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A story, a rant, and a promise.

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  • A story, a rant, and a promise.

    TL;DR at the bottom.

    I hope this motivates you. If not, oh well.

    Last night, I got to see a good friend of mine. He was on leave from the navy, doing a special program (I won't specify which one). It was really good to see him; he and I became fast friends when we first met about a year ago. Not one minute into the greeting/conversation and he hit me with the news that he DOR'ed (or DOR'd? doesn't matter) from training. It hit close to home when I heard that, somewhat akin to what the Naval Academy officers went through when their other USNA buddies dropped, if you read The Warrior Elite. This guy was an absolute monster in the water, and a great athlete overall. I liked training with him since he's the only person I've met that can keep up with me in all PT aspects. Back when he was still trying to get a contract for his program (his run times were killing him), he and I made a deal. He'd help me become a better swimmer (his strongest point), and I'd help him become a better runner (mine). It went well, but to be honest I was just happy to have a training partner and a friend who shared something in common with me, as I had trained completely alone until then.

    Needless to say, it came as a pretty big shock to hear he dropped. He didn't put up any BS, he took complete responsibility for his actions and put the blame on no one but himself. Unlike the vast majority of dropouts who SWEAR they got med-dropped and never quit, he actually owned up to everything. He heavily regrets his decision though, and if you're only gonna take one piece of information from this whole thread, take this one: Immediately after he quit, he wanted to go back to the class. He saw his class move along without him and it killed him. Not even 5 minutes had passed and he suddenly realized that he COULD'VE kept going. He had tricked himself into believing the situation was a lot worse than it actually was and gave up... and when he was standing there, not getting beat, being able to rationalize everything, he realized it hadn't been that bad. For those of you who have scoured for information about the pipeline as I have, you'll see that his mentality is similar to the mentality of other DORs. It's not some BS. I didn't really need my friend to tell me this, as I always believed it prior. So for those of you reading this who do not believe in this, I urge you to do so. It's almost universal.

    And now, he's an undesignated sailor. That makes no sense to me. For the program that he was in, he had to complete a hearty chunk of another rating's schooling process (you sharp squirrels out there might now catch on to what program he was in), but now that he DOR'ed, he tells me that his completion of that portion is completely cancelled out, as if it never happened. Instead of sending him to go on that route (where he proved he could succeed), they just tell him "nope, go chip paint now." He will now have to serve as undesignated and he'll have to strike for a rating later down the road.

    Why is this? He and the other DORs he met were great guys. I can personally vouch for my friend. We're talking about people who gave up nuke contracts for a shot at SO, SB, EOD, etc. We're talking about squared-away sailors, hard-charging guys, who took a noble gamble and happened to be wrong. And now they're subject to "the needs of the navy?" When I hear/see people say/write this phrase, I bite my tongue. Sure, people may get off alright and get sent to another A-school. Heck, perhaps they may even get sent to another specops A-school! But the reality is that just like there's lucky people like that, there's other unlucky people like my friend. And why does this have to come down to luck? "He just so happened to drop at this time, so we just so happen to have nothing available. Oh well!" It kills their motivation. It does. If you're not in the pipeline yet, wait until you see it for yourself.

    And so, here's my promise. When I get to the point within NSW (Yes gents, it's not a matter of "if" for me, it's a matter of "when." If you disagree and wanna fight me about it we'll do it on the weekends off at BUD/S and have a good laugh afterwards) where I can lobby for these sailors to be given a fair shot at success within the navy, and NOT be subject to luck, I will do so, regardless of what the brass thinks about it. I won't hit MCPO or CAPT because I'm a goodhearted idealist and I wanna fight for these guys? **** you, cut-and-dry. No sailor should be subject to such treatment because they VOLUNTEERED for the toughest training in the military. Hopefully this policy changes by the time I'm there, or else I'll have my work cut out for me.

    TL;DR: lol you really expected a tldr? Go **** yourself brother, hooyah!

  • #2
    Re: A story, a rant, and a promise.


    You need to do some soul searching.


    • #3
      Re: A story, a rant, and a promise.

      Chuz, I'm not really sure what you mean by that. If you're talking about my motivation, don't worry. It has not faltered. This is something I wrote mainly to show that many candidates let the voice inside their heads take control and end up seeing that it actually wasn't that bad. Though I did need to vent my frustration for my friend's situation. My motivation is as strong as ever, I've wanted to be an SO since I was a young kid, and that motivation has only increased over time.

      Unless of course you're talking about something else, if so please clarify.


      • #4
        Re: A story, a rant, and a promise.

        Hey Lazur,

        Your story about your friend is quite unfortunate to hear. That is just the nature of the beast though. Every candidate knows full well the repercussions of dropping/being dropped from their special program. Regardless, they agree to that risk by signing the contract.

        I can understand how the phrase, "The needs of the Navy," can be frustrating to hear, but you've got to realize that at the end of the day, the Navy is a business. They have quotas to meet and personnel to move around. I'm sure that it doesn't seem fair, but again, you signed the contract and volunteered to serve your country and the United States Navy for those 'X' amount of years and are therefore subjected to their rules, regulations, policies, and needs.

        Your friend will undoubtedly get another shot at a special program in two year's time, but for now, he's just going to have to be "haze gray and underway". That's not always a bad thing though. He will learn many things in his time in the fleet and gain valuable knowledge and experience that will come to serve him well in life and if he should so choose to go back to a special program.

        That's great that you have noble intentions for when you do get to a position of leadership. I think that the Navy could use more people like that. Unfortunately, policies like the ones you are talking about are often at or above the O-6 level. The best that you can do for your men as a Chief or Platoon OIC is look out for them and mentor them. Things like the changes that you're talking about are often more complex than they sound and it takes the collaboration of many think-tanks and bean-counters to make and change policies like that. In the end, it will come down to what is in the best interests of the Navy as a whole and not just the individual Sailor. I know you don't want to hear that, but it's something that you need to hear and accept for now.

        Best of luck to you in your training and in your special program's respective pipeline.



        • #5
          Re: A story, a rant, and a promise.

          I appreciate the input Barall, thanks for that. There's nothing in your post that I disagree with and that I didn't know prior. I mainly needed to air out some frustration (and hopefully get a constructive/motivational discussion) and the only place I know of where I could get good feedback is this forum. You're completely right in that every candidate knows the risks involved when going for these programs, it's just that knowing that some top-notch sailors would get put in a place where they might not be able to contribute to their full ability irks me. However, like you stated, this is a far more complex system at work; one I won't fully understand until I'm in the thick of it.


          • #6
            Re: A story, a rant, and a promise.

            Yeah, I understand where you're coming from. If you're in the Navy right now, then you obviously know of a system called "Perform to Serve" (PTS) or as some Sailors will call it, "Plan/Prepare to Separate". Basically, it's a force-shaping tool currently in place to bring manning levels back into balance. As a result, it sometimes ends up in good Sailors going home. Sailors who have families and the Navy is the only thing they really know. Now they have to go and find a job out in today's world and get their family situated because they were told "Nope, sorry. You can't serve your country anymore, but thanks for serving." Meanwhile, below-average Sailors in undermanned ratings are being retained due to the fact that that particular rating is undermanned. It's a beast of a system and it is sometimes unfair, but you can't blame big Navy for it. I'm sure that the CNO and CNP don't like it as much as the enlisted guys getting the boot do, but something had/has to be done about the manning issue and while this system isn't perfect, it is accomplishing the goal.

            So yes, we all understand your frustration. However, I would like to impart a couple of quick lessons that I have learned in my short one year of currently being in. So if I could share some knowledge with any potential future Sailor (any Sailor, not just SpecOps/War), it would be to work hard, train hard, study hard, PT hard, maintain your military bearing, and follow the orders of those appointed over you (you should know that from the Sailor's Creed. If not, learn it!). Do all of those things and you will go far and find yourself ahead of the other guys who see the service as just being a steady paycheck and who only do the bare minimum to make it through from the 1st to the 15th and the 15th to the 1st.

            Again, best of luck to you.




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