Terms searched:"SEAL training", "SEAL rates" "SEAL enlistment" "SEAL officer", USNA, SEAL + USNA, STA-21, hardship discharge, death of a family member + Navy, Family Care Plan, NROTC, and much more, including: Navy.mil and various undersites. Navy.com. Military.com. The About.com military pages. Forums for parents with enlisted children. Forums for colleges. Blogs. Wiki. LJ.
Character enlists at 18, goes through BUD/S and all the rest of the training and receives his SEAL trident.
First of all, if he enlists and goes through BUD/S instead of basic training (I read this was possible?), he would still be an E-1, yes? But then I read somewhere else that SEALs who have completed all their SEAL training are actually E-4s. So what rank would he have? Or is this because SEAL training takes so long and requires certain qualifications a normal E-1 wouldn't have?
Secondly, the officer commission: to become an officer, he needs an undergraduate degree. I'm torn between the USNA and STA-21. I'm leaning more towards USNA for a couple of reasons that help my plot.
From lurking and digging through old message board posts, it seems as if a decent number of "Plebes" each year are previously enlisted and considered "grandfathers". Through military_beta, I learned that he'd essentially be treated the same as everyone else. What I'm primarily curious about is the summer cruises. He would definitely have to do Plebe Summer, I assume. How would the transition from active duty to student work? Would he be made inactive on I-Day, or would he have some time off between? During future summers, would he 1) be doing Minibuds, 2) back working with his former/a new SEAL platoon, or 3) doing some other kind of summer cruise the USNA offers? Or 4, I guess -- something completely different?
My third question/scenario: As a first classman, he gets his girlfriend pregnant. I read that while he cannot be accepted to the USNA as a parent, if he becomes a parent during his time there, he needs to confess it and either withdraw, take a year off or receive a waiver. Is it possible for him to deny the waiver at first, and then request one? His girlfriend/fiance dies, leaving him with the baby, and he does not take her death well at all. She also happens to die right around finals. Could/would they make him take the year off? Or if he manages to finish his finals, can they just delay his commission for a few months? If he's pretty much weeks away from graduating, having to wait an entire year would suck.
I know that the Navy would also have grounds to discharge him due to hardship. This is not what he wants at all, but if they threatened him with it (could they, if he isn't active) -- could he do anything about this? He's going to need some time to accept the girlfriend's death, or at least appear to accept it. But he feels as if the Navy is the only thing he has left, and he doesn't want to get discharged.*
Oh, and since he's technically inactive and a student, would he be required to have a Family Care Plan? Would this be made before or after the child's birth? I read that his commanding officer must be informed within 30 days, so would this mean the USNA, or his (previous or current if he's active) commanding officer? And when do these 30 days start -- the day the child is born or the moment he knows about the pregnancy?
My fourth question is less complicated. How easy/hard would it be for a Navy officer with technically no official business, to get onto the USNA grounds? Would he be able to sneak in and make it to someone's room room without being stopped and asked what he was doing?
*Originially, she was going to die after he has been commissioned and graduated, but am I right in believing that in that case, there's no way he could escape a hardship discharge? Especially since they are still not married, so she wouldn't be considered a dependent and therefore would probably have trouble getting time off to even go the funeral. Though -- since they do have a son together, and planned on sharing custody, even if he's currently deployed -- could he make an argument that he needs time off to collect his son and make arrangements, but that he still does not want to be discharged, and actually have them listen? This is also my problem with having him go through STA-21, because he would graduate quicker, and thus the discharge seems inevitable.
Any help is appreciated! I have so many questions and it seems as if every time I figure out one, five more come to mind...