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MILLINGTON, TENN. — Looking to take a break from your rating, enhance your career and fill a special billet? We’ve got five options that will look impressive in your service jacket and potentially boost your chances for advancement. In some cases, the jobs will also net you special pays and benefits.
Those yearning for the familiar can try recruiting — officials often place sailors in or near their hometowns.
Others might consider a gungy sea job as a gritty crew member of an air-cushioned landing craft, for example.
If you like any of the following jobs — all in hot demand now — start by calling your detailer, who can walk you through the fine print and next steps to locking down a billet.
1. Be a recruiter
Description: You are the face of the Navy, far from fleet concentration areas. Though your primary role is to sell the Navy and sign up the next generation of recruits, you’re also an ambassador for the service.
Why you want it: You’ll need to be outgoing to meet those monthly quotas, but if you can excel in this job, you will be eligible for meritorious advancement up to E-7. All field recruiters are issued a Navy cellphone and laptop. There’s even the opportunity to attend college — in uniform — during working hours. Sailors who’ve done recruiter tours say they developed time-management skills that helped them once they got back to the fleet.
Special pays: $450 per month; field recruiters (those on the street filling quotas) qualify for an extra annual clothing allowance of $220 that is paid in addition to their regular annual clothing maintenance allowance.
Who’s eligible: All ratings, E-5 through E-8. Any character, disciplinary or financial issues can disqualify a sailor. You must also be physically fit.
Location: Throughout the U.S. There’s a chance you could get stationed in your hometown, or at least close to it — or in one of many areas where there are no other Navy billets.
Tour length: 36 months.
Training: Five weeks of recruiting school at Pensacola, Fla.
Details: MILPERSMAN 1306-964.
2. Join an LCAC crew
Description: LCACs are $22 million vehicles operated exclusively by enlisted sailors. When underway, the craftmaster is in charge. The engineer is similar to a chief engineer. The navigator handles mission planning, navigation, beach assaults and craft communications. LCACs deploy most often on dock landing and amphibious assault ships.
Why you want it: This is one place where enlisted sailors run the show. There are no officers in an LCAC crew, so sailors who want independent duty should apply. It’s also a field where you can work for most of your career. Formerly, this community was open only to surface ratings, but officials have opened it up to select aviation ratings as well.
Special pay: Craftmasters earn $225 a month in SDAP. Engineers and navigators receive $150. All LCAC sailors get sea pay when embarked.
Who’s eligible: Craftmasters: any E-7 to E-9 can apply.
Navigators: E-5s and above in QM, OS, ET, AD, AM, AE, AT and all AW ratings.
Engineer: E-5s and above in any surface engineering rating, plus AD, AM,AE, AT and IC.
Deck engineer: E-4s and below with ratings GSE, GSM and HT preferred.
Loadmaster: E-4 to E-6 and below with ratings BM, GSM and GSE.
There are also maintenance billets available: Prop and Lift (NEC 4133), for GSMs; and Craft Control (NEC 4135) for GSEs.
Location: Little Creek, Va.; Camp Pendleton, Calif.; Sasebo, Japan
Tour length: Varies by job. Most spend five years at Little Creek or Camp Pendleton. Sasebo is two years unaccompanied and three for accompanied. Sea tours are followed by training tours for craftmasters, navigators and engineers. Deck engineers, loadmasters and craft controllers either move into one of the three senior positions after their initial tours or head back to their source rating.
Training: Craftmaster, navigator and craft engineer go through a six-month training cycle consisting of four months of basic training at Expeditionary Warfare Training Group and two months of advanced training at the assault craft unit. Sailors interested in LCAC duty must complete the Landing Craft, Air Cushion Service Life Extension Program Operations Prerequisite Course on Navy Knowledge Online.
Details: MILPERSMAN 1306-949.
3. Serve at an embassy
Description: It’s not just Marines who serve at U.S. embassies worldwide. Enlisted sailors are also assigned to perform administrative roles supporting the senior defense official or attaches. Senior sailors can have supervisory roles as operations coordinators and more junior sailors serve as operations assistants. The Navy currently fills seven coordinator and 50 assistants billets. Attache offices can vary in size from three military members to as many as 18, as is the case in Russia and China.
Why you want it: It’s duty unlike most others you’ll ever do, say those who have done it. Operations coordinators often serve as the senior enlisted member at the embassy, with responsibility over junior service members regardless of parent service. It’s highly classified, and those assigned to this duty must qualify to get top secret security clearances. If maintained, those clearances can open doors to other lucrative assignments later in your career.
Special pays: Depending on the country of duty, sailors can earn hazardous duty pay and tax exclusion zone benefits; cost-of-living allowance and they may qualify for foreign language proficiency pay.
Who’s eligible: Most billets are for E-4 through E-8 and primarily in the YN, IT and ET ratings, though other rated sailors can be considered.
Tour length: 36 months.
Training: Sailors and their spouses can receive 26 to 64 weeks of language training at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif. Additional training is conducted in Washington, D.C., on the way to their embassy assignment.
Details: MILPERSMAN 1306-914.
4. Sign up for 'Women Ashore'
Description: The Women Ashore Program has 162 billets, at 35 commands in the U.S. and abroad. Billets include brig guard, instructor and security guard and normally target women in paygrades E-4 through E-6.
Why you want it: If you’re in a sea-intensive rating, this program can provide you with some much-needed shore time that will also look good when it comes time for chief selection. You’re also afforded regular hours and more off-duty time.
Special pays: None.
Who’s eligible: Female sailors E-4 through E-6 in any rating. Some jobs require a security clearance, as well as having passed all portions of their most recent physical fitness assessment. You can’t have any eval marks below 3.0 on your last three evals. You must be free of any alcohol-related incidents, nonjudicial punishment or courts-martial over the last 36 months.
Tour length: 36 months.
Location: Training centers in Great Lakes, Ill. and Meridian, Miss.
Brigs at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Chesapeake, Va.; and Miramar, Calif.
Transient personnel units at Lemoore, Calif., Jacksonville, Fla., Norfolk, Va., and Puget Sound, Wash.; and base security billets at Naval Station Great Lakes.
Training: Depending on the billet, sailors can be trained as instructors or brig guards at formal military schools on the way to their assignments.
Details: There is not a specific MILPERMAN that covers the Women Ashore Program; however, MILPERSMAN articles 1306-904 and 1306-955 cover billets within the program.
5. Counsel sailors on substance abuse
Description: The Navy doesn’t have a rating for substance abuse counselors, but has 180 billets worldwide where people do this job. These sailors serve a unique mission by interviewing and assessing sailors referred for possible alcohol and substance abuse issues. They are also responsible for setting up treatment plans and monitoring patient progress and setting up aftercare support. In addition, they conduct individual and group counseling sessions and conduct crisis intervention.
Why you want it: It takes a special breed of sailor, officials say, to succeed in this line of work — counselors must have a high level of patience and dedication to helping others identify and recover from addiction. For those with a desire to eventually move into the civilian sector in substance abuse or social work, the Navy’s SARP program can be a huge boost for their careers in training and experience as well as local and national civilian certifications.
Who’s eligible: All ratings, E-5 through E-9. Sailors must complete a rigorous screening and interview process before being accepted. Because this program is popular for those already recovering from alcohol or drug dependence, the program requires two years of continuous sobriety or abstinence. Those not in recovery can’t have any alcohol or drug incidents within the past two years.
Special pays: None.
Tour length: Six years of two back-to-back 36-month tours at different commands.
Locations: Sailors start off as interns and go on to a counselor billet. Duty is available at nearly all naval hospitals and branch clinics on Navy bases worldwide. Sea duty is available on all aircraft carriers and some amphibious ships.
Training: An extensive seven-part training program is taught at the Navy Drug and Alcohol Counselor School in San Diego.
Details: MILPERSMAN 1306-916.