Many of my posts so far have been primarily dedicated towards the achievement of weight loss. While that is one milestone in my desire to succeed, it is only a milestone. The second part of this blog will be about getting into the Navy Nuke program, which I am sure will be a hotter topic of discussion once I get closer to my target weight.
What is the Navy Nuke program?
The Navy Nuclear program is an intensive program that trains men and women to operate and maintain nuclear reactors on shore locations, Nimitz class aircraft carriers, and submarines. The standards for this program are high and require impressive ASVAB scores, an extended enlistment commitment, and an intense amount of academic training.
How can I qualify for the Navy Nuke program?
To qualify for the Navy Nuke program, you must meet the following requirements:
- Meet the following ASVAB requirements: VE+AR+MK+NAPT = 290 (with minimum 50 NAPT score) or AR+MK+EI+GS+NAPT = 290 (with minimum 50 NAPT score) or VE+AR+MK+MC = 252 (No NAPT required) or AR+MK+EI+GS = 252 (No NAPT required)
- Qualify for ‘Secret’ security clearance
- Must not reach 25th birthday when entering Active Duty (boot camp), however waivers can be granted on a case by case basis.
- Enlist for minimum of 6 years to account for the ~2 years of training required.
What are some of the perks of the Navy Nuke program?
The Navy Nuke program is offers some incentives for choosing this rate due to the difficulty it is to recruit qualified candidates and retain candidates who have fulfilled their 6 year enlistment obligation (those who leave the military after 6 years as a Nuke, usually go work in nuclear plants making $75k+ a year. See NukeWorker.com). Some of the incentives include:
- Enter the Navy as an E-3, with accelerated advancement to pay grade E-4 once personnel completes all advancement-in-rate requirements.
- A pretty decent size enlistment bonus, from 12-24k depending on needs of the Navy. This is split up to be dispersed to your account as you progress through the Nuke schools.
- A high re-enlistment bonus is usually offered as well.
What is the process for becoming a Navy Nuke?
Once you meet the requirements and you enlist, you will be given a date you will ship off to boot camp. Until that date arrives, you will be placed in the Delayed Entry Program (DEP). At this point, you follow the process just as any other sailor would. You go through the 8 weeks of boot camp in Great Lakes, Michigan just like all sailors. Once you are in boot camp, you will be assigned one of three ratings, based on the needs of the Navy at the time:
- Machinist’s Mate (MM)
- Electrician’s Mate (EM)
- Electronic’s Technican (ET)
Once you graduate from boot camp, based on the rating you are assigned, you will then go to “A” School with the rest of the personnel who were assigned as the same rate as you. MM A School lasts 3 months, while ET and EM last 6 months.
After you completed your A School, you will be promoted to Petty Officer Third Class and will then head over to the power school, officially known as the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command.
What will I learn at NNPTC?
NNPTC is a rigorous 6 month training program that includes, but is not limited to, a curriculum of thermodynamics, chemistry, nuclear physics, nuclear reactor technology, reactor principals, and more. Most students spend 45 hours a week in class and an additional 10-50 hours per week studying. Since much of the information is classified, studying must be done in the classroom since the material is not permitted to leave the building. Once you complete NNPTC successfully, you will then head over to the Nuclear Power Training Unit for an additional 6 months.
What will I do at NPTU?
Nuclear Power Training Unit (NPTU), or known as Prototype school, will have you learning about operating and maintaining nuclear reactors. These schools, some of which have decommissioned submarines for training, all have live nuclear reactors and provides hands on instruction. You will learn the day in and day out operation of nuclear reactors, how to interpret readings, how to troubleshoot/solve any problems, etc. As stated, this hands-on training course is an additional 6 months.
What happens when I am done with NPTU?
Once you are done with Prototype school,you will then be assigned to a duty station. You will either be assigned to a nuclear surface ship such as an aircraft carrier, or a nuclear submarine if you volunteer for that (to be assigned to a submarine, you must volunteer.. and this is something I will do when I make it this far!). You will be qualified to receive special pay for working in the nuclear field, and if you work on a submarine, there is special pay for that as well.
I am not the world authority on the Navy Nuclear program, this is just the material I have been able to glean off of multiple sources and different levels of experience from ex navy nukes. As stated, it is an obviously very rigorous program. Failing scores due to personal negligence rather than ability can result to charges of dereliction of duty under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). You can either be reassigned a new rate, or be discharged from the Navy all together.
This is my ultimate goal. Weight loss is simply a mile stone to get there. And you better believe, I am not going to let an excess of calories keep me from meeting my dream.