Back to School!

August 2010


It’s been awhile since I last checked into USNI blog! Since commissioning on May 28th from the Academy, I visited Italy for leave with my brother and saw my great-uncle’s grave at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial. After leave, I spent a few (great) weeks at a stash/TAD job with the Information Technology and Systems Division at the Institute for Defense Analyses in Alexandria, VA.

Most recently, I’ve been becoming familiar with Rickover Center, Charleston, SC, and the view from my 6 ensign house (power in numbers). But really, lots of Rickover Center. As part of the submarine training pipeline, I am attending Nuclear Power School, a 6 month crash course giving us an academic background in the hot rock that makes the boat go. Right now, I’m in what is fondly referred to as “pre-school,” a 3-week course designed to acclimate students who graduated with a non-technical major to the rigors of nuclear engineering.

It’s been a lot of work. Our class periods start at 0700 (muster at 0645) and can run until 1615. They crammed the ~3 semesters of calculus I’ve had into about 2 class sessions. We have a 3 hour preschool “final” on Thursday. Of course, this will be followed by a class outing that evening to the Class-A Minor League Charleston Riverdogs where hotdogs topped with bacon can be found.

While pre-school has kept us busy, it’s also been a great opportunity to meet fellow students. My pre-school class of ~50 includes LTjgs who are coming from a SWO (surface ship) tour and are in training to operate the plants onboard our nuclear-powered carriers and ensigns from OCS, ROTC, and the Academy. One of the classes before us have PXOs, the prospective executive officers of carriers, who also have to attend nuclear power school before assuming their duties. While they get their own study room (with a “NUCLEAR AVIATION” sign over the door) and their own pre-filled sets of notes, the instructors tell us they tend to be the hardest working students in the class. After all, they have gotten to be PXOs for a reason. The entire Class of 1006 will comprise of ~100 students to include the majority of the Navy’s first female submariners.

I will update you MUCH more regularly now that I am here. Let me know if you are curious about anything in particular!

Posted by Jeffrey Withington in Navy

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  • A good man like you spending all day with engineers … sigh. The things one must endure for love of country.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Your won’t have time to check in, you will be entirely entertained trying to drink from a fire hose of knowledge.

    Break a leg, and thanks for the thought. I’m waiting for your “I’ve got my dolphins!” entry.


  • Chaps

    Let us know if the need for diversity trumps the need for competence.

  • Mechanic

    Is Charlie the alligator still hanging around the schoolhouse?

    Congrats on taking the first step down a difficult road, as well as being classed up with the ladies that Chaps implies will likely be incompetent. The sooner we get chips off our shoulders, the better off the force will be. Good luck, and study hard.

  • RaymundoFries2

    Nice suggestions – BTW , if your business has been looking for a IRS 1099-MISC , my wife found a sample form here http://goo.gl/WJxe6I