1st drill after bootcamp was over 8 years ago, but my experiences are probably
not all that different from what you'll run into today.
- What happened in the first hour of your arrival at your unit? Smooth check in
and reporting? Duty assignment? etc.
I don't really remember much other than being in trops for only the
first 15 minutes or so, meeting my supervisor, introducing myself to the unit
at all-hands, and filling out paperwork.
Those who hadn't gone to the A-School yet, how was your experience as a
non-rated? Were you treated as the rating you were going to get?
was an RK reservist so I went to bootcamp one summer and went to MST
"A" school during the next. For my drills as a non-rate in between I
was assigned to the MST side of the house and knocked out as many sign-offs for
marine safety quals as I could. I also worked on my E-4 EPMEs. I cannot stress
this enough, get your E-4 EPMEs knocked out before A-school! It'll be one less
thing you have to worry about and you'll be mostly guaranteed to graduate
A-school as a Petty Officer. Additionally, as all non-rates discover, I spent
time cleaning, taking out the trash, and doing random odd jobs (such as serving
as the unit telephone operator during a vessel allison / oil spill incident,
being the "fire" in a fire drill during a port state control
- Did you get to meet with the CO at the unit during first drill or at
I did not meet the CO during my time at my first unit. However, I did
meet the XO.
- How what you learned during DEPOT helped you during the first drill?
enlisted directly into the reserve and attended the full 8-week bootcamp rather
than REBI (DEPOT's predecessor) so I can't fully answer this question. However,
what I learned in bootcamp definitely set me up for success.
How fast did you get familiar with the daily life at your unit?
Depending on your rating and unit daily life may never be "familiar".
For example, during my last drill weekend I was planning to run in a memorial
5K with my unit and provide some basic facility inspector training for my
junior MSTs. I ran the 5K with my unit, but two hours after that my crew and I
were zooming across the AOR to respond to a boat fire with survivors in the
water. Immediately after wrapping that up, Sector called and we were zooming to
the other side of the AOR to respond to an oil spill. Following both incidents
myself and the other MST1 on duty had to prepare and give briefs about each
incident to our unit's Chain of Command and Sector's Chain of Command. We also
had to begin preparing MISLE casework for both incidents. What started as a
straightforward 8 hour day turned into a complicated and hazardous 13 hour day.
Long story short, some days are cake. Some aren't. Be Semper Gumby (always
flexible) and be the sponge (always learn from your experiences and share what
you've learned with your shipmates). While daily life will likely never be "familiar" you will grow to be better prepared with experience and training.