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....
Craig - do they supply them with an iron and ironing board or is that something that has to be bought?
I totally agree with Angie. Material things really don't mean much. What matters is if you ladies can make it to PIR. Showing up means a heck of alot to your sailor. Yea, a laptop would be cool, but why spend a life savings? Buy a cheap one, if needed. There is a big difference between a $300 Acer or Dell, compared to a HP or Compac $800 one. The reason I made this post is to give you guys some ideas of really good stuff for less than $20.
LittleAngle - Boot camp plays by a different set of rules than the real Navy. The necklace that you plan on giving him can be worn while in uniform once he leave boot camp. However, some command (rarely) will not allow them. If they work of electronics or around electricity you don't want to wear one because it could fall into the equipment an kill you. I haven't worn my wedding ring for 30 years because I sometimes work around 30,000 volt electrical equipment. My life is worth alot more than a piece of jewely. But it depends on what your sailor rating is.
Here is the offical rule about necklaces:
d. Necklaces/Choker. While in uniform, only one necklace may be worn and it shall not be visible.
btw: I would explain to him what your saying, "He who holds the key can unlock my heart", really means. What it really means is that it actually is the key to your chastity belt, and if he wants any action he needs to be wearing it.
Sharon - What is really funny is they have tables in the barracks that they are not allowed to sit at. They haven't earned the right to sit at them, and they might try it once, but they will never do it again... Heck they have trash cans that are perfectly polished that never has a piece of trash in them. They just haven't earned the rights.
Here is a propaganda photo showing the recuits sitting at those tables. Yea, it only happens in the movies....
Craig or Angie - My daughter isn't into the game machines but loves to read...would she be allowed a Kindle at school? She is a Nuke and will be going to SC. I know she won't have much time to read with her studies but I thought it would be nice if she could in her spare time. Thanks for all your advice...you all are great!!!
I agree with Craig it is a good idea.
I have a Kindle and LOVE IT! I get tons of free books also from Amazon.com and my family always know what to get me as gifts, amazon gift cards, lol!
TL3Mom - Yes, a kindle would be good. She can't have it in school itself, but in the barracks if fine. She probably won't have that much time on it because Nuke school is really hard. But she needs to remember that she needs to recharge herself by having an outlet that is enjoyable to her. She need to keep motovated, which is really hard in Nuke school.
Nukes have the pride thing going on. Those that like it, like it. Those that don't, don't.
Just to give you some of my thoughts...
I'm a retired Navy guy. I went to my basic electronics class on the Nuke "A" school base in Orlando. My room mates were both Nukes. Yea, they were a weird breed, with the calculators hooked to their belts and constant studying.
But then I went to my ship. While most of us "normal" sailors (I was a CTM) were on liberty, drinking and chasing women, the Nukes were still on the ship doing their qualification and other stuff that Nukes do. In most of the ports, I was receiving maximum liberty, and could go on tours, while the Nuke stayed behind. Nukes were always the last ones to leave the ship, and the 1st ones that had to return because of their job.
For me, I joined the Navy to see the world (and to chase women), and I did. I had the best time ever. For the Nukes, these guys never saw much pleasure in their liberty time because they were putting in 14 hour days. They were just so tired to go out on liberty. However, these guys have great pride in their job!
If you like extremely hard work, little appreciation, long hours, and little liberty, then people go Nuke. But if you want to see the world, go on tours while in-port in different countries, and to go drinking and have a wild time, then go any rating except Nuke.
This is just my opinion, but I'm sure most of the Nukes would agree.
That is what I have heard...long hours and not a whole lot of free time. I worry about my daughter going Nuke as she is the little social bug...I shouldn't say little cause she is over 6 foot...lol.
However, when she joined that was what she said...mom, I want to see the world! I thought that was awesome! But then the head recruiter wanted her to test again and she did...she scored PRETTY HIGH!! He told her that she should think about becoming a Nuke that it is a prestigous job especially for a woman. Well it scares me!! I want her to enjoy her life as well as being good at what she does. I think she will do excellent but I'm afraid of her liking it. I guess time will tell.
I really appreciate your insights on all of this!! And thanks to both of you...Craig & Angie about the Kindle.
katie - If the chastity belt were to be a gift, then you know the guy would take an online locksmith school. Heck, I'd have that lock picked in no time.
Frankly, if I was a wife or GF I'd buy a set of these on ebay. Since an Master Chief (E9) outranks the normal Seaman (E1-E3) from bootcamp, then the guy would have to salute the gal. Beleive me, after 8 weeks in boot camp, the guy will be standing at attention and saluting! (if you know what I mean).
I have found a couple of coins on that site that I do like.
One with his Rate.
One that says "Fair Winds and Following Seas."
One that lists the Core Values...really liking the look of that one.
The Sailor's Creed.
And the one that is for Great Lakes...
Hmm, now which one to get.
Might have to go with a laptop too. Either that, or he gets my pink Dell...