Sometimes you find nuggets of gold in your own backyard. In Troutdale, not only did I find gold nuggets but the mother lode. If you have a graduating high school senior in your family (and I am including you grandparents) or if you would like to go on to a master or doctoral degree this article is for you. If you are 34 years of age and up to 39 years of age and are looking to have retraining in a trade or a new profession this may be your ticket. If you are 60 plus years old and have a medical specialty and would like to continue in your medical field you may be surprised at who would like to see you join them.
The following is an interview of PO2 Alex Salinas, and PO1 Jose Morris, U.S. Navy.
Q. The United States Navy of late has been in the news on almost a daily basis with conflicts in the Middle East and North Korea. What are some of the recruiting benefits you are offering to keep the Navy at full force?
A. One of our biggest benefits is the many educational programs we offer. As in the case of high school graduates we can offer up to $180,000 in college scholarships for those that qualify. They can choose any college that accepts them and we pay for tuition, books and living expenses. For parents and students looking at taking on massive student loans we shoulder the cost of educating their son or daughter. The student can choose any field they want to go into and when they graduate there is no student debt and they can start out on their career path. If they qualify they can go to M.I.T., Harvard or any other college of their choice and become part of our Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps Program.
Q. What are the age restrictions for joining the Navy?
A. Your readers are going to be surprised but we take active duty personnel up to the age of 34, and up to 39 years old for reserve personnel. If you have a medical specialty that is in demand such as a neurosurgeon, as one example, we have taken candidates up to the age of 60 years or more.
Q. What if the enlisted or officer chooses not to use the college benefits what are their options?
A. The Navy will allow you to transfer those benefits to your spouse or children if you don’t use the college or trade school benefits.
Q. Once you are in the Navy what financial benefits do they offer if you re-enlist or retire?
A. You can receive from $10,000 to $30,000 signing bonuses depending on the rating or profession that you are in. If you are joining at age 17 for instance and serve 20 years you can retire at age 47 and receive up to 50% of your active duty pay or 75% after 30 years. You also have additional benefits of the G.I. bill, VA loan for buying a home, and now the new expanded medical VA program which allows you to go to outside doctors, hospitals, and clinics of your choice.
Q. What additional training do you provide?
A. The Navy is all about training and education. We have the most complex equipment in any time in history. As an example, many of our newer ships have a nuclear reactor and require highly trained personnel or they may be working on a $295 million-dollar aircraft. Additional training and education are not only encouraged, but are mandatory, if they expect to advance in rank or rating.
Q. What are the steps a new enlisted person will go through?
A. After we have done the background review, and testing, and they qualify, they will go to Basic Training at the Great Lakes facility near Chicago for eight weeks. Then they can go to one of the many A Schools located throughout the United States. They will refine their education by training as an electrician, medical programs or a long list of other trades or professions.
It doesn’t cost you anything but your time so if you want further details you can contact Alex Salinas (971) 201-2662 or Joe Morris (971) 266-7077 at 3137 SW 257th Avenue, Suite B, Troutdale, Oregon 97060.