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.)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Baby Nukes To Get Smarter?

Check out this post, with accompanying documention, from NavyCS Blog. It says that they're raising the academic requirements for incoming enlisted Nuclear Field candidates to “increase the chances for Nuclear Field pipeline training and Fleet success, and lower academic attrition in the Nuclear Field training pipeline.”

Basically, it looks like they're raising the minimum required score on the NAPT (which looks like the replacement for the old Nuclear Field Qualifying Test, except you don't have to take it if your ASVAB composite is high enough) and tightened up the high school math requirement to look at grades.

What do you think? Will this lower attrition? Personally, I've always thought Nuke School attrition (at least on the enlisted side) was good for the Navy; a lot of the best Submariners I knew were "Nuke Waste", and they might not have come into the Navy without the nuclear carrot and concomitant cash dangling in front of them. On the other hand, I can see if people have a problem with what has always kind of looked like a classic "bait-and-switch" recruiting technique.

What do you think? [Alternate question: Is "Nuke Waste" a derogatory term? I've always thought that people had no problem with it, but since I was a Nuc officer maybe the guys weren't being completely honest with me. If it is derogatory, I apologize for using it.]

69 Comments:

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

I'm not sure about others, but I got a D in HS calculus AB. I had to get a waiver to join the Navy because my grades were too low.

Not really what they should be looking at, but it might make more sense to change the RO attrition and offer ET school to second term nukes that already qualified EWS. It might have made me stay in after a tour to have a chance to do progress to something better than just M-div chief (as an ELT) or eventual EDEA/EDMC or COB.

But then you couldn't really dump on the RO's since they'd all be E-6 sea returnee's or higher.

1/21/2011 8:19 AM

 
Blogger Dave in St. Louis said...

Speaking of waivers, I had to get a math waiver as well. The requirement was for High School Algebra. Well, sorry, I took Algebra in the 8th Grade. Then when I got to NPS, I didn't show up for the first day of the 6 week pre-school because I assumed (there's that word) that having had Algebra early didn't count as a condition that required you to go to the 6 week version vice the 3 week version. I was never so bored in my life as I was in 6 week pre-NPS.

1/21/2011 9:08 AM

 
Anonymous hamptonplankowner said...

Nuke school in 88-89 we had about a 30% attrition about 1/2 of them was lack of effort or other problems the other 1/2 was to much information in such a short time, it was never said to me that there was any chance of failing the class while i was recruited if i had known that i might have made a different choice, i think a 10% attrition would be better and i would be hard to get below that, i often think if i had failed out i might have stayed in as a a-gang mm and did my 20 instead i got out at 8

1/21/2011 9:26 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with making the inputs better. However, attrition should be higher, not lower. Going back to pre-96 levels of attrition would improve things immensely.

As far as RO being a post-EWS watchstation... I think we've used the current system for about 50 years and there are a number of tweaks that make sense. Perhaps more significant ones. Throwing money at people to do something they hate never struck me as a sensible strategy. Its easy-mode motivation.

1/21/2011 9:57 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happens if too many nukes are placed in a confined space? Requiring more smarts will make them more critical (of everything) than ever.

Bad idea!

Mulligan

1/21/2011 11:24 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also had to get a math waiver to join. I got a D in Trig. Algebra was in 8th grade. I went to NPS in 85 and we had about 40-50% attrition. About half of teh attrition was on the first (easy) test. The rest of the drops were motovational or screwups. But i also had the 6 week pre-nps and that helped ALOT to brush up my math and study habbits. This should be mandatory for everyone.

I dont see how raising requirements would reduce attrition. Most are capable but not all work hard enough. It is ahrd to weed that out on a test.

1/21/2011 12:42 PM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Think about this one though-- RC div with E-6 and above sea returnees. No cleaning or stores loads, only doing watch, duty and maintenance.

It would've been enough to keep me in!

1/21/2011 1:13 PM

 
Blogger Jon said...

I figure my class had an easy 50%+ attrition rate (9401). I sometimes wish I had been one of those that had been nuke waste... It is much more likely I would still be in the Navy now had that been the case, and I would now be approaching retirement.

When my six were just about up, it came time for them to try and get me to re-enlist. My only condition was for re-enlistment was that I get a non-punitive de-nuking and become a conventional electrician. They said it couldn't be done, at which point I waved so-long.

Looking back at things right now, I should have allowed them to let me leave, then re-enlisted once I was out and no longer had my NEC.

1/21/2011 1:58 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I went through in 86-87 my class had a 50+% attrition rate. We lost people all the way through Prototype. There were lots of academic drops, many motivational drops, a fair number of alcohol and other type drops.

I heard that in the late 90s and early 2000s the mandate came down for as low an attrition rate as possible. I was long gone by then but I've heard the horror stories. I think that policy was very bad. Pushes the problems to the fleet. The no-loads, and non-hackers just have to be bounced out by the boats rather than in school where operations are less effected.

Maybe raising the academic requirements will work, but as others have said just for a slim percentage of the drops. It won't affect the kids who just get fed up and stop trying, or the ones who are more fond of boozing and partying than busting their hump to get through.

Oh, and if they open up RO to everyone then they need to open up Smag school too. After all, everyone should have the opportunity to be a patrol rack back Smag.

Ex-RCLPO

1/21/2011 4:22 PM

 
Anonymous 3383 said...

If I hadn't made it, I probably wouldn't've liked anyone referring to me as "Nuke Waste". The threat was that we would become "Automatic Boatswain's Mates"; A-gang was more likely in reality.

Tightening the requirements- well, the academic stuff is fairly early (or was in the late 80s, I don't recall a "pre-NPS" school). Classroom was the academic reducer, prototype winnowed those who would have trouble with real systems in the Fleet.

EWS before RO? Ack. Is that suggestion for ETs to qual on other stations and be EWS without qualifying on the top level RC-div station, or for EM and MM bodies to then go take ETRO & etc. to be ROs? Either way, I don't like the idea.

1/21/2011 4:52 PM

 
Anonymous 3383 said...

PS- I had a waiver- a CIVIL waiver. Too many traffic tickets :)

1/21/2011 4:53 PM

 
Anonymous XEM2 said...

Raising the academic requirements is going to cut a lot of people who screwed off through high school but may have made good nukes. If I had worked hard and gotten good grades throughout high school, I probably would have gone to college. Instead I joined the Navy, which did great things for both my character and my post-Navy career.

I say give anyone who has the basic intelligence a chance; they may make it through, and if they don't you're not really out anything. I went through Basic in Orlando, and probably 2/3 of our company were either nuke or air-crew wannabes. Between A-School and Power School, we had a 75% attrition rate (about 50% in each). I think the air-crew dropout rates were just as high. All those washouts filled a whole lot of billets that may not have gotten filled otherwise.

1/21/2011 6:20 PM

 
Anonymous Bogey Hogan said...

Best A-ganger I ever saw was dropped from Nuke School. Their loss, A-Div's gain.

1/21/2011 7:50 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Raising the academic requirements is going to cut a lot of people who screwed off through high school but may have made good nukes. If I had worked hard and gotten good grades throughout high school, I probably would have gone to college. Instead I joined the Navy, which did great things for both my character and my post-Navy career.

Ditto. I did absolutely nothing in HS. If I couldn't do it in class, it didn't get done - no homework, no studying, no projects, nada. My grades suffered the consequences: Cs in Alg 2 and D & F in Analysis my senior year. I got into nuke school w/ no waiver, went through six week pre-NPS & NPS w/ no mando hours, then did my six. I then went to college, paying my own way - which was key. I completed my BS in nuke engineering w/ a 3.96 GPA. Had the new standards been in place, I never would have been allowed into the nuke program and wouldn't have even considered the Navy.

My point is that the new policy may seem well now on paper, but for reasons articulated in previous posts, this will actually result in lower quality squids throughout the Navy.

1/21/2011 9:05 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went through the pipeline 85-87. "A" school in Glakes, preschool and school in Orlando, and MARF. Big attrition starting in boot camp, continuing in BE&E and EM "A". My boot camp company had 26 nuke candidates and from my best count, ten made it to the fleet as nukes. Underage drinking, rocking self paced BE&E, behavioral problems in "A" school, not making the 2/3 cutoff, DUI's in Orlando while spending 6-12 weeks moving sprinklers before classing up, rocking nuke school, failing the comp, failing two classes, failing outhull at prototype, failing two boards, all kinds of ways to become a statistic. Years later I was an instructor and was constantly told to pump the students through. You pretty much had to prove murder with a body to dis-enroll a student.

Now after three submarines, three carriers, and a submarine tender, I really wonder how some of these kids got through the program. It's like the problems are being passed to the fleet. I'm all for raising the standards but since I'm 18 months from being done, I won't see it.

1/21/2011 10:20 PM

 
Blogger Lyle said...

As a staff instructor at NPTU in Charleston, I can tell you that this move is nothing more than making the program more efficient. Right now, with two aging MTS's, we're lucky if we can go a month without an unplanned shutdown due to a material problem. NPTU is the bottleneck for the whole program, and the bean-counters are interested in ensuring every Sailor that makes it here, gets through. Especially when there are some 900 students (give or take) waiting at NNPTC to come to prototype. The rollbacks have become a serious problem. In fact, the Officers are starting to backup, even after it was decided to send them to SOBC prior to NPTU. It really boils down money, and getting the most bang for the buck.

ETC(SS)

1/22/2011 4:18 AM

 
Anonymous 594Tuff said...

Our mid 80s class was similar to all the earlier posts, many waivers (of all kinds), high attrition and many retained nuke school drops. I wonder what impact this will have on the diversity initiatives. Girls statistically perform better at math in high school than boys, and the under-served school systems will make it more difficult for students in those schools.

1/22/2011 7:26 AM

 
Anonymous NHSparky said...

We didn't do too terribly badly as far as attrition went (8801) when we had "only" about a 30 percent attrition rate, although we did lose a lot of folks in NFAS.

As the NF recruiter (last duty before I got out) I always told the NF DEPpers that it wasn't how smart you were that was going to determine their success--it was their MOTIVATION. I saw kids ship who barely cut line scores and cut 50 on the NFQT make it (albeit on 35 hours "Mando Commandos") and kids with 97 AFQT/75 NFQTs just basically give up and quit before the Week 3 academic board.

No, I don't think you can make the blanket statement that academic scores/grades are a guaranteed method of predicting success. Keep in mind also that a lot of the kids in the pipeline these days also get bounced for non-academic (i.e., demonstrated unreliability) reasons.

And as far as making RO's sea-returnees? Sorry, but the current system works pretty well too. Some of the best EWS/EDPO's I knew were mechanical geniuses but hadn't a clue about the hot rock control systems. Does this mean a sea-returnee previously qualified EWS/EDPO PO1 who doesn't qualify RO/SRO is now career-limited for CPO and beyond? Sounds like one more pitfall, or another attempt at making submarine nukes more like carrier nukes with their "Reactor Technician" bit.

1/22/2011 8:10 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: my post was at 1/21/2011 9:05PM, I went through in 8506 NPS & 8601 NPTU while the filter was still very much in place.

1/22/2011 8:26 AM

 
Blogger etc_ss_ret said...

I went through the pipeline from 1980-82 and thought the attrition was fine. My last instructor tour ended in 95 and I was surprised at some of the folks we were expected to push through.

I think the word "stunned" would be correct to describe my last LPO tour. I had not 1 but 2 E-3's show up in my RC Div. Both had been to mast (one at BOTH NPS and NPTU) but left in the program. That was completely unheard of when I was a student.

As for the term Nuke Waste - how could that possibly be bad? Heck I plan to have a few this weekend! Viva la Horse & Cow! Submarines once.....

1/22/2011 8:40 AM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

I was making the second tour a chance at ET-A school to be an RO as an option. Obviously, not everyone would want to or be able to go. It just seemed wierd to me to let some pretty smart nukes who have a drive and motivation to get through something, to be pretty well maxed-out in opportunities at about the 4.5 year point in the Navy, with nothing else except for the LPO/EDEA/COB thing to get them through.

If they let second term nukes change rates, even opening up ELT school to EMs or ETs, it might make a difference in attrition.

1/22/2011 9:29 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a nuke EM and also a diver. I had decided that I was out unless I could denuke and go to second class dive school. I talked to several retention people and presented it this way: Let me get this straight. I'm an E-6 about to have six years in, I've demonstrated my ability to be trained, as well as leadership ability, yet the Navy won't let me stay in because I want to change rates to a job that I think I would enjoy more?

Retention personnel: You can't transfer from a higher classified job to a lower classified job.

Me: Even if it means I'm going to get out?

Retention personnel: Sorry, that's the way it is.

Me: See ya.

1/22/2011 10:00 AM

 
Anonymous ET3 CJ said...

These efforts at tightening things up would have helped me not a bit.

I had a 99 ASVAB score and passed the NFQT with flying colors.
No, I failed out because I couldn't memorize the stupid notes fast enough. No one ever told me you had to be able to memorize what amounted to the cliffs notes version of a tech manual! I thought it was gonna be all math. So yeah, that's my two-cents. As for "nuke waste", I never want to be called "nuke" anything ever again.

1/22/2011 12:09 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

{Especially when there are some 900 students (give or take) waiting at NNPTC to come to prototype. The rollbacks have become a serious problem. In fact, the Officers are starting to backup, even after it was decided to send them to SOBC prior to NPTU. }

Yikes. That's nut, but I think its orthogonal to the real issue. There should be higher attrition at NNPTC and lower attrition in NPTU and the fleet. That would help solve the problem.

As far as SOBC before NPTU - that works for two classes, then its ineffective - its a very short term work-around. Queue theory - maybe someone at NR should give it a go...

1/22/2011 1:24 PM

 
Blogger Vigilis said...

Interesting comments. What may be missing for non-nuc readers, however, is any estimate of how many ex-enlisted nucs go on to become submarine officers.

BH, is one, and some some current and ex-bloggers are a few more. Out of a typical LA or Virginia class boat, how many mustangers are ever in a wardroom --0, 1, 2?

Why is this even relevant? Not many 'mustangers' seem to make CO any longer like Rubber Ducky did,
and with guaranteed quota queens (GQ2) arriving soon, prospects are going to be slimmer to nonexistent on the boats.

If you don't mind transferring to surface, no sweat, and good for you.

1/22/2011 1:46 PM

 
Anonymous 594tuff said...

Vigilis,
I have been in wardrooms with up to 6 prior-Es. I can only think of one or two current COs out there that ever served at sea as enlisted. My observations are that once you hit 20 years at about the DH stage, the obligation to benefit ratio starts climbing and once you make O5 the pay scale freezes and with a future of minimal to no pay raises it will only get worse.

1/22/2011 2:50 PM

 
Blogger Lyle said...

"Yikes. That's nut, but I think its orthogonal to the real issue. There should be higher attrition at NNPTC and lower attrition in NPTU and the fleet. That would help solve the problem."

I'm sure it would. But when I get Sailors that fail all but three courses in NPS and the comp, though they pass an academic board (with a grade discrepancy ranging from a 3.5 to a 1.8)... it's clear someone's not doing their job. The aforementioned Sailor only passed NPS overall because he did so well in the material covered in Power Prep, or whatever it's called these days. Needless to say, he became "sad" because the program makes it unbearable for students who academically are not cut out the job.

ETC(SS)

1/22/2011 3:38 PM

 
Anonymous 594Tuff said...

lyle,
I agree and also laughed at your "sad" comment, but it is not just a nuclear issue. Passing the buck is commonplace and the screening processes we use have not worked. The navy has spent far too much time, energy, and money on trying to push people thru the wickets. With the proposed higher standards and shrinking of force structure can only help.

1/22/2011 3:55 PM

 
Blogger Vigilis said...

@ 594tuff,

That answers my question very well, thanks. Most I had ever seen was 2, and neither was a nuke.

1/22/2011 5:13 PM

 
Anonymous laughter in manslaughter said...

I'm at NPTU with lyle (though not sure which ETC he is)and have to agree that NPTU is definitely the bottleneck. Each division may have 1 person off each half to try and coordinate maintenance and troubleshooting. And now we're losing one of the MTS's for upkeep that will have her out of service for at least 5 classes. That's 700 more students caught in the pipeline. We absoluetely need attrition to weed out some of those rather than wasting staff time to try and push them through.

1/23/2011 9:05 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

{I can only think of one or two current COs out there that ever served at sea as enlisted. }

For what its worth, look at the last CO screening list. I recognized four prior-E guys, all NECP.

Look for more of this in the future, due to the change in computed retirement benefits - the clock now stops in STA-21.

1/23/2011 9:44 AM

 
Blogger Trickish Knave said...

I never met a Nuke who wouldn't have gladly given up that pro-pay to get the hell out of that engine room.

Rickover is pooping in his grave at what the program has become.

1/23/2011 10:11 AM

 
Anonymous ssnret said...

Best CO I had in my 24 was Patrick J. Casey. Prior enlisted. ELT I think. NESEP at NC State.

1/23/2011 5:28 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unrelated...

This is an article about using underwater nuclear power stations in Europe:

http://www.fastcompany.com/1719499/undersea-nuclear-power-stations-could-be-en-route-to-france

1/23/2011 7:46 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Vigilis: If I remember correctly, both the XO and the CO of the Cheyenne are prior enlisted nuke mechanics. CO made Chief first too I believe.

1/23/2011 8:49 PM

 
Blogger Jon said...

I remember when I was going through the pipeline, and we had just finished NFAS EMA school, and were heading off to power school so that we could smurf for the next six weeks while we waited for the next class to form up (we managed to get the timing just right so that we were the first NFAS class to go into that cycle... lucky us)

*SIDE NOTE* Standing guard on the dark side (Orlando) was ten times better than standing guard on the light side. I have never been a big one for military formality (I am now in the Civil Air Patrol, and it drives me nuts when a cadet salutes me...) so the dark side was a lot nicer for me because that formality was not as strongly observed. Same reason why I was happier as a west coast sailor...
*END SIDE NOTE*

Anyway, one of my classmates in EMA school just managed to pass the course, but didn't have a high enough score to go on to NPS, so he was given his crow and sent out to the fleet as a conventional electrician. Apparently he got a minesweeper out of the deal. At the time, as the rest of us smurfed at power school, we looked upon the deal he got with great envy. I look back on that now and sometimes wonder if he really did get the best deal, at least in my particular case.

1/24/2011 3:52 PM

 
Anonymous Stsc said...

I was bounced academically in '88. Had a screaming AFQT & Nuc test scores but was not ready for the pace & had no background in electronics. One ARB & I was done halfway through A school (wk 14). I'm grateful now but was horrified back then. I have always made a distinction between being a "drop" from being "waste". The latter went to Mast & were booted. The former couldn't hack the courses but were good Sailors otherwise. The fleet generally doesn't share that opinion in my experience. All are considered waste.

I've always considered the term "nuc waste" as derogatory, as that is always how it was used contextually in conversations. I never liked it & still don't but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

1/24/2011 4:43 PM

 
Anonymous ETC 4 Life? said...

As an ETC with a NPTU tour under my belt, I have seen the worst. When the numbers game at the "types" are managed by civilians it really handicaps the Enlisted Instructors. I had a Sail...er...P.O.S. forge signatures and lie about extra hours and the Training Manager wanted to keep him because he was a sub-vol ET. Not only did he fail 2 boards, but they wanted to give a third, which was fought with so much uproar from the enlisted side (even included a petition) that it was finally canceled and he was sent packing in week 26 of a 24 week program. I also had a Surface Sailor from another crew go to a third board with my crew. She knew nothing and couldn't even explain how we controlled reactor power. Again, everybody in her "Four Horseman" board passed he except for my lone ET2 SPU who 2.4'd her. (He later explained 2.4 was being generous). Even NRRO passed her! I don't think the problem is math, it's finding people with the right work ethic and the ability to conceptualize. It doesn't matter what class you're on, the systems are fundamentally the same. I'll be the fist to admit that the job sucks. I'm brutally honest with my Sailors. They know what I think, and they also know that they signed up for 6 (All have since re-enlisted). You'll make rate quicker, you get a nice fat bonus, but you have to put the time in on the deck plate, just sometimes that time is spent idle or working with ridiculous demands and expectations from COC.

I also think a lot of the responsibility falls on the Chief. If I'm not shielding my guys from the B.S. and trying to make it easier on them to do what I expect out of them, I'm being that CPO that I hated working for in the past.

Another note about why is sucks to be a 3363: If anybody who reads this has seen the LDO precepts, only 6 of 41 Nuke LDOs can hold a 3363 NEC. It wouldn't surprise me that when the time comes, if I can't go to an EDMC billet because there are so few ETC's in RC Div.

1/25/2011 5:35 AM

 
Anonymous MentalJim said...

I was a SPU instrcutor at D1G in the early 90's when things shifted from filter to pump. It was strange.

As far as Vigilis' question - I was an RO and then became an O via NECP. I made my choice when I was a young LT that I was going to stay for 20 and not a day more. For me that worked out the be a DH tour followed by a shore duty then out. No regrets.

On another, but related note, what has been the impact of the new super-sushy GI Bill on retention? Seems like more people would get out earlier with that great deal waiting for them.

1/25/2011 8:02 AM

 
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1/25/2011 8:30 AM

 
Blogger Barbara said...

Having been a Section Adviser long ago, I don't think the students will get smarter. I think the way to end late wash-out is do away with ANY mandatory study hours program. The people that want to get through will apply themselves and ask for help. The students that don't apply themselves will wash out. At sea I never had time to babysit a slacker, let them wash out before we get too much invested in them.

1/25/2011 9:41 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The people that want to get through will apply themselves and ask for help. The students that don't apply themselves will wash out.

While true, I'm not sure this is the best approach. Many utes with the ability to complete the pipeline, but lacking in maturity, would not keep their nose to the grindstone and be successful without being made to do so. I would guess the majority of people in the nuke program need some level of extra "guidance." If not, most of us would have been in college rather than joining the Navy.

1/25/2011 4:32 PM

 
Anonymous 3383 said...

A decent GI Bill should be an inducement to enlist, not to retain. Giving a crap GI bill (Montgomery GIB) and then resisting improvement to it on the grounds of poor retention is the stupidest BS- well, not the most stupid, but you get my point.

Plus, it's good for the USA as a whole.

1/25/2011 6:54 PM

 
Blogger FastAttackChief said...

With the heavy workload on the prototypes and the dangerously low manning levels in the fleet, we should start thinking about alternative ways to get students to the fleet faster. Why don't we try sending some of the more motivated and knowledgeable guys/girls to fleet early and add the six months onto their qualification goal dates. As far as Reactor Operator's and Electrical Operator's training, the IDE and monitored maintenace is the ideal tool to prepare them for the fleet. Of course we will probably never get NR's blessing for this one.

One thing I do hate is when staff members bitch about how the Training Manager's wanted the student to have another chance. 90% of the time it is because the student was given a poorly prepared remedial and the sea-returnees failed to provide the proper support/motivation. Instead they rely on some SPU to help his proto-pal out.

1/25/2011 8:10 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Academic requirements should be more rigorous... however, I would argue that a "character" filter would be more important to have during the recruiting/training process. I saw a huge difference between the "quality" of submariners (not just nukes) from my enlisted time in the late 80's to my commissioned time in the mid 90's. Alot of guys seemed to be coming in on a waiver of some kind in the 90's (usually drug/alcohol/anit-social behavior related). I also saw alot more personell issues resulting from what was essentially behavioural/character problems since mid 90's than I did in the 80's. You can have all the smart guys in the world, but if their character is in question and they can't be depended on, then that is a bigger problem onboard a submarine. I'll take a not so smart honest hard working guy anyday.
Finally, it is or should always be part of the purpose of the "training" pipeline to weed out the unworthy prior to being shipped off to be a burden on a submarine crew!! There are definitely more important things to focus on in a submarine than personnell issues resulting from a "lack of good character".

1/26/2011 10:45 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: Anonymous 10:45

We have a winner!!!!

I was BEEP school instructor in the mid 70's and I had one guy whose struggled and went to ARB a couple of times. The second time he went, I went with him told them I thought he could succeed in EM school it was the BEEP school self-paced method he was poor at. They went along with me and the guy excelled in A school. He came by to see me a year or so later to thank me and was doing well in the fleet. I stood behind him because he worked hard, he studied extra hours without being forced, offered no excuses and impressed me as a guy who was struggling but really wanted to succeed. I think that’s called character!

I also blame the current school system. Too much emphasis on "feeling good about one's self" and not enough on “not all things are easy and you might actually have to work hard to succeed”.

Old chief from the dark ages

1/26/2011 11:27 AM

 
Anonymous ex-ET nuke said...

Class 9201 here, and our attrition rate was ~40% through A-School and NPS. Most of our drops in A-school were the academic drops due to not handling the pace, and in NPS it was mostly about non-academic stuff (DUI, DU, Rules violations, etc...) I can only remember 2 guys in the ET section not making it out of NPTU.

Contrast with the time I was getting out in '96, and I could tell that the nuke filter had become as pump based on some of the guys getting to the boat (one busted for taking 6hrs of "logs" on a secured R-114).

1/27/2011 1:04 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Contrast with the time I was getting out in '96, and I could tell that the nuke filter had become as pump based on some of the guys getting to the boat (one busted for taking 6hrs of "logs" on a secured R-114).

Actually - 1995 and 1996 were the years of highest pipeline attrition (above 50% through the pipeline). Those years prompted the prototypes to lower the attrition rate by half (to about 25% in 2000).

1/27/2011 5:18 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former NPTU instructor, the effect that is going to be seen by the pipeline instructors is that they will be blamed for any of the students' shortcomings.

I spent a lot of days on mando-plus-hours to get students un-dinq because it was our fault for them not being ahead.

I feel bad for those guys.

1/27/2011 7:26 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't blame NPTU staff for all s---bags, but there are some BAD NPTU staff. My sea dad was one. The guy never gave me even one sig or checkout. When the M-div LPO found out (late in my qualification process), a true storm o' crap ensued.

Evidently, he had been getting assigned hot runners for some time as a way of concealing his utter lack of motivation. However, that had only encouraged his extreme sloth. Not a bad operator, but his interpersonal skills were truly wretched, even for a nuke. More "aspergers" than "shy".

1/27/2011 2:31 PM

 
Blogger SJV said...

Sounds like he was more of an ass booger than an asberger.

1/27/2011 4:47 PM

 
Blogger 634aganger said...

Being an A ganger and having knowledge of fellow A gangers that where as you say Nuke Waste, I must make note. No matter where we started out, we are proud of the job we did onboard our respective boat. I had no idea of nukes untill A school and only then because the instructors kept asking me if I was one. It wasn't until they said I was destended to go to an Aircraft Carrier that my boot camp buddy suggested Subs. Good thing it was 1974 and they were desperate or I maybe wouldn't have been given the chance to even be an A ganger. Best experince I ever had.

1/28/2011 11:17 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm an ex nuke MM. Nuke School class 8505 in Orlando, then a staff instructor at Ballston Spa. I am not offended by the term "Nuke Waste". I have a couple of stories about attrition through Nuke School and Prototype. First was an EM friend of mine who failed out of Nuke School, he ended up going to Hydrofoil out of Key West. We were all ready to volunteer to fail is we could go to Key West. Second is what we called the "Needs of the Navy" while we were in prototype. If people (officer and enlisted) were needed out in the fleet, people were given second and sometimes even third chances at final boards. At other times one failure and you were gone. I'm sure things are much different now than they were 25 years ago with so many fewer operational reactors, but I'm sure the "Needs of the Navy" will dictate much of the attrition rate

1/30/2011 2:04 PM

 
Anonymous birdie said...

634aganger

I went to boot camp in 1974 and then did 6 patrols on the 634. I was blue crew in the FTG div. Did I know you?

Birdie

1/31/2011 12:08 PM

 
Blogger 634aganger said...

Birdie, was onboard 75-79 name is Mutzabaugh

1/31/2011 1:01 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Class 9147EM/9205 NPS. Interesting perspectives on nuke waste. On my submarines my only experience with them were in A-division, and they were usually bitter sailors with bad attitudes. I felt sorry for those who didn't make it in my class, but from what I saw reporting to the fleet in the mid-2000s I feel that attrition is a good thing. People worked their butts off to pass, and the product the pipeline provided to the fleet was much better. I think that any savings the Navy gains in reduced attrition on the front end is wiped out (or more) by the problems caused by those who make it but shouldn't, and by the cost of reduced productivity and morale in the fleet and poor retention (in quality and quantity of personnel) on the back end.

1/31/2011 9:19 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am currently at NPTU Charleston active duty as an instructor. I have lots of experience, which will lead you to what color pants I wear. I dont know if raising the academic requirements would honestly make a difference. The academic attrition is not that high, HOWEVER, the mental and moral attrition is what needs to be addressed. I routinely deal with students who are smart as hell, but who are completely immature and unable to function as an adult professional. Im talking DAILY. We process hundreds of students per class and I spend my day trying to get them assistance on bad financial, legal, martial, housing, and a plethora of other poor decisions. A lot of these kids do not know how to live on their own. You can say what you want about academics, but we need to look at the maturity level of these people as well. I have a student who doesn't care he as a car loan with 18% interest. I have a student who refuses to pay his grandfather for a car that pappy bought for him...pappy calls us weekly. I have pregnant females, divorced students, students in divorce court, the list goes on and on...it's not academics...it's the poeple. I spent three years as a recruiter and classifier...a nuke recruiter as well...all we looked at was the grades...we never looked or asked the question...is this person MATURE enough to be a nuke. Damn shame, because now, I am having to fix it.

2/04/2011 8:11 AM

 
Anonymous Tom Goering said...

@Anonymous 8:11

"...is this person MATURE enough to be a nuke."

How would you regulate that? Beyond verifying the applicant has stayed out of trouble, did well in school (things we already verify and consider) - what other tangible aspects could we measure? Incidentally, with the maximum age of 25, and now the addition of the point system that makes it difficult for a borderline academic seasoned human to qualify, is the Navy making it worse?

Oh, and to clarify one additional thing - the NAPT and the NFQT are the same, the name was changed only in the hope more would take it.

2/04/2011 2:07 PM

 
Blogger 634aganger said...

These kids today are book smart as all hell but not in the ways we think they should be. I really shouldn't get started as they drive me nuts. Class validictorian can't do her own check book. I could see it starting back in 1979. Nubs wanted me to lead them around for quals, part of the reason I got out. But now I got 50 year olds that can't fight their way out of a wet paper bag. And they are in the Medical field telling you what meds to take. Gee it's hot but didn't think to see what that round thing on the wall was set at. Got a great nurse that can't make a pot of coffee at work, cause her machine at home only does one cup at a time. Problem isn't just the in Navy.

2/04/2011 3:32 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am currently at NPTU Charleston active duty as an instructor. I have lots of experience, which will lead you to what color pants I wear. I dont know if raising the academic requirements would honestly make a difference. The academic attrition is not that high, HOWEVER, the mental and moral attrition is what needs to be addressed. I routinely deal with students who are smart as hell, but who are completely immature and unable to function as an adult professional. Im talking DAILY. We process hundreds of students per class and I spend my day trying to get them assistance on bad financial, legal, martial, housing, and a plethora of other poor decisions. A lot of these kids do not know how to live on their own. You can say what you want about academics, but we need to look at the maturity level of these people as well. I have a student who doesn't care he as a car loan with 18% interest. I have a student who refuses to pay his grandfather for a car that pappy bought for him...pappy calls us weekly. I have pregnant females, divorced students, students in divorce court, the list goes on and on...it's not academics...it's the poeple. I spent three years as a recruiter and classifier...a nuke recruiter as well...all we looked at was the grades...we never looked or asked the question...is this person MATURE enough to be a nuke. Damn shame, because now, I am having to fix it.

I agree completely!! I see these checkins that are "pumped" through the pipeline and I can pick out who will and wont make it. It is the Nukes age old problem making them smarter will make things better!! The bottom line is MATURITY!!!!!

2/17/2011 3:29 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was Section 14 in Class 8403, never did mando hours, drank heavily on weekends with the Section 14 "Sex gods" softball team, and had a good time in Orlando. Slept during lunch hour.

ETCS (SS) Sparks, who turned up on the CVN 70 USS Chuck Wagon as an ensign and qualified watch officer, he did have me on fat boys PT. What can I say. I'm husky. Big boned.

On the other hand, until something finally kicked in halfway through my freshman semester of calculus at UT, it was seriously kicking my rear.

Enlisted NPS is not hard at all, compared to college. College got easier, as far as knowing what I was doing, but getting a petroleum engineering degree took hours after school each day doing homework and studying.

Enlisted that can't handle nuke school either don't know how to manage an hour or two a day of study and teenage hijinks, or have serious educational deficiencies.

2/22/2011 11:33 AM

 
Anonymous disfrutar del sexo said...

Pretty worthwhile piece of writing, much thanks for the post.

10/21/2011 4:35 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just a Mom of a "nuke waste" student who is frustrated FOR him - no haters please. My son received very high scores on both the ASVAB and the nuke-specific testing (don't know the name) and enlisted as an E3 based on that alone (no college, etc). He missed passing A school by 2 points and they did not offer him the opportunity to re-take the exam 'though I'm told by other students that this is uncommon. He was "busted back" to E-1 and is now completing school for another rate and has performed exceptionally well academically and through being given leadership roles throughout his stay. (I'm being specifically vague here, not my business nor my desire to potentially identify my son). My question/concern is, despite an otherwise exemplary record, he has been told that they "rolled back the clock" when he was reduced to E-1 so he cannot hope to advance to E-2 until 9 months after THAT date (7 months into his actually enlistment for a total of 16 months). Is this right? It hardly seems fair and it DEFINITELY seems that he is being punished for attempting and failing to complete the Nuke program as most of the others that he PIR'd with are E-2 to E-3 by now with far less exemplary scores or overall performance.

11/25/2011 12:50 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like he might have done something else to get busted back to E-1. Sorry to say this, but you may not have an entirely accurate story from your son.

11/25/2011 2:21 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I can understand your perspective - many a kid has laundered the truth - this is not the case this time. I knew a large chunk of his classmates and their mothers and wives. It is also common practice to reduce the E-3's to E-1's if they don't pass A-school and that's fine except for the starting over part! It is the kind of illogical logic I have witnessed and heard mention of since he joined. I personally believe that someone made a mistake that nobody else is willing to correct. Perhaps you could suspend your disbelief and offer advice?

11/27/2011 6:52 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If anyone is interested - oh ye of little faith lol - my son apparently pursued this issue one more time, speaking with someone involved in pay administration (I can't keep up with the military pneumonics). This individual said the most logical thing we've heard all along "that can't be right". He flat out fixed it in one sitting. My son is stitching stuff on his uniform to reflect the adjustment to E-1 as we speak, and is to get 3 months of pay adjustment in a lump-sum check in January and is back where he should be. Merry Christmas :)

12/14/2011 7:31 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any advice for BAS being taken out of the LES and also paying in the Galley?Isn't that double dipping by the Navy?

12/17/2011 5:20 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went into the US Navy at 17 years of age in March 1984. A full 64 out of 84 gus in my boot camp were in for Navy Nukes.
I was selected for ET school (long engough for me not to be able to hit prototype duty until I was 19)and once I was an ET3, I classed up at NNPS in Orlando with class 8505.
Prototype duty was in Saratoga Springs/Ballston Spa. I was assigned to S7G MARF. I was training when the Control Tube's Backup Housing High Pressure alarm went off. Result? 4 of the ET's (RO to be) were 'disenrolled due to lack of academic ability' in my class. That's out of 10 of us who were filtered prior to getting there.
So how many of us from bootcamp completed the program? 1 guy went to OCS, 2 guys (1 ET, 1 EM) finished to become Navy Nukes. Total completion: 2 out of 64.

3/23/2012 1:35 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went through Charleston and then onto MARF, survived a training hold, and then made it to the submarine fleet. I spent a little while on shore after getting injured, where I ran into some of my old A-school, Power School, and Prototype instructors I had. Sad thing was they were off their boats due to "Mental Health". Turns out big bonuses and special duty pay do little to compensate for 16 hour workdays six days a week. I also ran into someone that was in my power school class who was dropped. He became a NAV-ET, but was later kicked out of the Navy for cutting his toe off with bolt cutters.

As for my wardroom, the majority (CO and XO included) were prior "enlisted". Although only two actually served in the fleet and earned silver dolphins, the rest were SPU's picked up for STA-21/Naval Academy. My EDTA and DIV-O were in the same A-school & power school class.

9/01/2012 5:25 AM

 

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