My name is Cynthia and I have an 18 year old son, Adam. Adam is interested in joining the Navy. I was wondering if you guys can give me some advice. Is it better to go to college first and join as an officer or just enlist now and get education while on active duty? I was told by someone who has a brother in the Navy that going into the Navy as a private is terrible and they get no respect and are not treated well. I was told it would be hard to move up in ranking ect. I was also told not to trust what the recruiters tell us. I don't know what to believe anymore so.. I am coming to the experts..MOMS!!!
Any advice will be appreciated.
Private??? I think you mean Seaman..which is the lowest in the USN.
Even new Officers are treated with little respect as they still need to learn the ropes of what to do and what not to do. Do you realy think that everyone will respect a new officer that just got out of college and just walked onto the ship? The answer is no...they salute the unifrom not the person. What that means is that most new Officers "Think" they know everything...much like that new Seaman that just finished bootcamp. Neither have a lick of real knowledge about what realy goes on in the USN, both have to earn the respect of others...both get trained by the Chief.
Difference is Officers get paid more...but they normally have lots of debt from the colleges they went to. Enlisted have little to no debt as they are still young and most haven't gone to college.
Both Officer and Enlisted move up 3 paygrades for free...meaning they just do their time at the paygrade before and than they move up to the next..once they try to get to that 4th paygrade...than they both can have issues moving up. NO one can say what is going to happen in the next few years. Right now the USN is overmanned! Both Officers and Enlisted are being seperated for almost anything. Either can be kicked out also for different reasons.
What does your son want to do???? Does he want to be Enlisted or Officer? NOT what YOU want him to do...what does he say?
My son had his PIR on good Friday. He turned 29 while in boot camp and had a college degree. Because he had finished college he went in as an E3. Personally, I'm glad he was older, had a degree, and some life experience behind him. I think it would have been more difficult for him to have gone in at 18 and tried to work on his degree while on active duty. These are just my thoughts on it. Everyones situation is different. I will tell you that he owes quite a bit yet in school loans so that is something to consider, although the Navy is paying off some of it. As far as not trusting the recruiters, just make sure you get everything in writing.
Lady Hamilton, from your response I feel you are emplying by son is a loser. I don't see him that way. I was proud the day he graduated from college, I'm proud of the fact that for the last four years he has been helping physically and mentally challenged adults have as independent lives as possible, and I was proud the day of his PIR. I have no problems with people entering the Navy out of high school. I was just trying to explain how it worked out for my son and the pros and cons.
I have a great deal of respect for people who go into the service no matter what age they are.
I would also like to say thank you for your daughters service. She has certainly been very successful! You have a right to be very proud of her.
I am a real believer in going to college right out of high school. There is nothing like experiencing the college scene as an eighteen year old. I loved it. My husband loved it. Our older son loved it. Our younger more or less loved it. You really can't put a dollar tag on it. Of course, much depends on the financial situation of each family because sending a child to college is expensive and more expensive today than 5, 10 years ago. Circumstances change.
As far as dollars and cents go, I know several young whipper snapper who dropped out of college and they make more money than any of our kids (or the total sum of any number of our kids) will ever make. I have also encounter a number of "stars" from high school who have flamed out.
It's difficult to assess in high school what would be the better path. The military track has worked out great for Lady Hamilton's daughter - that is a wonderful indication that the Navy could be a fantastic solution for the right individual. I also know of individuals who joined the Navy right out of high school and hate it. They would have been better off, living at home, going to a community college for awhile - they really were not ready to be part of a large organization - they needed more time to meander along at a different pace.
We do have many Navy recruits who joined because after 5-10 years of college and/or work have decided that a career in the military has lots of advantages. Often joining at an older age makes the recruit appreciate the opportunity more. I am in support of any individual who sincerely wants to serve our country at any age.
My son (an nuke officer for 5 years) is very, very smart (with many academic and athletic awards in high school, college and in the Navy). He freely admits that he has encountered a number of enlisted nukes who are innately more intelligent that he is but for whatever reason simply didn't go to college. He suggested to them to go back to school, get their degrees, become officers w/o too much success - it's too difficult for some to make it work within the enlisted career path (particularly for those in the sub service). Some like the idea of going to school to learn more but have no desire to be officers. Clearly, potential earning level for an enlisted person will never be higher than the level for an officer.
shermb, I would suggest that your son as soon as he can (if he is interested), because he has a college degree, apply for the Officer Candidate School program. Good luck to him.
She may decide after getting her degree to apply to the OCS program. On a sub, only commissioned officers can be XOs or COs. Regardless, it's no easy task to become a CWO - the process is more rigorous than ever. The Navy is turning down smart college grads everyday because their educational training is NOT what the Navy needs.
Members ask questions forgetting that it's not what their sons/daughters want from the Navy that matters but whether their sons/daughters have any capabilities that the Navy needs.
Does this sound harsh? Yes, very. But it is the fact of life trying to make being a part of the Navy a career path. The days of oh, you can't think of anything to do, go join the Navy and see the world are long, long gone.
For those who are curious, here is some info on CWOs & LDOs
If a family can swing the college expense, I would recommend sending the kid to college for a year or two, provided they have fun but work hard as well (maintained a certain grade point , no DUIs, no drug scene, don't get pregnant, etc. etc). At the two year mark, I would reevaluated whether continuing the college path - w or w/o NROTC (or other program) - or continue w college, complete the degree than decide if OCS or enlisted is the choice (this as I said in my last comment depends on what the degree is in).
On a funny note, there were two prior enlisted candidates in my son's OCS class that really really impressive (I met them both). One was a SEAL (no other words necessary) and the other a Mexican woman in her late 20s, husband an enlisted sailor, a mother w 2 kids. She was not that tall but well-muscled. She was one tough cookie. My son said she had no problem carrying a 230 lb sailor on her back at a drop of a hat. There was one enlisted guy who had a real hard time, academically and emotionally (going thru marital difficulties). But he made it thru w the help of the other candidates.
Whatever path the individual decides - it's never forever - you can change. Opportunities will come up. My sailor was a college grad, who was commissioned. My younger son attended West Point for two years - he too would have been commissioned had he stayed. They both feel that officers in general would be better if they all served as enlisted personnel for at least two years prior to being commissioned.
I went into the Navy as enlisted, because I wanted to learn a rate and work with my hands. I was not interested in being an officer, as they have a more supervisory role. Respect is earned, not given. As Angie said, junior officers are being saluted because they have to be.
Nothing wrong with being enlisted, yes, you get to do some crap work such as cleaning and boring watches, but so what? That someone with a brother in the Navy? Haven't served, have they? Makes a huge difference in how a person feels about being officer or enlisted. Civilian perception tends to think "Officer and a Gentleman" and all that fairytale crappola.
I knew plenty of enlisted sailors who had degrees. They simply did not find being an officer appealing, money or not. I had a couple years of college and chose enlisted. Again, as Angie said, what does your son want to do?
All that and I've always thought that the enlisted guys enjoy MUCH better liberty.
My son went in on Jan. 9, 2012. He went in without a college degree and without a military background. He loves what he is doing and gets to go to college on the Navy's dime. As a single mom, I applaud his decision. I wouldn't have him do it any other way! :) Good luck.
Ok now I will add to what all these ladies have said neither of mine went to college before joining both went in after graduation my oldest retired after 21 1/2 yrs in Spec warfare he was a SWCC he was able to get his associate degree. My youngest went in right out of HS has spent 24yrs doing what he loves he now has his bachlors degree and moved up the ranks and is a chief warrant officer. The Navy is what your son will make of it. He does his best and works hard anything can happen for him. Respect is earned and it doesnt stop with the just the Navy that is in civilian life too. He earns it he will get it.
If he's a midshipman or ROTC, he'll have plenty of opportunities to receive little respect.
In regard to surface officers....
When he finally reports to his first command as a junior officer, he'll be guided and taught by a Chief Petty Officer. On occasion, he'll really p!ss that Chief off and somewhere hidden from public view, that Chiefs cap will come off. Somewhere in between the administrative crap and earning his SWO pin, he'll actually get to be a Sailor.
Elsewhere on the ship enlisted personnel will be operating and maintaining every shipboard system. They will be the experts. They are the ones that fight the ship. When the Stark was hit by a missile in the 80's, shipboard communications went down. The Skipper (the most senior officer) had a difficult time communicating with the crew. It didn't matter. The crew kicked in and kept that ship from going to the bottom of the drink.
In regard to nukes, pilots and special warfare officers....
Don't know much about them, but they seem to be much more hands on. They also must complete higher training standards and tend to be a bit more integrated into the daily operational aspect.
Simply put, the American military has a different tradition than many others. Respect is literally delivered both ways. Junior Officers that get a chip on their shoulders tend to get that chip knocked off or end up having short careers.
If your motivation to be an officer is to have minions kowtow to your every whim, you will be sorely disappointed. American enlisted personnel have never done that. In fact, European observers of the first American army under Washington remarked that while they would stand tall when the General approached, they were amazed that these men dared look the General in the eye and would frequently salute with a nod.
If your goal is to be the guy that helps lead a great team to success, being an officer is a pretty good gig. Guys like me who have had the privilege to serve under such officers, would have gladly followed them to hell and back.
I waited a while, but I'll throw my 2 cents in now.
First off, if your son (or you) is worried he will get treated with no respect through Boot Camp, and this concerns you greatly, then the military may not be right for your son. Yes, the military strategy is to break down the recruit, then rebuild them and yes, this means they will be treated harshly. Your son needs to be the type that understands this sort of treatment and can deal with it. Whether he goes to Boot Camp or OTS, he will get disrespected at times.
As to the better route, I'd say this depends more on your son. Is he a leader type or better at taking orders?
I would also say it is dependent on your financial situation, and what sort of degree your son would be interested in attaining?
IF your son went to college first, would his field of study be something that would benefit the Navy?
From what I understand, it's a very tough program to go through STA-21, however, if your son is highly motivated, it obviously can be done.
FWIW, I wanted my son to go to college first, then join the military if still interested, but this wasn't his desire. However, while on DEP for a year, he did attend college and earned enough credits to go in as an E-2. Since then, his current training is giving him enough credits to qualify for his associates degree, so he is well on his way.
Also, his moving up in rank varies greatly based on the rating he qualifies for. Some ratings will move you up much quicker than others. I'd suggest doing some reading on the topic.