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17 year old son wants me to sign for him to enlist now

My son is 17 and just finshing his junior year of high school.  His recruiter told him the earlier he signs, the better chance he has to get the job he wants.  Is this true?  Also, wondering what happens if we sign now and in the next year he would change his mind.

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Yes, it is true.  The Navy is overmanned and there is quite a wait for good rates (jobs).  If he changes his mind, he can drop, although he cannot decide to joi again until after a one year waiting period.

Tell us something about your experience with waiting as a Depper. As a mom with two sons, ages 22 & 26 I would like to offer the following advice:

  1. If it is too good to be true, most likely it's not true. Someone is trying to scam somebody. Some people always think there is a sucker borne every minute.
  2. Read the fine print. My sailor in his early college years got solicited by a company offering a fantastic sounding program to train college students to run their own painting company. I asked for a copy of the contract and read the fine print. HA. By signing the contract, my son would have been obligated to purchase about $10,000 worth of equipment/supplies over a period of two (maybe it was three) years using a credit card. Of course, a student would have no way of paying off the balance immediately - thus a wonderful return based on exorbitant interest rates for the credit card co. Or parents would have had to step in and pay for the $10,000 worth of substandard equipment just to bail out their son and save his credit. 
  3. Don't be too proud to ask for help or a second opinion. Most of us have lived 20 to 40 years longer than you have - we like to think we have learned something along the way. There is no reason for your to re-invent the wheel. I know you want to make your own mistakes. I hear that from both my sons every time I talked to one of them but seriously, say something if you don't understand. Ask and ask again until you get it. I have a sister - at 70 years old, she is starting a PhD program in computer engineering. Her philosophy is, "So what if someone laughs at my ignorance. I won't be ignorant the second time around."  Use our knowledge base - it's free.
  4. If it doesn't feel right, stop - do not proceed. This applies whether it's about making a big purchase, joining the Navy or getting involve with a girl. Trust your instincts.
  5. Learn about money management early. Know how interest is calculated on a credit card. Know about when payment is due. Know how to balance a checkbook. Know the difference between a credit and debit card.
  6. If you don't have to have it - don't buy it. Many sailor buy fancy cars with loans early on. I believe this is a big mistake - you'll be saddled with 300-400 dollars of monthly payment for a vehicle you wouldn't use that much. This applies to electronic equipment/toys as well.
  7. Maintain your stuff. Keep your possessions in good condition. Everything will last longer. Keep instruction booklets/manuals in a file. Keep accessories with each piece of equipment in separate plastic bags and label.
  8. Develop a system of organizing - I am sure you will be taught a whole lot of stuff by the Navy. It will come in pretty handy as you get older and progress in your career.
  9. IF YOU SCREW UP, DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP TOO MUCH. You are young. Sometimes, even if you try hard, you may just miss the mark. This is OK. It's important not to let a mistake prevent you from keep on trying.
  10. STAY AWAY FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT GOOD FOR YOU - family members, other adults and women. Learn to keep them all at a distance. You may encounter a few who will kiss up to you, especially after you start making some money. Remember who your real friends are.
  11. THERE ARE IRREVERSIBLE CONSEQUENCES. The Navy is serious about drugs, duis, going awol, physically striking someone, sexual harassment. You'll get a lot of info about this. Take it seriously. Know your boundaries. 
I wish you all the best with your Navy career. You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders.

Ask your recruiter to have you recite the Sailor;s Creed, or the General Orders, while doing PT.  Out of order.  Get yelled at while you're doing it.  That's more like the way it happens during boot camp.


Spot on advice about managing your life, Bee!  


While everyone is giving advice: get a passport.  No, it is not necessary in the Navy for the most part, but if you come up against a situation where you need one, it will be essential.   (in a foreign port and you need to go home on emergency leave for example, and cannot get military transport right away)


Get a POA and Living Will/HIPPA release for your parent.  Just to cover bases, because if you get sick or hurt, the Navy won't contact your parent unless you have given instructions for them to handle things.


Pack a sense of humor.  Boot camp gets weird and you'd better be able to roll with the tide with a smile on your face.  

LOL.  Don't sweat it, do what you can when you can.  I had a week of DEP (in the Dark Ages) and I wasn't very fit, I made it through.

my son was a depper in Queens NY They would do pt at the recruitment center and run on the streets. Dont know why they dont do that.


So, if I understand you correctly, you enlisted and still did not go to boot camp?  My son is thinking he'll go to boot camp right after he graduates next June.  He was told he has to wait for the high school class of 2011 to graduate before he can go in and sign.  He's counting down the days!  What is the Delayed Entry Program?
Thank you so much for the information!  This is very new to me.  Best Wish to you as you start your Navy career!


How is it going? Please drop in and tell us your progress.

Your son is 100 percent correct, the sooner they sign the more jobs there are available. If he changes his mind it is called FTO of failure to obligate. I was told if they do this they cannot re-enlist. 

My daughter joined almost a year ago her ship date is August 15. They go to meetings during this time which is very helpful they will meet new people and become more excited about the journey they are on.

If you sign for him now you are giving him a great start to his future, if he waits until he is 18 he may not get the job he wants.

Its the best thing that you can do for him if this is what he wants.



This same situation happened to me. My son knew at the age of 17 he wanted to join the delayed entry program. I went with him to the recruiting station and listened to the recruiter and what the Navy had to offer. My decision was if my son wanted to join the Navy he should atleast be old enough to sign himself in. The Recruiter was alittle confused with my decision, saying the Navy was a great career for my son. I didn't disagree with him joining the Navy, I disagreed with me signing him in. I talked with my older son and he agreed with me. My son would be turning 18 soon and if he wanted to commit atleast 6 years of his life to the navy it should be his signature on that contract and not his mom. My son defended my decision to his recruiter and said he understood why I didn't want to be the one to sign him in. I am happy to say I am the PROUD Mom of a US Navy Sailor. My son graduated boot camp May 20, 2011 and is in Pre-Buds school. I am proud of the decision HE made for his future. He told me I did the right thing in not signing because his future career was decided by him as a man and not his mom. Hope this helps you and your son. At 18 he may not get the job he wants and he also may not want to be in the Navy. His decision.


Thank you , CJMC.  I was thinking I was going to be the only dissenting opinion.  My son is 18 and is a wonderful young man with many fine qualities but self-direction and focus are not among them.  I think the Navy is a great choice for him.  But it has to be 100% his choice.  And he has to be old enough to make that choice independently.  Maybe I shouldn't think this way but I know that if my signature made him a sailor and he was unhappy, or God forbid, got hurt, I would never forgive myself.  I hope it's not wrong to say that here where we all try to stay positive and upbeat.  I'm not saying that I think that others should not sign for their 17 year olds.  I don't mean that at all.  I think it's a very personal decision.  I'm just saying I couldn't do it.  Maybe I'm just weak.

Pssst - Your son is actually is a great position right now.  The Navy has a weird rule about high school juniors.  He is one of the few that can actually stay in dep for 455 days (15 months).  Most deppers are only allowed 365 days (1 year).  So he can actually see ratings that are way in the future, unlike most that must pick immediately. 


So lets say they (the Navy) releases the quotas for one year from now earily.  Well he's 1st in line.  All the others wouldn't qualify.  The only ones that would,  would be the deppers that just joined 1 month prior.  Why? Because if it were 2 months prior then they would exceed the 365 day limit, thus they can't qualify. 


Man, I know this doesn't make sense to you, heck, it doesn't make sense to me when I read what I wrote.  But I understand it, and let me say, your son is in a great position as long as he join either before July 31st. 

 (note: The rule below say high school seniors, which means high school juniors that are about to be seniors.  Not seniors that have graduated)....  Man is this some sort of a puzzle?  It seems like in huh?


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