No prob, Dave. I’ll break it down.
There are two schools after bootcamp, A and C. A is the general “rate” or job, and C is the specialty or … where you’ll end up, so to speak. For some of the higher training requirement rates, the enlistment term goes up. Six year rates are the highest for enlisted personnel, meaning a pretty good chunk of that time is spent training before even going to a ship. It also typically means that the recruit finishes schooling with E-3 rank and gets E-4 rank at graduation of the follow on C school.
Nuke rates go to nuclear ships, subs, and very rarely, shore duty. They are necessary to the point that the highest signing bonuses and re-enlistment bonuses are for those same rates. So that means if your son chooses to extend, most likely his re-enlistment bonus will be just as high as that signing bonus. Not all rates even get bonuses, so that shows how much they want and need nuclear rates (there are several job specialties within the Nuclear program.)
Chances are also -somewhat- likely that training he gets will be valuable for civilian work. I say somewhat because nuclear isn’t as expanded upon anymore and I can tell you living near a current plant, the jobs there are highly coveted. Then again, so are trained employees. Your son should also get assistance with that loan payback AND he should still choose to pay for the GI Bill, which is actually an option and paid for during the first few years of enlistment by a small deduction to their pay.
Now let’s cover the bad. And as former Navy I don’t want you to think of it as all bad, but your son needs to know what’s coming.
He will take the ASVAB at a MEPS station, aka a test center, aka a HIGH PRESSURE sales push to, “go ahead and let’s sign up here, right now.” Make the yes or no decision before you go. But if he does not do well on the ASVAB they will try to say, “well you already signed your commitment here, you’re in.” No he is not. Not until he takes an oath, and that’s after scoring, rate selection and the very last part of things at the MEPS station. Why would he bail if his ASVAB score is low? Because it is EVERYTHING to those going in. A low ASVAB score is like dooming a person to the crappiest jobs for the rest of their career. You can, “strike,” for a different rate once you’re in the fleet, but that’s months down the line and not a given in any way. The ASVAB is extremely important. A crappy score means they will pressure him into a crappy rate and before you know it you’ll have a miserable son. Talk about that, and talk about him being firm against them pressuring him because it means absolutely NOTHING until the oath. Let me repeat, they WILL try to convince people otherwise, it’s complete horse crap.
If you line up all the places to work in the Navy, two remain at the top of the shitty list. One: Carriers. Two: Subs. Both go to port less, have more bullshit, and have some of the most unhappy crewmen. It is what it is. That doesn’t mean it will be all crappy, but a smaller ship will port a lot more, and ANY ship will port more than a sub. If he lands on a missle sub those are VERY long cruises and VERY little porting. EDIT: Civilian translation: like no crying in baseball, there are no days off underway. You work every, single, day, and the work day is LONG. Ports mean an occasional day off. Shore duty means weekends off, or at least something akin to it. Ship duty is hard work, and lots of it.
He’s already on track for a good job (engineering.) Hell, take a semester off, go back at it. Try a different school, whatever. I’m saying this because I was in his shoes. How much of an idiot was I? I enlisted … AFTER I had graduated college, with a 4 year degree!! His pay will be attrocious. No sugar coating that in any way. As far as his eventual career goes, it’s like taking 6 years off pay raises and advancement he would have if he just finishes school. It’s worth trying it. The Navy will be there at any time, there is no rush. He has until 30 I believe to enlist. Take that time, try hard not to use it as an option, because that’s no 401K, no advancement to management, no stock options, no anything.
This has to be said, we are all over the place right now. We’re in between major conflicts. I was thankful not to have had too bad of a ride for 6 1/2 years. Now? Not a chance. We have a President who can barely make a good decision and it’s entirely likely something will pop up. Carriers and subs will be front and center. They are -extremely- expensive to operate. They don’t sit in port waiting for the worst of the worst, they are there from the start.
If you or your son have any questions, please ask. Note that I finished in 1998. A lot has changed. I have lifelong friends from my time served. I loved it. I got fantastic training that landed me a career getting out. I went to 17 countries while I was in. I grew up. I also was unable to have a successful long term relationship my entire time in. I made crap for pay. I put aside a whole lot of, “what could have been,” by going in. In this current timeline and world status, I don’t think I would do it.
This is absolutely true. It’s hard studying. It is nothing like, “easy ride,” coming from college. And if he washes up, guess what? He’s still in, now committed to that term and in a much worse job rating.