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Navy chiming in here. There are 8 "navy" NCM trades aboard ship. NCIOPs, NESOPs, SONAROPs, NAVCOMMs, BOATSWAINs, WENGTECHs, MARTECHs, and Stewards. There are several other NCM trades that serve aboard ship (cooks, met techs, med techs, HR/Fin Admins, Supp techs) but these are not what we would call "hard sea trades" meaning if you joined as one of those, there's no guarantee you would sail.I am strongly considering a re muster to the Navy, possibly looking at NCI OP or NES OP.
I was wondering if anyone had any input on the pros and cons to each trade or even some other trades I haven't mentioned.
Also, I am a very poor academic student. Will the trade courses pose a challenge for me?
I'll try and give you a list of pros and cons for most of them from a general perspective. Problem is that my opinion will be very subjective, and as an officer my point of view is very different form those in those trades.
- Ops Trades (NESOPs, SONAROPs, NAVCOMMs, NCIOPs,:
- Pros: you get to do cool stuff like fire naval guns, control aircraft, and track submarines.
- Cons: you only do this cool stuff when at sea on exercises. The rest of the time (and pretty much 90% of the time alongside) you're probably going to be bored. it gets better the more senior you get; the more responsibility you get the busier you will be, but for the first few years, lots of boredom day to day, unless your ship is working up.
- Engineering Trades (MARTECHs and WENGTECHS):
- Pros: you get to actually do your job everyday, fixing and maintaining cool equipment that has a direct impact on everything from quality of life to operations.
- Cons: you are busy every day no matter what, and you have to spend a lot of time dumbing down and explaining to non-techs why gun no go boom, or ship no go zoom.
- Pros: the teamwork and variety of jobs. Bosns are our watch on deck (helmsmen, throttlemen, lookouts, bosn'smates), they are our machine gun operators, they are our small boat drivers, they are our small arms maintainers, they are out seamanship experts without which we could not RAS which is critical to sustained operations.
- Cons: there's never enough of you and watch on deck is actually pretty boring.
- Stewards: this one I'm going to leave for someone else if they want to chime in.
Since I haven't looked closely at each trade's training curriculums, I can't say for sure which one has the most academic training and which do not. In general, just about everyone of those trades has some form of academic training, and the level of academic training gets greater the more senior you get. Stewards, for example, and in charge of accounting for non-public funds aboard ship, but not until they are senior stewards, so they might not start as a very "academic" trade, but it does eventually. If I was to say which one had the least amount of academics across the trade from S3 to PO1, I'd have to guess Boatswain. MARTECH, WENGTECH and SONAROP would probably have the greatest amount of academics.