SAN DIEGO, CA – 17 year-old Nathan Brottman wants to serve his country, and he's got the perfect plan for how to do it - the Navy's Delayed Entry Program (DEP). But Brottman has a problem -- he's deathly afraid of the water.
“The DEP is actually pretty great," says Brottman, "We meet one weekend a month and practice marching and saluting and stuff.”
When asked why he had chosen to enlist in the United States Navy, he disclosed that the Marine Corps recruiter was at lunch, and the Navy Career Counselor next door invited him into the office.
“He asked me why I wanted to join the Marine Corps and I told him I wanted to be a Sniper like in Call of Duty. He said that the Navy SEAL snipers were the best in the world, and pointed to the De-motivator poster behind his desk that talked about them shooting Somali pirates on Easter Sunday ftom the deck of a destroyer. Next thing I knew I was taking a practice ASVAB and peeing in a cup.”
Brottman had some reservations about joining the Navy, but his recruiter assuaged his fears.
“I told him I didn't want to go on a ship, and he said that shouldn't be a problem. I'm terrified of the water. He told me that Marines always have to go on ships because they ride them from place to place, but a lot of sailors these days get shore orders, and that I could become a SEABEE and do construction.”
A week later his recruiter took him to Military Entrance Processing Command where he began his future in the Navy.
“I didn't do great on the ASVAB, but it turned out ok. I was eligible for the Undesignated Fireman program! The classifier at MEPS said that was good because I would become a striker and choose any rate I wanted. I figured a fireman would have to stay off the ship because they have to drive firetrucks and things like that. As long as I don't have to go to a ship. I can't swim.”
But why not the Army?
“My cousin was in the Army and he hated it. He said it sucked living in a tent in the desert. I asked the recruiter if we had to sleep in tents, and he said that sailors always slept in a berthing. I didn't exactly understand the term but it sounded like it would be more comfortable.”
With high school graduation a few weeks away, Brottman is looking forward to making the Navy a career. “I looked at the time in rate requirements and I'd be eligible to be a chief in 9 years! I think a chief fireman would be a cool job, like Robert De Niro in Backdraft.”