I have read though several of these posts and was directed here by one of my junior Sailors. I am a Chief (seems to be a bad word on most of this) and have been in for 10 years currently working at Naval Nuclear Power Training Command and about to be transfered back to sea. I am a father and have 3 children of my own with the 4th on the way. I have been responsible for personally interacting and training over 500 Sailors over the last 3 years. I would like to assure you of some things.
Your children are well watched over and taken care of. Every training command has an Indoctrination program. When they first arrive they are briefed, given a room to live in, told where to get food to eat, talked to about the command and its policies and shown where to be when. Then they go though about a week of specialized training that explains to them some stuff about the Navy and command policies, general life skills (money management, car buying, suicide awareness, sexual responsibility, etc), military requirements, their responsibilities and the expectations of them. They will also discuss the numerous programs that the Navy has available to assist them with their needs (Chaplains, Counselors (personal and financial), Morale and welfare programs, things to do in the community, medical facilities, etc).
From here they will be classed up and will be assigned a Section Advisor who will always have gone through the same program that your Sailor is now going through and will be screened (requires good evaluations, no major military deficiencies in the past 3 years and have a specific recommendation from their last command) and qualified to be there. These Advisors will act as a supervisor, minor counselor, contact point, reference, teacher and any other role that needs to be filled.
When they have completed their training they will be sent to the fleet (before that they receive training and briefings on how to do the transfer, be given money to help them complete the transfer, told what to do for living accommodations on the way there and the arrival and advice on how to get there safely). Once they arrive on their ship they will meet their assigned sponsor (a senior person to be responsible for them and help them get acclimatized to Navy life onboard a ship). They will also have a division Leading Petty Officer, Chief and Officer as their chain of command and new line of assistance with problems.
For the spouses of our military member's we provide a point of contact at every command that is called the ombudsman. Who act as contact between the spouse community and the Command. This is normally the done by one of the wives of a senior Sailor.
I understand where your concerns and fears are coming from. With the way the news media reacts to the military and the negative reputation that the military has from a few decades ago. When you hear from your children, please take into consideration that you are a safe place to vent about all the bad things that are going on to relieve stress. Not to say that everything isn't bad or isn't as your children are portraying it, but that you are who they are going to for a safe place to complain. Please encourage them to get the assistance they need from Navy programs and their advisors and command.
Just to defend us Chiefs. Most of us view your children as our children. We have been where your children now are and do our best to understand them. We want them to be the best they can be and we want them to grow. However, just as you had to discipline them (even though you hated to do so) when they did something wrong, so do we. Chiefs exist to take care of the Sailors, to train Sailors and Junior Officers and to make the ship (and Navy) run. However we are just people and have all the flaws that normal people have. The goal is that the Chief's Mess (the combined group of Chiefs assigned to a command) can make up for any individual's weakness and can take care of all needs of the command as a group.
I would like to personally thank you for the care that you have for your children. Thank you for your support of them. Thank you for the job you did raising them. I have the privilege of serving with them and I can honestly say that they are truly an excellent group that are some of the Best in America. I am proud to serve with them.
Please keep supporting them and praying for them.