A few MSC questions

Hi,

New here at gCaptains. I just got the call a few days ago to report to Norfolk on Feb. 27 for NEO. Got a position as OS. I know it’s at the bottom, but am just really happy to get a job and will be working my way up hopefully. If it matters most of my experience has been fishing (commercial/charter). So if anyone would maybe be kind enough to help me on a few questions I have.

I have been reading that its better to be on the West Coast and to sign up for the pool there. Would it be possible to sail the East Coast and if I wanted change, then sign up for the West Coast? I am from OR, and don’t really plan on moving anytime soon.

Also how much money/cash should I bring with me to NEO? I’ll be staying at the Double Tree hotel. Does anyone know if there is stuff to do in walking distance? Or should I say a grocery store/food?

What kind of testing do you go through at NEO? I have read a few things and it almost sounds like BST and few other classes I had to take for my AB. I know I’ll find out when I get there but am curious.

Should I pack shampoo/soap for a 6month supply or will there be a place to buy it on the ship? Or better yet is there a store on the ship? If yes, are they expensive?

I have heard about option for Union. If so, what do most people do (join or not join)?

It sounds like there is Internet on the ships. Does MSC have a computer for everyone to use, or is it better to bring a personal laptop?

Is there a gym on board or a place to workout? ie: should I bring workout clothes?

They say bring 3 work blue work pants. Are they talking about, say like, Dickies? How many pairs of clothes should I pack that are not work pants/shirts? Is there washer/dryer…should I bring quarters?

First day of NEO, does it matter what I wear?

Out of my questions am I missing anything that maybe I haven’t thought of? I’ll probably come up with more…I’m kinda brain dead right now.

Thank you.

@Riverpirate: congrats on getting the job, everyone seems to hate on msc but I guess in this economy its decent work, I got hired back as an OS again as well and taking my drug test this TUES so hope to be out there soon as well. I worked for msc for 2 years but still hadnt got west coast when i quit so sign up for it in NEO and when it finally comes through you can decide, but trust me you want west coast. I was lucky to get west coast assignments/pool both times but I think it’s luck of the draw when you’re an East Coaster. As far as the jersey school and being in the pool in VA I have not been to either but from what i hear the va pool is way more strict than the sd pool. SD was relaxed. Once you clear medical you just kinda hang out…workout or swim @ the gym or goto the HUB and watch movies, use internet, play video games. By the way welcome to MSC the only place where ive seen 60 year old ABM’s scream @ each other for a chair to sit in. in response to what you wrote…When you get to VA have enough money honestly for your first week of NEO and then if I remember right your second week of school your S&Q will come through and you’ll be getting 7 days @ $38 a day every friday I think, and your base pay of course twice a month. Uhm unless it’s changed the only testing @ NEO is an english test and I saw people who could barely speak broken English pass it. My ship store always had some soap/shampoo or whatever but both ports I got on my ship @ there was an NEX to shop @ and use brand spankin’ new navy CAC id they give you so that’s cool. As far as the internet it’s pretty slow and every ship has several computers to use if you’re an OS you’ll probably be on watch and up at weird times at night so you’re usually home free to use it and it’s fastest when theres no one else on the network. Goto your webmail or whatever email you have and have it forward all your stuff to your @msc.navy.mil addy they’ll give you in NEO and that way new mail just gets downloaded to your inbox and you don’t have to wait for webmail to load everytime if it will even work. When I worked for them they had blocked yahoo. Definently bring your laptop because most places you can grab a beer or some food and use their wifi and have your own personal laptop with decent internet. All ships have some kind of gym I believe…Might be a janky treadmill, lat pulldown/leg extension whatever multiuse machine and maybe a weightbench but it was enough to keep me in decent shape and i preferred to go run around the deck anyway, def bring something to workout in…btw they sell pretty decent ship clothing on every ship with the ship name to work out in so you could probably get it onboard as well. There’s a laundry mat on just about every level of the ship and there’s free laundry soap/toilet paper so that’s handy. Dude they give you 2 pairs of coveralls and some shitty boots when you get on EVERY ship so i mean i’m pretty sure you should just bring some old clothes to work in. They will give you some free good boots in NEO i recommend getting them and buying some insoles because they’re decent but after 14 hours on your feet they ache regardless. Really the way to do it is, take like maybe 2 outfits to work in and you’ll have the coveralls and have all your work clothes boxed up and be ready for someone to send them to you. When you find out what ship you’re going to have them sent and they might get there before you but if they don’t you’ll be fine for a week and just do laundry if they haven’t made it. I learned this from ABs/BosunMates when I went to the Tippecanoe…I looked like a freakin’ nooby with my huge bag when I first got switched over from SU to OS. By the way they told me to bring 2 pairs of khakis for the stupid stewards department and they never checked so I doubt they will check for 3 pairs of work jeans…Anyway I’d say as far as work clothes you definently want pants and shorts you don’t care about if you see how some of the Homesteading ABs dress its hilarious because they’ve been on the ship for years and don’t want to spend money on anything new. Keep in mind in MSC I worked in Japan in hot/really cold weather, and Humid Guam and Singapore, and then got scorched in the Gulf. I recommend a well rounded work wardrobe because you’ll be wearing that stuff all the time. As far as civ clothes, just take stuff you’d wanna take on an extended vacation if you didn’t know where you’re going…Mostly casual, some nice stuff, flipflops, shoes, whatever you might want when you go out somewhere stateside. First day of NEO, wear whatever…I’d say you don’t wanna look like a slob but don’t look all dressed up to be an OS either hehe…Anyway hope this helps I’m no expert I just worked w/ this company for a couple years and I kinda became a student of the game running around with crazy AB’s and Mate’s. As infuriating as MSC can be sometimes it’s pretty fun and relaxed mostly, best couple years of my life that’s one reason I’m going back. If you need any more info lemme know, and drop a line when you get to whatever pool you goto cuz I’ll probably be following shortly. Goodluck
-Jred

hope this wasnt too wordy…and pardon the horrible paragraph structure i typed this on a droid =P

Sup, I’ve been working here at MSC for about 6 months and think I got it figured out…

I have been reading that its better to be on the West Coast and to sign up for the pool there. Would it be possible to sail the East Coast and if I wanted change, then sign up for the West Coast? I am from OR, and don’t really plan on moving anytime soon.

  • You will sail East on you’re first assignment. Sign up for a West Coast transfer your first week, you can always turn it down later. I am from Oregon myself and am waiting on my transfer, it may be a while…

Also how much money/cash should I bring with me to NEO? I’ll be staying at the Double Tree hotel. Does anyone know if there is stuff to do in walking distance? Or should I say a grocery store/food?

  • There’s a Food Lion (Grocery store) pizza place and a McDonald’s within walking distance from the Double Tree, however you only get a microwave, coffee maker and mini fridge in your room. Not gonna be cooking steak. The restaurant downstairs is great, but spendy, and there’s plenty of places just a 5 min ride away from the beach, but most are only open during the Summer/Tourist season. When I was in NEO, there was a buffet lunch at the Officers club that was around $6 and the food was awesome, there’s also a couple fast food spots on base.

What kind of testing do you go through at NEO? I have read a few things and it almost sounds like BST and few other classes I had to take for my AB. I know I’ll find out when I get there but am curious.

  • Training is BST + MSC specific classes, like unrep, helo ff, and small arms, and that comes after NEO. Only test at NEO is a very simple English test.

Should I pack shampoo/soap for a 6month supply or will there be a place to buy it on the ship? Or better yet is there a store on the ship? If yes, are they expensive?
Ship Store, yes. Prices, about average. All I can say is the weekend before you’re last week of training, have everything you need ready to go, you may be catching a flight halfway across the world. Also, if there’s anything you bought or got during NEO or training that you wont need on the ship, send it home. It sucks lugging an extra bag with you in foreign countries getting to your ship. People may offer to carry your bag, but they will expect a tip and if all you have is a $20, that may make their entire year.

I have heard about option for Union. If so, what do most people do (join or not join)?
The Union won’t be able to help much you’re first year as you’re on probation, but it’s something I’m looking into. It has it’s ups and downs.

It sounds like there is Internet on the ships. Does MSC have a computer for everyone to use, or is it better to bring a personal laptop?
Internet sucks. Lot’s of sites blocked out except .gov .mil .org sites. It’s slow. I have a phone that gets internet and tether it to my laptop, way faster. Now I just need an international unlimited data plan and I’m set, oh wait, it will only work when I’m in port. :frowning:
All I can say is good luck with that. I will say, bring a large hard drive, I got tons of movies, and no time to watch them, lol.

Is there a gym on board or a place to workout? ie: should I bring workout clothes?
Treadmills, weights, basic stuff. I love the punching bag.

They say bring 3 work blue work pants. Are they talking about, say like, Dickies? How many pairs of clothes should I pack that are not work pants/shirts? Is there washer/dryer…should I bring quarters?
Yes, Dickies. You will get dirty as a dayworker, on watch try not to wear shirts with holes in it. Washer Dryer and detergent is FREE!!! Like I said earlier, pack light.

First day of NEO, does it matter what I wear?
Coveralls. Just kidding. Jeans and a shirt should work fine. NO HATS, they get pissy about that. Show some respect.

Out of my questions am I missing anything that maybe I haven’t thought of? I’ll probably come up with more…I’m kinda brain dead right now.
Get used to that buddy. NEO will blow your mind with all the info they have to go over. At least you get an employee handbook, it covers pretty much everything you need to know and how to get a hold of, say payroll or travel claims, etc. There have been several helpful people since I’ve arrived from Portland, and it’s been quite the adventure so far. I’ve been to Germany (14 hr Layover), DJI, UAE and Italy so far. The pay has been nice, I’m an OS, recently promoted from an SU. I will say there are some knuckleheads you will meet in NEO, Training and even on the ships. Stay away from these fools and you’ll do alright. Nobody likes complainers and freeloaders. Work hard, do your part and you’ll gain the respect you deserve, don’t be “that guy”. I had fun in training in NJ, NYC was not too far and spent many a weekend up there. I don’t care for Norfolk too much, unless there’s something I’m missing. The pool is boring, bring a newspaper, book, laptop, game, puzzle, something to keep you going. As soon as I cleared medical in the pool, I was running back to the hotel to pack as I had 2 hours to catch a flight to Frankfurt Germany. That can be a little nerve racking.

Other then that, save you’re money, don’t spend it like a fool and you’ll do alright. Hope this helps and feel free to ask anything. See you in the fleet!

Wow. Thank you both for the reply’s! They are very helpful and full of useful information. I really do appreciate it! I will defiantly send a PM when I am in the pool to you OOTOS. Also will prob send both of you a pm or 2 also when I come up with a few more things.

Again thanks.

RP