By Larry Fowler, US Navy Feb 1976 – Feb 1981
A job in the Navy is unlike any other. That might be considered obvious but it is absolutely true. Living on a ship that is a floating weapons platform or mobile supply depot or seaborne medical facility isn’t in the job description section for more ordinary careers. Taking on challenges in exotic locales before most people are even awake is par for the course. Each day can find you in situations that will ask more than you might have imagined and reward more than you thought possible.
The pride you feel when wearing your Navy uniform in support of the country is something only those who have donned one will ever know. There are days and nights when the work is hard and the hours long between those fascinating port stops. The pride that comes from doing the job well and stretching your capabilities makes it all more than worthwhile. No matter how long you spend in the Navy, it’s an experience that will shape your life. In addition to your special area of Navy training you will learn the discipline, honor, and pride of service that comes with a Navy career.
There’s nothing like standing with your hands on the rail looking out at surging seas and knowing you aren’t going around the storm, you are going through it, because you can. Standing in line with your fellow sailors at the rail as the sun rises on a new day’s dawn as you are pulling into a port you’ve dreamed about visiting brings a thrill people back home will never know.
A career in the US Navy is focused and fast-paced. You will usually learn the fundamentals in a classroom setting before reporting to on-the-job training. On-the-job training puts you in the middle of the action while still learning alongside more experienced sailors. As your confidence and knowledge grow you will find responsibility coming your way in large measure. The command structure of the Navy will trust you with advanced technology and expensive equipment. You will be expected to honor that trust with professionalism and pride.
You might find yourself at the controls of a nuclear powered submarine or guiding aircraft on the deck of a carrier. Deep in the bowels of a ship are the engineers that keep it running and available for whatever orders may come. Jobs in specialized operations categories will test your physical mettle and your mental toughness. Become one of the best divers in the world as a Navy diver or be part of the most elite fighting force in existence as a Navy SEAL. You can get advanced medical training and be on the ready to assist wherever the need arises. The Navy cooperates with governments and organizations around the world in humanitarian relief efforts. When we hear that the Navy is a Global Force for Good we know it’s more than a slogan.
A career in the Navy is not for everyone. If you feel compelled to leave the well traveled path and strike out in search of the toughest job you will ever love, the Navy has the job for you.
My last recommendation would be to focus on a job or school or career path. Then compare this ‘career’ to the other military services. Then determine what branch would be best for you. For me, I loved the thought of ‘special forces’ and BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition Seal training) was for me. Just do your homework ‘before’ ever speaking to a recruiter. Good luck!