Have you thought of a graduation present for you freshly minted sailor? Having been doing this stuff so long, I wanted to give you a couple of idea. They are the CAC card reader, and a rating coin. Both are really good (and cheap) gifts.
The CAC card reader:
Let me explain it, so you'll understand it....
The Navy limits what civilians can see when they use the internet on the Navy website. They don't want everyone to know everything. So when active duty sailors want to look at future duty stations that are available, or a wide range of other things (ie their medical reconds, dental records, their personnel file, their PFA test scores, dream sheets, evaluations...etc) they can. All they do is hook up the CAC card reader to their personnel computer, insert their CAC (Common Access Card) which civilains call the ID card, Once the sailor inserts the CAC card, and their own password, then the server knows beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are talking to the active duty sailor.
Personnally, I believe a sailor without a CAC card reader is a fool. There is so much info they can find using it. A carpenter is useless without a hammer. A sailor is useless without a CAC card reader. It is an extremely powerful tool that most sailors fail to use. My nephew is already looking at possible duty stations, and he isn't even in "A" school yet. They cost ~$20. Very cheap. Make sure you don't but the ones at the NEX because they don't work because they don't have the software included. I bought one at the Microcenter and it worked perfectly. Personally, I like the one at the Micro Center since it can do 63 different things besides being a "Smart Card Reader", and because it's cheap. Unlike the NEX model, the Microcenter comes with the software and is totally "Plug-n-Play". It's a no brainer. I say this everytime, but I will say it again, your sailor will think it's a stupid gift. However, once they play with it, and see's how powerful it actually is and how he can search for things from the comfort of his own room, he will think it's the best thing since slided bread. Again, the power it has is awesome..
Some of your sailors will have really short "A" schools. One item in "A" school is your sailors fill out a dream sheet to put down places that they would like to go. These dream sheets stay in your record forever and when a new one is submitted, the old one just moves one sheet back in the main computer database. One thing is you don't want is to look like a fool and put in for some duty station that your rating will never go. Say you put in for Liberia Africa, the only rating that can go there is the Intelligence Specialist (IS) rating. So everytime your orders comes up, the detailer will get a laugh and wonder why a Machist Mate (MM) ever put in for something that couldn't have ever been possible. It doesn't look good, even if the sailor is fresh out of boot camp. It shows they didn't take the time to see what billets (places) that they could actually go. Yes, they can use the CAC card readers at their career counselors office but they have 50 others sailors waiting for the same computer. So just pay the measly $20 for the reader and do it from the comfort of your own barracks room.
Some will tell you, when they finally get to their final duty station their command might issue them one, but by then it's too late. To me, paying $20 for the possiblity of getting an awesome duty station is worth it. Heck my kid got 3 years of shore duty in Hawaii, but he knew how to play the game (and he has an awesome father ~ha)
If your sailors have problems loading them up (which they shouldn't). Here is an article that was in the Navy-Times. I guess this guy runs a help desk for those having trouble with their CAC card readers. My nephew said it was so easy to connect up, but what is easy for some, may be hard for others. It's funny, because the guys an Army guy, but I guess the Navy thought it was so good that they wrote about it....
Here's the article, and the website listed is www.militarycac.com
The second thing is a rating coin....
To me, this is an awesome thing too.
The coin is just a cool thing. My son actually gave me mine. And I totally love it. Sadly, but happily, I will be passing this coin along now to my nephew who just graduated bootcamp Sept 2nd, and will be attending CTT "A" school. Just to start a family tradition, I will be passing the coin onto him. He will be the "Keeper of the Coin" for the family now. I'm hoping he will pass it to the next CT in the family.
Most of you won't understand the joy it is seeing this coin being passed along, but as a sailor, I do....
It's cheap, and I think this one will mean the most personally. It will show that you took the time to learn about their rating, and that you totally back them. Have it engraved if possible.
Just a thought....
Great advise, but you and I both know 90% of new Sailors just go and get what ever...they don't pay attention the cost. LOL!
Angie - 1st off that just cracked me up with the "what was actually said, and what was heard"... Man that was funny!
Yea, I've seen it 1000 times, they will just buy whatever computer thinking they are saving money because it "tax free". I don't think I've ever bought a computer at the NEX, because usually they are old models, and are expensive. I'm just a cheap bastard, and I want whatever it is that will do the trick. I know laptops don't last long. Expecially in the military.
This is a good question and I would like to know too.
I am retired. But not really. Three months before I got out I was offered a job doing exactly the same job I was doing in the Navy by a government contractor. I work at my same desk, and work besides all the actived duty Navy sailors. I talk Navy 24x7 & I read every Navy message that comes out. The only main difference is I get paid a heck of alot more money and I don't have to put up with any of the b.s.
My son is an active duty sailor in Hawaii, and my nephew is active duty in "A" school. Because my son kept having his friends call me 24x7 asking me questions, I decided to open up a website (NavyDEP.com) that deals with deppers and newly minted sailors (sailors with less than 2 years in the Navy). This cut down the calls alot. Now they just ask their questions on the website, and I answer them as I have time.
The reason I'm with you guys is I had a member on my website that went to boot camp. She is unlike most of the sailors I have dealt because she is a green card holder and was very limited on what she could do. She has been at RTC for about 1 month longer than 99% of the recruits in this group because she had to attend the FAST program before she could start her actual boot camp training. So while most of the future sailors go there for 8 weeks, she will have 12 weeks. So I want her to remain motovated and have someone to mentor her. Remember, some cultures don't accept women working, let alone being in the Navy. They are disowned by their families. I have about 10 moms writing her to keep her going.
I know someone will ask "What is the FAST program". You can read about it here on page 16.
Sorry about the long post...
That is awesome! Don't you love being a Contracter? I worked for a while after I retired but had to Retire/Retire last year due to health issues. My husband is a retired Marine and is also a GS. He was offered a contracting job doing what he is doing now, but required him to relocate to the Beltway. We weighed the pros and cons and decided that we didn't want to live in Northern VA/DC so he stayed put and they upgraded his position 3 months later. So it worked out for the best.
Since I resigned last year I haven't kept up with all of the NAVADMINS, etc, until my daughter decided to enlist. Boy how things change in a short year. Continuation board for E5-E8's? Really? What is HYT for? Again, they have failed to notify me. lol
Have a great day.
sailorwife - Since most sailors do not actually earn their ratings until after "A" school, what I would have engraved is "As you begin your career know that we stand with you - PIR 7/1/11" or something like that (not sure if it will fit). Check around for the price for engraving. Some places are cheap, some aren't.
Sharon - Your son is a Information Systems Technician (IT). The Navy use to call them Radiomen (RM), but that all changed about 2000. Now they are IT's. Since your son will go to Corry Station for school, you may want to check out my group here at N4M. Even though we are Cryptologic (CT), we are on the same base. I actually made a slide show of pictures of Corry (barracks, chow hall, building, history) located at the top of the group.
Here is the link, http://www.navyformoms.com/group/ctratemoms
btw: Here is what his coin would look like:
My 2 cents is you all just going to PIR is gift enough. Not everyone can afford a material gift, please don't feel bad if you don't get one for your sailor. Take your camera and take LOTS of pictures, than KEEP them! Why do I say that, years from now your Sailor will really like those pictures.