"Navy life: it's not just a job, it's an adventure"; so says the U.S. Navy as it points out some of the reasons for this statement:
Serving in the Navy is an exciting challenge. It can take you all over the world and expose you to new people, new places, and a new life.
The navy is a good place to work. It has the finest ships and aircraft, the most sophisticated equipment.
Being an officer or an enlisted man or woman makes it possible to respond to the age-old call to "go down to the sea." It has caused men to sign up as sailors for generations.
As a member of the naval establishment, you are able to obtain some of the finest training and education for the job ahead.
Ability is the basis of advancement. Navy people are encouraged to use their ability to the fullest in order to get ahead.
In all fairness it should be noted that much of the above is true of the other services too.
Shipboard Life at Sea
Your typical day on shipboard will probably start at 6:00 A.M. You eat at 7:00 A.M., noon, and 5:00 P.M. These hours may be shifted somewhat depending on your schedule, since everyone cannot dine at the same time. At 8:00 A.M. you will attend the daily crew muster. Then you will work in four-hour periods. You may stand watch or perform whatever your specialized duty may be. Anticipate working as much as a twelve-hour day. In case of attack you have a special battle station to which you report. You have another post in the event of some other kind of an emergency.
When off duty, you may use the library, recreation and hobby rooms, and possibly see a movie every night. On Sunday you may want to attend a religious service. Remember that when at sea no alcoholic beverages are permitted, not even beer. What about your personal needs? On larger ships, you will find a tailor, a shoe repair shop, laundry, and ship stores which provide for all your wants. On many ships there are doctors and dentists to care for your health.
If you have sea duty, you do not spend all your time at sea. The ship has its own home port. It spends about six months a year in or near that port. The routine of being at sea is broken by frequent visits to other ports. Many of them are places you may always have wanted to see. As you travel, you are putting all your training and skills to the actual test. You are being given as much responsibility and challenge as you can handle.
At your shore station, you will live in traditional barracks. Or you may live in one of the new enlisted living quarters that resemble college dormitories. Depending on the size of your station, you will find recreational facilities. These may include recreation rooms with TV and stereo sets, pianos, and writing tables; a soda bar; a well-stocked library; and a Base Exchange store. First-run movies will probably be shown at discount prices.
Other leisure time activities might include participating in amateur theatricals, hobbies and crafts, playing cards, chess, or checkers. You may join a jazz band, shoot pool, and enjoy other activities. Most shore stations have enlisted clubs and lounges. There it is possible to relax, buy snacks, meet friends, and enjoy yourself. Every station is staffed with chaplains representing various faiths. You are encouraged to continue your religious activities while in the service.
Life in a Nuclear Submarine
The high-pitched Klaxon sounds twice. Immediately, you hear the warning over the loudspeakers: "Dive! Dive! Dive!"
Although the sleek black submarine is disappearing beneath the surface of the sea, you feel no sensation. Only the officer peering through the periscope and watching the waves closing over the boat is aware that the craft has begun its descent. In sixty seconds you have slipped down several hundred feet. Then the crew members at the controls send the sub forward, to cruise through the water at twenty miles an hour or better.
You are aboard a nuclear-powered attack submarine. It is one of some ninety in the navy's fleet. You know that it might be sixty to eighty days before you surface again. Meanwhile, you will be busy working your watch as a trained sonar technician in the cramped sonar area with its subdued blue lighting. Here you and others, wearing headphones sit, before computer screens and watch short twisting green lines and flashing orange numbers which tell you the sound frequencies coming from objects in the submarine's vicinity.
The sub's nose contains a large sonar (derived from the words sound, navigation, and ranging). Sonar takes sound readings of the surrounding ocean and feeds back what it hears to the sonar operators. Special computers also receive the sounds. They select those that are characteristic of machinery or other mechanical noises. Sensitive devices analyze these sounds. They match them against those known to be emitted by Soviet submarines. These sounds are stored in the computer's memory. Today most of the squiggles and other noises you see on your screen are caused by fish, shrimp, and other marine life.
At the conclusion of your watch you make your way to the enlisted personnel's mess area. There you can always obtain juices and ice cream. This is one of the few fairly open spaces in the sub. Its red vinyl booths and loud music create the illusion of a modern diner. Other recreational options include watching movies shown on videotape, listening to the stereo, and visiting the library. If you are eager for a little exercise, you might jog in place in the engine room (where the temperature may be a comfortable eighty-five degrees), or you might do chin-ups in one of the narrow passageways.
At bedtime you find an unoccupied bunk. There are only 94 bunks for 134 sailors. Hence no one has the luxury of a private bedroom. The long narrow bunks are built three high with only curtains for privacy. You must fit all of your personal effects and clothing into a single drawer.
Food is up to navy standard. Just before the sub leaves on its regular cruise, a ninety-day supply is stowed aboard. At first it is necessary to stack up cases in every nook and cranny. This assures that there are ample provisions for the busy cooks who prepare three hearty meals a day plus midnight rations.
You and your shipmates have no sense of claustrophobia or boredom while confined in the huge steel tube for weeks at a time. There is a strong sense of community and pride in the job and the ship. There is the satisfaction of knowing you are part of a team effort that is so vital to the nation's security.
Your attack submarine has one crew of officers and men who stay with the ship. As a rule, you remain at sea as long as the larger ballistic missile subs, but there the situation is different. Because of the strategic value of their weapons systems and longer patrols beneath the ocean's surface, the ballistic missile sub requires two separate crews, the blue and the gold. While one crew is ashore on leave and engaged in training, the other is aboard and on station. Some of these submarines are deployed from overseas sites, which is not true of attack subs. The crews must often be flown between their home port and the deployment site. Total time ashore between ballistic missile submarine patrols often amounts to eighty or ninety days.
The Flattop Miracle
Imagine an airport located near a large city. Ninety-five jet aircraft are based in its hangars and there are 5,700 employees including pilots and maintenance crews. In addition there are the control tower, repair shops, storage tanks for jet fuel, restaurants, a motel, recreational facilities, and storage space for all the food and other supplies.
Now place this airport on a ship at sea and you have an aircraft carrier. It is a tremendous vessel with its flat top or flight deck and aircraft hangars beneath it. This floating airport is complete in every way. It also stores ammunition and bombs needed for the aircraft as well as fuel required for the ship's engines if it is not nuclear powered. As one of the 5,700 people aboard this floating airport, you are living and working in what might be described as an almost unbelievable world apart.
CAREERS AS A NAVAL OFFICER
In "Navy, What's in It for You," career opportunities for naval officers are described in detail:
Navy officers are the leaders and managers of today's navy. The navy relies heavily on its officers. The corps of about 59,000 men and women supplies the necessary leadership at every level of operations and management. It also provides the professional, scientific, and technical skills demanded by the wide variety of occupations found at sea and ashore. Every leadership position in the civilian world-executive, managerial, professional, scientific, and technical-probably has a counterpart in the navy.
In general, naval officer occupations fall into one of two major categories: operations and management, which includes executive and managerial positions with the fleet and the shore establishment; or scientific and technical, which includes all areas of professional expertise recognized in civilian life, such as medicine, health care specialties, engineering, scientific research, law, and religion.
Navy officers must be college graduates. While those with technical majors are preferred, there are many opportunities for non-science majors. A system of regular job rotation and varied duty assignments, coupled with progressively advancing education and training, help ensure an officer's professional career development while in the navy.
There are two categories of naval occupations: operations and management, and scientific and technical. These are further divided into unrestricted line, restricted line, and staff corps.
Those who command the navy's operating forces that is, the ships, aircraft, submarines, operational fleets, and staffs-are the unrestricted line officers.
The men and women who perform specialized duties in technical fields such as cryptology, aeronautical engineering, oceanography and hydro-graphy, or ship engineering are known as restricted line officers.
Finally, the staff corps officers consist of those who have special responsibilities. They serve in such areas as supply, civil engineer, judge advocate general, medical, dental, or the chaplain corps.
Naval officers serve aboard aircraft carriers, cruisers, frigates, destroyers, and support ships. They also serve on attack and ballistic missile submarines. In modern aircraft they are navy pilots and flight officers. And they serve on the shore in naval air stations, shipyards, electronics and ordnance laboratories, nuclear plants, supply depots, schools, communication stations, and other facilities.
The navy places great reliance on its officers. The officers supply the leadership at every level of management and operations. The navy tries to match your personal needs and preferences with the needs of the service. It provides a system of job rotation which gives you varied duty assignments plus advanced education and training. Professional development patterns are outlined in the navy booklet "Officer Programs and Careers."
As the navy becomes a nuclear-powered service more nuclear-trained naval officers are required. This field presents unusual opportunities for those who can qualify. The goal of those who train for this specialty is supervisory responsibilities for the maintenance and operation of ship and submarine nuclear power plants.
There are several roads to becoming a naval officer: the United States Naval Academy, Naval ROTC, Officer Candidate School, or by direct commission if you are trained in a profession such as medicine, law, engineering, or science. See Chapter 9 for more information about these opportunities.
For all the facts about the navy, see your nearest recruiting officer, whose telephone and address is listed in your phone book under U.S. Government, or write to Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, (code 314), 801 N. Randolph Street, Arlington, VA 22203-1991. You may also telephone for information at (800) USA-NAVY.