Navy Stereotypes You Meet at OCS

Part of what makes OCS great is that it introduces you to a diversity of people that you may never have been exposed to before. Looking back on the personalities I met while undergoing training, I created my own Navy Stereotypes of the more common people I was acquainted with. Your mileage may vary but if you find yourself heading to Newport, keep an eye out for:

The Priors

Either the most or least useful person you know in your company—there’s no in-between. The prior-enlisted have spent around five to ten years in the fleet already and are at OCS for the commission many have spent years dreaming of earning.

The good ones are humble leaders (even though they’ve got more ribbons than some of your RDC’s) who are eager to help those who are struggling. They are everyone’s go-to for uniform hacks and are the prophets sent from Big Navy to reassure the masses that the food gets no better in the fleet.

The other variant of priors is hard to miss. They will start all their sentences with “Well, back in the fleet…” and may mention their intent to buy a new car with 23% APR after OCS that they can afford due to their O1E pay. What you’ll find out is no one really knows what they’re doing at OCS and so someone’s technique for mopping the deck learned in boot camp eight years ago doesn’t help much.

The SpecWars

Ranging from top former collegiate athletes to SEALs who are arriving at OCS directly from a deployment. These guys were easily recognizable on day one because they had suitcases dedicated to protein supplements and mobility tools.

Any grunting unaccompanied by the commands of a DI could usually be attributed to one of their hatches hosting an impromptu PT session. Not to be stereotyped as solely jocks, however, many of the SpecWar candidates I met went to top universities—to include the Ivy’s.

The Resume Builder

This category actually breaks down further into two opposing categories.

First, you’ve got those who joined the Navy because they didn’t know what else to do with their lives after college. Uninterested in what the corporate world offered them, they decided to apply for whatever designator gave them the best chance at getting stationed in San Diego. If you ask them why they didn’t consider other branches they’ll typically shrug and mention something regarding choker whites.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ve got the candidate who was born to be in government. With that in mind, nothing would help their career quite like earning their Surface Warfare qualification and promptly starting their campaign for Congress.

Pete Buttigieg, a Naval Reserve Officer. Photo courtesy of Yahoo News.

The Recruiter’s Delight

In case you thought the promise of glory and riches ended with recruiting at the enlisted level, you’re wrong. Quotas are quotas regardless of whether it’s promising a high school graduate they can be the first SEAL to deploy to space or promising that you can be an officer that doesn’t have to do paperwork.

I’m pleased to announce the legendary old wives’ tale of being able to join as an NFO and then transfer to SNA later is alive and well. One of the funnier instances I remember from my class was a guy who was told by his recruiter that being a SWO was kind of like a police officer—perfect!

Remember any other classic Navy stereotypes you’ve met at OCS or in the military in general? Drop me a comment.