I’m still really on the fence when it comes to reenlisting or not. It’s not from want of advice, I’ve had tons of really good advice coming from a lot of really good people. But, yeah, I still am not 100% sure if I want to stay in or not.

I mean, the Navy has been amazing to me, absolutely amazing. In four years I did what I expected to take 20. But, that’s the kicker, I did in four what I expected to take a career. So, now what?

Yesterday I was talking with a Sergeant that works with me, the conversation included the first talk of how what I do now can be transitioned over to someone else, it included the statement ‘it will take some of the pressure off you,’ and that one short comment actually did just that. Along with knowing the transition is slowly beginning, I also have sort of started feeling like a regular Sailor again–almost to the point where I expect people to call me YN2 again. So, this sense I’ve started to have has taken me to the point of wanting to stay in, of wanting to see what is next.

But, staying in means I cannot have as much of a voice in talking about what I think is wrong in the Navy, and I think there is a lot of things wrong in the Navy, a lot. It also means college is going to take a lot longer, and my education not as good as it could be. It means I will not be credentialed as quickly, as many have advised me to become.

But, I do have a plan.

Get through ‘A’ School, and through a duty station, probably in/around DC. Then apply for the sabbatical program in the Navy, and finish whatever schooling I have left.

But, even with this plan, I don’t want to leave SHAPE. I doubt that anyone who reads this blog dislikes my Boss, ADM Stavridis. But, I also doubt many people who read this blog have worked for him. Trust me, he’s even better to work for than his reputation lets on. I know that anywhere else I go in the Navy, the ideas will not be as good, the drive to bring good ideas forward will not be as earnest, and I will miss all of this so terribly much–Please, all of you out there, prove me wrong in that, let me know who next to go work for as a CTR, I beg you.

I don’t care that I will become just another CTR2 out there in the Fleet–in fact I miss the Fleet. But, I do care about not being around ideas. And that is why I want to get out, because in a very real sense, I know that in four years I’ve worked in that once-in-a-generation Command.

Anyway, we’ll see. Next week, I’ll have my mind made up. I’ve been on the fence regarding this for far too long. The Navy isn’t a bad gig, and I know you’ve just read 500 words worth of first-world problems. But, hey, problems are problems, right?

Posted by CTR1(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III in Navy, Training & Education

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  • Lucien,

    Since advice is usually worth what it costs, I’ll just offer you my best wishes and confidence in your judgement.


  • YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III


    Any advice coming from a Chief with the knowledge of Philosophy that you have is worth a great deal.

  • Dymaxionpz

    I’ll give you the same advice a CWO gave me as an LTJG: “Whatever you decide, make a plan and stick to it unless something very significant changes.”
    This applied to staying in/getting out, or retirement. He’d seen people second (third, fourth…) guess themselves or sit on the fence so long that the Navy or lack of inertia made the decision for them. Then they weren’t prepared for the changes that inevitably came and they only had themselves to blame whether they admitted it or not.
    The Navy “is” an adventure and all of my assignments whether while I was active duty or (even/especially) as a reservist have been significantly different.
    Some were great. Not all tours are peaches and creme (lame French joke, ha!) but they’ve all added tools to my kit of how to be a better human being.
    Best of luck whatever you decide.

  • Diogenes of NJ

    I kept a wheel book. On the right side were the things that the Navy did FOR me. On the left side were the things that the Navy did TO me. Made it easier to decide when the time came.

    Here’s the advice my seadaddy gave me: “Son, the only hammer you’re ever going to have with the Navy is when it comes time to re-enlist.”

    I ended up turning in my canoe club membership card after seven years. I made E-6 in just under five years, but what sealed the deal is when they stiffed me on proficiency pay. I extended and the Navy pulled the plug the very next week. I ended up with a whopping $125 for my trouble.

    The Navy made out in the end, and I’ve got enough pictures of Admirals glad handing me to prove it. My advice is that a man’s got to be in the right place at the right time to matter.

    – Kyon

    P.S. My seadaddy [ETCS(SS)] did 18 and six. You could do that in those days. He enlisted to get a set of false teeth.

  • Byron

    I haven’t got much for you Lucien, but I do have this: I want you to sit down and think of what you could do to change the world as a civilian and more importantly, how big your world will be. Then ask yourself if the world will be the same in the Navy. You are a very bright young man and while it’s right that you should get your degree, I submit to you: where would that degree have the most impact? Last, but not least, you’ll never again be able to see the sun rise and fall at sea, not unless you take a cruise liner. There’s just nothing like seeing the sun rise on a battlegroup, or evening colors. Just think about the size of your world (and I didn’t think this up on my own..I stole it shamelessly from Stephen Coonts “The Intruders) when Jake was trying to figure out whether or not to get out of the Navy).

    Just be damn sure whatever choice you make. Chances are there won’t be a lot of steps you can go back and re-trace. Think on it. Get some more opinions. Hopefully Grandpa and Phib and SJS will chime in. Ask Tom Goering in FB. He’s an old Master Chief (RET) And last but not least, ask ADM Stavridis and ADM Harvey. I know you like and respect them.

    Whatever the choice, I wish you well.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Don’t listen to any of that, Lucien. Join the Corps, son! Join the Corps!

  • YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III

    Well, see. Having written that has actually helped clarify a lot of things for me.

    Thanks for the words everyone, they help, they really do.

  • Andy (JADAA)

    Some of the best “thinkers” I was allowed to rub elbows with came out of the various CT branches. Everyone above has made some pretty good points. Not being shy, let me add this possibility: Go to college, pursue a commission, either full-time active duty or Reserve. You’re one hell of an asset both to the Navy and to the emerging “crowd source” of naval thinkers that are now emerging in this second decade of the 21st Century.

    I will point out that I, too, GTFO once. Kind of, sort of. For me, going back to the cockpit was the best decision I could have made. I was lucky I had the opportunity.

  • ADM J. C. Harvey, Jr USN

    YN2, I’d be happy to talk with you if you’d like. Whatever advice I dispense is free and worth what you pay for it!
    It’s a tough call – certainly was for me when I withdrew my resignation in 1986. At the end of the day, though, it came down to the people I served with – I wanted to stay with them and decided I could put up with just about anything for the privilege of being around them, while serving a cause larger than ourselves for the nation that is, as Lincoln said, “the last, best hope on earth.”
    The Navy is a pretty amazing organization – truly great people doing truly great things every day. The Navy can also make you a little crazy (OK, maybe more than a little crazy) sometimes; you just have to learn to take the good with the bad and never give up trying to make things better.
    I’ll be at [redacted by admin] until 14 September. All the best, JCHjr

  • ADM J. C. Harvey, Jr USN

    Sorry, that’s (757) 836-3660!

  • YN2,

    All of the posts I’ve read of yours indicate that you’re a very smart, very talented young man. I’m sure whichever road you take, you will succeed.

    But I truly believe that you will have the best chance to make an impact by getting that degree and going for a commission. The nation needs men of your vision and talent.

    But whatever you decide, best wishes and stay true to yourself.

    Chris Goodrich, MSgt, USAF (Retired)

  • NavyDavy

    Been there done that.
    Easy decision. Get out.
    Get out now while your only obligation is to yourself.
    Not so easy when you have 10-12 years in and wondering if you should have. And maybe/probably kicking yourself in the butt because you didn’t try it.
    Get out now. See if you can find someone out there that will teach you/train you to take their job. See if you can find someone out there like your Chief, Division Officer, Department Head that wants you to advance. There are no Shipmates out there Shipmate.
    But you have to try it.
    And when your ready to come back in or your looking for your next set of orders talk to, better yet visit, your detailer. They found duty for me that I never knew existed. And always, always go to a different type of duty. Help yourself make the Navy the adventure that it is.

  • Sperrwaffe


    thank you for sharing your very personal thoughts about this important decision.
    I recognize a lot of my own thoughts when I had to take the decision to accept the proposed career status or leave my Navy.
    Based on that I would like to give you some ideas and points to consider.
    There are, and will be, a lot of different aspects which influence your approach and decision. e.g. Career, Family, Friends, Life at sea (I really loved that)…

    But in any case there is one important thing:
    You are socialized by Navy! You will always be Navy! No matter what happens.

    I live that, and the world around me often has to learn that the hard way.. 😉

    Life’s a game of inches (love that speech from Al Pacino). Make your decision, and then fight for it to make your way come true. “Claw with your fingernails for that inch…Tear everybody around you to pieces for that inch”

    In any case you must decide what is IMPORTANT for YOU.

    Sounds simple but I went through a hard time in learning what is important for me. And after I had realized that I had to leave. Because my Navy, superiors, politics had changed so much into the wrong way. I even rejected a offered command. I could no longer arrange with that. Not for the sake of my family. And I was lucky to find a good employment where I have been presented a totally new way of developing at my shipyard. Things I could not have done in the Navy.
    But that is my decision, my way.
    Find your own way. Make up your mind. Decide what is important for you.

    And no matter what you decide for: YOU ARE NAVY.
    You belong to that family and always will.
    I will always say “Kamerad” to guys like you.

    Alles Gute Kamerad!

    Best Regards

    If you like to exchange more ideas you may approach admin for my mail. Since we are in the same timezone.. 😉

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    When I was mulling whether to stay or go, so long ago, CincHouse came up with the question that cut to the heart of the matter.

    “Is there anything else you want to do as much as being what you are now and preparing yourself for what you can become here?”

    If there is, then you have to look at ways and means, opportunities available and risks and hazards. Weigh your chances and take your pick, and best of luck. You will do well anywhere you want to be.

    If you are stuck, like Raza (Jack Palance) was stuck with the revolution in “The Professionals”, well, you know her for what she is.

    In which case…Welcome aboard! Drop off your paperwork with Admin, get a check in sheet and make the rounds. Find your bunk, drop your sea bag and shift into your working rig. You have the Mid, U/I as POOW. Bring your requal PQS. Staff duty in Europe, that’s amazing. Some guys really hog the luck. Ain’t those Dutch women something? Supper? Says here…sliders and rollers, ‘tater salad, baked beans, bean soup, bug juice and chocolate cupcakes, (the salad bar (in port) is like the love of the Lord, the same yesterday, today and forever…).

    “What is woman, that you forsake her;
    to go to the old gray widow maker…”

    For some of us, voluntary is just a word, for duty is heavy as a mountain…

  • Hi Lucien,

    Many thanks for the kind words. Your post has resulted in quite the spectrum of responses.

    Those who encourage you to finish your degree and obtain a commission make sense only if you are motivated from within as Grandpa Bluewater suggests above. If you have a passion for the Navy, you’d be well-advised to remain and engage. We are living in interesting times, with our largest challenge to simply be honest as an institution. Much as our pop-culture values style over substance, our Navy has been infected by this line of thought.

    You are fortunate to have been exposed to a great duty station, but the great ideas you’ve grappled with are more important. Do you see yourself reflecting those ideas? Do you see yourself reflecting those ideas with passion? Are you convicted? Convicted people, like Boyd, have no choice—they have to share. Our Navy needs lots of men and women who embrace ideas, who speak and act with integrity, and who respect physics.

    (As an aside here: There was an old commercial for margarine on the television when I was a kid and the punch line, since the margarine tasted so much like real butter, was: “It’s not nice to fool mother nature…” Our Navy leadership would be wise to remember that just because you can put something on a slide doesn’t mean the physics will cooperate.)

    “People, ideas, hardware—in that order.” John R. Boyd

    Intellectual honesty, a passion for ideas, for gaining new knowledge, for building snowmobiles, if you will (you know what I mean)—and a willingness “to do.” There is much to be done to put our Navy on the right path, if you’ve the fire, engage.

    Cordially, JSS

  • Byron

    Concur with J. Scott Shipman. If you’ve the fire to help shape the Navy of the future, then stay in and keep pitching. I want to be able one day to point to a new article in Proceedings and tell people, I knew Lucien when he was a mere tadpole of a sailor.

  • YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III

    I really appreciate everyone’s advice, truly.

    I’ve made up my mind, and I am staying in.

    I do still have a passion for the Navy, and I can still build upon who I am in the Navy (both professionally and otherwise). As well, there are still things I want to do in the Navy.

  • Byron

    AWESOME! WooT! Looking forward to hearing of great things from you, Lucien! The Navy has a better future now with young men like you in it!!!

  • Mittleschmerz

    YN2 – I held fire on this because Scott’s comments were soooooo good (and I am somewhat biased)…that said…feel free to contact me off line at your discretion (I won’t do details here, but Sal and Maggie can tell you why I might be someone important to talk to despite the fact that I am erudite, handsome, and brilliant 😉 ) If Maggie can’t fully remember why I think we should talk, yeah right, just mention two words “rumble strips”…


  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Good for you!

    Don’t wait too long to put in for that ticket to a gold chinstrap. Doors start closing real soon now. Call me anytime, Admin has my full name and
    city, or get my e-mail, I’ll shoot you my phone nr.

  • Lucien, please stay! The Navy is better for your presence.

    MI – Like I could forget.

  • YN2,

    I left that once-in-a-generation job in Stuttgart to work in a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ job afloat on a destroyer. You said ‘let me know who next to go work for as a CTR, I beg you,’ so I’m telling you, come work on DDG 76. I’ll be that CO — especially since no one else posted yet. There’s a place in HIGGINS for ideas to grow, and a welcome atmosphere for innovating and making our Navy better working from the waterfront up. I’ve found there is not enough time to do all the jobs in the Navy I’d like to do. So the extra energy goes towards implementing positive change in my own sphere of influence. You’re welcome to bring your sphere into ours and influence great things as a destroyerman. Either way, send a note to [email protected] and we can talk more!
    Auf wiederhoeren and v/r