Which way to go [Archive] - Glock Talk


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06-30-2010, 20:58
I'm 25 and going to school part time working on a BS in electrical engineering. After graduation my goal is to get commissioned as an officer and work on nuclear reactors. I'm an electrician by trade and have general construction experience as well as experience working with some heavy equipment.

In the years while I'm working on my degree I am thinking about joining the Navy Reserve. Of course with my construction experience I am looking heavily into the Seabees. Are there any other ratings that would help me out in my goal to work on the nukes that I am overlooking? From what I can tell the reserves don't have any part of the nuke program.

When I am ready to go active duty after graduation, will my time in the reserves be looked at favorably or will that have no bearing whatsoever?

And also, I've read that with my college credit I would enlist at an E3. Is that correct and how does it impact the rest of my career?

07-01-2010, 11:24
Talk to the recruiters very carefully. It is often hard to go from reserves to active duty in the Navy. VERY hard. Hard to believe, but true. Also, you need to see what ratings are available. SeaBees almost always have undermanned ratings, but some rating may be closed (i.e., fully-manned). It seems to me you'd be a shoo-in for the SeaBees. As for nukes, the reserves, to my knowledge, do not support any of the nuke commands or programs. Now, there are many nuke sailors who get out of the Navy and join the reserves who are nuke sailors, but they don't usually 'stay' nuke, nor do they start off as nukes in the reserves. Part of the reason the reserves don't support a sailor going into the nuke program is because it is very competitive, very long, and has a very high attrition rate.

As for other ratings I would be very suprised if any recruiter steered you away from the SeaBees or any of the technical ratings. No offense to yeomen, but you have some very valuable skills and it would be a waste to have you be a yeoman (or a corpsman, or a MAA, whatever) when you could be an EO (equipment operator).

With regard to going in enlisted at a higher rate, you would likely go in as an E3, but there is no guarantee. It depends on what special 'programs' the USNR has at that time. There are programs that fall in and out of favor, and are open and closed based on manning levels and need.

If you join the reserves and get your degree, there is a very high liklihood that you can get your commission in the reserves, but very unlikely you can 'go active' once that happens (aside from being recalled to active duty for a specified period, usually one year). If you can wrangle going active from reserves, that time would count towards retirement based on a formula, and may make you a tad more competitive. BUT, like I have said, it is really hard to go active from reserves.

If I were you I would use your 'spare' time to study your a** off and get your GPA as high as possible, and go to OCS. Your background would make you a great fit for the civil engineer corps, but you'd have to have a VERY high GPA to be competitive for nukes.

Hope that helps. Feel free to ask me any questions.

07-02-2010, 09:29
I was a Navy nuke ET1(SS) for a number of years. There is absolutely nothing in the SeaBee rating that would in any way prepare you for the Nuclear Power Program. Take chuckman's advice and get the best GPA you can.

If you really want to "work on nuclear reactors" you'd be better off going enlisted. Navy officers don't really "work" on anything - they're supervisors and administrators. That's why I turned down a couple of chances to become one.

07-02-2010, 11:15
Thanks for the info, guys. I hate to bother you with all sorts of questions, but as you can imagine, most of the info on the web, aside from the pretty stuff the .gov tells you, is all teenagers wanting to know how to get free school from the reserves without having to be deployed. Do you guys know of any good resources so I can read more about what I'm actually getting myself into? I know the best answer is probably to go talk to a recruiter. I'll be doing that in a few days.

Chuck, I understand the difficulty of transferring from reserves to active. From what I gather it can be next to impossible in most cases. Does that difficulty hold true if you serve out your term with the reserves before becoming active duty?

07-02-2010, 12:21
Chuck, I understand the difficulty of transferring from reserves to active. From what I gather it can be next to impossible in most cases. Does that difficulty hold true if you serve out your term with the reserves before becoming active duty?

Have I seen it done? Yes. Is it easy? Hell no. It depends on the rating, your evals/performance, etc. Remember, the obligation is 8 years, and that can impact whether or not you'd be able to go AD. A recruiter will tell you that it can be done, but understand that he/she doesn't have a crystal ball to see what the needs of the Navy are in 8 years. It is a gamble.

I really think that patience is a virtue, and if your end-state is a commission, then work hard now and go to OCS. Or, if you want nuke, take the ASVAB (which you'll need to do either way), see if you qualify for nuke, and if you do, go active now. Like md2 said, the enlisted do all the 'work,' and as much as I pick on the nukes I know for being slide-rule-wearing geeks, they are some of the smartest people I have ever met. After a few years you can become an officer and a gentleman or become a warrant 'O', get out and make mega-bucks, or call it a career and retire as a master chief.

As for resources, go over to military.com and join the discussion forums, post there, too. There are several recruiters on that site as well as folks in the know regarding the latest programs and 'specials' the Navy is running.

08-30-2010, 13:57
Correct about officers being admin/supervisory. If you want to "work" on anything go enlisted.
Correct about nothing in Seabees geared toward Nuke-look at ET/nuke.
As far as going from Reserve to AD-can be very difficult.
I am an MA3, our rate is the second most deployed/mobilized rate in the Navy and about the only way for me to go on AD is to volunteer for MOB. A lot of this is because you have a contract to be a Reservist-mine is 8 years and came with a 20k bonus. If I was able to switch to AD, I would have to pay that bonus back-ridiculous!