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....
All electronics are not allowed in the boot camp side of the base.
However, if they stay at GL for "A" school, then you have give it to them. The only electronics that they usually allow the new sailors to keep while they remain at GL until their flight date is cell phones. However they must be turned in on the quarterdeck until they actually leave. They can't store any other electronic items (ie computers), only the cell phones.
where is he going to store those items while he is in "A" School? He will NOT have room for either of those items. Also if they move barracks (which they do A LOT) HE has to carry it by hand to the new place, which can be up to a 1/2 mile away.
If those items show up at his "A" School he will have to pay to ship them back home.
Jessica - A desktop CPU is really overkill in "A" school. If, for example, he goes to Corry Station (Pensacola), they have 3 people to a room. The room is really small. Below is the insides of the room at Corry Station.
Don't get sucked in on buying a laptop at the NEX "because they are tax free". Frankly, the NEX has one of the highest prices for computers. Yes, you can save tax, but that doesn't mean much when the same computer at Best Buy sell is for $100 cheaper than the NEX. Best Buy sell lots more computers and has the most recent models.
The problem with the NEX is they never stocks cheap computers (example Acer). What the NEX needs to do is buy cheap computers that have built in camera's so these new sailors don't go broke, and have a way to Skype. They say most laptops only last 1 1/2 years (average), so if your not a gamer, and need only something to check emails, and to Skype with, then buy the cheap $319 laptop with a built in camera (probably Acer or Dell).
As far as the NEX price matching, you need to watch out for that. I purchased a Sony 48 inch HDTV, part of the deal from Ultimate Electronics was they gave you a free Sony Playstation 3, both for $899, and a free HDTV cable ($29). I went to the AFFES exchange (Army & Air Force) to ask if they could price match. Yes, they would price match the same HDTV model, which they had for $200 more, but they could not match the free Playstation or cable. So, it was a no brainer, pay the tax on $899 and get a Playstation (Valued at $299) and cable (Value at $29), or pay $899 with no tax (value $62) and get just the HDTV. So price matching truly isn't price matching. What you pay for, and what you get when you walk out the door is the thing to compare.
Again, if a sailor wants to buy something, they truly need they to look around and price match. They shouldn't buy something just because their stuck on base and that's the only thing the NEX has. Remember too, its really hard to price match because the NEX can't keep up with the local computer stores (Best buy, Ultimate Electronic..etc) who have the newest models of the computers. The NEX usually has at least 6 month old models and to price match you must have the same model number which are long gone from the local computer stores (ie obsolete).
The bottom line, the sailor needs to know what his "needs" are, and not just the "wants". They need to check what the bottom line will cost with all the rebates and bonuses that might be offered
JessicaB, I would guess you boyfriend heard what he wanted to. I would guess it went like this:
What was said:
BF "can I have a TV and computer at "A" School"
Recruiter " you should be able to"
What was heard:
BF heard...Of course you can bring your big a@#$ TV And desk top computer.