I've been in the Navy almost 5 years, ask me anything about operations, the carrier, or the Navy in general.

Shoddy proof, but it's really all I could think of. Proof

EDIT: More proof

Comments: 323 • Responses: 77  • Date: 

JamesRenner38 karma

Shouldn't you... uh... be minding the reactor instead of doing an AMA?

MarauderV8166 karma

I've got my bird clicking the ok button, it will be fine.

cannotfindbullets33 karma

[deleted]

MarauderV877 karma

They get issued a set of hips at bootcamp.

Trivale16 karma

Where do you keep the nuclear wessels?

MarauderV833 karma

I don't know anymore, Chekov stole them.

yellowstickypad15 karma

What's your favorite meal that the Navy provides?

MarauderV826 karma

Cereal. I eat many cups of it on deployment. The best prepared meal would be breakfast though. The eggs and bacon are usually well done, and there really aren't any surprises. Also, on Sundays, they do made to order omelettes, but you'll wait a long time to get them. Chow lines on a carrier can get pretty ridiculous.

My favorite stereotypical Navy meal is Salsaghetti (spaghetti with salsa used as sauce) and hot dog bun garlic bread.

nosaJ42977 karma

Salsaghetti sounds amazing

MarauderV866 karma

A lot of things sound good on paper.

hellrazzer244 karma

How often do you get food shipments? And how does the crew generally feel about the Captain (or is a General?)

MarauderV816 karma

Underway we usually do an underway replenishment every few weeks. It's an incredible feat in and of itself, having 2 massive ships that close and tied to each other is pretty crazy. As well as food, we take on jet fuel, mail, weapons, ammunition, and parts. The unreps (the Navy has an acronym for everything) take several hours, it's a large evolution that involves the whole ship.

Due to the size of our crew, many people go their whole sea tour without ever speaking to Captain (unless you get in trouble), so a lot of people are probably indifferent to him. There are many other people in your chain of command that have an impact on your day to day life, so the CO doesn't really play a direct role in your daily job.

It's a little different for me. Due to the nature of my job, I had to do an interview with him before I was qualified to operate, so I've had more interaction with him than most. He seems like a pretty decent guy. Being the CO of an aircraft carrier is just like being the CEO of a corporation. You have to know how to run everything, but you also need the people skills and personality because you are a public figure.

xenokilla5 karma

evolution

in this context that means tasks right?

MarauderV810 karma

Yes, sorry, sometimes I forget the Navy has it's own language. Any time there is an event going on, like an unrep for example, that is called an evolution.

ADogNamedChuck2 karma

How long can the ship go without resupply? How long before the food options start going downhill?

MarauderV82 karma

I'm actually not sure. I've seen how much we take on during an unrep and have been down in some of the supply rooms, and a guess based on that would be several months.

Michael_Huntington2 karma

Is salsaghetti actually good, or do you just eat it because it's around and it tastes vaguely like spaghetti?

MarauderV87 karma

No, it's terrible haha. I mentioned it because it is one of the more funky things they come up with when we've been underway for a while.

lucipherius5 karma

In an extreme circumstance would you guys be able to fish to keep the crew from going hungry or is cannibalism the next step to avoid hunger ?

MarauderV87 karma

I think we would just pull into port somewhere.

white_light-king1 karma

So what were the other options that you turned down to go with salsaghetti? or did everyone have to eat that?

MarauderV89 karma

Like I said in another comment, I usually just eat cereal. It's hard for them to screw up something they didn't make.

There are usually several food offerings during each meal, so one isn't stuck with any one meal.

peart13 karma

[deleted]

MarauderV853 karma

The exits from 2 reactor are right next to the main mess deck (chow hall). One time someone came bursting out of there in full anti contamination clothing covered in glow stick liquid, screaming, ran down the passage, and back down into the plant. Sadly, he and his accomplices got in pretty big trouble.

Also, when we are shutdown, you can go into the reactor compartment and stand directly on top of the core. There may or may not have been instances of people t-bagging the reactors.

My favorite was a CHT (toilet plumbing) pipe breaking right as this guy was looking up and got shit directly in his mouth.

Someone also got caught shitting in a bucket down in the plant by the reactor officer (highest ranking nuke on board, usually a commander or captain and 3rd or 4th highest ranking on the ship).

luciusXVII7 karma

Can you elaborate on the shitting in a bucket next to an officer scenario?

MarauderV812 karma

There aren't any toilets down in the plant, and most people can't leave the plant when they are on watch. One guy had to go really bad and didn't have anywhere to go so he decided to shit in a trash can then smuggle it out of the plant. The reactor officer happened to be touring that part of the plant at the time and saw the shit. Hilarity ensued.

vbenes12 karma

Can you explain a bit what is your job?:

  • what you control and how;

  • what are the dangers - what can happen if you do something wrong etc.;

...and:

  • how big is your team & what is the atmosphere on the workplace;

  • what you do in free time;

  • are you familiar with the military circumstances of the missions (i.e. if your ship is sailing somewhere, how much are you informed / how much you try to find out what is happening).

Thanks & good luck!

MarauderV820 karma

I am directly in control of the reactor both when at power and shutdown. At the most basic level, I control the control rods that change reactor power, coolant flow through the core, and the catapults used for launching aircraft (I don't launch the aircraft, I control the amount of steam allowed to go to the cats).

There are so many redundant (backup) systems it's ridiculous and they are designed to withstand the most extreme failures. We train non-stop about casualty response and maintaining the cores in a safe condition. For day to day operations, your biggest fear would be breaking a piece of equipment from a mistake, but the chances of a real accident are closer to 0 than any other number. The Navy is still 100% nuclear accident free, and with the continuous advancement in technology, it will always be that way.

My division (the people who do my specific job) is about 60. My department (the people who oversee all reactor operations) is about 550. We have a very professional atmosphere, it is required for what we do. Punishments are severe for lack thereof.

The commanding officer usually talks to the whole ship via the 1MC announcing circuit every day and keeps us informed about what we are doing. We are reminded to not share ships movement with the public, but I think the chain of command does a good job at letting us know where we are, what we are doing, and why we are doing it.

i________12 karma

How does a reactor core convert its energy to propulsion? Steam?

MarauderV822 karma

Yep. Everything is steam powered on our ship. As a matter of fact, our engine room is not all that different than one you would find in a WWII ship.

Jumba4 karma

That's actually pretty awesome. So I can basically imagine the propellers being driven by those huge steam pistons like in the Titanic? Or did I go back too far?

MarauderV811 karma

Just a little too far. We use steam turbines which became popular shortly after the Titanic's time.

The_Automator221 karma

But the reactor is still used to generate electricity as well, right?

MarauderV82 karma

Not directly. The only thing the reactor does is heat up water which is used to make steam. The steam is then used to spin turbines for either propulsion or electrical generation, so you would be limited by the capability of the machines generating the electricity.

Jsunu11 karma

What is your living space like (bunk etc)?

MarauderV823 karma

On Navy ships, your bunk is called a rack. The bed is about 6.5 feet long, a little over 2 feet wide, and there is about a foot and a half of space from your mattress to the rack above you.

The racks are stacked 3 high and arranged into pods of 6 (we call them 6 packs). The rack includes a coffin locker. The mattress lifts up (kind of a like a Murphy bed) and there are sectioned spaces for you to put things in. The locker is the same dimension as the rack and about 6 inches deep. We also get a standup locker that is about the size of a high school book locker. 6 people and all of these racks and lockers fit into a space about the size of a walk in closet.

The living area is called berthing, and any given berthing can contain 30-40 of these 6 packs, so you'll have several hundred people living in what would be considered one room.

HydroWrench8 karma

How viable is a career in the navy given the current state of the country/government etc. ?

Ive got a degree in diesel/industrial tech. With a follow up on hydraulic applications engineering and commercial HVAC.

Not to mention, what the heck is the age cutoff to enlist? 31yrs old as of this past june.

MarauderV815 karma

I think the cutoff for the nuclear program is 25, but just like any other requirement in the military, it can be waived.

It's a good career option with a lot of advancement potential, especially in the nuclear program. We are severely undermanned right now, but a lot of people simply don't qualify. We get paid a lot better than many other jobs in the military. I made E5 exactly at my 2 year point, which from an income standpoint, is significant.

Since you have a degree, you could look at an officer program, but I unfortunately don't know a lot about it.

MAD_HAMMISH3 karma

I also heard that you get a big sign in bonus. They kept putting that out there to get me in but after looking at my math scores they decided my refusal was for the best.

MarauderV810 karma

Yes, I got a $20,000 sign up bonus. The math part is important. A lot of very smart people dropped out of the training pipeline because they were struggling with the math portion. The good part is that after dropping out they usually go on to be very successful in another job in the Navy.

QuestionLater2 karma

Wait what? 20k sign on for enlisted? I scored a 97 on the Asvab, perfect scores on math mech and elec and I didn't hear a thing about a sign on bonus. I thought that was for officers only.

geasrex1 karma

OP's rate is Electronics Technician (one of three rates with a nuclear version). Of the three, ET's get the most absurd bonuses. A few I worked with pulled down $60k-$80k reenlistment bonuses on their first reenlistments. Before you boggle at that money, know that: being a nuke varies between terrible and soul crushing, and training a new one costs many, many times the amounts given for retention.

MarauderV83 karma

My reenlistment bonus was $75,000 tax free.

QuestionLater1 karma

Hoolllyyyy crap. If you don't mind me asking, what'd you score on the ASVAB? I may have to talk to a Navy recruiter.

MarauderV82 karma

I got a 93.

Zomg_A_Chicken8 karma

Do you pronounce it nucular or nuclear?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoASZyihalc

MarauderV816 karma

That was hard to watch. I gave up correcting people a long time ago, it's easier to just let them sound stupid.

cbtitus8 karma

I once worked as a contractor in the Pentagon, and the office/division I worked in was staffed with O-6s, O-5s, and O-4s. At first I didn't think much of it -- they were just colleagues and/or bosses to me. But then I realized that this level of officer would be running an aircraft carrier, submarine, AF base, etc. in the real world. Kind of crazy.

How often do you run into that level on board, and do you get nervous interacting with an O-5 or O-6?

MarauderV819 karma

The reactor officer, who is the highest ranking nuclear officer on board, is an O5 or O6 depending on how long they have been there. Some people get all crazy around them, but I know they are still people, so I don't really change anything. I'll talk to anyone, I don't care. On our last deployment I struck up a conversation with our strike group commander, who is an Admiral, about photography and different ports that we visit. They are people too!

white_light-king8 karma

What drill do you have to run aboard ship that's your least favorite?

MarauderV813 karma

I'd have to say man overboard. I don't do anything for it but go up to the hangar bay and get checked off a list, but as you can imagine, trying to get a roll call of 6000 people can take a while. Sometimes they will run them in the middle of the night too, so you lose a chunk of what little sleep you were going to get that night.

Running fire drills in the reactor plants is a pain too because they like to pick terrible times to run the drills. I see why they do it, since a fire can happen at any time, but it still sucks haha.

Furk8 karma

We got stuck in a man overboard in 2007 that was because a watch saw something land out in the water. It was about 2-3 AM, ended up that a male and female from the same division couldn't be found, eventually found in a fan room... That was the really a lot of fun.

MarauderV83 karma

Especially on deployment, a lot of false positives for man overboard. It sucks having to get up in the middle of the night, but I would hope that if it were me over the side, they would turn around to check it out instead of just passing it off as a piece of debris or something.

RebelWithoutAClue1 karma

What burns in a reactor plant? Is there much potential for chemical fires?

MarauderV84 karma

Most of the rotating machinery has a lube oil system, which could be cause for chemical fires, but it's very unlikely. We still train for every kind of fire though. As you may know, fire fighting is the most important training on a ship.

hawkeye186 karma

Does it make you happy that I, an avionics technician working E-2s, will receive more radiation in an average day than you will all year, yet you are the one wearing a TLD? lol

/hello from the aviation side - was ship's company on a CVN for four years, and did my fair share of time on 1F!

MarauderV89 karma

Isn't that crazy?? That blows a lot of people's minds. I must say, though, my favorite pastime on the ship is watching flight ops from Vulture's Row. Some badass stuff man, I love planes.

creep_creepette5 karma

Have you been through a refueling/overhaul operation? If so, how drastic is the change in the ship?

MarauderV812 karma

I have (overhaul, haven't been through a refuel). For the most part, the ship looked the same (aside from a new paint job). From my perspective, we did make some substantial updates to our control systems. The testing and approval process for nuclear grade systems is quite lengthy, so we don't get updates that often. We also got new propellers and a complete overhaul on our main engines which was quite noticeable after completion. The fun part was testing all of that afterwards!

Googlybearhug4u4 karma

thanks for your service to the nation.

do carriers launch drones?

MarauderV85 karma

Not as of now. There have been tests for launching and recovering unmanned aircraft, but there are not currently any in use on aircraft carriers.

MarauderV82 karma

Right. Like I said, they have been testing it, but as the article says, they have a long way to go.

banglafish4 karma

could you make a nuclear bomb using a nuclear submarine?

MarauderV812 karma

No. Not accidentally or intentionally.

stoptakinmanames3 karma

Not sure if you're still answering questions, but:

How safe is the reactor in the event that somehow the ship was destroyed/sunk in a conflict? Would it have to be retrieved from under the water or could it become a major nuclear catastrophe if that section of the ship was directly hit? Sorry if these are stupid questions I know next to nothing about this kind of stuff.

MarauderV817 karma

All of the systems are designed for worst case scenarios. If by some freak catastrophe the ship were to sink, the reactor systems would be shutdown and would be safe from a nuclear accident. If there was a breach of the primary system when the ship sank, any radioactive water would be dissipated into the ocean and have no adverse effects. Airborne radioactive particulate is what can cause problems (like with Fukushima), and that is very unlikely, even in a catastrophic event. These systems were designed with containment in mind, everything is engineered in such a way to keep the radiation inside.

To be honest, if there were a conflict serious enough to take down one of our aircraft carriers, I feel a little radioactive water in the ocean is the least of our worries.

toolet3 karma

your username related to starcraft by chance?

MarauderV810 karma

Haha no, it's a reference to the Mercury Marauder, a car I owned for a while. I do like the SC Marauders though too.

theends3 karma

Is it true that the Enterprise glows in the dark?

MarauderV87 karma

Not anymore! She's off to the graveyard now.

theends3 karma

I'm pretty sure she gave my father cancer. =/

MarauderV814 karma

That's sad, I'm sorry. It's unlikely it would have been from the reactors though. You get more radiation from the sun in a year than I will get from working near a reactor ever.

drundge3 karma

It's a completely different field (weapons vs. propulsion), but have you heard about this book by Eric Schlosser? I've been curious to pick it up. Do you ever consider poor management from the top down that could lead to an accident?

MarauderV810 karma

It would have to be such a large scale failure in my program throughout the fleet for that to happen that I don't see it as feasible. Once a year, the Navy version of the NRC comes through and observes us. If you fail, they can shut you down, it's something they take very seriously. So many people on so many levels would have to fail for us to be put in the position to have an accident. It just won't happen.

LemonBlue3 karma

Nuke waste here, we probably went to school together.

How do you feel about the attitudes twords women in the nuclear community? Having been a long standing tradition of segregation, and the highly disproportionate male female ratio and the general lack of women in STEM.

Do you know gorilla cookies? Do you miss cheesy bacon burger day?

MarauderV85 karma

I've known several female nukes who are very successful, and I've know a few who are complete shitbags, just like the rest of the Navy. I don't really see any gender discrimination on my ship. If you're useless, you're useless, regardless of gender.

I haven't heard of gorilla cookies. I do miss those cheesy bacon burgers, but I do have to say my favorite was the spicy chicken sandwich. The taco cart got a lot of my attention too.

j_platypus2 karma

How is ballston spa? My husband is also an operator on the carl vinson, and we may be moving there soon.

MarauderV82 karma

Amazing in the summer, very cold and bleak in the winter. The population sky rockets every summer for horse racing season which is fun. I definitely like the small town feel of the area. I wouldn't mind going back.

cbtitus2 karma

Random question -- Do you have any pets on board?

MarauderV85 karma

Nope, no pets!

TheMightyLlama2 karma

What kind of fuel are you using?

MarauderV87 karma

Enriched uranium.

wazzy742 karma

Is it true that the D1G ball is used to secretly refuel nuclear submarines?

MarauderV87 karma

The KAPL site is like 200 miles from the ocean, that would be tough.

[deleted]1 karma

I guess you never heard the local rumor that it was used to refuel submarines, they would drive up the Hudson river and then take a secret underground tunnel to the D1G ball. Common knowledge at KAPL in the late 90's. :)

MarauderV81 karma

Wow, now that you say that I remember hearing about that. There were all kinds of rumors about the D1G ball, like there is a secret city in there. I always thought it made KAPL look like Disney World from hell.

stevenmw2 karma

How much pressure is the reactor under so the water doesn't evaporate? How much Hafnium do you keep on board?

MarauderV812 karma

I can't give specific details, sorry. However, we use pressurized water reactors, which are kept at a much higher pressure to maintain the water in liquid form at higher temperatures.

EvilTech51502 karma

Maybe you could do an "explain it to me as if I was 5" on why a nuclear poison is a good thing in some applications. :D

Nah, just kidding. Here's the real question. An old co-worker who was in the Coast Guard for 37 years told me had could get his face slapped in at least 25 languages. {meaning picking up foreign girls in bars using their native language} Out of curiosity, have you upheld this fine old sailors tradition, and if so, how many languages are you up to? ;)

MarauderV87 karma

Unfortunately carriers can't go to very many ports, so we alternate between the same 8 or so. I can only claim 5 languages to my name. Google translate is my friend!

Matt0812 karma

Way more than 8 my nuke friend. We can use liberty boats and go to many others that you havent had a chance to go to yet. Current climate restricts some, but they are there.

MarauderV82 karma

Most of the ports I have been to have required liberty boats.

[deleted]2 karma

[deleted]

MarauderV83 karma

Can't shoot us if you can't catch us.

fajord2 karma

What are some of the career options for you once you get out of the Navy? Would you continue in the nuclear (or nuke-you-ler, if you prefer) field as a technician in a shoreside plant?

MarauderV87 karma

The nuclear field is an option, but conventional power plants are options as well. A lot of employers, regardless of field, like hiring Navy nukes because of the rigorous training pipeline and selection process. I haven't decided what I want to do yet, I still have about 3 years left. I wouldn't mind working at a nuclear plant, but unfortunately, in the US there is not a large selection of plants to choose from.

fajord10 karma

I hear Fukushima has some openings.

....too soon?

MarauderV816 karma

It's never too soon.

digitalset2 karma

Do you guys still do beer days after a certain time at sea? My first CO had the beer thrown over the side so I never got one.

What's the longest you have gone at flank or full power?

Have you ever worked with an officer or senior enlisted you considered dangerous or a nuisance?

Can you go full speed and operate the cats on one reactor?

MarauderV87 karma

Sorry, I hit send before I finished typing.

We will go flank for several days sometimes when transiting to the Middle East. For full power runs, it usually is only for testing or drills, so not very long. The longest I've seen us go all out is about an hour.

Nobody I've worked with has been dangerous. Those people would get weeded out quickly. Some people make mistakes and break something, but it's nothing a little training won't fix. Most people become a nuisance after you get stuck in the same boat as them for several months at a time haha.

I can't really talk about operational characteristics.

MarauderV84 karma

Yes, we have a beer day after 45 days at sea. They usually accompany it with a bbq and other activities. You get your 2 beers, shotgun them, then enjoy the rest of the day.

JimmyVega2 karma

If you can'f figure out what is wrong do you ever just turmn it off and on again? I ask cause we had this ad in the UK for the Royal navy, really hope the kid was joking.

MarauderV83 karma

On a lot of our digital systems, yes, the first part of troubleshooting is to turn it off and on again.

WestonP2 karma

Did you feel that the PBS documentary "Carrier" was an accurate representation of what goes on? http://www.pbs.org/weta/carrier/

MarauderV83 karma

It was a bit dramatic, but I think it's the most accurate documentation of life on a carrier. Definitely worth a watch for anyone interested in Navy life.

bassinhound2 karma

First of all, the obligatory Thanks For Your Service.

I served in The Navy aboard USS America (3 1/2 deployments) and also did some carrier quals on USS Eisenhower. I wasn't Ship's Company, I was Air Wing. I just wanted to say thanks for this AMA. It brought back a few fond memories.

My questions to you. What ship are you serving on? What ports have you visited? Do you plan to make it a career? I served a bit over 9 years. One of my regrets is not staying in to retirement however, I still work closely with DOD in my current job and couldn't be more fulfilled with my life choices. Military service was one of the best things that I ever did with my life.

MarauderV89 karma

I prefer not to say which ship I'm on. Anonymity and all.

I've been to Japan, Hong Kong, Bahrain, Thailand, Guam and Hawaii. They were all amazing places and each one had something special about it, it would be hard to pick a favorite.

I do not plan on making a career of it. I have an 8 year enlistment, so my plan is to do that and be done. The job is rewarding enough, but I don't like the idea of moving every few years and I don't want to be going to sea. It's tough on family life and I want to be rooted in a job on land before I have kids. It's been a great experience and I'm glad I did it, but 20 is too long!

oppose_1 karma

How did you qualify for your job?

MarauderV82 karma

To qualify, you only need to get a minimum score of 80 on the ASVAB. There are some other caveats, but many can be waived.

GFJ921 karma

I just passed my SWO Nuke interview last month and I'll be commissioning from NROTC in May. I'm excited to be part of the Nuclear community.

What are some tips you have for a new division officer?

Perhaps I'll see you in the fleet in a few years after I go through NPS. Thanks

MarauderV810 karma

A divo with a good head on his shoulders can be a great asset to a division. My best advice would be to engage with your sailors and try to level with them as much as possible. Be humble. Yes, you're the higher ranking person on watch, but the person operating probably knows more than you ever will about the system, so keep that in mind. In the nuclear community, we care a lot less about rank than we do level of knowledge. If you know your shit, people respect you and will listen to you. If you don't know your shit, you're going to have a bad time. Good luck!

GFJ921 karma

Thank you. That's what we've been told here at ROTC. I'm certainly not going to come in with the attitude that my commission somehow supersedes my sailors' knowledge. My number one goal will be looking out for my sailors.

MarauderV85 karma

Then you'll do just fine. My goal for leading is make it so your people want to work for you, not that they have to. Once you get there, it's amazing what you can get done.

karmanaut1 karma

Is there any additional proof you might be able to provide? A patch doesn't prove that much.

And if it needs to be confidential, just message the moderators about it.

MarauderV88 karma

I found my certificate from my training school, uploading shortly. Hopefully this helps.

skimbro1 karma

This is actually a few questions. First... how exactly would you conduct drills for a reactor failure? (I mean, you probably do, but how would anything help?) Second, have there ever been any close calls with a reactor that you know of?

MarauderV82 karma

There have been zero reactor accidents on a Navy reactor. The system doesn't allow for close calls, everything has protection, even due to severe operator error. The Navy takes very seriously the implications of a reactor accident and goes to great lengths to make sure it never happens.

For our drills, we act out what we would do without actually doing it. There are also full size working mock ups of our control systems that we can practice on.

iwanttofork1 karma

Why do people say nukes are a-holes that are miserable and suck to work with? (no offense)

MarauderV86 karma

A lot of nukes are disgruntled about their job, so they pass that sentiment along to anyone they work with. It's easy to see why, too.

The average nuke is going to be in their early to mid twenties. Most have had at least some college experience, but dropped out due to one reason or another, then looked to the military for structure and discipline. So, you take someone who is very smart, but didn't really apply themselves growing up because they didn't have to, then you throw them into a job where you are challenged every day, are depended on, and you can work an extreme number of hours (to get an idea, during our last overhaul, I worked 10 hours a day, seven days a week for almost 8 months). It's a severe shock and a lot of people never get used to it. Our training pipeline has over 50% attrition rate, so the few who do make it are going to be the ones who can put up with a lot of BS, but it's still tough.

In the training pipeline, they groom the students into thinking they are the top 10% of the Navy in terms of intelligence. They are right. The problem is that it goes to a lot of peoples' heads and they will look down on people who are not nukes and regard you as stupid even if you aren't. Not all of us are like that, but like any stereotype, you'll be subject to it at one point or another.

Lethrom1 karma

This is a sort of bizarre question, but I have a friend who is applying to be a nuclear operator, and Ive signed on to be a reference for him. He isn't really sure what that entails other than the written portion, but he's heard that they do face to face interviews (with the people giving the reference). Do you know if thats the case?

Cheers from a bored guy sitting in a civilian nuke plant as we speak.

MarauderV81 karma

I honestly have no idea. I don't remember anyone from my reference list being contacted, but I can't give you 100% on that. I did have to go through several interviews myself, including one with the XO of the Navy Southwest region. That's what happens when you let slip that you may have experimented with marijuana before the Navy.

scottnow1 karma

What does a reactor operator do?

MarauderV85 karma

We oversee everything that is related to the control of the reactor and the primary systems associated with it. We also do the startups and shutdowns of the reactor as well as casualty response.

Arbiter131 karma

If you decided to stick with the Navy for an extended period of time, what sort of promotion potential would you have? What sort of career paths are available for officers? (I'm studying to be an engineer). I'd be thrilled to spend some time aboard a carrier, but I don't know what sort ofoptions I would have.

MarauderV84 karma

For enlisted personnel, you can either stay enlisted or apply for an officer program. A lot of people don't, though, because senior enlisted make a decent amount of money. Nuclear officers are Surface Warfare Officers, so they can go on to command a ship if they stay in.

DrDream231 karma

Hi there I have a few questions regarding the navy and a bit of you in general considering I plan on going to the Navy right after high school

What was your job and did you enjoy it?

Is the navy boot camp like everyone says it is, easy?

And finally what do you think is the best thing I should do before signing up?

MarauderV84 karma

Boot camp is easy if you want it to be. Keep your mouth shut and do what you're told and you're golden.

Make sure this is what you want to do. It's a great opportunity, but once you sign on the dotted line, it's hard to get out of it. It's also better if you're not married.

DrDream231 karma

Thanks for the response I have a few follow up questions if you don't mind,

Is the Navy boot camp physically demanding as say the army boot camp?

Is the navy really the most technologically advanced compared to other branches?

And finally how long was your service?

I also want to thank you for your service and for doing this AMA. ;)

MarauderV84 karma

I don't know, I have never been to army boot camp. If you are in decent shape, boot camp will be a breeze for you.

My initial enlistment was 6 years but I extended to 8.

The Navy does have a lot of advanced technology, I couldn't really tell you how it compares to other branches. The amount of tech packed into one ship is astounding, it takes many years to learn about it.

wastelandstrawberry1 karma

What's the closest that you've ever come to any sort of emergency?

MarauderV84 karma

I personally haven't had any close calls. I've battled a few fires in my time, but they are usually electrical fires that go out when you shut off power to whatever is on fire and aren't any real danger to life, limb, or the ship.

Our toilets explode every now and then, though. So if you're taking a shit and the water starts bubbling, gtfo with a quickness.

dlpwillywonka1 karma

What's your favorite port of call, that's not home?

MarauderV83 karma

I've loved them all, but I'd have to say Thailand. They are the most culturally different from us and are super nice people. Just don't drink the water!

The_Prince15131 karma

How long can the reactor run before it needs to be refueled?

Are there any systems on the ship that isn't powered by the reactor?

Is it true that in emergency situations a carrier can be patched into a city's grid to proved emergency power?

MarauderV82 karma

A core is good for about 20 years. Everything on the ship gets power from the reactors. There are backup systems, but they are not used on a day to day basis. EDIT: Sorry, didn't see your last question. We have no procedures for doing a reverse shore power. Our system isn't really designed for it anyway. The power capability of the reactor and the capability of electrical generation are completely different. I don't know what the power draw for a city grid is, but I don't think the ship is capable of handling it. Most of the reactor's capability is used for propulsion. Moving 100,000 tons takes a lot of power!

POOPING_BUTT_FACE-1 karma

I heard there are lots of Naruto fans in the Navy

Confirm/Deny

MarauderV85 karma

I've heard the name and I think some people I work with may be fans, but I'm sorry to say that I don't know what that is.

ILikeSunnyDays-2 karma

I dont believe you ( security reasons?) but okay i guess.I think with aircraft carriers bigger than several navies and air forces put together, there is little to stop america from doing whatever it wants. Care to comment?

MarauderV85 karma

Sure, we have the equipment and manpower to effectively "do what we want", but as the commercial goes, we are a "global force for good". My ship has spent quite a bit of time doing humanitarian aid as well, so we aren't just out there to fight people.

ILikeSunnyDays1 karma

I never understood the need for 10 though.

Last question, How is life on the carrier during off hours? Is there a documentary or anything like that which shows how people deal with being in the sea?

Can you fish from the carrier :) ?

MarauderV88 karma

10 is a lot! I agree.

One thing we do often is called a "show of force", especially when pulling into foreign ports. Other than just making our presence known, we put everything that flies up on the flight deck to show that we aren't bluffing about our capabilities. The idea is that countries seeing this will think twice before doing something stupid.

Off time underway on a carrier can be very similar to off time anywhere else. There are gyms, a library, a chapel, you can watch planes be launched, we even have our own version of a Starbucks on board.

There is a PBS documentary called Carrier that follows the Nimitz for a deployment. It's a little on the dramatic side, but it is about real people in the Navy and their life aboard a carrier. There is about 10 seconds dedicated to my job since the film crew isn't allowed in any of our spaces.