For this segment of Sailor Spotlight we are proud to share with you an interview we had with one of our deployed female sailors, Undesignated Seaman Wee-wee. Without further ado- 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?
Hi! I’m Undesignated Seaman Wee-wee. And I joined April 30. Or at least that is one of my 3 shipping dates.
***Wee-wee, That’s an interesting nickname. Where did you get it?
Long story, but it’s a Navy nickname derived from parts of my name.
When you were growing up did you ever fathom that you would be in the military?
No, not really I always respected the military. I was grateful for them. But no, I didn’t think I would be in the military. My best friend from high school talked me into joining. She leaves for boot-camp next month.
What prompted you to look at the armed services as a possible career?
Before I joined I was a waitress. I was a little tip girl and tips were not all that great. Having a stable job to pay us as regularly as we do, to have a paycheck that I don’t have to fight for, was one of the reasons and going to school another.
Was picking a branch easy? How did you go about choosing the Navy?
I can’t say it was easy or it was hard, it was the same branch as my best friend was going into. I can’t say that it was the best out of all of them. It was the only one I looked into.
Is your experience anything like what the recruiter described?
My original recruiter, I had more than one, was dead on with a lot of things. He was lied to when he went in and he didn’t want to lie to us. So, he was dead on. I didn’t expect it to be as easy as it is. It’s like a breeze out here in the fleet even though boot camp was challenging.
Was it easy to tell your friends and family that you were thinking of joining? How did they react?
It was really easy because I knew it was right for me. I knew this is what I needed to do. When it came to telling everyone, it was easy to do. They supported me.
My other recruiter didnt think I would make it through. He was surprised I made it. I got a tattoo because of it. It says “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” It seemed very fitting.
After signing up did you leave for boot camp right away?
Kind of.. I signed my contract in January. I had 3 ship dates. I wanted to get out as quick as I could. See, Everyone goes to my town to stay for a minute but they end up staying.
My original ship date was in june, but I wanted to get out as soon as I could. My recruiter told me there was a job offer for Feb 29th, but because it was hard to get ahold of me I missed that ship date. Then he gave me a choice. I chose April 30 instead.
Did you have to do anything special to get prepared for boot camp?
Um… I smoke. I was smoking before I left, so I tried to get that down to a minimum. I also tried to work out, because I have horrible knee cartilage. I wanted to get it done before I go. To make things easier.
Can you tell me a little bit about your experience being in the DEP pool?
Being in the DEP pool was nice. They made us memorize the sailor’s creed and general orders. I knew it by heart. I was prepared. I went to 2 dep meetings overall, but those helped.
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?
Going through boot-camp it was something to get used to. I’m a social butterfly but I’m not too keen on females. I normally stay friends with guys. I talked with the males on occasions. I don’t recommend that.
Honestly, it wasnt all that terrible. I was in an integrated division. My division and by brother division, we went through 3 chiefs. We were called the orphan division. But, we had this chief for the first half- he was sweet guy with us but was very stern. A father figure. The chief should be like a father. He knew how to come at us and he knew how to correct us. We had another chief that was the fitness chief. He gave us something to look at if we did anything wrong. They try to put you in a high stress situation so you are prepared.
My least favorite was the runs… bad cartilage. I had to swallow the pain and make it through. I got ASMOED, but I made it back and graduated with my division. That was remarkable…. gone for 4 days and getting to graduate with my ship. Everyone was surprised. They told me to go back to my ship. So I said “Ok i just need my rack again.”
When I got back to the male dorm which was our division space, my RPOC, he looked at me like he seen a ghost. He told everyone that I was back… even the RDCs looked at me funny before they came to terms with it.
Please describe your rank, job title, and primary duties with the Navy: (If OPSEC Allows)
Undesignated seaman.. a lot of people say that we are the navy’s bitches…. navy’s janitors… but we work with the deck department …. we take it [the ship] out to see. We pull in the lines. We take them out. We make sure they are ready to leave. But the best part is that I get to drive the ship.
** Do you like it?
I love my job right now. Being undesignated means we can choose any rate we want to. It means we can check out anyone’s rate- see how and what their days are like. Then we can say no, I don’t think that is right for me. If we like it we can strike for that rate.
But what is really awesome is that I drive the ship. Even my recruiters were like “Wow… Details… details….” They wanted to know everything.
What are your goals while in the Navy?
I would say that I want to get married and have a perfect family. I’m engaged to a really good friend who is in the navy with me. I want to go to school and have as many memories as I can so I can tell future generations the stories. I want to figure out the differences, but mostly I want to remember it fondly.
Have you been deployed yet? Do you know if you will deploy? Typically how long would a deployment for you last?
I’m on an aircraft carrier… we are getting ready to leave. We need to take the ship out to make sure she’s ready. We leave for that trip on (censored). There are rumors that we will be deployed in (censored)…but, as usual, there are mishaps. We find things that are broken… so, we are not positive that we will go. It could be soon or it could take months and we would be at sea somewhere between 8-10 months.
What are you most proud of in your service so far?
I’m really happy to get to say “I get to drive the ship”. Not even person on the planet gets to drive a 6 billion dollar piece of equipment.
And, I’m proud of the friends that I made. I have so many ways to weasel in and out of things. I talk to people all the time since I’m such a social butterfly. I have friends in the reactors, ITS, engineers, electricians mates… you know rates other than my own department because they stand the watches with us. They are great.
How has your career in the Navy affected your life?
It’s kinda tough because we are getting ready to leave. I want to be here to see my friend’s little sister graduate from high school. I want to see my own little sister graduate. There are a lot of things I am not able to do when I’m out at sea for a while. But, knowing that I have their backs while things are going on, to be strong and confident because of it, makes it hat much better. My mom has been very supportive of this. My whole family has. It makes it easier.
Has your relationships with family, friends, changed? If so how?
I feel like my parents look at me more proud and happily. I know my friend do too. They are very scared for everything. They are scared for my rate and my ship. But, they know if something did happen they would be notified almost immediately.
How do you think your life would be different if you never enlisted?
I would be working in restaurants scraping by. I wouldn’t have my beautiful car that I bought with my boot camp money. I wouldn’t have nearly enough pride as I have in my self now. I would never have realized how many people were just pieces of shit and how many I could depend on. I belong here. This is where I am supposed to be.
What would you tell someone looking to join the military?
I actually talked a friend into joining. He was in college, had a car, had a house, had the happy after high school life and it all got rattled. He lost everything. Now he is mopping. He doesn’t know what to do. He’s lost and confused. So I told him if you want something stable join. Because here I can enjoy being happy. I can enjoy having friends. I have met real friends, I get real experiences and I get to see the world. These are beautiful years. If you’re in your 20s this is something you want to do. And he’s taken it. I called the recruiter and informed him of my friend’s interest. He’s joining.
You are in a unique situation, as most of your shipmates are male. Can you describe what it is like to be a female sailor?
It’s really not any different than being a male. Our PO(Petty Officer) runs us. Other classes are mixed in. A lot know what I can do and they know what I do to get out of something. They know me well enough to know what I am capable of. You see, the Petty Officers zone in on you. They see how you react and see what you like to do. Then they give you your position.
Wee-wee, thank you for sharing your thoughts. In parting do you have any last words of wisdom?
Yes! Don’t alway believe everything. Don’t believe everything you hear or read, especially on N4M. Just because it happened to one kid doesn’t mean that it happens to everyone. Each one of our lives are different. Each one of our jobs are different. Each time out is different. You just gotta learn how to roll.
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