I was never stationed on a carrier or a submarine, so I only dealt with “Nukes” (Navy Nuclear Engineers) while on liberty. The impression that I gleaned from these encounters was a sailor that was either very arrogant or completely burnt out.
I spent many nights at “sailor town” bars and had many awkward encounters. I once told by one Nuke that I would never get paid as much as him; the lack of social awareness was astounding. In another instance a sailor stated: “we’re Nukes, we’re smarter than you”, while leaving a bar.
There were exceptions though; one of my best friends from high school was a Nuke but ultimately separated early due to stress. I was originally slated to become a Nuke but was re-designated to conventional ET before I left for boot camp. He told me I got lucky.
Generally, Nukes were considered “so smart they’re stupid”, As I passed the Nuke test, I was subject to this same curse.
How Do You Address Navy Enlisted?
The formal way is Petty Officer for E-4 to E-6, then Chief, Senior Chief, or Master Chief for E-7 to E-9, respectively (Never call a Chief an E-7). E-3 and below are usually referred to by their last names. You rarely hear a junior sailor referred to as Seaman or Fireman, unless there is a specific reason.
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E-5 and below are normally addressed by their last names , or by a nickname behind closed doors. When meeting them for the first time it’s standard to call them by their rank and rate (ET2, OS2, for example).
E-6’s are often LPO’s (Leading Petty Officers) or ALPO’s (Assistant Leading Petty Officers), so they stop being buddy-buddy with everyone. It’s safer to call them by their title (ET1, OS1).
Chiefs usually refer to everyone by their last name unless the person they’re addressing is an officer.
What Happens To Navy Sailors That Fail “A” School?
When I went through ET”A” school back in 2008, people that failed “A” school either received an academic drop or a motivation drop, which should be self-explanatory. If you received an academic drop, you had the option of attempting a different A school, preferably a non-technical rate, or you could go straight to the fleet as an Undesignated “Undes” Seaman. If you received a motivation drop, the instructors determined that you didn’t try your hardest, therefore you were sent straight to the fleet as a Seaman. Some shadier instructors would write up motivation drops because they required less paperwork. Combat Systems “A” school was supposedly under investigation while I was there for such unscrupulous actions and accusations of favoritism; that’s a story for another day.