- Jul 20, 2006
That is one awesome picture.
@OldRetSWO's post gives examples of the biggest difference between officer and enlisted.Within the major Naval Officer communities, generally the enlisted guys maintain and do some limited operations of the equipment but the officers use it or make the overall decisions with it.
Example: On my first ship, I was the Ordnance Officer who "owned" the ships gun and missile systems. Some of my guys maintained the ships gun systems and the ammunition. When it came to shooting the guns though, they turned the guns on and put them into "remote" and let the Gun Control Consoles in Combat Information Center actually aim and shoot. I was the guy running the Gun Control Consoles and I was the one who decided what to shoot at.
When it came to actually DRIVING the ship, doing manuevers, refueling at sea, etc. The Enlisted guys are physically on the wheel but it was the officers who directed where to steer, when to change speeds, etc.
Submarine Officers are doing the same kinds of things.
Aviators are the ones actually flying the planes and Helos. Capt MJ's husband would have hundreds of guys in his squadrons working on the planes but it was the Officers who actually flew and fought them.
I was waiting for this. It was only a matter of time
When I took my DD to the recruiting station, as she was about to get sworn in, a young man asked, is she going to boot camp, and the recruiter proudly replied, No, she’s going to the Naval Academy.So my son met with a recruiter to talk about options. It was very enlightening for me as a parent. Can't wait to talk to him regarding his view of the meeting.
One thing that came out very clear is a view that the officers don't DO much. Meaning that they are not involved in the activity. They are over seeing the activity. (Mechanic, Cyber, etc.) While I casually knew this it was really hammered home during the meeting.
What I guess I'm wondering and posting about...
Is this realistic or is it the view point of an enlisted recruiter that maybe doesn't get the nuances? If my son is anxious to get involved in Aerospace or Cyber or whatever. Is he going to lack the satisfaction because he is really just overseeing the "action" without the need to get involved? and lacking the options to train for the "trenches"? I assumed that Officers would be capable of filling the "trench" role but that isn't the feel I got today.
It almost sounded like they were discouraging the officer routes because my son wouldn't get much "training" on the technical aspects of the jobs and just on the management of the jobs. I know there has to be more nuance to it. But I'm having a hard time reconciling...
Can someone maybe give me another view point?
If they get accepted to the Naval Academy Prep School they have to enlist as reserve, but once their year is completed successfully they’re discharged.Enlisted recruiter gets no credits if your DS doesn’t “enlist” … zero credit if your son gets an Academy appointment or a National ROTC scholarship to become an officer …
Once again, you bring insightful, big picture-wisdom to the conversation. That is doing something too!Keep in mind the goal of an enlisted recruiter is to recruit quality candidates into the enlisted ranks, and they have quotas to meet, with lots of pressure. They will highlight and lowlight aspects of service to bring people in. That is their job.
It is, in reality, a powerful, interdependent team - officers creating strategy and tactics, setting priorities, allocating resources, solving problems, accountable and responsible for their people, their gear, their equipment, their mission accomplishment, as a leader running the big picture. The enlisted leaders who started out as hands-on people and still know their gear/systems/processes inside and out, serve a vital role in advising the officers on technical issues and overseeing the enlisted personnel, as well as subtly and not so subtly training that junior officer to be a respected and capable leader. The enlisted personnel are your hands-on technical experts who start out at low levels of expertise but progress through OJT and training to ever more complex skill levels.
Neither side can get the job done - accomplish the mission - without the other. In a command or unit or organization where there is mutual respect, two-way communications, shared commitment to the mission, appreciation for the skills, talents and responsibilities of the other, a healthy camaraderie, great things can be accomplished when the unit works seamlessly together, everyone knowing and performing their roles. There is absolutely nothing to compare to the pleasure of serving in a unit where the cohesion and respect are there. It starts with the responsibility of the leader to drive a culture of respect, commitment and performance, and model it themselves. That is “doing” something. It’s different from the “doing” that is more hands-on, not better or worse. Just different.
One is not better than the other. Woe betide the officer who considers him or herself better than their enlisted personnel because of more pay or advanced degrees or more responsibility. As junior enlisted grow more senior, they gain an appreciation of the burden of responsibility borne by the officers. Senior enlisted leaders have a foot in both worlds, at the pinnacle of their technical field but also play a broader role in guiding the organization.
There are also many opportunities to move from the enlisted path to officer via various programs. Research Seaman to Admiral STA-21.
Some officer specialties are more hands-on than others. Research is critical at this stage.
Best answerI have no military experience. I do have corporate experience, rising to upper management in the line function of a F200 company, as well as in smaller companies. My kids used to think I was the bomb. Until I told them that as a director and then a vice president, their dear old dad “did nothing.” As I explained to them, my team did all the work. My kids didn’t know what to think.
I guess if you consider setting goals, determining strategy, securing resources, making the toughest decisions, taking responsibility when things go wrong, coaching underlings, clearing the way for them to succeed, disciplining them when necessary…if you consider that “nothing,” then so be it. In some settings — namely the military and corporations — they call it leadership.