I havnt been doing much lately so I've had some time to think. I'll be posting a few tidbits here and there so here's my first.
Useful things to remember when joining the Navy 1. Make sure you have a rating school guaranteed before you sign: Your recruiter (or the meps guy)will tell you how many different jobs you qualify for based on your ASVAB score. There are tons of jobs available and they change monthly as to the amount. One month they may need 20 AC(aircraft controllers) and the next month they may need zero. If they dont have a job that you think you'll dig then just stand fast until one opens up that you like. The recruiter will try and make the undesignated rates (AN,SN,FN) seem great and that you will be able to fill in a school or rating later. Dont fall for it. The truth is that you'll end up with the shit jobs for a few years before you ever get any chance at all. It's also good to think about how you like to work. If you dont like to get your hands dirty or cant stand heat then you better not even try to sign up for an engineering rating because those guys are always in non air conditioned spaces. Now that you're all signed up it's off to boot camp.
2. Boot camp is a breeze if you remember one thing: Dont stand out! If youre a cocky type person then try to restrain it as best as possible at least in the first month. No matter what your company commanders (drill sgts) tell you, it's not ok to quit anything ever. It's not anything like "Full Metal Jacket"'s boot camp, but your life will seem like it if you become a whipping boy for the CC's. Just do your job and get the hell out on time! So your through will bootcamp and it's off to 'A' school for training.
3. 'A' school is the dangerous part. You are given some freedom and your first instinct is to let loose, but that's the trap. That 10 week A school can easily spit you out undesignated and shit outta luck. Back in my day, chicks got all the nice shore duties while the guys got all the damn ships, but surely it's changed now. Do your best in the first month because you may have to choose duty stations based on your class rank. I fucked up and ended up going to the USS Indy over in Japan. Yeah I finished 3rd in the class, but it still didnt matter because I didnt realize how important that first month was. You'll have your orders now and being freshly trained you'll realize soon enough that you dont know crap. Now it's off to the ship.
4. Ship duty: Ship duty is as easy or hard as you make it. With my suggestions you'll be able to make it cushy. I'm going to break this into it's own subsection because it's that important.
A. Even if you graduated 1st in your class, you still dont know shit and you better get acquainted with it quickly because you dont want it taught very long to you.
B. Most everything in the ship is connected. The sooner you make connections the sooner you'll be skating. Make friends and try not to piss off anyone. Try to remember everyone's rating because it's important. Here's the most important ratings you need to take notice of:(yet another subset)
1a. Personnelman (PN): These are the guys doing your travel and processing you and usually the first people you meet because they have to go get your sorry ass and call the departments to come pickup the new guys. Whatever you do dont piss these guys off because theres nothing worse than not getting the paperwork through to get paid or not getting medals entered right. But the biggest use is that they control the ID cards and nothings worse than trying to go on liberty and not being able to find your ID card. If you know these guys and havnt pissed them off then even in off hours you can usually get one expeditied.
2a. Shipserviceman(SH): These guys run a lot of things. They run the ship's store, laundry, and gedunk(candy/coke). If you make a good connection with a SH when waiting for the ship then you could be lucky. The best is if he goes to Laundry. Nothings worse than having everything turn out grey from everyone's shit stains. Most of the time the uniforms come back permanently wrinkled and with an unknown stench. The SH's control the dry cleaning. Officers/Chiefs get their laundry dry cleaned because they dont know what the fuck an iron is. Wouldnt it be nice to have freshly pressed clothes that acutally smell good? Thank a SH when he hooks you up.
3a. Photographer's mate(PH): These guys are generally useless but they made my cut because it's always nice to have a few official ship pictures and they control them.
4a. Disbursing Clerk (DK): These guys control the money. They work closely with PN's to make sure you get paid. Befriending one wont get you more money, but it will help when everything gets screwed up and you need a check cashed.
5a. Damage Controllman(DC): I'll go ahead and lump DC's with most of engineering (MM/BT/ET). These guys are who you have to suck up to when you are doing your quals. Yes, you must become damage control certified and have your books signed off. You also have to do this when doing ESWS, (and same goes for air jockies when doing ASWS) and yes most are knuckle dragging grunts that smell funny because their workspace is ALWAYS 110 degrees and the whole 12 on and 12 off seems to make them testy. Nothing is worse than having to go by the book as far as quals go, so make a engineering friend a high priority.
6a. Corpsman/dental tech (HN/DT): Think you've got drippy dick and dont really feel up to standing in the STD line with all the other idiots? The right HN hookup can solve that. Not to mention marking your name off flu lists and signing off on your yearly reviews. DT's can get you in the busy dentist chair which is nice because those guys are backlogged over a year usually. (this was on a carrier remember)
7a. Mess Specialist (MS): Very important person. These guys can get you pizza when you want it and some nice food from the officer's and chief's gallies. I cant tell you great it feels when you miss dinner and some MS brings in a whole sheet pan of pizza. It aint domino's but it does beat a hell of a lot of the crap that they put out.
8a. I'm sure I left out a bunch of useful ratings and it isnt on purpose, just dont be a dick and think you'll get away with it because it'll bite you in the ass.
C. Dont get so drunk that you cant climb the gangway and ask permission to come aboard. This is important because the last thing you wanna do to your buddies is make them stay up on drunk watch.
D. Suck up for good evals. It really makes a huge difference when your going up for advancement. I got straight 4.0 evals and it helped me advance much more than I ever knew. The biggest trick is to remember that we're all lazy so the first eval is the most important. Try your damndest to get 4.0's even if they say that they dont give 4.0's. This is important because every other eval is basically written off the last one. There will be minor changes but most of the time its pretty much like the last one (unless you royally fuck up).
5. Conclusion: I cant say much about shore duty because I got out, but the biggest thing to remember is dont piss people off and dont make yourself stand out in a bad way. There arent very many secrets or things that dont get found out so try to stay legal. If anyone calls you shipmate then it's because they're pissed at you. Guess what? Everyone beats off so dont deny it because it'll just get you laughed at. Maybe with these tips you'll be a top knotch sailor.