Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

"I'd Rather Have A Sister In A Whorehouse..."

"...than a brother who's a recruiter." Those were among the first words that got yelled at all of us new recruits when we showed up at Great Lakes back in April 1983. This was during the portion of the boot camp "welcoming" ceremony where we were given a chance to surrender any contraband we were carrying without any penalty -- or at least that's the theory.

While everyone knows that most recruiters are dedicated professionals (like everyone's favorite recruiter up in northern Idaho), there are certainly some who might be a little bit too interested in quotas and might occasionally sign recruits up for promised jobs where they know it won't work out. I got an E-mail from an old high school classmate whose daughter had joined earlier this year. She had been promised 2nd Class Dive school for her guaranteed "A" School, but when she got there, none of the equipment would really fit. (She's a very tiny girl.) As a result, she's not able to complete the course, and is being put into the "general undecided" pool for fleet assignment. It seems to me that the recruiter should have known this could be an issue, but nothing was ever said.

So what are your worst experiences either with (or as) a recruiter?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I joined the Army I had a buddy who joined at the same time I did. At first he wanted to join the Navy to be a diver (he was originally from Virgina Beach), but surprisingly enough, the Navy couldn't guarantee him a spot, however the Army could.

Which made my recruiter happy because he bagged two for the effort of one.

Long story short he became a diver for the Army, was only one out of 63 in his class that made it. He's still in today, been in almost 10 years now.

Crappy thing is he pretty much just pulls bodies out of the water, but he gets to travel all around the world to do it.

My experience with my recruiter was pretty good. He never lied to me and I wound up with the job I signed up for.

7/26/2008 9:03 AM

Blogger cheezstake said...

First a disclaimer: I didn't do recruiting duty because I wanted to. I did it in the vain attempt to stay in Washington State.

I was not a superstar recruiter, but met my goals as best possible. Recruiting in a Navy town, lying just wasn't possible, not that I was apt to do so.

What pained me the most about the duty was how quickly your efforts were forgotten.

In my second year of recruiting, I had achieved the "zen" state. I had 2 guys in the Navy, 2 ready for the next month, and one more ready for the month after that. So there I was, basking in my success of being over goal and set for two months. Then the dreaded phone calls came in.

By month's end, I had 5 people in the Navy and now Z-E-R-O for the next month. I got the "atta-boy" and a cheesy award for putting in 5 kids. Then came the 1st of the next month and it was if I was dirtbag for years. I ended up missing my goal that month.


There is something wrong with a job where your mental wellbeing was dependent upon an emotional unstable teenager!

I could go on about applicants who did strange stuff while at MEPS (processing) or those who hit the bong the day before shipping to bootcamp, but I'll save those good stories for the good guy at "Hey Shipwreck" to tell.

... now I must deal with 36 months of nightmares...

7/26/2008 10:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My recruiter "promised" me MM school when I enlisted in spring of 1959. I got orders to Fleet Sonar School in San Diego CA across the street from NTC following boot camp. When I checked in to FSS I was informed I was to become a Torpedoman! Wait! It gets better!! Following 8 weeks of Basic E and E I completed four weeks of training on the MK 15 Mod 3 Destroyer launched steam torpedo, Mk 15 quintuple-trainable above water torpedo mount, Depth Charges, K-guns, Release Tracks, Hedge-Hog and launchers, Mk 32 Torpedo and Mk 4 Launcher. So, where did the detailer send me?? Yep, Steam Torpedo Shop, Submarine Base Pearl Harbor. Now about that recruiter, I dropped by to see him after "A" school with my Torpedoman striker badge over my Seaman stripes. He said to me, "Whats the problem? Your working with Steam turbines, reduction gears, etc. it just happens to be in a torpedo."

Keep a zero bubble.........


7/26/2008 11:23 AM

Blogger Roy said...

I had no problems with my recruiter when I enlisted in 1972. I joined in the 6 year obligated, advanced electronics program. The recruiter laid out all the details of the program including all of the different rates involved, and what could and could not be guaranteed.

I remember asking him once, "How long does it take to become an Admiral."

He laughed out loud and told me, "Son, just worry about getting through basic." (Boot camp, at Great Lakes NTC, turned out to be a *lot* easier than I thought it would be.)

I initially wanted to become an ET, but that rate was way overmanned at the time. So I became an STG and then after volunteering for submarines, an STS.

I have no regrets. The training I got in the Navy has served me well in my career since then.

When I got out of Beep school, and was traveling to Key West for sonar school, I went back to visit my recruiter. Unfortunately, he had already moved on and I never saw or heard from him again.

7/26/2008 12:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went in as a nuke in 1984. On the day I was to leave from Podunk, Alabama, I was to meet my recruiter at the Greyhound bus station so that he could put me on a bus to the MEPs station in Montgomery, AL. Long story short, the loser never showed, I paid my bus fare, swore never to ride another bus (and haven't), and did my 6 years and out.

7/26/2008 3:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My recruiter told me that subs were the best deal ever, short hours, great food, easy work, and only one underway every 18 months. So let's see here. I work 12 hour days, I heard a CS last week say "That chicken isn't undercooked, it's just medium rare", I spent seven hours writing and proving a tagout just to do an hour of work. And as for no underways, got two workds for you: midi ops. Lying sack of crap.

7/26/2008 8:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I joined USN right out of HS on a kiddie cruise. Promise was immediate assignment as FA to an APA with my brother after boot camp Chi.

Boot camp over, kicking & screaming, sent to MMA school Chi.

MMA over, kicking & screaming, sent to sub school NL.

Sub school over, kicking & screaming, sent to advanced sub engineering (6 wk diesel, etc school) NL.

Board diesel boat in SD stay till I am near 21 (end enlistment) MM2 (SS) critical rate.

Choices: 4 yr shipover, immediate transfer to birdfarm. 6 yr shipover, immediate transfer to nuke school. 2 yr extension, stay on same diesel boat.

2 years later MM1 (SS) still critical rate, same choices sans extension. Mustered out.

7/26/2008 10:15 PM

Blogger ironmal said...

In 1981 my recruiter was a BubbleHead. He told me when I finally made it through schools and reported to the boat, to make sure I brought a couple six packs of beer for the crew. He told me to call the COB topside to carry my duffle bag onboard as was the tradition.

Luckily the topside security watch called up a guy from below decks to help us and he first took us out to the pier to dump our beer before the COB found out we had tried to bring some onboard.

I had some of the greatest laughs of my life on that boat - it was the Stonewall Jackson. But I would never trust a recruiter as far as I could drop kick one ever for the rest of my life.

7/27/2008 1:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I told my recruiter I wanted to fix computers, and be on submarines. He signed me up for DS "A" school, and said once I finish my "C" school I would go to sub school. That's what would've happened if I hadn't been dropped for "inability to comprehend complex technical concepts". pfff. Anyway, long story short, they sent me to STS "A" via submarine school.

My recruiter was honest, I liked him. He had told me all bets were off if I didn't pass the school, right out of the contract. We kept in touch for many years. He was ROTY in 86, I think, and was spot promoted to Chief. He became a NC and was a NCCM by 15 years.

Though he was somewhat of a "slut". He banged some of the girls (and one of their mothers) I knew, and married one of the girls in my class a few days after graduation.

7/27/2008 6:44 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ironmal's story reminds me of a joke pulled on a young MT3 on shore duty once upon a time. The lad was in need of completing some medical testing, and so his ever-the-comedian first class took him aside one day and told him that he needed to go see medical..."for a slit lamp and a pap smear."

Not being the brightest bulb in the room, but also not being totally gullible, the young MT sensed that something was 'up' and after a doubting look managed to stammer out "...I ain't got to do no slit lamp!"

'Admitting' that he'd been caught, the firstie sent him toddling on his way to medical. The next time we saw the kid he was red-faced running full tilt with his scrawny arm cocked back like he was going to drop the hammer on his ol' trustie firstie.

Everyone was laughing so hard that the kid just had to calm down or be forever banished for lacking any sense of humor...but man he was hot enough to...well, you get the picture.

7/27/2008 7:24 AM

Blogger montigrande said...

Similarly to SONARMAN, my recruiter was up front with me and being from a Navy family (third generation Navy Chief), I only had a few surprises. However, one of my shipmates on the Emory S. Land (AS 33) was a different story.

He came to our division (R-5, whatever that means) as a non-rate and we got advanced warning that he was an “attitude case.” He checked in with the Chief and the Div O and was assigned to me, the work center supervisor. I assigned him a “sea dad” as was our custom on submarines and away he went. Later his sea dad pulled me aside and basically said that he was a lost cause and we should keep a close eye on him.

Here is what he told me. His recruiter had promised him could be a “fireman.” Not the rate but an actual firefighter with the big hose and all. He signed him up as a non-rate and sent him off to the fleet, telling him that he would be able to get the right school from the fleet. When he got to “the fleet” i.e. the Land, his bubble was burst and he was not a happy camper.

Long story short, we assigned him to our smartest electrician, he got rated making EM3, got his ESWS pin and got capped to EM2 within 2 years and the last I heard he was planning to make it a career. I guess this shows you what can happen if you really apply yourself….

7/27/2008 11:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My recruiter was truthful and to the point. He let me know exactly what to expect and I got what I asked for, almost.
The area in North Central Iowa was a fertile picking ground for the military in 1976. The Vietnam War was over and there wasn’t anything on the horizon for the military. I had no prospects there and joined the Navy on delayed enlistment in February. The only thing I had to look forward to was blowing up dynamite at the Gypsum Plant with my dad or driving a feed truck for the COOP. My recruiter and I went to the Gypsum Plant so my dad could sign the papers. We stood at the top of the quarry and watched as my dad was working in knee-deep water to rig a 180-hole set for blasting. It was 14 below zero and pointing down there, I told my recruiter that was one of the reasons I was joining.
I enlisted for two things, Guaranteed Class “A” Enginemen School and West Coast Duty. I graduated from High School on May 20th and on the 28th my feet were in the yellow footprints at NTC San Diego. Bootcamp was easier than I thought it would be. Compared to farming the hours were about the same but the work was easier. When I was in bootcamp, we went and talked to the Career Counselors and I mentioned that my Grandpa had mentioned that Submarines had pretty good chow and I should look into them. The counselor said I would have to change my rate to MM and I resisted. He said I had a choice, stay an EN and go to a surface ship but if I wanted to do Submarines, I would have to be an MM. I made a lot of good decisions in my Navy Career and that was one of them. MM “A” School, Sub School, Aux Package School in Pearl and meet my first boat in PSNSY in Bremerton.
When I went back on leave I stopped by the recruiters but he had already transferred. I went back two years later for The Home Town Recruiter Assistant program. They worked my butt off. In the two weeks I was there, we toured every high school within 100 miles and visited tons of people at night. They said that I had a hand in recruiting 8 people and seeding a bunch. It was not easy work.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

7/27/2008 11:47 AM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

It wasn't so much that my recruiter lied to me, as he just didn't know. I signed up for the "I'm not sure what rate I'm going into, but I'll be a nuke" thing" (which really makes you wonder why one can't get a guaranteed rate from MEPS, but hey). My recruiter was an AB-something type of 2nd class. He was pretty honest about what to expect from boot camp, and explained the differences between the Navy College Fund and the enlistment bonus (and why the NCF was better overall).

I went home on HARP duty once as a MM2(SS), and it was pretty fun. I spoke with lots of potential nukes about what NPS was like, what to expect from a submarine, and what the term "needs of the Navy" meant. Even despite my qualified opinions, I think I actually got 3 or 4 people signed up, and they had a much better idea of what to expect than I could provide.

I think all nukes should get a mandatory month long trip home on the Navy's expense to explain what nuclear power actually means. I'm pretty sure it would help the general "used car salesman" opinion of recruiters and eliminate the first round of bullshit that everyone complains about.

Another idea would be to have a couple of hours during the first part of NPS (or in between A school and NPS) with some former nukes. Have the former nukes explain what it means to walk out into the world and declare that what they do in NPS at 18 to 22 actually will help them later in life. Explain the benefits of the organization after the Navy, and who to call when you're ready to leave. Basically, give an out-brief to new baby nukes so they understand that even when they're in the hole at the bottom of the ocean, making 2 turns a minute for months on end, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

More rants, and a good discussion.


7/27/2008 2:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing my recruiter told me that I found to be wrong was that I could go to boot camp in San Diego in early September of that year with two friends of mine who were airdales. I was a nuke. I get a letter in mid-August from the recruiting command telling me I am to arrive in Great Lakes at an earlier date than in my contract. After a few phone calls by me and a few more by my boss, a reserve Commander, the recruiters an ass chewing by their chain of command and I accepted my fate.


7/27/2008 4:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me give you a couple of thoughts from the Army recruiter side of the house.
I was hoping for another assignment in the US when I was picked to be a recruiter. I wasn't thrilled.
6 weeks of school in Indianapolis made it seem like a little better deal than I first thought.
I recruited in the Gary, Indiana area. It was weird in that I was micromanaged to a degree I had never seen before, but also had a lot more freedom than I was used to. I had to brief my station commander every day on how many calls I'd made, who I met with, what progress I had made, and what my immediate prospects were. If I was doing well, however, that was a pretty quick brief.
When someone enlists in the Army, I don't have anything to do with what MOS they choose. They take the physical, then sit down with a counselor and are given a list of MOS openings that are available to them. It may be 5 or 6 or maybe 15. If they have a special job in mind, the counselor will look to see what is available. Once they choose their MOS, it goes right into the contract.
I never lied to the prospects. It just wasn't worth it. Sure, I put everything in the best possible light, but even then, I'd let them know it wasn't all skittles and beer.
And a good way to lose your job would be to fool around with one of your prospects. Mom was fair game though...

7/27/2008 11:23 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...

When I was a recruiter, our station office was next door to the Army Recruiter's. I NEVER scheduled an appointment on Friday between 0900 and 1200, since they were getting read the riot act by their zone supervisor equivalent whether or not they had a good week. More than once, their recruiter in charge and I had words (I was the only Chief in the office- the RINC was a wimpy 1st class and I was only there to get qualified as a Recruiter so I could go be the NF Coordinator) due to their recruiters hassling Navy DEPpers. I really couldn't blame them though, their job REALLY sucked; Navy recruiter's jobs merely sucked.

7/28/2008 7:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My recruiter not only lied, but never gave me a copy of the contract. After I left the office he stuck it back in his typewriter and added 4 more rates so that the Navy could choose what it needed most. It wasn't even close to what he promised me.
the Duke of Earl

7/28/2008 5:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My recruiter pretty much told me the truth. I grew up in a rural farming town in upstate NY. I did two years at the local community college and after graduation, there were no prospects. I am glad I left, the people who hung around are still hanging around, waiting for there big break.

I enlisted in 1982 and went to RM A school in San Diego. He said boot camp would be hard, it was not that hard. He said A school would be fun, it was for the most part. He said I would have to do some dirty work (time in the trenches, he called it), but if I worked hard and got promoted, then I could tell other people how to do the dirty work, which is pretty much the way things worked out.

7/29/2008 7:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Central IL in the late 70's, my recruiter "Steve" was completely honest with me. He even gave me tips on some of the tricky parts I would run into at the AFEES. He said that there would be one station in which some marines would make the BS claim that they had interviewed my classmates and they knew everything about my past and that I should come clean now. Then he said "They're also going to ask if I promised you anything. And what are you going to tell them?" I replied, "Yes. He did. He promised me that some big ugly jarheads would try to scare me with a BS story!" I thought Steve was going to perform a leak check of his u-trou on the spot!

Years later, as a HS teacher, I talk to a lot of kids about signing their life away. Uncle and I parted on good terms and I never talk it down, just provide a few encouragements and a few warnings. My favorite story was when one of my students went to AFEES to sign up for ASW school. When he came back he said that while he was sitting across from the guy at the computer, the guy says "Whoa! This never happens! Just a minute!" Then he types like a madman for a minute, and says "I always check for a couple of rates that are never open and Rescue Swimmer came up!" He proceeded to sell my student on the idea. As I listened to the story I tried not to wince. I said "Sounds exciting. So you like to swim?" He replies "Well, I really don't know how, but the guy said that they'll teach me!" Six months later he had washed out but was lucky enough to back into ASW somehow.

7/29/2008 11:50 PM

Blogger lparker said...

My army reserve recruiter, I haven't signed a contract yet..I'm not sure currently if I will just yet, has tried his best to get me in. After my asvab score of 99 came back they promised to "lock in" my job in psyops, officer school (they're going to delay my shipout until after I complete my degree). I was coached by the recruiter, and several others, to not mention my medical history. I'm bipolar (manic depressive) totally functional without meds, but I still take them. I was told to essentially lie. Then when I got to meps, I noticed some of my paperwork (the sheet where you check yes/no to everything) wasn't the one I filled out. I was honest, and admitted to my medical past. Possibly too much (got bus sick as a kid for awhile haven't since 3rd grade or so). The guy at meps noticed the descrepancy and asked me about them. I was honest as to what was happening. When I stated I didn't want to cause trouble for the recruiter I was just trying to do what I thought was right he replied (former af ti apparently) "The recruiter is not your buddy, it's a used car salesman and his car is that green uniform."

They told me if I did go in after having lied, then it would have come out during any clearance checks (I'd already done the paperwork to start the secret level checks) I'd have not gotten clearance and would probably have been kicked out for fraud. They had me sign a paper stating what was going on on penalty of perjury.

Now I have to get paperwork, no big deal. I'll probably get a waiver. The sad thing is, one of the things they want is an explaination for some hospital time I did at about age 10. Messy divorce, father death/kidnapping threats mom worried about me etc. I get a letter from me and my mom stating what happened and it goes away no prob. As he's dropping me recruiter tells me to get my letter to him..and he'll fabricate the one from my mother.

I want to be honest here, correct me if I'm wrong...but if you're trying to get someone who is apparently as desireable as I am (college grad in comp. sci. and 99 on the asvab) should you really be coaching him in how to lie and expose himself to all this future difficulty???

He also told me since I had 6 months till I went to BT minimum (they will move the ship date depending on how i have to take my classes to graduate) if at any time I changed my mind I could back out of my enlistment contract. They'd just have me submit it in writing and it'd go away.

At this point, I'm looking to meet with someone at barksdale to find out how much of this is bullshit and how much isn't. I'll get my waiver and clear my DQ status so if I wish I can enlist later but right now to many red flags..

I've bought used cars before, some were lemons some weren't, right now I smell to much lemony freshness.

P.S. sorry for the long winded reply on an out of date topic I guess.

8/01/2008 8:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been in for about a year and I'm a couple weeks into the MM side of nuke prototype.

My recruiter was a Seabee who just made first after 12yrs in. I came in after doing a lot of research. I made him work for me to get my ducks all in a row to get my student loans repaid and a sizable bonus to boot. He never lied to me, but he wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer and I did a lot of the work myself.

It helped that I was 23 and had some life experience. But in the end, the best thing I have learned this far in life is that you can't expect anyone to look out for your best interests except yourself and to get everything in writing.

A lot of guys on my crew moan and complain, but where else are you going to get to do some of the things we are learning. I am loving every minute of it.


8/01/2008 2:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My recruiter was a goober, but some of the other guys in the office really pulled hard for me. I was a non high school grad at the end of the fiscal year, which made getting active duty just about impossible, even though my scores were high. I still don't know how they did it, but I got the exact rating I wanted (AM). The AM1 in the office even spent some time prepping me on some specific things he felt were important to know. Maybe it was because I'm a small girl, maybe because I wouldn't quit until I got what I wanted, I'll never know... but I know they took care of me.

8/26/2008 12:42 PM


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