For this installment of Sailor Spotlight, we caught up with a very special family man, EN Dakota. It is with great privilege that we get to share with you all an interview with a young sailor who since a tender age has always wanted to join the Navy. So, onward to the interview!
Hello Sailor! For the record, could you please tell us your name and your rate and when you joined the military?
My name is Dakota. I’m an EN (Engine-man) and I joined in May.
When you were growing up did you ever fathom that you would be in the military?
Yes, I have pictures of me wearing sailor suits. I have always wanted to join the navy since I was a little kid. I just finally acted on it.
***What was it about the Navy when you were a little boy that got you hooked?
My grandfather served in the army and I really looked up to him. And I wanted to serve our country like he did, but I’ve always loved the ocean. So, I decided the Navy was the best choice for me.
What prompted you to look at the armed services as a possible career?
I was working for an apartment complex. I got tired of working there. I hadn’t gotten a raise at all. They hadn’t given me a raise in 4 years. I finally said enough. So, I joined.
Was picking a branch easy? How did you go about choosing the Navy?
Yes!, That was the branch that I had always wanted to join since I was a little kid.
Is your experience anything like what the recruiter described?
Was it easy to tell your friends and family that you were thinking of joining? How did they react?
It was kinda hard for me. Only my grandfather had been in the military. My family wasn’t against it they were… worried. Afterward, they were happy when I said I was doing it.
After signing up did you leave for boot camp right away?
No, it was probably a couple months. It was like 6 months from when I DEPed in until I went to boot camp.
Did you have to do anything special to get prepared for boot camp? C
I started working out a lot more. I lost 20 lbs. I went there and did not want to be the slowest runner of anybody.
Can you tell me a little bit about your experience being in the DEP pool?
It was not too bad. They taught us a lot. We PTed once a week and um… had a couple meetings here and there. It defiantly made it easier to go to boot camp.
Tell me a little bit about your basic training experience. How did you get through it? What was your favorite part about boot camp? What was your least favorite part about boot camp?
It wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t too bad for what you think it would be. My wife sending pictures of my daughter and her sending letters helped. In fact, my family and friends sending letters and pictures helped a lot.
I did love Battle stations. And all the people you meet and the friendships you meet. My least favorite was the first week. That part was not fun.
Please describe your rank, job title, and primary duties with the Navy: (If OPSEC Allows)
I’m an EN FR, engine-man firman, and I work in the auxiliary engine shop working on the diesel generators for the ship. I just keep everything working down there and do basic maintenance.
** Do you like it?
Oh, I love it! Out of every rate they had that was the rate I wanted and that was the rate I got when I DEPed in.
What are your goals while in the Navy?
Um… I hope to be chief one day. As of right now, I do my job good, and that is just what I want. And… that everyone knows I work hard.
Have you been deployed yet? Do you know if you will deploy? Typically how long would a deployment for you last?
We have been out for like a week. We had some major problems with engines that has to get fixed. We don’t have a date determined to go back out. I’ve heard 6 months but I don’t know 100%.
What are you most proud of in your service so far?
Uh… Making it though boot camp. It’s the one thing I didn’t think I could do when I was younger. It was the only reason I hadn’t joined yet.
How has your career in the Navy affected your life?
It’s made it better. We’ve been able to get things that we wanted. We were able to get our first house. It’s made life more stable.
Has your relationships with family, friends, wife changed? If so how?
It’s hard Being away from my family but j know they are proud of me that I am serving my country and giving my daughter a future while providing my family with stability.
How do you think your life would be different if you never enlisted?
I would still be working for a dead-end apartment complex making the same that I had before. I couldn’t work there any longer. They didn’t care.
What would you tell someone looking to join the military? Would you tell them to join the Navy?
I would! I would definitely tell them that it is probably one of the best branches to join.
***Why is that?
You get to see the world while serving your country. And, you learn a good trade you can use after you get out of the military.
- Sailor Spotlight: An Interview with DC Vicky Smooth (buoyed-up.com)
- In their own words: an interview with Dean, Popeye, and Turtle (buoyed-up.com)
Editor’s note: Sailor Spotlight is a recurring feature on the Buoyed Up in which we profile a different Sailor every month. If you have a loved one currently serving or who has served in the past that would like to be showcased, please contact Ollie by email at firstname.lastname@example.org