Engineer

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by usafahopeful, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. usafahopeful

    usafahopeful Member

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    If you major in engineering, can you get a job within the Navy working as an engineer? I looked on their website and I did not see engineering as an option under post graduation jobs. Any with insight would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. pleber16

    pleber16 USNA 2016

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    Out of USNA yes, but usually not directly. Your best bet of trying to get an engineering job after graduating from the academy is to go for a SWO-EDO (Surface Warfare-Engineering Duty Officer) slot. Basically, you will spend two years as a SWO getting your pin, then you are able to laterally transfer to be an EDO.

    The only other option that I know of is Civil Engineering Corps, which is a restricted line job. Meaning that unless you are determined to be restricted line (usually connected to some medical issue that arises) you won't be able to select it from the academy.
     
  3. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    The job of the Academy is to train officers to lead sailors and marines in combat actions-----anything else is great but secondary. That means your major and your job are two different things. For a job you will go into one of the Big 5: Ships, Subs, Aviation, SEALs, or Marines as a junior officer leading those enlisted troops. Your major won't determine those jobs either. A pilot can have an English degree, a Marine can have an engineering degree, a Sub officer can have a physics degree or whatever, much depending on what you want to do upon graduation for a job. However, like mentioned above, after a couple of sea tours you can apply for the Engineering Duty officer slots in a particular field such as ships, subs, or aviation. By doing so, you become a specialist in that field and take yourself out of the running to command ships, subs, etc. and for higher levels of responsibility. You will never be CNO. You will stay in that field for the rest of your career and while there is opportunity to advance in rank and responsibility, it will always be only in that field, and to be honest, the slots available are a lot fewer. The actual work will be very satisfying and challenging but for that opportunity, you step out of the normal command career path that you started with.

    Many times it is asked why the Navy doesn't let promising young ensigns go straight into a limited duty field right out of the Academy and the answer is pretty logical. They want anybody that will have any future authority in designing ships to have actually served on them in a supervisory capacity and know intimately the problems faced by the crew. It prevents really brainless designing coming from some yahoo with a lot of book-learning and no experience in the real world.

    When you say "engineering" that covers a lot of ground. If you are looking to sit in front of computer and 3D-design parts and systems, you need to remember that private companies do that while the Navy supervises the ship building and repair. The Navy does write up the specifications and criteria on what it wants but the grunt work in engineering design is done by a private company. There are exceptions to this in the field of research but for the most part, an EDO will be supervising that which has been designed and solving problems in its transformation into a ship. Aircraft are slightly different.

    I would hope there are some past/present EDOs that could give us more info.
     
  4. Proudparent

    Proudparent Member

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    Very good stuff Spud. Thanks. I had started a thread yesterday "USNA engineering vs georgia tech NROTC". Your words here are helpful as well. I am a mechanical engineer ( non-military) so knowing what to expect with a navy engineering degree is very helpful for my son to make his decision.
     
  5. usafahopeful

    usafahopeful Member

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    Spud, are there any opportunities for an aerospace engineer to get into research or a different engineering job?
     
  6. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    Give me a couple of days and I will check with my old Academy roommate who became an Aviation-EDO and eventually wound up as an aero engineering prof at USNA. He had an interesting career and knows more than I do. I don't understand what you mean with "a different engineering job"?
     
  7. usafahopeful

    usafahopeful Member

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    Spud, thank you, that would be much appreciated. I just meant a non-research aerospace engineering job by different engineering job (still within the confines of aero)
     
  8. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    It was a very interesting talk with my old roommate and his first bit of advice is to Google " Navy AEDO" for their website for more information than you have ever wanted to know. It will also introduce you to government Power Point at a guaranteed sleep level but it is still valuable. He became a helo pilot, served about 3.5 years of sea tours, got a masters at Princeton, and applied for and got Test Pilot school at Patuxtent River Naval Air Station, the home of Navy research and development. He applied and got AEDO status and a few years later left the Navy to work for NASA. He still wanted to fly so he joined the Air Force Reserves (horrors!) and both flew and did AEDO stuff for the Blue Suiters and finished a career at NASA (as well as the Air Force Reserves). Next he became an Aero Engineering prof at the Naval Academy and if you go there, be sure and visit the huge, armored test cell he developed for helicopter rotor blade development that the Mids use in their senior projects.

    He was very enthusiastic on the AEDO field if an officer is not interested in the normal command career and, to my surprise, said the promotion opportunities for AEDOs is very good up to and including Admiral---all within the aviation engineering field, of course. This was a shocker to me but when he went over all the world-wide repair and rework facilities, manufacturing teams, research facilities, and testing jobs I realized just how big the field was. With robotics, both air and water coming onboard, they are really looking for sharp engineers who want to make the Navy a career. He told me the relationship between aircraft corporations and the Navy has changed with the Navy far more involved in the manufacturing, modifications, testing of an aircraft than in the past. Whether that is good or bad is another subject but Navy AEDOs are very much in the mix at manufacturers--mostly in specification, testing, and oversight roll. AEDOs are at China Lake, the desert testing facility in California, heavily involved in the "after market" aspect of design and testing of an aircraft such as: can an aircraft be controllable with ordinance hung up on it, off-center arresting problems, developing best practices on loading, maintenance, and emergency procedures. Patuxtent River is today a huge research and development facility with thousands of engineering personnel, both AEDOs and government civilians. In this environment, the AEDOs form teams with civilian counterparts to tackle the problems of UAVs and the F-35 and have close contact with the test pilots themselves, in fact, some of the AEDOs are the test pilots.

    At the Air Rework and Repair facilities, also scattered around the world where major depot-level repair is done, AEDOs are heavily involved with the supervision of repair and overhauls as well as setting up production lines, tool development, problem solving, getting the aircraft back out the door on time.

    I asked him what he thought about a young man going to a prestigious engineering school vice the Naval Academy and he had good reasons to pick USNA over a civilian school. The main draw is the operational experience that an Academy grad gets, both in flying and supervising men prior to becoming an AEDO. Test pilot school adds more gold plating and a Master's Degree even more. Interestingly enough, an MBA is looked upon with favor as the higher you go in rank, the more the MBA knowledge and skills come into play. Sooner or later, you retire and as a middle life engineer your supervisory skills combined with technical knowledge are a highly sought commodity by the civilian world. It also cannot be denied that the Academy diploma means a lot regarding leadership on top of all the other stuff. By going the Navy route you also insure that you do not get buried in a big corporation's cubicle beehive for endless years doing 3-D modeling.

    Since this is all second hand, I apologize in advance for any errors and, again, hopefully, some EDOs will chime in. My above comment in a previous post about limited advancement opportunities is, happily, wrong.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
  9. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    Google "NAVAIR" also and start with the Wikipedia entry.
     
  10. usafahopeful

    usafahopeful Member

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    Spud, thank you for the great information! This definitely answers just about every question on had on the subject. Thank you!!
     

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