August 27, 2014, SAN DIEGO (NNS) – A weeklong trip, Aug. 4-8, visiting Navy facilities around San Diego has given a group of northwest educators the knowledge to better inform their students about Navy opportunities.
Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Portland invited 10 teachers and counselors to an educator orientation visit (EOV) to see firsthand what life is like in the Navy. The group had three to five tours scheduled each day on Navy installations around the San Diego area, including tours on a submarine, ship, visits to a helicopter squadron, the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEALs training center, the Naval Medical Hospital and the modern apartment complex, Pacific Beacon.
Michael Roberson is a mathematics and engineering instructor for McMinnville High School Engineering and Aerospace Sciences Academy in McMinnville, Oregon. He said before attending the EOV he had a generally positive impression of the Navy as a reasonable career for individuals who lacked direction and initiative. He returned home with a different viewpoint.
“After the EOV experience I realize that there are many fine and rewarding opportunities with the U.S. Navy for a large number of my students,” said Roberson. “In many cases it may be the best choice, not just an alternative to consider.”
Roberson, among others, was impressed with the innovations being developed by Navy personnel.
“Many of the skills and training developed in the Navy environment readily translate into employment and educational opportunities post service,” Roberson added. “We met several civilians who had also found options and opportunities by returning to the Navy.”
Lori Lancaster with the Oregon Science Teachers Association agrees, saying she had no idea that there were so many specialty areas in the Navy.
“The Navy is a great opportunity to get training in a transferable skill,” said Lancaster. “In addition, the soft skills that many people do not get appear to be integral with the package.”
Robin Gordon, an associate professor at Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon, said after spending the week meeting with Sailors, visiting their facilities and learning about their jobs in the Navy, her perception is rapidly changing.
“While a number of men and women still enter the service straight out of high school, it sounds as if the Navy is in a position to be more selective in recruiting these young sailors, the goal being to fit positions and not merely fill vessels. The competition for placement in the Navy could potentially have an effect on how young people consider the role of secondary and higher education in their lives.”
Gordon said she would recommend the EOV to anyone open to learning about the Navy’s mission, culture, technology and values.
The educators say they were impressed with the emphasis upon team building and critical thinking among the Sailors they met, both commissioned and enlisted. They also sensed the pride and patriotism of those serving.
“I’ve always had a great deal of respect for the military,” said Ryan Hovde, a guidance counselor at Heritage High School in Vancouver, Washington. “After this trip, that respect has grown tenfold. The military personnel we talked to were extremely polite and respectful of us. Their professionalism far exceeded any company or organization I’ve ever been around. I am so proud of our men and women in the military and this trip gave me even more pride in them. After this experience, I will have nothing but good things to say about the Navy to prospective students and their parents. I am grateful for this experience and will remember it always.”