a day in the life of a PNEO
PNEO – Prospective Nuclear Engineer Officer. If I pass my written and oral exams I’ll be designated “Engineer” under the auspices of Naval Reactors. The school, colloquially known as “PNEO School” by my peers and I, is the final end of a grueling three years of training and operations. It started with Nuclear Power School in August of 2007, followed by Prototype in March 2008. Fast forward to today and I’m 121 days out from completing my tour on Enterprise and this school is the final stage in my evolution as Naval Nuclear Surface Officer. All of that established, allow me to take you through my day.
I wake up at 0455, clean up, eat my breakfast, usually mixture of cereal or granola, a banana and possibly eggs. Tovah, having been the wonderful wife she is, will have packed an excellent lunch for me the night before. After eating while checking the internet, I toss on my uniform, kiss Tovah goodbye and give Remmy a quick snuggle before grabbing my lunch and gym bag as I run out the door at 0555.
This is my destination:
Ramage Hall is the submarine training facility in Norfolk. My destination inside is a small room, with no windows and piles of technical manuals. I’m often the first one inside and commence my studying. The building houses a lot of memorials to the phenomenal history of the Submarine Force and especially the accomplishments during WWII of U.S. Submarines (for example, the Submarine Force, only 2% of the Navy accounted for over 50% of Japanese losses and the Sub Force had the highest mortality rate of all services: 22% never came home).
Sometime between ten and one I get to go workout, my favorite part of the day. Enterprise has made staying in shape extremely challenging but this past month I’ve worked out nearly every day–it has been awesome! After my workout I eat whatever is left of the snacks and lunch Tovah packed for me and I desperately try to stay focused on my studies until 1800 when I leave. Studying, in silence, for 55+ hours a week is an exercise in mental focus I’ve never experienced. I put in more total hours in Nuclear Power School but a lot of that time was classroom instruction. This is just me and my books.
In a couple of weeks I take my written final and a few weeks after that I will head up to Washington D.C. for my oral interviews with around ten of my peers. If the big brains at Naval Reactors headquarters deem my performance acceptable I’ll be titled “Engineer” and will return to my ship for a few more months of work before moving on. If I fail I’ll either finish up on Enterprise and then have the option to continue in the Navy as a non-Nuke or I’ll get a second shot at PNEO in August or September. Who knows what the future holds?
Posted: May 17th, 2010 by Clark under navy.