Navy Nuclear Power School Graduation


My sailor. I’m so proud of him.

Power school graduates in formation before the ceremony.

The base at the Naval Weapons Station in Goose Creek, South Carolina is very modern, with many new buildings. The nuclear power training program only moved to South Carolina in the past ten years or so.

Ross attended six months of “A” school and six months of power school in these buildings. He is an EM3 (Electrician’s Mate, Petty Officer Third Class). Only three percent of the sailors in the Navy hold a nuclear rating. It’s one of the mentally toughest training programs in the U.S. military.

Ross will stay in Goose Creek for prototype training, which is some additional classroom training, but mostly hands-on activity practicing on the nuclear reactor of a moored submarine.

Ross loves getting under cars and working on engines or using a hammer to build something–he is a hands-on person–so he’s been looking forward to getting the brutally intense classroom study of power school behind him and getting his hands on buttons and knobs and dials in prototype.

Shaking the hand of Command Master Chief Gamal Coles:

Coles gave an entertaining speech about how they entered the program as fetus nukes, and now they were toddler nukes. When they graduate from prototype, they will be real nukes. I kept wishing my toddler nuke would smile more for pictures.

Like, say, that there toddler nuke just to the right of Ross. What a cheerful, happy boy!

He can’t stop smiling!

Power school graduation is the happiest, proudest day of his life!

Ross told me later that they were supposed to maintain a composed expression while they stood in formation. Only a large woman had gotten up on a chair to take pictures and had fallen off the chair. Mr. Happy there was nearly choking trying not to laugh.

Ross will go on to operate the power plant of a nuclear warship or submarine after prototype.

I can’t believe they are going to let my little bitty boy do that!

P.S. Ross’s Navy story started two years ago. (Hard to believe!) If you missed it, you can read about how he came to join the Navy here, and at the bottom of that post are links to posts with his letters from boot camp and his boot camp graduation.


  1. KellyWalkerStudios says:

    Congratulations all around! I know you are proud. It’s quite an accomplishment. And thank him for his service!!!

  2. Granny Trace says:

    :sun: How wonderful for you and ROSS!
    You just must be bursting at the seams with PRIDE!
    Blessings Granny Trace

  3. Rah says:

    First of all, congratulations to Ross and to you!

    In the picture of all the sailors in formation, the group closest to the camera has on white shoes, and the middle group has on black ones. I’m sure there’s something significant about that–do you know?

    Hope everyone enjoys Ross’s time at home.

  4. prvrbs31gal says:

    Rah, the white shoes are Officers (you can tell by their covers and the shoulder boards.)

    I was cracking up about the reason behind Mr. Happy. Like Ross, my husband is always straight-faced, but I’d be the one trying not to lose it.

    I hope Ross loves the Navy half as much as we do. It’s a great life.

  5. holstein woman says:

    Thank you Ross and Suzanne, congratulations—it takes a special parent to raise a special son like that.

  6. cabynfevr says:

    Congratulations Ross! I can’t help but notice not much has changed since my son graduated. Our pictures look very similar! The big difference is that they stay in Goose Creek now. They used to go out west or to New York, where my son went, for prototype.

  7. Aggiemom says:

    :sun: :sun: :sun: :sun: :sun: :sun: :sun: :sun: :sun: :sun: :sun: :sun: :sun:
    Congratulations to Ross, and to you, Suzanne. What an accomplishment. Heck, I’m PROUD of him and he isn’t even my son. I’m a Navy wife, hubby retired officer for 12 years now,and have always loved sailors. These young enlisted men and women are the hands and feet of the Navy. There would be no Navy without them. Fair winds and following seas to you Ross.

    :sun: :sun: :sun: :sun: :sun: :sun: :sun: :sun: :sun: :sun: :sun: :sun: :sun:

  8. MonkeyPhil says:

    Good going Ross. My son was a Nuke but not on a sub. He learned a lot in the Navy, traveled nearly around the world and enjoyed his time. Ross has some great opportunities ahead of him. You are so lucky to have such a wonderful son. Congrats to both of you.

  9. woadtoad says:

    I’m under 30, so I’ll delude myself that I can get away with saying this:
    Whether or not he looks cheerful, he is the hunkiest of the bunch.
    Just sayin’.

    In any case, that’s wonderful! Especially getting to start the hands on stuff, now.

  10. Ms.Becky says:

    Congratulations! I recall your post about his training at Great Lakes outside of Chicago…and the test!!! how far he’s come, and you are, I’m sure, so deservedly proud. wishing him all the best in his naval career. :yes: :yes: :yes:

  11. Leah says:

    Congratulations! That is an awesome accomplishment.

  12. Jersey Lady says:

    Congratulations and best wishes. Well Done!

  13. Marmee says:

    Congrats to all ~ & please thank him for his service to our country. BTW ~ my 23 yr old beautiful daughter is now engaged, I’ve only got a 20 yr beautiful daughter left. He better hurry! :hug:

    Blessings from Ohio…Kim

  14. CityGirlFarmGirl says:

    In my (recent) past life, I’ve kinda been at the top of the food chain as far as military life goes, so I’ve been exposed to the “best of the best” of the sub-mariners (I hyphenate because I know from experience that the stress goes on “mariner” (as opposed to surface.)

    Congratulations on your son’s graduation! It takes much strength of character to excel in the field he has chosen. It reflects very well on him as well as you that he is able to do this. 🙂

  15. DarleneS says:

    It has been a lot of fun reading and seeing photos of you and your kids. We all wish him well I am sure. I know you are so proud of him. :sun:

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