Saturday, June 21, 2014

Sailors Receive Second Chance for Military Service

By LTJG Adam Demeter, Recruit Training Command Public Affairs

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- Two Sailors reentered military service after their graduation from the Navy Veteran/Other Service Veteran (NAVET/OSVET) program at Recruit Training Command (RTC), June 19.

NAVETs consist of prior U.S. Navy Sailors who were honorably or medically discharged from the Navy and OSVETs are service members from other branches of the military who voluntarily decided to reenter the armed forces as a Sailor.

"The NAVET/OSVET program is a great way for Sailors to finish what they set out to do the first time they entered the Navy or one of the other services," said Lt. Tim Woyma, ship's officer for NAVET/OSVET. "The vast majority of Sailors that come through these doors were either involuntarily separated due to perform-to-serve (PTS), a medical condition, or they realized that getting out after their initial commitment wasn't helping them reach their goals. They want to continue serving and this is their second chance."

The NAVET/OSVET program is a two week long reintroduction to life as a service member and Sailor. For the OSVET candidates, they must pass the same evolutions a typical recruit at boot camp would finish over a span of eight weeks such as ship handling, live-fire, swim qualifications, and firefighting. Since NAVETs have already received their basic training through RTC during their first term of service, they focus their two weeks on updating their Navy Knowledge Online (NKO) courses, mandatory training and medical, dental and service records.

Seaman James Dunn, a prior second class petty officer, will not be authorized to wear his previous rank until he completes the NAVET program. Once he graduates, he will have a permanent change of duty station (PCS) to Bangor, Washington, and serve on the nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine USS Ohio (SSGN 726) as a machinist mate. According to Dunn, the decision to reenter military service was an easy one.

"Nowhere can you go in the civilian world and get the benefits we receive for the job we do," said Dunn. "When I got out, I added together my base pay, special pays, medical and dental coverage. I would have had to find a job that paid me $80,000 a year to be equivalent to what I was making in the military. It's very hard to find a job that pays $80,000."

Two weeks ago, Seaman Jonathan Rodriguez was wearing the uniform of a U.S. Army Solider and was serving in the reserves before reporting to RTC. After working with a recruiter, he was selected for active duty service in the Navy and train to become an Aviation Boatswain's Mate.

According to Rodriguez, the Navy was the best fit for him in order to reach his professional and educational goals.

"I always wanted to serve the military in a full-time active duty status and the Navy made that happen," said Rodriguez. "The opportunity to take advantage of the educational benefits the Navy has to offer while also learning a new trade that is transferrable in the civilian world was really desirable."

The instructors who manage the program and oversee the candidates going through the NAVET/OSVET program are proud of the recruits' past accomplishments and look forward to being an influence as they set out again to serve in the military.

"The Sailors who I see come through this program are a cut above the rest," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Michael-Paul Aguilar, leading petty officer for the NAVET/OSVET program. "Nobody handed them this opportunity; they had to earn it. It has been very rewarding to mentor these types of individuals."

As for the NAVET/OSVETs who go through this program, they realize how fortunate they are and intend to take full advantage of this second opportunity.

"I would consider myself very lucky," said Dunn. "Once I get to [the USS Ohio], I'm going to jump right back into it like I never left."

Prior service members who are interested in the NAVET/OSVET program should visit to find a local recruiter.

RTC is primarily responsible for conducting the initial Navy orientation and training of new recruits. The command is commonly referred to as "boot camp" or "recruit training".

Boot camp is approximately eight weeks, and all enlistees into the United States Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes physical fitness, seamanship, firearms familiarization, firefighting and shipboard damage control, lessons in Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline. Since the closure of RTCs in Orlando and San Diego in 1994, RTC Great Lakes is, today, the Navy's only basic training location, and is known as "The Quarterdeck of the Navy." Today, approximately 38,000 recruits graduate annually from RTC and begin their Navy careers.

RTC is overseen by Rear Adm. Rich A. Brown, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), headquartered in Building 1; the historic clock tower building on Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois. NSTC oversees 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy. NSTC also oversees the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) at more than 160 colleges and universities, Officer Training Command at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island, and Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC) citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.