Details on Naval careers

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by suddensam, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. suddensam

    suddensam USNA BGO

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    While nothing is guaranteed, DS and we (his family) sense that his application may be viewed favorably. What was notional and aspirational is suddenly starting to seem real and possible. He asked me last night if I could describe what naval officers (or specifically recent Naval Academy graduates) actually DO every day. I was able to point him to the high level descriptions in the Navy Catalog, but they are -- well -- high level. For example:

    Surface Warfare

    "A new ensign typically serves as a division officer, with responsibilities for leading 12 to 50 enlisted personnel and directing a portion of the ship’s equipment and operations. Typical positions include those of anti-submarine warfare officer, gunnery officer, communications officer and damage control assistant. In addition, you are expected to work toward qualification as combat information center watch officer, officer of the deck and Navy surface warfare officer."

    Can anyone point me to a resource that gives a fuller description of an Ensign's day to day work?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    Sorta like trying to answer "who am I?" "what is the meaning of life?" "who's on first?"

    You could get a lot of rambling and very diverse answers to this one. Perhaps a place to begin might be to look at the branch of service Navy or USMC and then "community(s)" of potential interest ... Surface Warfare, Subs, Aviation (pilots/NFO),engineering corps, and on and on. Once you begin to at least speculate (and that's all it would be as there are MANY steps in getting to each), then you can begin to get into specifics.

    For example, if one becomes part of the aviation community, there is an excellent resource that provides a very detailed, almost day-to-day description of what a student aviator's ensuing 2 years and beyond will be like upon graduating and commissioning. Jay A. Stout, a veteran Marine pilot has written "To Be a U.S. Naval Aviator." Excellent. And there are literally scads of others.

    Beyond this sweeping thought and specific suggestion, I've not a clue how to respond. In fact one of the common gripes often heard at USNA is that 4 years on the Yard do little to prepare and equip Mids for entering the Fleet or the Corps, beyond the summer exposures.

    I'll be interested reading what others have to say in response to "who's on first?"

    "Yes."

    "No, Who's on first."

    "That's right ..."

    "What's the guy's name on first?"

    "Oh no, What's on 2nd ..." :confused: :cool: :wink:
     
  3. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    I think we will have a lot of people chime in on this issue since we have a wide variety of posters with backgrounds in various communities. However, with that I'll attempt to start painting a picture....

    Naval Aviation: For the most part as an ENS, they will be in flight school. Some of those going aviation might depart before they make the next rank (LTJG), but for the most part their time will be focused on studying and flying...and probably some sun on Pensacola's beaches!

    Marine Corps: As a 2ndLT, the first assignment is The Basic School (TBS), which is approximately 6 months. They are learning how to be a platoon commanders and go through various in-depth training from spending time on live firing ranges, plenty of physical training (long marches, obstacles courses, running, etc. etc.), and learning the skills of land navigation. I'm sure someone can add much more detail to the above. However, the goal is that all officers graduating from TBS are able to lead a platoon no matter what specialty they go into after they graduate. As implied, once they leave TBS Marine officers go to specialty schools (for the most part) and those who have been selected to Marine Corps aviation commence their training in a path similar to the paragraph above; pilots will not go to their training until at least 8 months after USNA graduation.

    Restricted Line & Staff Corps: Essentially is only for those medically disqualified, though not always the case. There are MANY communities under this route -- medical school to Intel.

    SPECOPS: Most of the time will be spent training....SEALS, well all you need to do is look at the Discovery Channel's documentary (you can google it) and well, I think that says enough about what they do. There are other components to SPECOPS, but most of the time is spent on training and then they will eventually meet up with an operational unit and do things that...well...they normally won't talk about :).

    Submariners: Nuclear schooling takes up most of their time as ENS and then normally as a LTJG, they will make it out to their submarine. Once on the sub, they do some pretty cool stuff that is also not shared with the public.

    Surface Warfare: Essentially, they have 3 weeks of schooling and then head directly to a ship, where, as the description you posted, they assume the role of a division officer and there are various different jobs. However, on a day to day basis, they will be learning from their Chief and Sailors about their own people, equipment, and readiness issues that he/she is responsible for. Additionally, they will be learning about various aspects of the ship to eventually be able to run the ship on behalf of the Commanding Officer (called Officer of the Deck, OOD), a very important responsibility. So basically, when ENSs show up to the ship, they know very little and over time they learn about ship operations, navigation, safety, being proactive and thinking about problems before they happen, learning how/when to make decisions on their own and when to call someone for help, so that as a "senior" ENS they earn the Captain's trust as an OOD. Surface Warfare Officers will have leadership responsibilities the minute they walk onboard; they will have leadership responsibilities as a division officer and OOD. Once they qualify OOD, it will then be their responsibility to train other officers (mostly ENS) so that they can become qualified and that is one of the awesome aspects of being a Surface Warfare Officer....you literally train those behind you....you take the knowledge and experiences of your past and pass them onto the future. The final step is to obtain the Surface Warfare Officer qualification, which is an oral board/interview/interrogation about various aspects of the entire ship (from the basic principles of how an engineering plant works to naming the current Fleet Commanders). Given that this final requirement is suppose to be completed within 2 years of arriving --- those coming from USNA will have all of this completed as an ENS. So yes, Surface Warfare Officers are busy (like the other communities) and time management/prioritization skills become a necessity! Also, given certain Combatant Command requirements for presence in their theater of responsibility, it is not uncommon for ENS to experience 1.5-2 full deployments (defined as 6 months or longer) within their first tour (27 months).

    Additionally, if one chooses the Surface Warfare Officer Nuclear option, they are normally taken off the ship once they earn the Surface Warfare qualification and head to nuclear power school.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  4. GoSox

    GoSox Member

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    My parents enjoyed two books by Douglas Waller: (1) Big Red (three months on a Trident nuclear submarine); and (2) Air Warriors (training pipeline for Naval Aviation) -- although they joked it mainly prepared them to talk more knowledgeably with my roommates, as I went Marine Ground.
     
  5. suddensam

    suddensam USNA BGO

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    Thanks everyone. Good stuff.
     
  6. 1964BGO

    1964BGO Member

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    Another course of action that is available to you is to contact the Naval Officers Program Office in your state. This office should have dvd's that describe all of the service selections that are available to newly commissioned officers as well as the commissioning programs that are available. They will be a bit stilted, but the information should be relatively straightforward and current. One thing that you should keep in mind is that midshipmen tend to change their service selections as they progress through USNA or NROTC and the summer cruises. Best wishes.
     
  7. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    "Another course of action that is available to you is to contact the Naval Officers Program Office in your state. This office should have dvd's that describe all of the service selections that are available to newly commissioned officers as well as the commissioning programs that are available. They will be a bit stilted, but the information should be relatively straightforward and current. One thing that you should keep in mind is that midshipmen tend to change their service selections as they progress through USNA or NROTC and the summer cruises. Best wishes."





    THIS is a GREAT suggestion that I don't ever recall seeing on this and other forums. THANKS! :thumb:
     

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