Its APPLY Board Season again. Get your package in by early August to participate. What does this mean for you? If you’re a newly minted JO reservist and looking to move up in the world, this is the place to start. The old adage holds true that the most important thing to advancing as an officer is sustained superior performance in an Officer-In-Charge or Commanding Officer position. Here’s an important thing to know though. As a JO (O-4 and junior) the Navy is required to either pay for your travel to drill or allow you to be cross assigned from a NOSC OSU. However, as the holder of an OIC or CO billet, you forfeit such flexibility. So, if you allow yourself to be selected for ANY AVAILABLE command billet. You could be schlepping it across country to lead your unit. You have the ability to control this somewhat by restricting the area or billets that you apply for on your dream sheet.
Here’s the disclaimer on the APPLY Site, read and heed:
“I understand declining billets specifically requested on my Dreamsheet will prevent returning to my previous assignment, and I will be subject to transfer to non-pay. I understand that transfer to a non-pay status affects eligibility for certain incentives and benefits including TRICARE Reserve Select and Post 9/11 GI Bill Transferability. Detailed information regarding the change in benefit eligibility is available through the local NRA personnel department and online on the private side of The Navy Reserve Homeport.”
Tribal knowledge says that you should accept any billet you’re selected for that you’ve put on your dream sheet. Let me rephrase that. If its on your dream sheet, and you get picked, you should follow through with that process and take command. Therefore choose your billets wisely and dont list filler items that you really can’t accomodate or aren’t willing to personally pay to travel for. Turning the billet down will only do bad things for you unless its for reasons in extremis. If you aren’t selected for a billet on your sheet, no harm no foul. You get to choose from whats left on the board room floor or pick a staff billet at another reserve unit via the IAP process.
Citizen Sailor Tip:
Before you haul off and apply for a bunch of stuff in APPLY, have a serious conversation with your spouse about the realities of this job and what it will require of you. This will go so much better if you’re both onboard.
As Citizen Sailors, we tread a unique path between military and civilian life. We have positions and interact daily with our local communities, but, one weekend a month or more we don the uniform of a US Navy Sailor. This means we are both part of the many, our civilian brothers and sisters, and we are part of the very few, our fellow Sailors.
As our civilian brothers and sisters wrestle with the many “ism’s” that plague our society, we have come to learn that regardless of race, religion, gender, orientation or socio-economic status, we are all Sailors unified by the oath “To support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.” Consequently, our nation is calling upon us to lead them in ways in which we are already very familiar.
America wants to know if all people, regardless of how they identify themselves, have a shot at success. In the Navy we have been led by all types in arguably the most demanding circumstances anyone can find and we have succeeded where others may have failed. We have demonstrated to our civilian brothers and sisters that our diversity is what makes us strong, especially when unified towards a common goal.
This does not mean that we don’t have different opinions, argue or even yell at one another. Quite the opposite. The Navy has always celebrated the independent mind as it is part of the very fabric of our culture. Think of the Commanding Officer on an independently steaming vessel and the decisions he or she needs to make regarding the ship, the mission and lives of those who are entrusted to him or her. Despite different opinions, despite the noise or “fog of war”, the CO has always been asked to make the right decision for all concerned. As leaders in our military or civilian lives, our Nation is asking us to do the same.
Our Country is asking for all of us to rise above the noise, the vitriol, the divisive speech and lead them forward. The Nation needs to know that diversity is OK. In the Navy, we know we are the world’s “melting pot” and that we are better off for it. We demonstrate this daily in all of our missions around the world. Although we haven’t always been the best at respecting one another, we have learned from our mistakes and we continue to grow and challenge old assumptions.
As Citizen Sailors, let’s share the lessons we have learned. Let’s show America that it is ok to have a different point of view, but, at the end of the day, we are all bound by the same mission. What is the mission? Well, it’s the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, of course.
Over this Fourth of July weekend as we are celebrating with family and friends. Let us not forget that the United States still represents the World’s greatest experiment. Unlike other Nations, our Military takes and oath to support and defend an Ideal, not a person or party. Unlike other Nations, we are not bound together by a single religion, race, or particular ideology.
We are bound together by the rule of law and the concept that all people are equal in the eyes of that law. Let us also not forget that we have taken an oath to support and defend these ideals and when we confront those who wish to destroy them, we do so with the strength of our brothers and sisters behind us.
Well board season is in full bloom. People are calling 1800-U-ASK-NPC with a myriad of questions about their package and the rules and regs governing the board. Beyond ensuring your record is up to date and accurate a letter to the board is your most valuable tool.
Like many transitioning Navy-types, I had grand notions of having a successful civilian career in the inland rivers industry. I also fancied maneuvering through the Naval ranks and progressing to the highest ideals of the Navy Reserve. Enter kids, family, mortgage, 24/7 civilian job operations schedule, wife’s home business, church, etc.