US Navy Nuclear Program (Propulsion)


by aliaze1
Tags: navy, nuclear, program, propulsion
Xelera
Xelera is offline
#19
May10-11, 01:35 PM
P: 3
The military is much more respected than some of those who haven't served are making it out to be. Employers respect military service, and the job skills it gives its members. These include working under pressure and stress, meeting deadlines, self-reliance and confidence, among others. You aren't going to get anything close to the job skills sitting in college, protesting war on the weekends, and working as a self-employed consultant or contractor.

The nuclear navy is that, on steroids. It is the hardest academic program in the military, where those that get in are already in the top 1% intelligence wise, and then anywhere from 1/4 to 3/4 fail or wash out of the program.

The post-9/11 GI bill is phenomenal (100% of tuition paid, $1000/yr for books/supplies, and E5 housing allowance pay (roughly $1100/month, depending on location) WHILE going to school.

The re-enlistment bonuses in the navy for nukes, are insane, pushing $60-$100k depending on your rate (and tax-free if you re-enlist in a combat zone, like the middle east). The training is first rate, the job experience second to none, and if you are not inclined to go to college after serving your 6 years (your time in training DOES count towards your contract) you can do your 6 years, then get on at a commercial nuclear power plant and make over $100k per year within 2 years of starting, and it only goes up from there.

I work at a university research reactor, where we will hire a navy nuke, who did their 6 (or maybe 8, to get a bonus) then want to go to college. We pay 100% of their tuition and fees at the university here, up to 6 credits per semester (except school books and supplies) and let them sign out and go to class when they have it, then come back and make up their hours, while paying them $50-$60K per year (it takes most about 8 years to get their degree, while qualifying reactor operator and senior reactor operator).

So these guys, by about 30-32 years old, have 6 years navy nuclear experience, 8 years research reactor experience, qualified senior reactor operator, usually shift supervisor for a few years by then, have a college degree and ZERO STUDENT LOAN DEBT and almost zero cost except for books. And they go start at $100-140K per year at a commercial reactor when done, and because they got their degree, can move into management rapidly. The alternative, is get out of navy, go straight to commercial power, and make $120k/year within 2 years (starting out around $70-$80k per year).

I hated the navy, but I loved my job, so it was a means to an end. The military is not a career anymore, but a training program, and a well-respected one at that. Don't listen to those that never served or have some misguided stereo-types of what the military is. The most negative talking people I've met about the military, were the ones that got rejected for service or kicked out.

The nuclear industry is not going anywhere, regardless of what the tree-huggers want to think. There have been accidents, and that means the regulations and requirements tighten up, but we live in a society addicted to energy, and wind/solar are not viable and coal/oil produce carbon and are going to run out eventually. Nuclear will last millenia, it's just a matter of time before the world realizes this.

The one note, nuclear power is picky, and if you have a criminal background, you won't get in. They will ask about misdemeanors, credit, bankruptcy, etc... and will find out the answer. They can waiver some things, if you are honest about them. If you try to hide something, when (not if) they find out, you will not be hired and probably won't get into the industry anywhere else either. BE HONEST.

The navy was 12-18 hours a day on average of watchstanding, training, drills, and cleaning. The food sucks, often your superior officers suck, but remember its for a fixed period of time then you are done. There are good and bad times, and you will miss your family when at sea. I recommend SUBMARINES as a better life however. I served on subs and carriers both, and subs beat the surface fleet hands down.

Hope this info helps you.
aliaze1
aliaze1 is offline
#20
May10-11, 02:04 PM
P: 177
Everyone seems to be indicating that the submarine position is better than the carrier one. Why is that?

Psychologically the carrier seems "safer", it seems like if the submarine gets messed up, there is nowhere to go.
NUCENG
NUCENG is offline
#21
May10-11, 03:53 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 916
Quote Quote by aliaze1 View Post
I had considered the program many times, but due to some prejudice against all things military (my family is of Indian descent, they are not very fond of the military over there), I never gave it serious thought. I guess the impression I had growing up was that 1. People who can't make it elsewhere, go to the military since they "take everyone". 2. You are basically signing your life away. 3. You are basically asking to get put into harm's way. Now mind you, I am not planning on joining the Marines or anything, nor do I really like the idea of combat, but I figured frankly speaking, nobody messes with our navy.

Does the training period ("A" school, and Nuclear Power school) count towards the commitment time?

NUCENG, how long were you in the service? What did you do after active duty ended? Why did you prefer submarine duty over aircraft carrier duty? Both seem dangerous in their own ways.
Enlisted commitment is for 6 years including training. As an officer when I was selected for nuclear I committed to 5 years after completing the training.

I spent 14 years on active duty and 7 years in the navy reserves. The first part of that sevice was as enlisted not involving nuclear propulsion. After completing nuclear training I served on an SSN and on an SSBN as Engineer Officer. After I left active duty I worked as a Systems Engineer at a major defense firm while I completed my time in the reserves and retired. Then I took a job at a BWR4 nuclear power plant. After that I became an independent contractor and have worked at a number of other plants since.

Submarine duty involves working with other volunteers. On a smaller crew you know everyone aboard. The qualification and training of the crew is tough and it weeds out phobics, shirkers, and those that just can't hack it. The atmosphere in a sub is more relaxed and informal that on a large ship. The combination of interesting operations and working with the quality people (officer and enlisted) made the long hour, hard work, and close quarters an experience that I enjoyed. You are right that there is danger, there is supposed to be a law that what goes up must come down, There is no law that a submarine that goes down must come up. But I had confidence that everyone on those submarines could be counted on to minimize that danger.
Dmytry
Dmytry is offline
#22
May10-11, 05:10 PM
P: 505
Quote Quote by Xelera View Post
The military is much more respected than some of those who haven't served are making it out to be. Employers respect military service, and the job skills it gives its members. These include working under pressure and stress, meeting deadlines, self-reliance and confidence, among others. You aren't going to get anything close to the job skills sitting in college, protesting war on the weekends, and working as a self-employed consultant or contractor.
Had job offer 1 year ago from some US recently-ex-military dude on startup project of his, he was extremely confident in himself, believing he knows business, etc. and also full of wrong ideas of how to secure funding or how much funding can be secured or how hard it is or how long it'd take to finish, plus entirely disinterested in my input. Basically, very arrogant. 1 year later - my project made a lot of money, he didn't get the funding and his project is at snail's pace.

re: a really good point about using it for training to get a civilian NPP job. That may be a good idea for OP, but only if he can be sure he won't get weeded out in the navy nuke program.

To compare, I'm 25, I'm making about 130K/year, no debt, but it was bloody hard to get to such level. (and it's computer science/software engineering, meaning you can start up by yourself, which is not so much the case for mechanical or electrical engineering and is entirely out of the question for anything nuclear). I do believe though that a determined person who can drive himself nearly as hard as military does, can make more working by himself (and more than me 'cause i'm not driving myself this hard). I'm a kind of libertarian so i don't like idea of military or even of a really big corporation.
aliaze1
aliaze1 is offline
#23
May12-11, 10:44 AM
P: 177
Quote Quote by Dmytry View Post
re: a really good point about using it for training to get a civilian NPP job. That may be a good idea for OP, but only if he can be sure he won't get weeded out in the navy nuke program.
I figured that if I could survive Electrical Engineering at one of the top undergrad programs in the US, I should be able to survive Nuclear Power School. Not saying it will be easy, but I think I have a decent shot provided I want to work for it.

Quote Quote by NUCENG
Submarine duty involves working with other volunteers. On a smaller crew you know everyone aboard. The qualification and training of the crew is tough and it weeds out phobics, shirkers, and those that just can't hack it. The atmosphere in a sub is more relaxed and informal that on a large ship. The combination of interesting operations and working with the quality people (officer and enlisted) made the long hour, hard work, and close quarters an experience that I enjoyed. You are right that there is danger, there is supposed to be a law that what goes up must come down, There is no law that a submarine that goes down must come up. But I had confidence that everyone on those submarines could be counted on to minimize that danger.
I have a few friends who were in the Navy, one of which was a submarine officer, the other was an oceanographer. I also know of a surface nuke officer who I may speak to regarding his experience. The former oceanographer said that if he could choose, he would go with submarine for some of the same reasons you mentioned. He said that the US has a good track record, but sub life just kinda sucks.

I did speak to a surface officer (not the same one I mentioned earlier) who was on the USS Enterprise, he said that he had no probs (He did 8 years active instead of 4 active 4 reserve, and even said he would have rather just stayed the full 20 instead of leaving), but because of all the stuff going on (planes landing, taking off, etc), it is a somewhat tense environment, and if you aren't on your watch, you can get screwed pretty bad (die)

Do you know by chance how easy/not easy it is to work as an instructor after a few trips (tours? not sure if this is the right word) out at sea? Right now my gpa (~3.0) doesn't qualify me (at least I don't think it does) for power school instructor, but I was thinking there may be an alternative way of getting it
NUCENG
NUCENG is offline
#24
May12-11, 12:38 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 916
Quote Quote by aliaze1 View Post
I figured that if I could survive Electrical Engineering at one of the top undergrad programs in the US, I should be able to survive Nuclear Power School. Not saying it will be easy, but I think I have a decent shot provided I want to work for it.



I have a few friends who were in the Navy, one of which was a submarine officer, the other was an oceanographer. I also know of a surface nuke officer who I may speak to regarding his experience. The former oceanographer said that if he could choose, he would go with submarine for some of the same reasons you mentioned. He said that the US has a good track record, but sub life just kinda sucks.

I did speak to a surface officer (not the same one I mentioned earlier) who was on the USS Enterprise, he said that he had no probs (He did 8 years active instead of 4 active 4 reserve, and even said he would have rather just stayed the full 20 instead of leaving), but because of all the stuff going on (planes landing, taking off, etc), it is a somewhat tense environment, and if you aren't on your watch, you can get screwed pretty bad (die)

Do you know by chance how easy/not easy it is to work as an instructor after a few trips (tours? not sure if this is the right word) out at sea? Right now my gpa (~3.0) doesn't qualify me (at least I don't think it does) for power school instructor, but I was thinking there may be an alternative way of getting it
From what I experienced some Nuclear Power School instructors were selected and trained and went directly to instructor duty. Others were selected to go to work directly at naval Reactors. And some were on shore duty after their first sea tours. Both of these categories tended to be officers who had advanced degrees. At the prototypes most of the instructors were civilians although the were Navy Officer and enlisted there as well. Depending on how well you would do in training and how well you do when you go back to Naval Reactor to test out and be interviewed as an Engineer qualification will be taken into account forthe types of jobs you can get after your first sea tour. A return to instructor duty may be possible.

Again. Please check this out with a recruiter. They should have details on the qualifications for instructor selection and for the other questions like loan paybacks or signing bonuses. Get as much information as you can. Maybe we can get Xelera to explain what he hated about the navy. It is all part of making an informed decision. You mentioned that your family may also have cutural or philosophical antagonisms to the military. That should also play a large part in your decision making.
aliaze1
aliaze1 is offline
#25
May12-11, 12:47 PM
P: 177
Quote Quote by NUCENG View Post
Maybe we can get Xelera to explain what he hated about the navy. It is all part of making an informed decision. You mentioned that your family may also have cutural or philosophical antagonisms to the military. That should also play a large part in your decision making.
Yea, I just want to make sure I give it a fair chance before I discard the idea.

It's interesting because it seems that one can have the same job (say, reactor engineer guys) as a civilian or in navy (knolls atomic lab guys vs. navy counterparts...both go to power school and do similar, if not, same work), but for some reason, that part about "being in the navy" is awkward...haha...quite interesting actually (I am wondering, what is the real difference at that point between these two?)
Xelera
Xelera is offline
#26
May12-11, 09:24 PM
P: 3
What I liked about the Navy:
1. Job training
2. Comradery
3. Doing something unique (ie, being on a nuclear submarine for a few years)
4. Seeing the world... (more to follow on this in dislikes)

What I disliked (these are more involved, but mimic stories from all the ex-navy guys I work with):
1. Screwing over junior personnel... essentially, people got bad deals, sucky jobs, hazed, whatever... when they were junior. Rather than take the approach that they were going to be different when they were the higher ranking individuals, to be a better leader, they tend to act out against junior personnel in the same manner they were acted against. They justify it by saying everyone goes through it, they had to etc... it's often beyond juvenile.

2. Racism/sexism... yup, it still exists. If a white male screws up, shows up late, doesn't do his work, etc... they get written up, put on report, or worse. Saw time and again, where our brass would not take action against a woman (when I was on a carrier for a few months) or minorities for fear of them accusing them of racism. Our chief went so far as to tell us to take the woman off the maintenance schedule and watch bill, and that he would put her in the office, to get her out of the shop and out of our hair, and kicked back all 5 reports/counseling chits she had been written up on.

3. More on two above... we had 3 enlisted nukes selected for officer programs in 4 years on my command... a black kid, a hispanic kid, and an arabic kid. Sounds like the beginnings of a bad joke... the black kid had the lowest evals in the department, an attitude problem, told people 2 and 3 ranks higher than himself to F themselves when they called him out on his shortcomings, and yet he makes officer...

4. We had a liberty port in hawaii, 5 or 6 days long. The nukes were 3 section (1 day on, 2 days off) and the non-nukes (aka "coners") were 4 section across the board (1 day on, 3 off). Sucks, but since we were undermanned, the chief of the boat (a coner) said "choose your rate, choose your fate" and the coners got an extra day off. No big deal, right? 6 mos later, we're back in hawaii... nukes are now 4 section and the coners are 3... chief of the boat (same guy as before) now says "if everyone isn't 4 section, no one is - we're one crew here). Stupid double standards.

5. I scored outstanding on the PRT tests (highest grade possible). Maxed the pushups, situps, and did the 1.5 mile run with minutes to spare. But I was overweight by navy standards (I was 6 foot tall, 220 pounds, worked out 3x a week). The supposed max weight for my height was 192 pounds... so they "rope and choke" me... take my waste measurement, subtract my neck measurement, and for 6 foot tall, find it on a graph and correspond that to a "percent body fat" and they said I was OBESE at 28% body fat. I was fit and trim! I got sent to base civilian physical fitness counselor, who couldn't believe I was there. She first used calipers, and put me at 19% (3% under the limit) then put me in a float tank, most accurate measurement, and called me 16% body fat, in spec for the marines. Didn't matter, navy used rope and choke, and since I had a skinny neck (not fat there) I was put on remedial physical training, given a 1.0 in military bearing on my evals (irregardless of my appearance, inspections, professionalism) and not allowed to advance... I was so lean on fat, I couldn't float without holding my breath, I'd sink otherwise... MEANWHILE a short fat chunky mechanic, who was 5 inches shorter than me and 80 pounds heavier, was listed as in spec on body fat, because they could not get the tape measure underneath the folds of fat around his neck and chin, so the difference between his neck and waste was just barely in spec...

6. Being on mandatory PT from 5, above... I had to log 3 workouts a week. During ORSE (operation reactor safeguards exam) workups, the weekend before, I had 2 in, and needed to get one more in by Saturday at midnight. I got off watch at 5:30 pm, and changed to go work out. My division officer catches me and wants to spend some time going over some paperwork (I had 3 of the 4 inspectable collateral duties in my division). I told him I would after watch, and he said this took priority, and that he would excuse me this once, since it was work related... We proceed to spend the next 7 hours bringing him up to speed on the paperwork and going over previous inspections. I got to bed well after midnight. Next morning, my enlisted supervisor brings me a write up for violating direct orders for me to sign, and says they are considering non-judicial punishment!!! I refused to sign, explained what happened, and he says he doesnt care, he was told to give me this discipline by the executive officer (XO). I go to the division officer, who apologizes and says he wishes he could do something about it, but his hands were tied... left me hanging after I saved his ignorant *** before the inspection.

7. The food sucks. The fresh produce goes bad within about 10 days underway, then you are left with another 60-70 days with dried/canned goods, cooked without seasoning deliberately bland. We found one box of meat during halfway inventory, that was stamped as rejected by California school system, rejected california penal system, not fit for human consumption by the Air Force, and then "accepted: US Navy". Food on shore isn't bad, but when you're in the real navy, for the first 4-6 years, you're on a boat.

8. I'm an atheist. Not anti-religion, I was raised christian, just not for me anymore... I got woken up on my off time, to go stand watch, so the religous watchstanders could get off watch and attend their bible study groups. In protest, I put a "bad religion" bumper sticker (a punk rock group) on my personal, bought with my own money, planner... An activist christian came in the lounge with his bible, saw my sticker, grabbed my book and threw it in the trash, saying it offended him. I grabbed his bible and tossed it in next to my book, and told him the same. I had to explain to the XO why I was harassing religous people... told him the story, and the XO said he was justified and I wasn't, and for me to remove the bumper sticker, direct order... more double standards.

9. It cost me my marriage. Wife couldn't handle raising our newborn daughter while I was at sea 6 months a year, her alone, 3000 miles from any of her family. Judge said he would consider giving me custody or joint custody, if the navy would write a letter saying they would let me out on hardship, if he did. The navy said they would write the letter, only if he gave me full custody first. Obviously, the judge didn't see things the Navy way. THEN I asked to be transferred to the east coast, to be closer to my child, and the command refused, citing being undermanned, costs of a coast to coast transfer, etc... the XO said the command COULD HOWEVER refer me to the base chaplain for counseling, on my own time of course...

10. For one major inport overhaul and renovation in the reactor compartment, I was tasked with developing a radiation man-rem budget and work package, from scratch. I did all the work, all the research, took me about 2 months total to plan and put the package together, to support the shipyard while the did the overhaul. I budgeted 24,000 milli-rem for ships force (based on tasks, known dose rates in areas, estimated stay times, previous similar jobs, etc). We came in under our limit, by 20 milli-rem... That means I projected our dose for a 30 day, 24/7 project, two crews, within .083 percent... Unheard of accuracy. No single part of the project deviated by more than 1% of it's estimate. My division officer, LPO and our department head got Navy Achievement Medals based solely on the man-rem budget and coming in under dose. I got a "thank you" and a pat on the back from my LPO and division officer.

And now they have women on submarines (of course, not enlisted, having to earn their keep and prove their worth, they put female officers onboard and immediately, the enlisted have to respect them... the training on that is going to be ridiculous, and you can imagine the sexual harassment lawsuits coming. We had students in nuke school get written up and taken to captain's mass for sexual harassment because a female officer said she felt they looked at her inappropriately... After about 5 or 6 of these cases, where students careers were ruined before they began, were denuked, reduced in rate, fined... they finally figured out she was just a raging feminist and many of her allegations were unfounded. Too late for the guys careers they had already ruined over the previous 6 months.

They have gotten rid of the don't ask, don't tell policy. The navy answer to everything is "TRAINING". Sailors are going to be trained sick, on how to deal with this, and I guarantee careers will be ruined, and everyone will be scared of the out of the closet gay man, naked in the showers with them, claiming harassment and discrimination. The navy tends to promote those who claim any sort of bias, up and out of the way...

As you can seek, lots of negatives. Yes, alot are very specific stories, as examples of the negatives, but as I work with about 8-10 other ex-navy nukes, at any given time, they all tell similar experiences.

The carrier I was on, they were offering nukes $60K re-enlistment bonuses, and it was tax free when the carrier was in the gulf. About 1/3 of the nukes were eligible to re-enlist while the carrier was deployed (somewhere around 70-80 nukes I believe, not counting the non-nukes in the engineering department working with them). ONE nuke re-enlisted...

That kind of dissatisfaction speaks for itself. Yes, the training is excellent, but few nukes stay in to retirement, or past one term of service these days. I served back in 92-98... things may have changed, but I highly doubt it.
NUCENG
NUCENG is offline
#27
May14-11, 05:04 AM
Sci Advisor
P: 916
Quote Quote by Xelera View Post
What I liked about the Navy:
1. Job training
2. Comradery
3. Doing something unique (ie, being on a nuclear submarine for a few years)
4. Seeing the world... (more to follow on this in dislikes)

What I disliked (these are more involved, but mimic stories from all the ex-navy guys I work with):
1. Screwing over junior personnel... essentially, people got bad deals, sucky jobs, hazed, whatever... when they were junior. Rather than take the approach that they were going to be different when they were the higher ranking individuals, to be a better leader, they tend to act out against junior personnel in the same manner they were acted against. They justify it by saying everyone goes through it, they had to etc... it's often beyond juvenile.

2. Racism/sexism... yup, it still exists. If a white male screws up, shows up late, doesn't do his work, etc... they get written up, put on report, or worse. Saw time and again, where our brass would not take action against a woman (when I was on a carrier for a few months) or minorities for fear of them accusing them of racism. Our chief went so far as to tell us to take the woman off the maintenance schedule and watch bill, and that he would put her in the office, to get her out of the shop and out of our hair, and kicked back all 5 reports/counseling chits she had been written up on.

3. More on two above... we had 3 enlisted nukes selected for officer programs in 4 years on my command... a black kid, a hispanic kid, and an arabic kid. Sounds like the beginnings of a bad joke... the black kid had the lowest evals in the department, an attitude problem, told people 2 and 3 ranks higher than himself to F themselves when they called him out on his shortcomings, and yet he makes officer...

4. We had a liberty port in hawaii, 5 or 6 days long. The nukes were 3 section (1 day on, 2 days off) and the non-nukes (aka "coners") were 4 section across the board (1 day on, 3 off). Sucks, but since we were undermanned, the chief of the boat (a coner) said "choose your rate, choose your fate" and the coners got an extra day off. No big deal, right? 6 mos later, we're back in hawaii... nukes are now 4 section and the coners are 3... chief of the boat (same guy as before) now says "if everyone isn't 4 section, no one is - we're one crew here). Stupid double standards.

5. I scored outstanding on the PRT tests (highest grade possible). Maxed the pushups, situps, and did the 1.5 mile run with minutes to spare. But I was overweight by navy standards (I was 6 foot tall, 220 pounds, worked out 3x a week). The supposed max weight for my height was 192 pounds... so they "rope and choke" me... take my waste measurement, subtract my neck measurement, and for 6 foot tall, find it on a graph and correspond that to a "percent body fat" and they said I was OBESE at 28% body fat. I was fit and trim! I got sent to base civilian physical fitness counselor, who couldn't believe I was there. She first used calipers, and put me at 19% (3% under the limit) then put me in a float tank, most accurate measurement, and called me 16% body fat, in spec for the marines. Didn't matter, navy used rope and choke, and since I had a skinny neck (not fat there) I was put on remedial physical training, given a 1.0 in military bearing on my evals (irregardless of my appearance, inspections, professionalism) and not allowed to advance... I was so lean on fat, I couldn't float without holding my breath, I'd sink otherwise... MEANWHILE a short fat chunky mechanic, who was 5 inches shorter than me and 80 pounds heavier, was listed as in spec on body fat, because they could not get the tape measure underneath the folds of fat around his neck and chin, so the difference between his neck and waste was just barely in spec...

6. Being on mandatory PT from 5, above... I had to log 3 workouts a week. During ORSE (operation reactor safeguards exam) workups, the weekend before, I had 2 in, and needed to get one more in by Saturday at midnight. I got off watch at 5:30 pm, and changed to go work out. My division officer catches me and wants to spend some time going over some paperwork (I had 3 of the 4 inspectable collateral duties in my division). I told him I would after watch, and he said this took priority, and that he would excuse me this once, since it was work related... We proceed to spend the next 7 hours bringing him up to speed on the paperwork and going over previous inspections. I got to bed well after midnight. Next morning, my enlisted supervisor brings me a write up for violating direct orders for me to sign, and says they are considering non-judicial punishment!!! I refused to sign, explained what happened, and he says he doesnt care, he was told to give me this discipline by the executive officer (XO). I go to the division officer, who apologizes and says he wishes he could do something about it, but his hands were tied... left me hanging after I saved his ignorant *** before the inspection.

7. The food sucks. The fresh produce goes bad within about 10 days underway, then you are left with another 60-70 days with dried/canned goods, cooked without seasoning deliberately bland. We found one box of meat during halfway inventory, that was stamped as rejected by California school system, rejected california penal system, not fit for human consumption by the Air Force, and then "accepted: US Navy". Food on shore isn't bad, but when you're in the real navy, for the first 4-6 years, you're on a boat.

8. I'm an atheist. Not anti-religion, I was raised christian, just not for me anymore... I got woken up on my off time, to go stand watch, so the religous watchstanders could get off watch and attend their bible study groups. In protest, I put a "bad religion" bumper sticker (a punk rock group) on my personal, bought with my own money, planner... An activist christian came in the lounge with his bible, saw my sticker, grabbed my book and threw it in the trash, saying it offended him. I grabbed his bible and tossed it in next to my book, and told him the same. I had to explain to the XO why I was harassing religous people... told him the story, and the XO said he was justified and I wasn't, and for me to remove the bumper sticker, direct order... more double standards.

9. It cost me my marriage. Wife couldn't handle raising our newborn daughter while I was at sea 6 months a year, her alone, 3000 miles from any of her family. Judge said he would consider giving me custody or joint custody, if the navy would write a letter saying they would let me out on hardship, if he did. The navy said they would write the letter, only if he gave me full custody first. Obviously, the judge didn't see things the Navy way. THEN I asked to be transferred to the east coast, to be closer to my child, and the command refused, citing being undermanned, costs of a coast to coast transfer, etc... the XO said the command COULD HOWEVER refer me to the base chaplain for counseling, on my own time of course...

10. For one major inport overhaul and renovation in the reactor compartment, I was tasked with developing a radiation man-rem budget and work package, from scratch. I did all the work, all the research, took me about 2 months total to plan and put the package together, to support the shipyard while the did the overhaul. I budgeted 24,000 milli-rem for ships force (based on tasks, known dose rates in areas, estimated stay times, previous similar jobs, etc). We came in under our limit, by 20 milli-rem... That means I projected our dose for a 30 day, 24/7 project, two crews, within .083 percent... Unheard of accuracy. No single part of the project deviated by more than 1% of it's estimate. My division officer, LPO and our department head got Navy Achievement Medals based solely on the man-rem budget and coming in under dose. I got a "thank you" and a pat on the back from my LPO and division officer.

And now they have women on submarines (of course, not enlisted, having to earn their keep and prove their worth, they put female officers onboard and immediately, the enlisted have to respect them... the training on that is going to be ridiculous, and you can imagine the sexual harassment lawsuits coming. We had students in nuke school get written up and taken to captain's mass for sexual harassment because a female officer said she felt they looked at her inappropriately... After about 5 or 6 of these cases, where students careers were ruined before they began, were denuked, reduced in rate, fined... they finally figured out she was just a raging feminist and many of her allegations were unfounded. Too late for the guys careers they had already ruined over the previous 6 months.

They have gotten rid of the don't ask, don't tell policy. The navy answer to everything is "TRAINING". Sailors are going to be trained sick, on how to deal with this, and I guarantee careers will be ruined, and everyone will be scared of the out of the closet gay man, naked in the showers with them, claiming harassment and discrimination. The navy tends to promote those who claim any sort of bias, up and out of the way...

As you can seek, lots of negatives. Yes, alot are very specific stories, as examples of the negatives, but as I work with about 8-10 other ex-navy nukes, at any given time, they all tell similar experiences.

The carrier I was on, they were offering nukes $60K re-enlistment bonuses, and it was tax free when the carrier was in the gulf. About 1/3 of the nukes were eligible to re-enlist while the carrier was deployed (somewhere around 70-80 nukes I believe, not counting the non-nukes in the engineering department working with them). ONE nuke re-enlisted...

That kind of dissatisfaction speaks for itself. Yes, the training is excellent, but few nukes stay in to retirement, or past one term of service these days. I served back in 92-98... things may have changed, but I highly doubt it.
That is a fair assessment of some of the drawbacks of nuclear power in the service. I saw others. I saw officers that I couldn't trust and others who seemed to enjoy making life miserable for their enlisted personnel because they could. As a mustang (ex-enlisted), I saw a bias by Naval Academy ring-knockers who felt that made me unworthy to be in the same wardroom. But in my experience these were not the rule but a fairly rare exception. Since I left service I have seen similar double standards and inequities. The difference is that out of the navy you can pretty well tell your boss to go to hell without ending up in the brig.

I would add that nuclear enlisted and officers also had a higher workload and less opportunity to get on the beach during port visits and time in port than the non-nuclear crew members. I was on a submarine squadron staff for my shore duty and wound up going to sea because another officer broke his leg skiing. I never saw him again, which was a good thing, because I was trying to figure out how I could break his other leg. (I say, I say. That's a joke, son.) With my luck, they just would have sent me back to sea longer.) I know that some officers and commands had major problems when women first came into formally all-male tender crews. I had hoped that the double standards had been fixed. I am glad I won't be around when DADT is gone.

As I emphasized to Aliaze, the family should be a major consideration and your story is very common in all the armed forces. It is even worse for ground and air combat forces that are on their second or third combat rotation. The families probably have a harder burden that the troops. Overall, I enjoyed my time. The training and discipline to give my best every day was a major part of my success as a civilian engineer. I am proud of having served and hope you are too. Thank you for your service and your honest feedback for Aliaze.
aliaze1
aliaze1 is offline
#28
Sep4-12, 07:33 PM
P: 177
Quote Quote by Xelera View Post

So these guys, by about 30-32 years old, have 6 years navy nuclear experience, 8 years research reactor experience, qualified senior reactor operator, usually shift supervisor for a few years by then, have a college degree and ZERO STUDENT LOAN DEBT and almost zero cost except for books. And they go start at $100-140K per year at a commercial reactor when done, and because they got their degree, can move into management rapidly. The alternative, is get out of navy, go straight to commercial power, and make $120k/year within 2 years (starting out around $70-$80k per year).
This is quite true. Many SRO's/former SRO's I have met came right out of the navy, no college. That's $100k+ without any debt. Not bad, if you are willing to do the time in service first.


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