The Navy as A Peacetime Career
What are You going to do Sailor, now that peace is here ?
Now that the Great Day Has Come and Gone
Two Seamen First were talking about postwar plans. "What are you going to do now?", said one.
"Brother", the other replied, "I'm going to get out of the Navy as fast as possible, get myself a job and forget I ever wore a uniform."
A lot of the boys feel that way. It's only natural. Anything that we have to do is never much fun. And we've all had to stay in the Navy for the duration. It's been a long tough war. Plenty of hard work and not much leave or liberty. Endless days at sea — with drills and more drills. At night the blackout ; tension ; sleep broken by general quarters.
That's how you know the Navy — in time of war. But that's not the Navy in peacetime, any more than the life your civilian friends and relatives have been leading is their normal life. What they want, and what you want, is to get back to normal. But before that happens—
You Face a Big Decision
Right now you stand at the crossroads. Your whole future is at stake. Soon you'll have to decide what kind of a permanent career you want. Will you leave it to luck — sort of drift along for a while and see what turns up?
That's one way. But it's not the smart way. The smart thing to do is to look at the problem from all sides, in advance. Do your planning now while you are still in the Navy, and avoid the rush.
In this booklet you will find information that may help you decide. It gives you something to think about. Frankly, our aim is selfish. We're still going to need good men to man the Navy. And we want you to know the facts about that Navy—the peacetime Navy—as an inviting permanent career. Armed with thee facts, you will be in a better position to make your big decision.
Only for Men Who Like the Navy
We don't pretend that the Navy is the right career for everyone, any more than is banking or farming. We would be the first to admit that there are drawbacks to Naval service, just as is true of any occupation. It involves sacrifices — as what career doesn't? On the other hand, the rewards and the satisfactions are great.
To the man who cannot stand absence from home, who can't take discipline, or who thinks that no job is worth more than eight hours a day of his time, we say very honestly — the Navy is not for you.
On the other hand, if you like the sea and having the whole world for your "office", if you enjoy travel, the fellowship of congenial friends and a healthy outdoor life — then read every word of this booklet. For aside from all the practical advantages such as steady income and promotion, long annual vacations, the security of retirement pay, the best of free medical care for self and dependents — despite such attractions, the Navy still is only for men who like the Navy and the satisfaction it affords.
Advice to Job-Seekers
After the warmth, security and friendliness of the Navy, where a man's every want is looked after and where three square meals and a bed are always ready, the business world is apt to look like a pretty cold proposition to a sailor seeking his first job. Don't let it throw you. And don't be rushed into accepting the first thing that comes along. Take a long range view and aim for a start at a permanent career, rather than "just a job."
If you do decide to stay in the Navy (assuming you can qualify)] it should be for one of two reasons. First, because that is 'where you feel your real future lies. Or second, because you feel that at least one enlistment in the Regular Navy would be good preparation for what comes later. Many young men who are now getting valuable experience and training in the Navy favor one postwar "hitch" that will enable them to get their feet on the ground while business goes through an inevitable period of readjustment and settling down, following the war.
It's Not What You Make But What You Salt Away That Counts
The strange thing about Navy pay is that so many Navy men only seem to consider the base pay. They look at the $50. a month cash for an apprentice seaman and take it for granted that he is much worse off financially than his civilian buddies earning several times that sum. Actually, he is much better off, as a rule.
Big salaries in themselves do not mean a thing. What really counts is how much money a man is able to salt away after all expenses are paid. And here a Navy man is lucky, for all the major items of his living expense are provided free of charge, whereas a civilian has to pay for these items out of his own pocket.
Navy Pay vs. a Civilian Salary
Not all of a seaman's pay is "velvet", of course. He still may have to pay for such things as haircuts, laundry, tailor, smokes, soap, toothpaste, razor blades, movies and miscellaneous ship's service items. The normal average cost of such out-of-pocket expenses (not counting splurges of entertainment) is $15. per month. That leaves $35. a month clear out of starting base pay — or $420. a year that even an apprentice seaman can put away in the bank.
Under existing income tax rates and exemptions, do you know how much money the average single civilian has to earn in order to salt away that sum? The figure will surprise you, but it comes, not from the Navy, but from an independent unbiased civilian authority — Barron's National Business and Financial Weekly. In the April 24, 1944 issue, this publication made a searching analysis of the comparative figures under the heading, "Army-Navy Pay Tops Most Civilians —Unmarried Private's Income Equivalent to $3,600 Salary."
A large part of the secret, of course, lies in the many extras which a Navy man gets in addition to his base pay. And every time you step up in rate, the sum you would have to earn as a civilian in order to be as well off, also goes up. Thus, Barron's figures that a Chief Petty Officer (PA) who leaves the Navy to take a civilian job, would have to earn $6,000 a year to do as well financially. That's not taking into account any retirement privileges, either.
Security---The Thing That All of Us Work for
No matter what kind of a job we have or how much money we earn, the thing that every man looks forward to is security for himself and family; a future where he does not have to worry about possible illness or reverses. Most of us are willing to slave away while we are young, in hopes of piling up enough money so we can take it easy in later years. We want to travel and have some fun while we are still young enough to enjoy life. The big problem facing any man on a salary, however, is how to put by enough money to reach this goal. Years ago when there was no such thing as an income tax and money earned six per cent interest, it was not as difficult as it is today.
There is also the question of what to do with one's money that will combine safety with good earning power. Many a worker has plugged away for years putting his money into something that looked like a sure bet for his declining years, only to have his savings swept away. Businesses can fail. Stocks and bonds can decline in value. But one thing is certain. As long as there is a United States, the Navy's obligations will be good. When a Navy man retires on three-quarters pay for life, he has something that nobody can take away from him.
How to Have the Equivalent of $62,100 In Savings, At 3% Interest
Assuming that a man enters the Navy at a young age — say 17, 18, or 19, he can retire on three-fourths of his pay after thirty years of service and still be under fifty, in the prime of life. If he knows his stuff he will be at least a Chief Petty Officer, and perhaps a Warrant or higher commissioned rank.
But let's say he is a Chief when he retires. He will have a check for $155.25 coming in each month as regularly as clockwork (three-fourths of base pay and fogies*). He can loaf, fish, hunt, travel or raise chickens as his heart desires. He can start a business or take any civilian job he wants to —the $155.25 per month still keeps rolling in.
If you had the sum of $62,100 invested where it was safe and paid you 3% interest, you would get exactly $155.25 per month. How many men do you know who are able to save that much money by the time they are 50 years old?
"Retire" After 20 Years If You Like
If a man doesn't wish to serve thirty years he can serve twenty, be transferred to the Fleet Reserve on inactive duty, and receive half of his base pay for the next ten years. At the end of that period he is automatically retired for thirty years' service, at which time he starts to receive all his active service fogies in addition to 50% base pay—both to continue for life. Here is how this would work out in dollars in the case of a Chief. At the end of his twenty years' service he would get $69 per month for ten years, and after that $110.40 a month for life.
* "Fogies"— Navy term for longevity pay
Full Credit for Past Service Toward Fogies and Retirement
It is now possible for an enlisted man serving in the Reserve or in a USNI status, to be discharged in order to enlist in the Regular Navy. In so doing, he gets full credit for all such past active duty toward retirement after 30 years, and membership in the Fleet Reserve after 20 years. He also gets full credit for both active and inactive duty toward fogies.
This is very important to you in choosing a Naval career for it means that you already have a flying start on that career, represented by your war service. This service has an actual cash value in terms of retirement pay. Take, for instance, a man who has now put in three years in the Reserve. He is already one-tenth of the way along toward his thirty-year retirement, which we figured was like having $62,100 in savings paying 3% interest. If he quits the Navy now, he is throwing away the equivalent of one-tenth of his investment, or more than six thousand dollars.
Can I Keep My Present Rating?
Enlistments or re-enlistments in the Regular Navy will be made in the permanent rate held at the time of discharge. The temporary rating held at the time of discharge will be restored immediately. However, not all ratings are open for enlistment. For a specific answer consult your own recruiting officer or commanding officer.
Enlistment Can Be for Less Than 6 Years
The provision that a man's first enlistment in the Regular Navy must be for 6 years, has been modified. A man discharged from active duty in the Reserve may now enlist in the Regular Navy for a period of 4 years. If 17 years old, he enlists until his 21st birthday.
Cash Bonus for Re-Enlistment
The re-enlistment gratuity has been extended to include enlisted men now serving in the Reserve or as USNI's who are discharged in order to enlist in the Regular Navy. For Chiefs and Petty Officers first and second class this enlistment bonus amounts to $50 for each year served in the current term of active duty. For all other pay grades the bonus is $25 per year.
30 to 60 Day Leave Privilege
All men now serving overseas who enlist or re-enlist in the Regular Navy, will be brought back to the U. S. and given up to a maximum of 30 days rehabilitation leave, with transportation provided. In addition, they will be given 30 days special re-enlistment leave, plus travel time. All men now serving in the U. S. who are discharged and re-enlist within 30 days, are also given the special re-enlistment leave.
No Worries About Health or Disability For Yourself or Family
If a Navy man gets sick or is injured, he automatically receives the finest medical attention and hospital care in the world, at no expense to him. He gets regular medical and dental examinations that guard his health.
If he is unfortunate enough to become permanently disabled or unfit for duty, his rights to a disability pension are fully protected by the Veterans Bureau.
Even his family dependents may enjoy the benefits of Navy medical care, through free visits to Navy dispensaries, free obstetrical care and delivery of their babies by Navy doctors, and admittance to certain specified Navy hospitals within the limits of their accommodation at a uniform charge of $1.75 per day.
Physical Requirements Now Lowered
Physical standards for men transferring to the Regular Navy have been modified. Here is a summary of their more important provisions :
- Eyes — Minimum of 6/20 in one eye and at least 10/20 in the other eye ; correctable to 20/20 each eye.
- Hearing — Normal hearing in each ear.
- Teeth — A minimum of 18 vital, serviceable, permanent teeth.
- Height — 60 inches minimum ; 76 inches maximum. Weight — In proportion to height and build.
- Color perception — Must correctly recognize one plate in each of the three prescribed color groups.
- Seasonal hay fever — Acceptable if not complicated with asthma.
- Minor surgical defects — Acceptable if they can be corrected and man returned to duty within one month.
Mustering-Out Pay and G. I. Bill of Rights
You do not lose your mustering out pay by staying in the Navy. Those discharged for the purpose of re-enlistment collect whenever finally separated. Those discharged by reason of expiration of enlistment or demobilization collect at once. Some of the G. I. Bill of Rights privileges do have a time limitation on them. However, this time limit is so liberal that a man can serve four more years in the Navy and then decide to return to civilian life, if he wants to, with most of his rights and benefits still intact. For full details see your Educational Services Officer or Civil Readjustment Officer.
Food - - - The Navy Is Famous for It
To any man who has been in the Navy, this subject needs little elaboration. You knew from experience the way the Navy feeds you — plenty of good substantial food. When shortages exist the man in uniform gets first choice. And wherever the Navy goes it carries its own expert cooks, fine galleys and store of refrigerated foods and other items right with it. You're always sure of eating well in the Navy.
No Clothing Worries
A Navy man is always well and properly dressed for any occasion. He never has to worry about which suit, hat, necktie or shoes to buy or wear. His clothing problem is made easy—and inexpensive. In addition to the initial clothing allowance of $143.20 an enlisted man gets when he first comes into the Navy, he also receives a clothing maintenance allowance of $12.00 cash each quarter after the first year. When he is promoted from 1st Class to Chief he receives $250.00 cash for clothing, and thereafter gets a maintenance allowance of $20.00 per quarter. And when he does have to replace items of wearing apparel, he can do so at Small Stores at a great saving,
You Learn and Progress All the While
It is often said that the Navy is the greatest school in the world. A man learns something new all the time he is in it. What he learns may be along the line of specialized knowledge that will bring him promotion and higher rating in his specialty. Or it may be along the line of self improvement and general education. The Navy provides ample opportunity in both directions, through its service schools, its Navy Training Courses, its correspondence courses on a wide variety of general subjects, and its libraries.
If a man wants to, he can come out of the Navy as well read and as well informed as any of his civilian friends —perhaps more so in view of his opportunities for travel and personal observation. Furthermore, when a Navy man retires he comes back into civilian life as an expert along specific lines, and usually he is still young enough to use his technical skill to supplement his retirement pay.
Then There Are the Little "Extras"
By "extras" we mean the little privileges that go with the uniform and are so nice to have when you need them. Things like the privilege of buying meat, groceries and household supplies through Commissary Stores. Free legal assistance and notary public service through the Navy. The protection of low-cost National Service Life Insurance. The help afforded by Navy Relief Society with respect to providing relief and aid for dependents in time of emergency. The free transportation of dependents and household goods when enlisted men of the first three pa-, grades (Petty Officer 2nd Class to Chief) are transferred to a new permanent duty station. And finally, there is even some comfort in the knowledge that when death occurs, we in the Navy are entitled to burial without cost in a National Cemetery and that a six months' death gratuity will be paid to our widow, child or other dependent relative.
A Chance to Become a Commissioned Officer
Each year many men in the Navy who have worked their way up through Petty Officer grades become commissioned officers. In addition, one hundred enlisted men from the Regular Navy are each year appointed Midshipmen at the U. S. Naval Academy, Annapolis.
The Peacetime Navy Is a Great Life
Ask any old-timer and he'll tell you that a man who has served in the Navy only in time of war, doesn't really know the Navy. In peacetime it's a great life. The sea duty you do then as part of our new and enlarged Navy will be very different from the sea duty you know under war conditions, with constant drills, the ship blacked out, and long periods without touching port.
In peacetime your ship has a home base to which it frequently returns, giving you a chance to live with your family and enjoy the prestige and friendliness of Navy social life. That 30-day annual leave that you've heard about but never yet experienced, really means something then — a long vacation with pay that your civilian friends will envy. And when ashore, you are allowed to take off the uniform and relax in civvies, if you like.
A Chance to Travel and See the World
You'll get to travel and visit some of the famous places you've always wanted to see around the world. And when your ship does go on a foreign cruise, there is plenty of liberty, with every opportunity for men to sightsee ashore. And best of all, you are with good companions ; shipmates who like and enjoy the same things you do, and with whom you feel at home. Wherever you go you will have fun, and time to enjoy it.
Where else can you live such a healthy outdoor life, with so many things provided to make you happy —at no cost to you. A well-stocked library of books and magazines, for instance, wherever you are. Free movies, with the best pictures shown at the same time first run picture houses show them. Your own band or orchestra to provide music. An athletic program with free equipment for almost every sport—baseball, boxing, football, tennis, basketball. A Ship's Service where you can buy all the personal comforts and necessities at low prices. No wonder it's such a happy, healthy, carefree life, free from worries, in the Navy. You'll probably live longer if you make it your career.
Don't Delay or wait until it may be too late. Act now. See your ship or station recruiting officer or commanding officer. He can effect your discharge and re-enlistment in the Regular Navy at one if you meet the qualifications.
1945-08-24 Booklet: The Navy As A Peacetime Career, NAVPER, 22 Pages