Navy ROTC Submarine Officer

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by tibreaker, Feb 15, 2016.

  1. tibreaker

    tibreaker Member

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    I was wondering how competitive it is and what exactly the process is to becoming a Navy Nuclear Submarine Officer through NROTC. Thanks.
     
  2. hokiesfan

    hokiesfan Member

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    Unless something has changed in the last couple of years they have trouble finding enough officers to go subs - if you have the academics to get through Nuke School you probably have a good shot. I'm not that familiar with the process, I do know that my son had to go to Washington for a weekend of testing/interviews after service assignments came out.
     
  3. terp1984

    terp1984 Member

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    The selection board for subs is looking for strong math and physics mids. Once you are selected, you go to DC for 3 or 4 interviews and they actually drill you with math and physics questions and they do turn down a fair number at this stage. My DS is almost 2 years thru training and leaves for Pearl Harbor in April. Most submariners are Engineering majors but DS was Finance. He got"drafted" because he was very strong in math and Physics. All A's and 800 SAT which they are still looking at. It is hard training and probably an average student will not make it through, even at this stage of training a few officers are getting reassigned for not passing. A huge positive-after completing your 1st tour and shore duty you are very valuable in the private sector and military and there are nice bonuses to stay in and nice private sector money thrown at you.
     
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  4. tibreaker

    tibreaker Member

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    Great info. Could somebody explain the process/time frame though? So I do NROTC, then upon graduation I put down that I want subs? What happens after that? Would I go to nuke school?

    -- Also I'm going to be a physics major so would this be a good fit?

    Thanks
     
  5. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Service and warfare community selection happens much earlier than graduation. The nuke pipeline requires interviews, which occur in the year prior graduation.

    You will get more specific comments on the timing for ROTC very shortly here, I am sure.

    Your first orders will be the reporting date to your first school, which are staggered in the months after graduation.

    No matter the commissioning source, the nuclear pipeline takes roughly two years. Usually: First to Nuclear Power School in Charleston. Then to Prototype at one of a couple of places. Then Sub School. Then, possibly, to other short schools related to your assigned job in your first sub. So, you will be traversing the NE corridor your first two years, nose to the grindstone in a demanding school pipeline. You do get a nice bonus though.

    STEM majors tend to handle the technical aspects well. Other majors can, but the strength and aptitude for the engineering classes needs to be strong.
     
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  6. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Like all midshipmen you'll list your favorite assignments while a senior in NROTC. You should hear what you get by late autumn, early spring. Not sure when interviews occur but I assume it's before you're assigned to subs. Of course Nuke School is after graduation and may be delayed until the next class with an open slot. Nuke school is in Charleston, NC as I recall. As others have mentioned they cannot get enough Nuke Officers so if that's your first choice I'm confident you'll get it. Some folks had it as their last choice but were "drafted" for Nuke.
     
  7. tibreaker

    tibreaker Member

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    Okay, thanks for all of the great responses.
     
  8. terp1984

    terp1984 Member

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    Service selection usually November.. Nuke interview for nrotc are actually after you have been assigned to subs and usually January. So you could get assigned nuke then not pass the interview-(I think about 1/3 in my sons group didn't pass, but that was slightly higher than normal} Nuke school could start as soon as 2 weeks after graduation. DS wanted a few month break(paid at unit) and started in September. Had a few month break before prototype and backpacked in Europe for 3 weeks with 2 other officers, paid of course. Once you pass the interview in DC you get 15k signing bonus.
     
  9. tibreaker

    tibreaker Member

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    So can you still go subs even if you don't pass the interview for nuke school? And also, if Nukes are in such high demand, how come only 2/3 even make it through the interview process?

    And just to get everything straight it goes:
    1) Junior year: Service selection
    2) Senior year: Nuke school interview
    3) Graduation
    4) Nuke School
    5) Submarine School

    Thanks again to everybody
     
  10. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    OP - scan back through previous posts for key points. Many of us are familiar enough that we might not explain it clearly enough to someone new to the process. Ellipses!

    Though my experience is primarily with USNA, I have had a lot of interaction with NROTC units as a guest presenter and conversations with mids there, and I think they are fairly parallel.

    NROTC proficients, please tweak!

    Senior year, Nov/fall. Service selection.
    Senior year: winter, orders with school dates.
    Interviews: I have never known anyone who hasn't passed the interviews to get subs, so we need more direct input here. That doesn't mean I am correct. Interviews at USNA happen late junior year for early selects, some in fall, to the best of my knowledge from current crop of USNA sponsor family alumni in the pipeline.

    Post-graduation:
    Big school 1: Nuclear Power School, Charleston SC
    Big School 2: Prototype. You can be assigned a couple of different locations.
    Big School 3: Sub School Basic. I believe during this time you receive orders to your specific sub.
    These three roughly last 2 years.
    Little schools: courses that might be required for your specific job.
    Report to first sub!

    Even if the sub community is hurting for volunteers, they won't lower the quality cut. Nor would we want them to, if we are going to trust mobile nuclear power plants to them...
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
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  11. tibreaker

    tibreaker Member

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    Thanks Captain MJ that post was very helpful.
     
  12. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Keep in mind most of what you read here is unofficial and anecdotal, though from generally reliable sources. Your best sources are your nearest NROTC unit and navy.mil references.

    http://www.nrotc.navy.mil/submarine.html
     
  13. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    Big School 2: Prototype. You can be assigned a couple of different locations.
    2 different locations: Charleston, SC or near Ballston Spa, New York

    If you are convinced you want Subs have you looked into the NUPOC program. I don't know if you can transfer into it after you are already in a NROTC program, and you cannot apply until after you are already in college. So there is a lot of risk. But you get a scholarship and stipend while living a normal civilian college life. No PT, no ROTC classes. You are enlisted once you enter the program E-6 (I believe) and the time starts counting towards retirement. You do a summer cruse and go to OCS after school, then nuke training as stated above by @Capt MJ
     
  14. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    https://www.navy.com/joining/college-options/nupoc.html

    Excellent addition to this thread!
    NUPOC = "new pock."

    This program has been around a long time. There were NUPOCS in my OCS class after they got their degree. Very competitive path that suits some better than SA or ROTC.
     
  15. tibreaker

    tibreaker Member

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    So here is my situation, I am a rising freshmen cadet at Virginia Tech and I will be majoring in physics. I am interested in NROTC but am currently signed up to do AFROTC. However, I think that being a Submarine Officer would be really cool and would suit my major well. If you guys don't mind giving me some year by year advice, or any advice in general that would be great. Thanks a bunch.
     
  16. mmiller4

    mmiller4 New Member

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    Hey I'm also a rising freshman at VT. Right now I have an AFROTC scholarship, but I'm really hoping to get the NROTC one. I honestly think the Navy is a better fit for me.
     
  17. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    JMPO, but my suggestion is that since both of you are RISING freshmen aka HS seniors, VT will do an open house in the next month or so for admitted students. They will have not only ROTC there, but also the Corp of Cadets, which as ROTC cadets/mids you are required to join.

    Take the time to talk to Corps during that day, because they will be AFROTC and NROTC. Your 1st year is a freebie year. You will live in the Corps dorm. You will have a lot of time next year as a freshmen to decide whether or not you want to pull the ripcord.

    Assumption is both tibreaker and mmiller are AFROTC scholarship, and did not apply or receive an NROTC scholarship.

    Now for why I say this:
    1. College is expensive, talk to the folks...can you afford to attend without the AFROTC scholarship? Without an NROTC scholarship?
    ~ Not saying you should stay in AFROTC, just saying that freshmen year is no harm, no foul, you have time to get those ducks in a row.
    2. You don't know a fit until you are there.
    ~ NROTC might be a better fit, but you need time to figure that out. The beauty of VT is that every Corps of Cadet/ROTC student lives on campus in the Corps dorm. You will be able to talk with others to see a different perspective than the websites that you are probably relying on now.
    3. You have time...oops I said that already in the other 2 points, but here I go again:
    ~ DDs best friend entered as an AROTC scholarship cadet with full intentions as a hs student to commission Army. 6 weeks in and she realized she was not a fit for the Army. She went to the NROTC office, started the process to start NROTC spring semester. She did not get a spring semester scholarship, but got one starting her sophomore year. In essence, the folks paid out 1 semester because she left AROTC after fall semester, so it was freshmen spring they paid.
    ~~ There are also many that enter thinking like the 2 of you that maybe they chose poorly and ready to jump ship, only to realize once there as an AS100 they enjoyed the AFROTC program.

    Point is don't walk in with a tunnel vision either for leaving or staying based upon a career option that means a lot of hurdles to be cleared over the next 4-6 years. Think about what if you get the very bottom of your career field choices
    ~ Let's say you say Accounting and Finance for both...4 years from now, which branch do you want? AF or Navy?
    ~~ I believe Nuke Sub is more competitive than going Pilot, there is no guarantee you will complete the program, but if you don't they can keep you and reassign you to a new career field until your commitment is up...so the question is are you willing to serve in any career field that branch deems?

    VT is an SMC, it is not the traditional ROTC college where many cadets/mids are scattered among many dorms or live off campus. JMPO, but I am willing to bet my beloved Myrtle(dog) or my Ann Hand pin (avatar) that the cadets living in the Corps dorm will be better at giving you the down and dirty than any of us here when it comes to what I think you are really looking at...chances of getting that career field, and what the current military looks like from your peer group.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
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  18. wulaw

    wulaw Member

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    To respond to CaptMJ - yes, there are people who do not pass the interviews. My son is a MIDN 1/C who was selected for surface nuke; his buddy is in subs. Just to clarify with very current (NROTC) info - and hopefully help anyone going nuke:

    1. Over the summer between your junior and senior years you will put in your top 5 requests for warfare community (SEALs, subs, aviation, surface, etc). Generally, at least one of the top three must be a nuclear billet (surface nuclear or subs), and one must be a restricted line position (Seabees or info warfare, for example, usually listed fifth). The deadline to submit requests this past year was early August. Your NROTC unit will coordinate this. By the way, there is some "gamesmenship" to the ordering of your selections; my son certainly didn't want surface nuke and probably would have gotten aviation if he had listed it in his top three, but he wants to lead sailors and there aren't many opportunities for leadership in aviation for the first eight or so years of your career.
    2. Warfare community assignments were announced this year in early November. The info is provided to your unit, and they decide when to tell you (usually, right away).
    3. All MIDN selected for nuke billets (sub and surface) are required to have an "interview" with the admiral who is the head of Navy Nuclear Propulsion (and who is also an Assistant Secretary of Energy) in DC. These are generally done in January and February. The interview consists of several separate lengthy interviews with panels of junior officers/Navy civilians and a brief one-on-one meeting with the admiral. The junior officer panels write up an assessment which they provide to the admiral before you see him.
    4. If they're on the ball, your unit will prep you EXTENSIVELY for these interviews. People do fail, and failing looks bad for the unit. Of the 25 MIDN interviewing on the day my son did, four failed. You know that day - there's no mystery.
    5. The interview questions they can ask vary greatly. For my son, who goes to a very top engineering school, had good grades and didn't really want to be nuke, they asked him very basic questions that required nothing more than 7th grade algebra and physics - i.e., they weren't going to give him any chance to fail (as I think someone correctly noted above, there are a lot of billets for nuke officers and they are hard to fill with qualified candidates). Others, they asked questions that required knowledge of differential equations and thermodynamics. What they really want to see is if you have the skills to pass nuke school, and the mindset to work very hard and very long hours running a reactor. For some people, even engineers, nuke school is the hardest thing they will ever do; for others, it's a joke - it just depends on the preparation you've had going in. Engineering curriculums that focus on a lot of theory seem to be the best prep, but that's just my conjecture.
    6. Failing the interview generally means you're going to be reassigned as a conventional SWO - although the "penalty" seems to be that you drop down on the order of merit list for ship selection (if they get you realigned in time for that at all...), so you might be looking at a "leftover" selection (e.g., an amphib out of Norfolk - not that there's anything wrong with that - you're just not going to get a destroyer out of Pearl Harbor or Spain).

    It's important to note that the Navy operates about as many nuclear reactors as all of the commercial power plants in the United States combined. The reactors never shut down, whether you're at sea or in port, so nuke officers generally have the longest hours of anyone in the Navy - part of the reason they get paid more. In addition, a nuclear incident aboard a Navy ship or sub would be a catastrophe - there's nowhere to evacuate the crew, you can't hide from radiation, and no one would want that ship pulling into their port (and can you imagine Congress approving a new nuclear carrier because, gee, the last one melted down....?). As a result, the Navy can't afford to make any nuclear mistakes.

    With graduation coming in May, this is my swan song from the board. Special thanks to Kinnem for his many thoughtful posts over the past four plus years, as my son went College Program and through the sideload scholarship process.
     
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  19. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily Member

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    I have also heard of stories where midshipmen were "drafted" into nuke sub and "tried" to fail their interview because they didn't want to serve there, but yet were passed. Is this true or just a rumor?
     
  20. SpartanDM

    SpartanDM Member

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    When a MIDN does this it is no mystery to NR. The units of those MIDN are contacted and it does not go well for that MIDN. I am a 2/c studying mechanical engineering. I submitted my application last month (the earliest someone can apply for the interview is after the first semester junior year) and got a May interview. Also, CAPT Duncan from OD1 (nuclear accession) came to my unit last semester and I was able to have a one on one conversation about the interview. They can ask questions on any class you've taken, but from the five people whom I've talked to who have interviews over the past few years you will most likely get a question involving finding volume of an object using calculus, analyzing a circuit using calculus, and simple physics questions. I was advised as a ME student I will probably get a fluids type question.
     

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