Cleaning guns and drinking beer. Pretty good stress reliefs if I say so myself.
Cleaning guns and drinking beer. Pretty good stress reliefs if I say so myself.

Well, it finally happened. After over two years of time spent in the pipeline, today I’m officially a qualified mechanical nuclear operator. This means I’m officially done with the training pipeline (well, almost), and I’m no longer the lowest on the nuclear Navy totem pole. In order to qualify, I had to pass a two hour final oral board with a Nuclear Reactors civilian and a senior enlisted mechanic. They asked so many things, things that even went back to A School, which was about two years ago. Thankfully, I was able to fumble my way through and now I’m done. The relief I’m feeling is so amazing.

Sadly, my break isn’t going to last because I’ve been selected for ELT, or Engineering Laboratory Technician. Basically, an ELT is an upgraded mechanical operator who has had lab and chemistry training, as well as on the boat training for different radiological and chemical concerns. It’s generally said to be pretty good job that most mechanics (at least at some times) wish they could be doing. I’ll still always be a mechanic, but this will be my primary duty for the rest of my time in the Navy.

It’s kind of hard to explain to my friends and family what exactly I did to get here, or what I’ll be doing, or where I’m going. Unless you’ve been in, most of this is probably just a words that have some meaning — but without some connection behind them. I guess you’d have to read all two years of my Navy-related posts and try to piece it together. It seems like a distant dream and it’s still weird to think I’m no longer just an unqualified student. That said, I’m about to get another set of qualifications to deal with so I’ll still be a student for a little while longer.

After that, I have two real options. One is that I can become a junior staff instructor and remain in Charleston, or the other is that I can go to the fleet and be an ELT on a submarine or a carrier, wherever the Navy decides to send me. I’ve listed Guam, Hawaii, Kings Bay GA, and San Diego as my top selection, but who knows what will actually happen to me. Right now, I’d much rather just go to the fleet, get qualified in the fleet, and start my career. I like Charleston, but I’m ready for the real experience.

Our new cat Peepers. Shes really nice when she's asleep.
Our new cat Peepers. Shes really nice when she’s asleep.

Anyway, weirdly, my birthday is once again coming up and hopefully I may actually have a light work load to celebrate it. It’s been weird not having any real free time for the last 7 or so months, and I’m dying for a little leave. But, after I finish ELT school, I’ll get 30 days of transfer leave, which I can’t wait to experience. In what little free time I’ve had, I’ve been going to the gun range and pondering some new purchases. But, nothing so far.

Carissa begged me to adopt a baby cat and so now we have a cat. I’m not the biggest fan of cats, and this cat is nothing but trouble. Biting, scratching, freaking out around people. Soon I feel like it’ll be an outside cat. As soon as we have the chance, we’re getting a dog of my choosing.

Until then, we’ll see how it goes.

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