Base and boat assignment

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by jiller59, Apr 27, 2017.

  1. jiller59

    jiller59 5-Year Member

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    Let me know if I should post this on a different thread.

    DS excelled in his ROTC unit. He graduated form Nuke School with honors and is ahead of the curve at Prototype especially enjoying and doing well with watches. The pipeline is backed up, so he doesn't know when he will actually work on a reactor, perhaps in August and he still needs to get to SOBC.

    He found out his base and sub assignment this week and, frankly, I never saw this coming. He has been assigned to a sub that will decommission within a year of him joining the fleet. He has been told he will likely never deploy on his sub, but will be sent on "ride alongs" with other subs just to quickly get him qualified. He will not be part of the crew, and will have no practical, real life hands on experience while he qualifies. After he "qualifies" he will stand watch in the shipyard while the sub is dismantled. This could take the whole time of his "sea tour".

    If he should choose to "re up", he will be 2 to 3 years behind those he commissioned with and barely more experienced than the new officers.

    I don't even know what to say to him.

    Anyone have any words of wisdom or experience with this?
     
  2. Jcc123

    Jcc123 5-Year Member

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    I'm sorry your son is disappointed - I'm sure it's not how he envisioned his career beginning. I'm
    not familiar enough with the Navy to know if trading assignments is a possibility - you can do that in the Army. If possible, perhaps he can find someone who is not as enamored with sub life as your son, and would be happy to swap out for shore duty.

    If not, it's probably time to trot out the "service before self" speech. The process of decommissioning a sub is probably quite complex, and the people involved are every bit as deserving of smart, committed officers as the rest of the community.
    If your son views himself as too good for that assignment, he's doing the sailors under him a great disservice. It sounds like he'll been excellent officer. He'll find ways to distinguish himself and keep pace with his year group peers. He can probably knock out a master's degree during this time and even be ahead of them in that respect.

    Give him a little time to process the curveball, and let him know he's going to do a fantastic job wherever he lands. If he stays in past his initial obligation, there will be billets he loves and some that he's less thrilled with. It's the nature of the business, but he'll learn something from every one of them. Best of luck to you both!
     
  3. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    The over-riding fact of life here is needs of the Navy, something he has heard over his time in NROTC and with which he is now face to face.

    Subs in all stages of their lives need quality officers and crew. Decommissioning a ship is an arduous and complex process, capped by a ceremony that makes your eyes water.

    He will have to commit to making the best darn lemonade with his lemons. He will have a chance to get qualified and earn his gold dolphins, by whatever means - that's a goal. He will be a junior officer responsible for his enlisted personnel, made even more challenging by him having to be a good leader putting his best game face on for this type of duty, and never showing doubt or frustration to them, but confidence in them and their ability to get the job done well.

    He should look for every opportunity to stand out, on his boat and his ride-alongs. He should volunteer for the most hated collateral duties, fun stuff such as Command Urinalysis Officer. His CO, XO and DH should be heard to say "that Ensign Photon Torpedo is a real go-getter, always positive, doing great on his quals, his troops respect him, best of the current JO crop, let's send him to this special TAD with (something cool)." Trust me, his CO, CO and DH are not as thrilled either, but leadership in these situations is always the most challenging.

    Things happen too. The sub across the dock, getting ready to deploy, has a JO who just broke his leg, or who is being allowed to stay back from cruise because his wife is having a life-threatening pregnancy complication. The squadron decides to cross-deck the officer to a non-deployer so he can stay ashore, and plucks a lucky JO from your DS's decomming sub to fill the needed officer billet. Who do you want the CO and XO to immediately think of?

    As far as being behind, he no doubt has classmates at prototype who just spent two years at MIT or other grad school, two years in sub pipeline with him, so they are two years behind classmates going to their first boat. The Navy knows smart, motivated JOs can close the gap.

    During his time in the shipyard, he will no doubt meet EDOs, Engineering Duty Officer. He will learn about decomming a ship, and he may decide to think about a lateral transfer down the road, if he enjoys the engineering aspects.
    http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-n...taffcorps/engineering/Pages/EDAccessions.aspx

    Much can happen. He should focus on being present in the moment and being his best JO self and seeing how the path unfolds.
     
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  4. jiller59

    jiller59 5-Year Member

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    Thank you so much for the response.

    This is actually more about me trying to figure out how to react appropriately and positively. He did already tell me, though he is disappointed about the turn of events, that decommissioning a boat is complex and requires knowledgeable people. On the plus side, he said he'll go home and sleep in his own bed every night! He always has been good about processing disappointment and finding the silver lining.
     
  5. jiller59

    jiller59 5-Year Member

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    What an inspirational reply - thank you so much; I loved the whole message, but especially the two quotes above. I have NO experience in this...nor does DS, so it is difficult to see the possibilities, only the 180 degree turn from where we thought he was going.

    I am so happy I posted here this morning. My eyes are leaking.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017
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  6. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    I agree with Capt MJ 1,000,000%

    The fact is he can become a shining star. Think about it this way. His peers maybe in an operational position, but they too are just starting off. His experience will be different, but just as important and more unique.

    My DH (AF) as an O2 during the 90s was at a base that was put on the BRAC. A very good friend was an O3, it was his 1st tour in the 111. Instead of converting him to the Strike, they kept them there to shut down the base as the Wing XO. Needless to say he was not a happy camper. Now fast forward 15 years. He retired as an O6. The job he did during that time made him outshine other peers.

    Your DS will have OPRs and PRFs in the future. Being an O2 in charge of decommissioning a sub will allow him to some powerful leadership bullets on those reviews.

    I would also say to him that it will give him a different insight into the military for when he does go into the operational world. He may view something from the process that his peers coming straight in would never think of due to his experience.

    My last piece of advice is from a spouse perspective. Every tour is only as good as you make it. Walk in with a negative opinion and people will know. Not only will the leadership feel it, but many times it moves over into the social aspect too. This becomes a downward spiral. Nobody wants to hang with the guy/gal that beaaaccchhhes non-stop. Nobody is going to ask them to come over for burgers and beers Sat. night, even though they invited several others. On Monday they than hear about some funny story where people were at and they had no invited, which creates even more resentment. I have seen this happen at every tour Bullet did.
     
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  7. jiller59

    jiller59 5-Year Member

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    These messages will really help me in conversations with DS. He is one to keep his feelings and emotions to himself except with me, so outward negativity will not be an issue - I am his sounding board and want to be able to see the bright side so I can offer encouragement. Since I have no experience to draw from, I came here and am glad I did. Fortunately, DS also is one to face his disappointments, find the good that can come from them and move on. He is coming home tonight for his four day break and I would like to be upbeat.

    Oh, and I can't believe I scored a reply from "THE PIMA"!! Thanks!
     
  8. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Hope you have some great quality time with your DS!
     
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  9. jiller59

    jiller59 5-Year Member

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    Thanks kinnem, we are really looking forward to the time together. Funny thing is we had already planned a family dinner with our daughter's family this weekend, to incorporate Easter and a couple of birthdays. Now DS will be there too! Of course I get to go to the airport at midnight to pick him up. Mother-son bonding time :wiggle:
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017
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  10. BTCS/USN

    BTCS/USN Member

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    No leadership opportunities? Keeping track of bubble.....er excuse me, enlisted submariners loose on the beach........er, excuse me again, on land during decom will be like herding cats. He'll be light years ahead of any competition by the time that tour ends. :bang:
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2017
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  11. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    So true!