Career path

Bowman Scholar Program

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Nuke Power








Common Misconceptions


For a variety of reasons, several myths about Submarining have been circulating around the Brigade. For further information, see you Battalion Submariner.

Myth #1: In the post Cold War era, submarines lack a basic mission.

Fact: The Russians continue to build submarines, the latest generation of which is quieter than any in the U.S. inventory. The Chinese have a fleet of modern nuclear submarines as well as diesel boats. There are nine other nations who are potential adversaries that have diesel boat technology. The United States Submarine Force must remain ready to engage any of these diverse navies.
The Russians are conducting unprecedented operations against U.S. SSBNs and CVBGs. They did not conduct operations of this nature even during the height of the Cold War. These operations are taking place in both the Atlantic and Pacific.

Myth #2: Command opportunities have decreased significantly since the drawdown.

Fact: While there are now fewer submarines, the size of the Submarine Officer Corps has decreased proportionately. While the submarine force was shrinking, there were too many mid-grade (O-3 and O-4) officers to fill the available XO and CO positions. This caused a temporary surplus of officers. Now that the final force size has been reached, this problem has been corrected and officers entering the force today will enjoy a promotion opportunity comparable to that seen in the 1980's.

Myth #3: You have to be a super-geek to be a submariner.

Fact: Make no mistake about it, the submarine force is looking for Warriors! You have to have the academic capability to learn to operate a nuclear reactor safely, but first and foremost, you have to have the basic instincts and desire to fight the ship. Naval Reactors will screen your academic record, and if accepted for an interview, you stand a very good chance of getting in to the program.
What does Naval Reactors look for? They look at the whole record, but obviously "technical" courses count heavily. Good grades in math, science and engineering should assure you an interview. An engineering degree is certainly a plus, but not required. Above all, do not screen yourself out of the program. If interested, submit your record for an interview.

Myth #4: Nuclear Power School is incredibly hard.

Fact: Naval Nuclear Power School is demanding. You will have to learn to study in an entirely different environment. You will be in class for six hours a day (two hours in three related courses) with a study hall. The rest of the time is yours. Most students spend three or four hours a night studying and organizing their notes. Most students take Friday night and all of Saturday off. This is demanding, but really not that much different than SWOS or Pensacola. Prototype training requires a similar schedule, placing you on shift-work for 12 hours a day. Those accepted for Nuclear Power training make it through the program. Out of a class of about 120, only one or two will drop out.

Myth #5: Nuclear powered warships are banned from all the cool ports.

Fact: Wherever the Battle Group goes, the submarines go. WESTPAC liberty ports include: Korea, Japan, Australia, Okinawa, Thailand, Singapore, Bahrain, etc.

- This page last updated 10/22/2003 -

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