America’s Navy – Why I Joined & You Should Too

Joining the U.S Navy

U.S. Navy Sailors aboard an aircraft carrier.

I first decided that I wanted to enlist in the Navy when I was 17-years-old. The summer after I graduated from Carlisle High School, I went to speak with a recruiter. One of my best friends had already enlisted and was set to ship out once fall rolled around. He came along with me. I knew after speaking with the recruiter that the Navy was something I wanted to pursue, but I also knew I needed and wanted to go to college first. Also, if you know my mom, college wasn’t optional.

So I went to college. I attended Wartburg College for my first semester freshman year before transferring to Drake University in the spring of 2018. Now, I’m set to graduate in a few weeks in December of 2020. I made the decision to finally enlist back in March 2020, right at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m hoping to pursue a job with the Navy in the Intelligence Community.

Delayed Entry Program

A really cool part about the Navy is the Delayed Entry Program, otherwise known as DEP. Typically, a recruit has months before they leave for basic training. The recruit has to qualify medically, legally, academically, and pass a security clearance check while they wait for their ship date. While in DEP, Future Sailors are encouraged to join in activities at their recruiting office, including meetings and classes.

Recruits may decide on DEP so they can prepare to meet the height and weight standards or graduate from high school (or college, like myself). I enlisted and joined DEP early on so that I could train and prepare while finishing my last semester of college, as well as being able to get the job I wanted.

Sea to Stars – Mission of the Navy

To recruit, train, equip, and organize to deliver combat ready Naval forces to win conflicts and wars while maintaining security and deterrence through sustained forward presence.

Enlisted recruits attend Boot Camp at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Illinois for a 7-9 week program that prepares them to serve in the Fleet.

Navy Bootcamp

  • Classes such as:
    • Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)
    • U.S. Navy Ships and Aircraft
    • Uniforms and Grooming
    • Naval History
    • Anti-Terrorism / Force Protection
    • Military Customs and Courtesies
  • Technical Training:
    • Basic Seamanship
    • Firefighting
    • Water Survival
    • Weapons Training
  • Physical Training
    • One-hour daily workouts, six days a week

Additionally, the training reinforces the Navy Core Values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. In a nutshell, Enlisted Sailors make up the general workforce of the Navy and Navy Reserve. They hold hundreds of positions in dozens of different career and job areas, from cryptology to construction, nuclear operations to special operations. These servicemembers tend to be highly specialized and perform functions that are typically very hands-on.

Officer recruits attend either Officer Candidate School (OCS) or Officer Development School (ODS), which lasts anywhere from 5-13 weeks. Once there, recruits will be instructed in leadership, academics, etiquette, physical and military training, plus subjects depending on the career track.

Why I Joined

For me personally, I joined the Navy because I’ve always wanted to serve my country. I’d decided very early on that the Navy was something I wanted to do. But moving throughout college really showed me how it could be a pathway to the future career that I want. My dream job someday would be to work for the FBI as a Special Agent. By pursuing a job in the intelligence community, the Navy will give me the training and clearances I need to become a strong applicant for the FBI. On top of that, once I have my Bachelor’s degree in a few weeks I can apply to be an Officer in the future.

As I’m sure many high school graduates can relate to, going from playing multiple sports to none after high school can be a bit jolting. While I played one year of college soccer and then recreationally after that, I have definitely been missing a “team.” And I know that the Navy is something that can provide me with that.

Currently, I’m set to ship out on Jan. 4th, 2021 as an IS NAT. Very excited for what the future holds. Hooyah!

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