Things to Consider When Deciding Whether to Join The Navy


U.S. Navy enlisted working
US Navy/Flickr

Considering a profession within the Navy should not come lightly, especially if you are not comfortable with ocean going vessels (ships and submarines).  The vast majority of Navy deployments are at sea on Naval ships and submarines, though there are many deployments since 9-11 that allow for Navy personnel to deploy to various ports and bases around the world and in combat zones.

The larger ships (such as aircraft carriers) are small cities, with more than 5,000 sailors aboard.

 These are always deployed to areas where United States' interests are being threatened, so there is usually little time for port visits - though there are some.  On a carrier or any ship for that matter pretty much every job there is in the Navy makes the machine work like a moving city. There are cooks aboard. There are medical personnel aboard. There are communication and computer specialists aboard. There are finance, administrative, and law clerks aboard. There is pretty much every single Navy job aboard. If you join the Navy, you're going to spend some time deployed at sea. There's no way around it. Of course, some ratings (jobs) spend more time deployed at sea than others. Examples would be aircrew and aircraft maintenance, sonar technicians, boatswain mates, and more. You may want to see the article, Life Aboard a Navy Ship.

Most Sailors are assigned to ships or submarines for three year periods, followed by three years of shore duty.

That does not mean they will be deployed to sea for the entire three years that they are assigned to a ship or submarine. The ships and subs also spend a significant amount of time docked at their home port for regular maintenance for both machine and crew. Most ships deploy to sea duty for months at a time (usually for six months, but up to nine months).

Then they return to their home port for four or five months (during which time there will be several one or two week cruises for training purposes). One great thing about coming back home to port is you will always be near a beach town.  This is something else to consider when thinking about joining the Navy.

Just because you are on shore duty assignment, doesn't mean you won't get deployed or travel to other bases around the world. The Navy will require both volunteers and non-volunteers (about 10,000 Sailors per year) to do Individual Augmentee Duty. Those selected work outside of their regular Navy job, and are deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan (usually for 12 months) to assist the Army and Marine Corps with combat missions and patrols.

Want to read more about the pros and cons of choosing the Navy?

Interested in the pros and cons of the other military branches?

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