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A Day in the Life of a Navy-Officer

Of all the branches of the armed forces, the Navy is often viewed as the one most flavored with the scent of adventure. Who wouldn't want to travel around the world, the logic goes, on an enormous (or not so enormous) ship and see exotic locales such as Hawaii, Australia or Japan? If the Navy were a company, its officers would be the management and board of directors. Electricians, administrators, combat specialists and all the rest of the jobs necessary to run the Navy are headed by officers. Officers must know how to do these jobs, how to keep their unit focused and productive, and how to perform duties assigned by their superior officers.

Paying Your Dues

To be an officer in the Navy is to test your physical strength, leadership abilities and technological prowess. You can apply to enlist as an officer as early as your sophomore year in college. If one is a professional in the fields of medicine, law, engineering or religion, the Navy may appoint you an officer. This includes a six-week course. There is also the NROTC  (Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps), which allows college students to become officers while attending school full time, and the Naval Academy, which accepts potential officers right out of high school. Life as an officer in any branch of the armed forces can be strenuous, but if you have talent and innate leadership ability, you will be in high demand. Most notably, the late President John F. Kennedy served as an officer in the Navy.

Present and Future

The United States Navy has been an important part of nearly every American war. The role of the Navy was changed forever in 1910, when an American civilian pilot successfully launched a plane from an aircraft carrier. This led to the Aircraft Carrier’s evolution into the dominant ship in naval warfare in the middle and latter half of the twentieth century. Most notably, the Navy became arguably the most important branch of the armed forces in the modern nuclear age, when submarines became able stay underwater for years at a time and carry nuclear weapons.

Quality of Life


The first few years as an officer can be frustrating, but consider them a learning experience. Officers must become accustomed to command, leading other naval personnel. The first Naval officer rank is Ensign, the equivalent to Second Lieutenant in the other branches of the armed forces. NROTC, or Naval Academy graduates will automatically receive this rank. Be prepared for unofficial testing by superior officers. Life on a naval base or ship can be hard for some and easy for others.  You'll have work to do every day, and the hours (depending on your job) will be somewhat irregular. You also won't be able to go home for months or even possibly years at a time. However, the Navy considers this a minor sacrifice to exchange for the privilege of "preserving the freedom of your country." Time aboard a ship can be numbing for some, but an officer will rarely have the luxury time to become bored. As with all branches of the armed forces, the Navy bestows a great amount of responsibility on its officers; the position is not something to be taken lightly, and an officer takes on the trust of all Americans by managing their most valuable resources.


After around four years as an Ensign, the Navy will almost automatically promote a young officer to Lieutenant Junior Grade (the equivalent of First Lieutenant), or higher. Pay goes up, as do benefits, responsibilities, and privileges.


After ten years as a Naval Officer, the amount of money one earns becomes much greater, and if one has conducted him or herself in a professional, orderly manner, the sky is the limit as far as promotion goes. Commissioned officers can conceivably become Generals, and occasionally run for high political office when they retire.