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Old 06-01-2017, 08:50 PM   #1
scott.henry
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Default Career Advice for First Term Nukes

When I was a baby Nuke considering re-enlisting for the first time (I was fresh out of Prototype and brand new on my first boat), I mentioned it to a crusty old First Class in my division (MM1(SS) Jerry Rogers was his name.) and he looked me right in the eye and said "Son, get some time on the pond!" That, right there, was some of the best career advice I received in my 20 years and 23 days as a Nuke. I was just like almost every other baby Nuke out there. I saw the dollar signs sparkling in my eyes and hadn't yet REALLY experienced what it was like to be a Nuke. So, I waited and re-enlisted right before I hit 4 years. By that time I had a deployment under my belt, had gotten my Dolphins, been through an ORSE, and was pretty sure I could handle being a Nuke for a few more years. When I rose through the ranks and became a Leading Petty Officer and then a Chief, I preached that advice to my young Sailors like the Gospel. Trust me, the money will ALWAYS be there. As long as there are Navy ships and submarines powered by reactors, there will be insanely large re-enlistment bonuses for the people that operate them. Get some time on the pond and make sure you can handle being away from any semblance of a normal life for 3-6 months at a time, especially if you're married and/or have children. Make sure you can handle the 3 section in-port duty rotation where you never really get a weekend. Make sure you can handle being the first one on the boat the day of an underway (usually the day before) and the last one off when you pull in to port. Being a Sailor is hard. Being a nuclear trained Sailor is harder. People will say there is no double standard, but I'm here to tell you they're wrong. Nukes are held to incredibly high standards compared to the rest of the divisions/departments of a ship/submarine and there is a ton of stress that accompanies that. You need to make sure you can handle that before you commit yourself to several more years of it. All of that being said, I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Last edited by scott.henry; 07-19-2019 at 08:17 AM.
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