Embarking on a journey with the Navy is a life-altering decision that requires careful consideration. Individuals from diverse backgrounds are drawn to the Navy for various reasons, ranging from a sense of duty and patriotism to the allure of adventure and discipline.
However, before taking the plunge into this distinct lifestyle, it is crucial to gather comprehensive information to make an informed decision. In this article, we will look at four aspects that you should definitely research and be aware of before thinking of a life in the Navy.
Table of Contents
1. The Obvious and Not-So-Obvious Challenging Responsibilities
At the end of the day, the Navy is a military branch and, as such, entails an inherent level of risk. For most people thinking of joining the Navy, they might be prepared for hard work, rigorous discipline, and the challenges of training.
If there are military actions that take place, then the risk to life is also obvious. Interestingly, there are some risks that aren’t so obvious, as they come about as a by-product of naval life.
You don’t associate a naval career with cancer, do you? However, for many veterans who served before the 1980s, asbestos was common and caused high levels of lung cancer. While you may not encounter asbestos anymore, it is likely that you will still have to be exposed to other toxic substances.
Marines and officers who work on aircraft carriers, for instance, often conduct firefighting exercises. Fires are extremely dangerous, and most of the crew participates in drills where ‘aqueous film-forming foam’ or AFFF is spread onto the deck. This type of foam is notorious for being carcinogenic, and TorHoerman Law notes that several veterans have been affected by it.
Veterans don’t realize the health risks they put themselves through, and only when the symptoms show, do they file AFFF lawsuit cases. The military is trying to move away from AFFF foam, but like all things with the government, change is slow.
2. Understand Your Career Opportunities After Service
Before delving into post-service opportunities, it’s essential to recognize the breadth of careers within the Navy itself. The Navy offers a myriad of roles spanning various fields, from technical positions like aviation and engineering to healthcare, administration, and special operations.
Each of these roles provides a unique skill set that can lay the foundation for a successful career transition. One of the key advantages of a Navy career is the development of highly transferable skills. Leadership, discipline, teamwork, adaptability, and problem-solving are just a few examples.
These skills are highly valued in the civilian workforce, making Navy veterans attractive candidates for a wide range of industries. Furthermore, the Navy places a strong emphasis on continuous learning and professional development. Sailors often undergo training in cutting-edge technologies and receive certifications that are recognized in the civilian sector.
Defense contractors often seek veterans for roles related to security, intelligence, and technology. Similarly, veterans with experience in logistics and supply chain management can find roles in the manufacturing, distribution, and transportation industries.
Skills in inventory management and efficient resource allocation are also highly valued almost everywhere.
3. Research What The Navy Lifestyle Entails
Joining the Navy is not merely accepting a job. At its core, the Navy lifestyle is rooted in a commitment to serving one’s country, defending its interests, and ensuring global security. This commitment comes with a set of expectations that extend beyond the professional realm, infiltrating every aspect of a sailor’s life.
Life at sea is a distinctive feature of the Navy lifestyle, bringing with it a series of unique demands. Frequent deployments, which can extend for extended periods, are an integral part of naval service. It might sound adventurous and exciting, but the charm of being at sea quickly fades away.
The food takes some getting used to, and the type of food you get is closely related to your rank. For instance, E7s have access to the chief’s mess, and officers also tend to have their own cooks. The main thing to watch out for, though, is junk food, which can be tempting at sea.
That said, it’s not without its positives. Yes, the life of a sailor on a naval vessel involves tight quarters, shared living spaces, and adherence to a strict routine. However, such an environment promotes a long-lasting camaraderie among sailors. It’s likely that you will make some of your best friends in the Navy.
4. Ensure You Understand the Family Impact
This is closely related to the previous point, but it is important enough that we want to stress the subject. Deployments are a defining feature of Navy service and often entail prolonged separation from loved ones.
The emotional toll of extended periods apart, especially during important milestones and events, can be profound. You will be separated from the daily lives of your families; you may miss birthdays, anniversaries, and significant family gatherings. Remember, you can’t just call in sick and visit your family when you want. It’s a far more serious life than other careers.
The challenge of maintaining strong family bonds under these circumstances requires open communication, resilience, and a shared commitment to the greater purpose of Navy service.
For spouses and children, the absence of a loved one during deployments can be emotionally challenging. Coping with the responsibilities of maintaining a household, parenting, and managing the uncertainties of deployment requires a unique strength.
Support networks within the Navy community, such as Family Readiness Groups, aim to provide assistance and camaraderie, but the burden of maintaining stability often falls on the shoulders of those left behind.
In conclusion, prospective sailors should research and comprehend the various roles within the Navy and choose a career path that aligns with their interests and skills. Understand that Navy life involves extended periods away from home and prepare accordingly.
It’s not just the physical aspect that you want to work on, but your mental and emotional resilience will play a crucial role. For those with the appetite to take on a challenging and exciting life, a career with the Navy can be an extremely rewarding experience.