So He (or She) Wants to Join the Navy

So your husband/boyfriend/wife/fiancee say they want to join the Navy.

The first thing to realize is that this decision will affect the BOTH of you.  Not just the one joining.  Even if it is not a joint decision (depending on your relationship), you should expect to be kept in the loop and feel comfortable asking questions.

The next thing to remember is that joining the Navy does NOT happen in a few hours.  It is a process that takes several weeks or even months before they have "joined" and it could be many more months until they actually leave for boot camp.

The first step is to set an appointment with a recruiter or apply online and wait for a recruiter to reach out to you. Once contact is made, there will probably be a scheduled time that the recruiter proposes that they sit down and discuss the process for joining.  If you are already married or engaged, then I highly encourage you to go with them to this appointment. It should be a red flag if you are discouraged from attending.  During this initial sit down, the recruiter will ask your SO a series of questions.  These questions will include things like any run ins with the law, health history, school history, work history, etc.  It is very very important that your SO is 100% open and honest with the recruiter from the get go.  The last thing y'all want is to not disclose something and have it come up down the road. Most folks are under the impression that they should just be able to walk in and boom! They are signed up for the military. The reality is that less than half of Americans between the ages of 17 and 35 do not qualify for military service. The recruiter does not want to waste your or their time. Do not be discouraged if your SO is missing some required paperwork or medical records during the initial meeting, there will be follow up appointments.

After the recruiter is mostly sure that your SO is qualified to join the Navy they will go into the sale. It is their job to ask discovery questions about why they are interested in the military; and to find the "need" behind the "need". This is how the recruiter will tailor the sale to the applicant. Be prepared to talk together on why your SO wants to join.

The next thing that will happen during this appointment with the recruiter is your SO will take a practice ASVAB test; called the EST.  ASVAB stands for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, and the EST stands for Enlisted Screening Test.  This test is used to determine what your SO's strengths or weaknesses are and help the Navy determine what job (aka rate) would be the best fit for your SO.  Now this test that they take in the recruiter's office is just a practice test to see where they are at at that time.  Your SO should have the opportunity to study prior to taking the actual test at MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station).

Before agreeing to take a real ASVAB your SO should study! Get informed about how the ASVAB is scored, how the scoring works and just how important it is that they do well on this test.

This appointment is a good opportunity for you and your SO to ask any questions that you may have but remember, this won't be your only opportunity.  Your SO will have a lot of contact with their recruiter before they ever leave for boot camp.  It is also an opportunity for you to start doing your homework.  Google things, read blogs, talk to anyone you know who has been in the military before and don't ever be afraid to ask questions.

The next step after meeting with the recruiter (and this may be after just one or multiple appointments with them), your SO will be taken by the recruiter to MEPS.  They do NOT leave for boot camp at this point!  Depending on how your MEPS office works, your SO may be required to stay a night there.  MEPS is generally where they do the real ASVAB test, medical examinations, job selections, etc.  Don't be surprised if there are some issues during this step.  To fully process through MEPS, exact forms have to be filled out in an exact way, exact things have to be in the computer the right way, there has to be particular jobs open, etc so sometimes it will require them going back for an additional trip.  Once they are done processing with MEPS, they are in the Navy.  They have sworn in and signed their contract with the Navy!

Now it may be a long time before they leave for boot camp.  It could be as fast as 1 month or up to even a year or longer in some cases.  Your recruiter should have a better idea during your first appointment on what the timeline should look like but it is important to remember that that timeline may (probably will) change.  Sometimes more than once.  There are times when their ship date may be pushed out farther or even moved up sooner and it is important to be as flexible as possible.  Welcome to life with the Navy, things can always change!

Once you have a tentative ship date, you and your SO will need to start preparing for boot camp and him being gone.  While they are in boot camp, they will have limited outside contact.  Usually its one or two phone calls then its just letters after that.  So you need to be prepared to handle things on your own during those 3 months.  If you are married, this means making sure your name is on everything that you might need like the electric/gas bill, phone bill, any loans, things like that.  Also speak to the recruiter about how to set up a Power of Attorney (POA) as well.  They should also have some additional advice on how to prepare for boot camp.

Another thing to prepare for is A School.  Some jobs in the Navy require your SO to go to a job specific school after boot camp.  Your recruiter will be able to tell you where the A School is and about how long it should be.  Most of the time, A School is unaccompanied, meaning your SO will go by themselves and live on base rather than their dependents coming with them.  Once they are done with any A Schools, they will report to their first command at which point their dependents may join them. Remember, dependents are legal spouses, children or a family member whom your SO provides more than 50% of their support.  So until you are legally married, you are not considered a dependent.  You will not have a military ID, access to base, commissary, housing, health care, etc until you are married and in the Navy's system as a dependent.

Please leave any comments or questions in the comments below!

Thanks guys!!

The website will be undergoing a bit of a face lift over the next few months so please pardon our dust!!