. Lee. He was in the navy for 30 years.

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