Ahoy there, Sleek. I did it too. but I did it a bit differently. I did 20 years and 19 days in the Uncle Sam’s Nasty Association of Vagrant Youths before growing up and working on Tugs.
I don’t know what your rate was, it could help, but won’t hinder you. Even if you were a Tidget, skivey waiver, stew burner, pecker checker or any of the ratings that don’t normally stand a watch in the wheelhouse or engine room. We hire, period. Of course, if you were a Bos’n Mate, Quarterguesser, or any type of snipe: you would have a leg up on the competition. Officers tell a different tale.
Concerning the Academies… If you got out with that fancy new G.I. Bill came out under G.W. Bush’s tour in the White House, it’s a safe bet, but you can get going farther and faster by going to the trade schools like Mid Atlantic Maritime Academy in Norfolk, VA and several other ports.
If you liked being underway for long periods of time, the MSC may be a good choice. I prefer to go out for shorter periods and rotate on a fairly regular basis, stay closer to home and transportation to get anywhere fast, should an emergency arise.
First start for you would be to request a Sea Service Transcript from the Navy. You need to do that last year, because the people you will be dealing with have no incentive to use time efficiently or help a sailor out. So do it now.
Find your DD-214 page four long form. That is what will qualify you for all the benefits you have earned serving Uncle Sam, for us. Without it, you are NOTHING!
If you haven’t already done it, go to Military.com, become a member and do some research there about your benefits. Most all of the people there are Vets and the guy that started it a former Navy Pilot. They routinely sponsor Job Fairs across the country, are a treasure trove for networking and practical advice.
Back to the Licensing. Licensing requires Sea Time, the only way to get it is working on the water. The Academies will get you some of it, but you won’t be able to walk out of an academy and immediately work with a license as they did in the past.
Anyhow, good luck with it. And thanks for your service.
By the way, a bad day underway beats the hell out of a good day in a factory.