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TheObiJuan
11-16-2007, 04:57 PM
I wanted to go Pro a few months ago and started looking at my options.
I thought about getting my degree in photography but the soonest I could graduate from either of the two universities within 100 miles of me would be 2012 WITH my existing 75 hours (liberal arts).

Immediately I was dissuaded and looked into other options.
Somehow or another via Google searching I found out the US Navy has a photography rating [job]. I signed up for a brochure and got a recruiter instead.

I was dead set on being a Photog until I looked at the other jobs. I noticed there was an Advanced Computer Electronics Field that sounded very interesting and then I caught wind of the Nuclear Field. This was VERY enticing. The money offered in the private sector is huge!

I tested, did very well, and qualified for the Nuke program. A far cry from a photographer, but lots more potential for advancement and more $$ for gear. :D

I learned that on my free time I could do "collateral duty" as a photographer so I could still get that out of my system. I could work for the Navy newspapers/publications and websites.

It's funny where life takes you, best advice I heard was "ride the wave, hang on, and have fun"

I don't know if I'll have access to websites like this for a while after I ship out. I hope I will, else I'll be missing you folks, save for Razr. :p

BBPhoto
11-16-2007, 06:07 PM
Obi - Congratulations. It sounds like you are going through a very exciting time in your life. My friend's father is a nuclear physicist and you are right. The money is indeed huge.

If I could make one comment regarding your choice, I'll say the same thing that I went on at length about here one time in the past (big surprise there I bet). There was a great American professor by the name of Joseph Campbell. He coined the phrase 'follow your bliss'. He did a PBS series with Bill Moyer called 'The Power of Myth'. There is also a ton of written material by and about him available. A major part of his philosophy is that it's easy to go off the track of your bliss - your passion in the pursuit of money but when this happens, true happiness can never be found. I would highly recommend that anyone making a career choice familiarize themselves with his work. If nothing else, it will prove to be both entertaining and informative. Good luck!

Rhys
11-16-2007, 06:17 PM
The US forces offer far more chances of advancement than the UK forces. My father-in-law came from rural Ohio. He joined the navy and fought through the Korean war. That paid for him to become a dentist. His daughters both gained doctorates and his son became a nuclear safety officer.

I think you're onto a good thing there. If I were younger then I might have considered joining the forces again.

erichlund
11-16-2007, 06:51 PM
Obi,

As you may be aware, I spent 13 years in the military (U.S. Air Force). So, I definitely want to say that I encourage anyone who wants to serve their country consider service in the military forces.

That said, be very careful that you understand that service is primarily at the need of the service. If the service's need changes, you could find yourself in another field in the blink of an eye. This is particularly true of the enlisted ranks. I have a friend who initially tested well for one job, but ended up having to serve in a different capacity. It may be buried deeply, but there will be language in your enlistment contract that specifies that there are no guarantees how you will be asked to serve.

Secondly, recruiters are notorious for telling you what you could do, and that having nothing to do with reality. All duties not associated with your primary duty are called additional duties. Those duties are assigned by your local command structure, and have nothing to do with what your recruiter may have said or promised you. What I'm saying is you can probably count on about a 0.000001% chance of photography being included in your additional duties. It could happen, but it is at the whim, and more importantly, the need of your command structure.

You should consider what Nuclear service in the Navy entails. The Navy has no land based nuclear reactors that I am aware of, so you are considering ship duty. There is the possibility of land based nuclear weapons duty, but I don't know what the availability of those positions are.

Next, what types of ships have nuclear power, and where do they spend their time. There are Nuclear carriers, cruisers, frigates and possibly destroyers. There are also nuclear submarines. Get duty on a boomer and you will be months at a time below the surface of the water. Not great for photography, even if you are allowed to bring your camera.

Naval vessels also have significant restrictions on the amount of personal gear that may be taken. This is more restrictive on lower ranking personnel. Many types of vessels may have missions that are at a classification level that does not even allow you to bring a camera aboard.

I now work in a civilian job that involves a defense contract and some of the information we deal with is classified. I cannot bring so much as a cell phone or cf card within the closed area that I work in. Even if I store the phone outside in the lock box, I cannot even have a phone with a camera on the site I work at. Nuclear naval vessels deal with much higher levels of classification than I deal with in my job, so you should carefully consider this information.

I commend you for considering service to your country. It is honorable duty. However, it is a commitment to service. It is not a guarantee of training for future work or a way to promote your hobby. Do it for the right reason and you can proudly say you served your country, as can I. Do it for the wrong reason and it can lead to heartbreak.

I do not wish to discourage you, but I do want you to go forward with a clear head. You have my support in whatever you decide is the best choice for you.

Eric

BBPhoto
11-16-2007, 07:00 PM
Fantastic post Eric! Its very interesting to hear the opinion of someone who has been on the inside.

I can imagine how tight security must be. I've read a few books about the Lockheed skunkworks during the development of the F-117 and the SR-71. It seems like most people there had a hard time dealing with it.

griptape
11-16-2007, 08:18 PM
At the risk of being unpopular, if you're willing to die for Bush (who has never worked a military job in his life) then you deserve to die for Bush. I'm not saying what the American forces do for our country don't matter, but if you're coming in, and think you're more than a pea sized slice of a pawn sized pie, you're fooling yourself. If you accept that, and can still see your job as noble, then good for you. I honestly wish you the best of luck, and god bless you.

TheObiJuan
11-16-2007, 09:16 PM
At the risk of being unpopular, if you're willing to die for Bush (who has never worked a military job in his life) then you deserve to die for Bush. I'm not saying what the American forces do for our country don't matter, but if you're coming in, and think you're more than a pea sized slice of a pawn sized pie, you're fooling yourself. If you accept that, and can still see your job as noble, then good for you. I honestly wish you the best of luck, and god bless you.

And to die for Hilary or Obama would be better? If I die, it's for my country, not a temporary leader.

TheObiJuan
11-16-2007, 09:54 PM
Obi,

As you may be aware, I spent 13 years in the military (U.S. Air Force). So, I definitely want to say that I encourage anyone who wants to serve their country consider service in the military forces.

I honor you for your service, greatly respect your opinion, and appreciate your long response.



That said, be very careful that you understand that service is primarily at the need of the service. If the service's need changes, you could find yourself in another field in the blink of an eye. This is particularly true of the enlisted ranks. I have a friend who initially tested well for one job, but ended up having to serve in a different capacity. It may be buried deeply, but there will be language in your enlistment contract that specifies that there are no guarantees how you will be asked to serve.


The Navy changing a seaman's rating in a blink of an eye is alltogether likely, however on certain positions that require extreme training or proficiency, it is nearly impossible. Aviators, Seals, Nukes, etc, are too damn important to swap around when undermanned positions pop up. In fact, these are the most undermanned positions. Good thing too, since the bonuses are the greatest!

The training for the Nuke program is two years long. After training I am NOT eligible to change my rating [re-rate] because of the extreme training I have received. 99% of other ratings [jobs] do permit you to swam. So if I complete my training and hate it, I'm out of luck for 4 years. :( I'll just make the best of it. :p



Secondly, recruiters are notorious for telling you what you could do, and that having nothing to do with reality. All duties not associated with your primary duty are called additional duties. Those duties are assigned by your local command structure, and have nothing to do with what your recruiter may have said or promised you. What I'm saying is you can probably count on about a 0.000001% chance of photography being included in your additional duties. It could happen, but it is at the whim, and more importantly, the need of your command structure.


I completely understand the whole recruiter game. I joined the Army back in 2003 and got out in 2005. I was in a special program that turned out to be different than I was promised. I served my time, bit my lip and carried away only important lessons. This time around I believe nothing until I hear it from retired folks, in writing, or experience it myself.
The job doing photography would not be assigned to me; I'd just volunteer. Kinda like if someone wants to chip paint on their free-time, more power too them. :D
I actually spoke to a retired Naval Photographer that told me about the collateral job availability. I'd be kinda a freelance guy. My primary duties and assigned extra duties [like watches] would come first, obviously.



You should consider what Nuclear service in the Navy entails. The Navy has no land based nuclear reactors that I am aware of, so you are considering ship duty. There is the possibility of land based nuclear weapons duty, but I don't know what the availability of those positions are.


I have considered everything I could possibly conceive of from over a month of daily searching and asking. The Navy has multiple training facilities on land. These facilities have nuclear units that do need operating. Usually this job is done by retired nukes as civilians. I could be an instructor if chosen after my initial schooling. That would go on for two years, but I have little desire to do this. I want my certifications ASAP.
I am certainly considering ship duty. As a nuke I would never see or work with nuclear weapons, just the nuclear propulsion. I could get lucky and get a carrier that is docked for my assignment, this would mean I may only go out for a couple of weeks here and there. If not, then the usual tour is 6 months at sea and 18 months docked. I'm perfectly happy with this scenario too.



Next, what types of ships have nuclear power, and where do they spend their time. There are Nuclear carriers, cruisers, frigates and possibly destroyers. There are also nuclear submarines. Get duty on a boomer and you will be months at a time below the surface of the water. Not great for photography, even if you are allowed to bring your camera.


Sub duty is 100% volunteer. They pay enough incentive to keep it that way.
But if I chose one it is 3 months under, 9-12 months above water. Rinse and repeat. Sometimes they make it 2 months instead of 3.



Naval vessels also have significant restrictions on the amount of personal gear that may be taken. This is more restrictive on lower ranking personnel. Many types of vessels may have missions that are at a classification level that does not even allow you to bring a camera aboard.


This I have heard and have been told I would be limited by volume how much total gear I could bring. I guess less books and more camera gear. :p
I will be a E-5 after the two year training so this may help. :confused:
I understand it to be that some parts of the ship are classified/secret/top secret so I would clearly not bring my gear around them. I would be photographing ceremonies, events, etc for the navy and my own leisure.
If my camera is not allowed at all on any vessel I may temporarily be on than so be it. I'm a Nuke, not a photog, so no spilled milk. Navy photogs are sent where they are needed an assigned where they can be. If I see one around I don't see why I can't be shooting too, especially if my clearance level would likely be higher.



I now work in a civilian job that involves a defense contract and some of the information we deal with is classified. I cannot bring so much as a cell phone or cf card within the closed area that I work in. Even if I store the phone outside in the lock box, I cannot even have a phone with a camera on the site I work at. Nuclear naval vessels deal with much higher levels of classification than I deal with in my job, so you should carefully consider this information.


Oh yeah, I know the limitations and totally understand why it is crucial. I have no need or desire to shoot where I work unless asked to by my command for promotional or educational purposes.



I commend you for considering service to your country. It is honorable duty. However, it is a commitment to service. It is not a guarantee of training for future work or a way to promote your hobby. Do it for the right reason and you can proudly say you served your country, as can I. Do it for the wrong reason and it can lead to heartbreak.


I completely agree with this as well. I am joining to serve again. I will travel a lot, make some money, and be training in an elite field that will allow me to bank once out of the military, but I understand that I am serving, not vacationing.



I do not wish to discourage you, but I do want you to go forward with a clear head. You have my support in whatever you decide is the best choice for you.

Eric

If I am discouraged by hearing the truth then the job would clearly not be meant for me. I see people getting discouraged from being a Nuke over at nukeworker.com all the time, and I am glad!

BTW, I will shoot for getting my degree in the Nuclear field after training.
Thomas Jefferson University from NJ accepts the ACE recommended hours and after my college hours are transfered I would need about 5-6 classes that would be available online.

I do not need my degree to be an officer, the STA-21 program takes care of that. Seaman to Admiral allows me to go back to school, get my hours, and then come back to Officer Candidate School.
Competition is tough, but I rather be optimistic than pessimistic.
There is also the Baccalaureate Degree Completion Program, Limited Duty Officer selection, Nuclear Enlisted Commissioning Program, Enlisted Commissioning Program, or selected for Chief Warrant officer.

Since getting my degree and just applying seems like the fastest and easiest solution I'll do that. But if not successful, I have researched my options.

erichlund
11-16-2007, 10:17 PM
I'm glad you are going in with your eyes wide open. I'm sure you will do well. I suspect your previous time in the Army will serve you well, since you will better understand the expectations. Best of luck on your chosen career.

fionndruinne
11-16-2007, 11:57 PM
If I die, it's for my country, not a temporary leader.

Great response, politics are far from the things that endure. And... I won't say any more on that subject.:)

Best of luck to you in mapping your future!

cpaussie
11-17-2007, 01:20 AM
Best of luck for the future and that it meets all of your expectations. You will be missed on this forums.

erichlund
11-17-2007, 11:52 AM
Best of luck for the future and that it meets all of your expectations. You will be missed on this forums.

???? Joining the military doesn't mean he can't use this forum. It's called the World Wide Web for a reason. It would be interesting to know how many people on this site are actually currently in service to their country (note: that clearly means not just the U.S.A.).

Rhys
11-17-2007, 12:11 PM
???? Joining the military doesn't mean he can't use this forum. It's called the World Wide Web for a reason. It would be interesting to know how many people on this site are actually currently in service to their country (note: that clearly means not just the U.S.A.).

I think that getting a career with the navy could be a very good thing indeed. It's not the safest place - in the UK navy more people die of accidents on ship than anything else purely because there's nowhere to run when things do go wrong. It is, however, a force in which one is unlikely to die from hostile action as 90% of warfare these days is either aerial or land-based using air to ship missiles etc. Navel engagements haven't been carried out for decades other than intercepting small boats and cargo ships.

The bonus is that you get free study and a wage and you get free medical when you retire plus a few other goodies. I don't see any real downsides. You might even come out with a totally different career in mind. I'm sure that while photography is easy and fun, there are far more lucrative careers. I regret not joining the RAF as an intelligence officer. I'd passed all the exams but changed my mind at the last minute. Now I'm too old and in a different country.

TheObiJuan
11-17-2007, 06:42 PM
A NLO (non-licensed operator) at a Nuke plants makes 60-80K a year starting.
A RO (reactor operator) makes 70-90k.
A Senior RO makes 80-150K.
It is possible to be a Senior RO straight from the Navy, however lots of experience, cross training, and certifications are necessary.
All possible with some hard work, good interviewing skills, and a good resume.

These numbers will all change in 7-10 years when I get out... if I get out.:p

Rhys
11-17-2007, 08:10 PM
A NLO (non-licensed operator) at a Nuke plants makes 60-80K a year starting.
A RO (reactor operator) makes 70-90k.
A Senior RO makes 80-150K.
It is possible to be a Senior RO straight from the Navy, however lots of experience, cross training, and certifications are necessary.
All possible with some hard work, good interviewing skills, and a good resume.

These numbers will all change in 7-10 years when I get out... if I get out.:p

Don't do something just for the money. The money is a side issue. Do something you find interesting and that you can do well and that you care about and care about doing well.

If you do something well, enjoy doing it and care about doing it well, the money will follow.

TheObiJuan
11-18-2007, 02:14 AM
I'm sure I'll enjoy my day job, but I'll enjoy my weekend job even more: photography.

Vich
11-18-2007, 12:39 PM
Seems you're all a go, but I sense a blinds eye towards what happens if you flunk out, or they have a whim to make you a gunner, or steersman, or cook.

Only join the military if you want to join the military, forget the recruiter's promises unless you are genuinely prepared for the heartache. You seem like the sort who will accept the bed you've made for yourself, and if anyone can succeed it could be you, but don't think you're only joining the "Nuke Forces".

We need a strong military and it's truly unfortunate we're stuck in a quagmire that's the result of trumped up WMD fears. It's my belief a better president would not have squandered our worldwide good will after 911 so badly in pursuit of an ignorance-based idealistic plan to introduce democracy to the Mid-East. Yet; he says he'd do it all again with a weak excuse involving our righteous duty to unseat Sadam (who tried to kill his dad, he once said) and makes no apology. I'd hope that any future president won't do this to us, or at least would have the honor to resign, so yeah; I'd have a problem with dying as a result of his blunders, but on the flip side, our Country needs your service more than ever (because of his blundering) so indeed, it is not Bush you're serving, it's the USA. It takes double the patriotism to serve at a time like this so hat's off to you and best wished for it going your way dude. Hope you can post a few from abroad (or on-board)!

TheObiJuan
11-18-2007, 06:15 PM
I'll do my best to post my exploits, experiences, and photos that are not classified.

It's funny where I ended up.
First two years of college I was an Archeology major, then my mentor died and the rest of the staff were uninspiring.
I changed to Structural Eng and after a year, I changed to Photography since I was very driven to do that. I knew I could make money (at least $40k) but then I got engaged and realized that I could never support a family on an unreliable and non-fixed income. With DSLR prices hitting rock bottom, there are folks hopping in the market and shooting weddings for $500. I don't know if I can take that.

So then I decided to go Navy photog, then Navy Nuke.

I wonder where my future will take me?
Perhaps after I retire I'll go back to archeology--unearthing remains of a pre-Roman civilization in Northern Spain? :p:confused:

TNB
11-18-2007, 08:37 PM
???? Joining the military doesn't mean he can't use this forum. It's called the World Wide Web for a reason. It would be interesting to know how many people on this site are actually currently in service to their country (note: that clearly means not just the U.S.A.).

ARPA/DARPA comes to mind.

TheWengler
11-18-2007, 09:01 PM
I wonder where my future will take me?

Judging from the trend so far I'm going to guess that the answer isn't on the list. What does your gf think of you joining the Navy?

TheObiJuan
11-19-2007, 08:33 PM
She'll be my wife before I go; she'll also pick up a commission as a reserve officer.
Works for me! ;)

TNB
11-19-2007, 10:38 PM
She'll be my wife before I go; she'll also pick up a commission as a reserve officer.
Works for me! ;)
Perhaps, it's a good thing some of the rules changed on fraternization. I've known several enlisted males who were basically forced to leave military service or retire when they married active-duty female officers.

TheObiJuan
11-21-2007, 03:29 PM
The way I hear it, that's still the way it is, especially if you are in the same command.
Since we'll be married before hand it wont be a problem.
I'll only be enlisted long enough to complete my initial training and then hope to be picked up for a commission.

TNB
11-21-2007, 03:56 PM
Since we'll be married before hand it wont be a problem.
If I recall correctly, something was written about "two years" for initial training, which doesn't even count any time needed to process an officer application nor the necessary time for the additional officer training to be completed. Consequently, it may still be a problem for "her" if "she" is on active duty and has any plans for advancement even if the two of you are wed prior to reporting for active duty unless the "unwritten" rules have also gone bye-bye.

In today's military and supposed age of equal opportunity, do the female officers still get extra alloted time before getting the boot if they don't get promoted?

erichlund
11-21-2007, 07:23 PM
I presume you already have a four year college degree (or higher), or at least, that was a requirement for a commission when I was in the military. The routes to a commission were, 1. Attend and complete a service academy, 2. Attend a 4 year college and complete ROTC Training, 3. Attend a 4 year college and apply to OTS (Officer Training School), 4. Enlist and complete 4 year college while enlisted, then apply or get a recommend to OTS, 5. Enlist and get officer recommend, then get sent to school to get 4 year degree (company dime) and complete either ROTC or OTS. Do you see a pattern here? That last one was, as expected, unbelievably competitive.

Probably no more competitive than service academy entry. For example, my Air Force Academy class took about 1500 students in 1975, from a nationwide selection process. I think we graduated just under 900, but I'd have to look that up.

Vich
11-22-2007, 02:05 PM
She'll be my wife before I go; she'll also pick up a commission as a reserve officer.
Works for me! ;)
However the other stuff works out, congrads for this part!

TheObiJuan
11-28-2007, 06:31 PM
I presume you already have a four year college degree (or higher), or at least, that was a requirement for a commission when I was in the military. The routes to a commission were, 1. Attend and complete a service academy, 2. Attend a 4 year college and complete ROTC Training, 3. Attend a 4 year college and apply to OTS (Officer Training School), 4. Enlist and complete 4 year college while enlisted, then apply or get a recommend to OTS, 5. Enlist and get officer recommend, then get sent to school to get 4 year degree (company dime) and complete either ROTC or OTS. Do you see a pattern here? That last one was, as expected, unbelievably competitive.

Probably no more competitive than service academy entry. For example, my Air Force Academy class took about 1500 students in 1975, from a nationwide selection process. I think we graduated just under 900, but I'd have to look that up.

I would be going route 4, Seaman To Admiral-21 [STA-21].
I am two semesters shy of getting my degree, so I hope this, in addition to a hopefully excellent performance in nuclear power school will allow me to become an officer. This is all presuming my wife and I like the Navy lifestyle, else, 4 years after my school I'll be out.

With the two year training and my existing hours, I would be a couple of classes shy in nuclear engineering technology, and hopefully this will help with the STA-21, as well.

BBPhoto
11-28-2007, 09:10 PM
Hey Obi... funny thing that you should post. I was thinking about this thread earlier this evening. Just sort of wondering what was going on with things and what the timing will be. Give us some news when you have a chance.

Ray Schnoor
12-07-2007, 09:13 AM
Enjoy all of the good photo-ops in upstate NY where you should be doing a good chunk of your training.

Ray.