So Pop made it through Bootcamp, but that is not the end of his military schooling experience. It is just the beginning. Of course with any new beginning a whole new set of questions has emerged. In this case, it all revolves around add on orders. Popeye’s add on orders, like all newly graduated Sailors, are to a specific A-school. Now to protect Popeye and myself, our family, and the fleet, we have elected not to share specifics of A-school or which one Popeye is in. But, here is some generic information on A-school.
A-school is an add on school for specific military training. Every sailor gets advanced training in some way to help him or her accomplish a specific job in the Navy. There are Corpsman schools, Nuke schools, Aircraft schools, Defense schools, Intelligence schools… you name it they have a school for it. The schools are all spread out across the country and the world. Sailors after the completion of Basic training report to their leave stations at designated times (known only to each individual Sailor at time of Liberty on graduation day- after all add on orders are individualized) and fly, drive, sail to their new locations. Upon arrival each new Sailor is checked into temporary housing and in-processed. It is here, while waiting to class up, they start the first of 3 phases intended to help a sailor transition from Bootcamp life to a life more reminiscent of a typical sailor in the fleet.
During this technical training new Sailors are subject to restrictions on what they can and can not do. The longer they are at their tech school and can prove their competence the more freedoms they earn. This teaches new Sailors a fine equilibrium between their personal and professional responsibilities. The three phases are as follows.
Phase I- (Roughly the first 3 weeks after leaving the RTC)
New Sailors in this phase have the strictest restrictions placed on them. However, most don’t mind the restrictions. After all this phase is still more refreshing and relaxed than their bootcamp days. Civilian clothing is not authorized yet. Liberty is limited to on base only and routinely expires at 2200 (10 pm). Alcoholic beverages are still not permitted. Each Sailor should have a list of classwork and indoctrination courses to complete, and they will also have several inspections to make sure they are keeping up with fleet standards. If all goes well in 2-3 weeks they are phased up.
Freedom! Well almost. In this phase a Sailor has almost all oh his/ her civilian rights (within reason). Duty always will come first, and the Sailor will have to be able to maintain satisfactory levels in their studies, their physical abilities, their appearance and military performances.