I joined the Navy in June and am scheduled to ship January 17. I got a 93 on my ASVAB. I took the qualifying exam for the Nuke field, I failed by just a few points. I'm not all that interested in retaking it simply because I hate math and physics and aviation is a hell of a lot more interesting to me. I signed as an undesignated airman, the only job they had available at the time. It seemed like a good opportunity to get my foot in the door with chances to work my way up to better jobs, IE Air Traffic Controller and Aerographers Mate, which interest me the most. My recruiter was happy about this saying he himself entered as an undesignated airman and while it was very hard work he enjoyed it.
However, after doing some research on different forums the overall impression I am getting is that its a great way to end up scrubbing down toilets and swabbing decks with little chance of advancement into better ratings. I don't mind starting at the bottom if I know I can work my way up. But I've busted my ass in fast food the last 5 years to pay the bills and support myself, so I would like the Navy to be a significant step up for me. I can do better than swabbing decks.
Any advice? Should I try and reclass to get a guaranteed job? Or is Airman still a good opportunity worth trying? I'm willing to hold out on a better job, but reluctantly, as I am extremely antsy to get out of my current job (fast food manager). I'd let them ship me off the RTC tomorrow if I could. But I could hold out longer if there is a better opportunity out there.
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Personally I think AN is a great opportunity. There is not much chance of picking up AC or AG though as those are very small rates within the Navy. You might get very lucky at RTC and pick up a dropped school for one of those rates but I emphasize VERY LUCKY.
As an Airman you will be assigned to the Line shack learning how to do all the basic stuff on the aircraft. It is dirty hot work but once you are a qualified plane captain it gets somewhat beter. Like everyone you will still have to your share of cleaning heads and working in the galley, that's just part of being in the Navy. Plane captain is an interesting qual for the Navy. For the other services this is an actual MOS but for the Navy it is an entry level position only. Once you are qualified you will then be able to look at which rate you want to strike for in aviation (possible to go into a few of the black shoe (non-aviation) positions such as YN, PS, SK, CS as well as these rates are also assigned to the squadrons.
If you end up on a carrier then you will start out as a blue shirt which is not nearly as glamours as becoming a plane captain but can lead to a lot of options on the flight and hangar decks. Crash and salvage, catapult/arresting gear operations/repair, fuels, etc.
If you've been working in fast food for 5 years then being an enlisted AN is going to be a huge step up. You will be doing a lot of the grunt work. That's the way it goes in the military.
You can only be an undesignated airman until go for advancement to Petty Officer. This will be before your first enlistment ends. The reason so many new sailors complain about being undesignated is because it's actual hard work. People these days think doing a shift at Starbucks is hard work.
There are two ways to get a rating when it comes time to advance to Petty Officer. You can request to be sent to an A-School, or take an exam for rating that you've been studying for. Some ratings, like intelligence and medical require school attendance. Some, like maintenance can be tested into.
Keep in mind that this is the way the Navy has done it for centuries. Picking a career before you have even a day on the water is really new for the seagoing services.
I don't know what forums you have been researching on but there have been several indepth threads on this forum about the PACT (undesignated) program. I strongly suggest that you read these threads and the instructions pertaining to this program before you enlist as an undesignated airman.
That all sounds just fine to me. I'll stick with AN, it sounds like a good opportunity to get my foot in the door and work my way up. I don't mind hard work at all and I definitely didn't expect anything else when I decided to join the military.
From what I understand, the only "A" school I receive is 3 weeks of basic airman training. Is this also at Great Lakes? I assume right after graduation from RTC.
So when I make E-4 I can request to be send to an A school. William969 said there is not much chance of making AC or AG, because there is not much room within these ratings? I can still apply to be sent to those schools right?
Thanks for the input guys, much appreciated.
Military Spouses Forum
No, you do that at E-3. The only way you make E-4 for a good number of ratings is to go to A school as an E1 - E3 and then pass the servicewide advancement exam. There are a few ratings, such as BM and YN, that you can just take the servicewide advancement exam and be advanced to PO3.
You can always apply for an A school but remember that the answer doesn't have to be yes.
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