Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Great Lakes NAVET/OSVET (Navy Veteran / Other Service Veteran) Orientation program

Updated 04-Jun-2017: I keep getting hits to this page from Google searches, but all this information is probably outdated or whatever.  It probably changes depending on who is in charge of the program.

Ever since I finished Hospital Corpsman A school four years ago, I've had this reoccurring nightmare where I'd find myself in bootcamp and would be reliving those bad memories.  I always dreaded the thought of going back to Great Lakes bootcamp for any reason, but here I am.  Not as a recruit, but in the "Veteran Orientation" program.  I guess being stuck here isn’t as bad as I thought it would have been.  Most people here in this program are prior active duty (Mostly Navy, but a few airforce, army, and Marines) or, like me, were Navy reservists right out of A School.  It took me a year and a half to get from talking with a recruiter to where I am now, and I went down a rank from Petty Officer Third Class to Seaman, but I think the end result will be worth it.

I lost count how many times I've been to MEPS but it has to be at least my eleventh visit in my lifetime.  They lost my medical records back in January so I had to redo all my tests, shots, and stuff in March.  But that didn't matter anyways because I gotta redo all that here at Red Rover Medical Facility at Great Lakes.

Most people coming into this program from other services will familiarize themselves with basic Navy training stuff like fire-fighting, weapons familiarization, and swim qual.  There are a few of us here who have completed Basic Training in the past five years, so I don't know why they're making us do all this again, but I managed to explain to the instructors that I was in the NAVET/OSVET program and they signed off a few of my classes without me having to sit through them, though I wish I had stuck around for the gas chamber.

Classes, uniform fitting, medical records and processing takes a total of two or three weeks.  About one or two hours a day of processing, the rest is spent chilling in your room until 1500 then you're on liberty (I think I actually sat through three classes which were less than two hours each).  Orders are usually available by then, but a few of us are stuck here for a few months bullshitting because orders aren't available for some reason.  The current record holder is 400 days according to our supervisors.   One interesting thing to note is that there are only about four to eight people in NAVET/OSVET at any given time, and we get a new guy every two to three weeks.  At this rate, there would be about forty to fifty people going through this program per year.

In addition to getting very basic training, which everyone will forget in a month, we're also getting processed and getting medical records taken care of.  I can't think of a good reason why they would send me here, since I had all my records at my local NOSC (Navy Operational Support Center) but I'm getting paid to bullshit here so I guess I can't complain too much.  And don’t bother bringing your uniforms.  They will make you get all your uniforms all over again.  It didn’t seem to come out of my pay check like they said it would, so it doesn’t cost anything but time (which you will have lots of here).

The barracks I'm staying at is great.  We have this building right in the middle of bootcamp with about 75 rooms and maybe less than ten of them are occupied.  The walls must be made of lead because no one gets reception.  There's no cable TV but there are two lounges and one conference room where we can chill and watch movies.  We eat in the same chow hall as the recruits.  The food is not as bad as I remembered.

We have collateral duties which consist of flushing toilets in the empty rooms to make sure they aren't attracting flies, killing said flies, and mopping, buffing, and cleaning all living spaces until they're spotless.  There are days when we literally just sit and do nothing.  Every Friday, Recruit Training Command has a graduation ceremony and our job is to manage traffic in the parking garage, security detail, and pushing the elderly in wheelchairs.  It's pretty mindless but I feel like Fridays are most productive.

As for me, I’m stuck here from April to July.  I kinda feel like I’m wasting away.  I literally have nothing better to do than write this.  I don’t know what the point of this post was.  Maybe someone who is re-enlisting will stumble on this instead of that outdated 50+ post messageboard thread that's about TPU that contains outdated information.  I just sort of typed this up in ten minutes and didn’t bother organizing it, so feel free to ask questions!

RANDOM ANECDOTE WITH NO POINT: During my correspondence with my recruiter (A female, not that there's anything wrong with that, but I honestly wouldn’t have noticed the preceding metamorphosis had it been a dude), there was a few months of silence where I hadn't heard from anyone at the recruitment center.  I thought that they had just decided to stop working with me.  Maybe I don't count in their yearly quota or something, or perhaps I was a thorn in their side, so they sent me to the backburner, whatever that means.  When I decided to make a surprise visit to the recruiting station to see what was up, I freaked out.  The recruiter looked like a damn troll.  She appeared to have shrank 7-8 inches, her neck looked like it sank into her shoulders, the black bags under her eyes made them appear to bulge out, and she seemed to have gained a significant amount of poundage.  Scared the shit out of me.  To be fair though, it could have been that she overstartched the new enlisted khaki service uniform.

Tax dollars at work.


  1. Thanks for the update about the OSVET program, I'm AF and am looking to not reenlist. I'd prefer a job that I like, not some aircraft mechanic job that I was "given." At any rate, how knowledgeable were the recruiters on this program? I fear that some might not know too much and I'd get lost like you did.

    I plan on trying to get a new career field when my enlistment with the AF is up. Do you know if I could begin the process now? to make a seamless transition into another service?

    I appreciate the info in your post!


    1. Sorry, I don't know. Your best bet would be to talk to a recruiter.

      I've seen about 20 people come and go and everyone was either a reservist going to active, or were out of the military completely. They're probably gonna make you retake the ASVAB if you're getting a new job and go through MEPS at least twice.

  2. Hey, Thanks a lot for this. My package has been submitted and I am waiting for the Enlisted Community Manager to approve it. How long did that take? What were the first few days like? Can I show up in my NWUs?

    1. It took me about five months from the time I submitted the paperwork to the time I got the OK to go active.

      If you're flying from MEPs, they might tell you to wear civvie clothes. I would suggest bringing an enlisted khakis to change into after you get off the plane, because you'll be boarding a bus with recruits and the navy guys waiting at the airport probably never heard of Navet/Osvet.

      The first week at Great Lakes will be making sure you had paperwork in order, getting medical records up to date, dental exam, getting fitted for uniforms (you'll have to get all your uniforms AND pay for it), and they might make you take firefighting/pistol classes with the recruits, but you can tell the instructors there that you're prior enlisted and they will probably sign you off.

      Occasionally you'll have to keep the building clean, and E5 and below will have to assist with graduation ceremony on friday. Other than that, you do nothing but stay in your room and nap until 1500.

  3. Thanks for posting this. I got out as an HM2 and am heading back in this summer and have not been able to find any info on this program. Sitting around all day sounds about right. Stoked.

  4. Hey, sorry this is kinda late lol, but thanks very much for posting this. I'm currently in the Air National Guard as a medic (pretty much equivalent to a Hospital Corpsman, since I went through some of the same technical/clinical training with them lol), and I'm thinking about joining the Navy/Navy Reserves. Will OSVET be a pretty decent starting point for me in terms of Navy culture (and hopefully not getting yelled at too much lol)? Thanks again for the posts!

  5. I'll be shipping on June 8th. I'll update the blog with whatever has changed.

    1. Cool, congrats and good luck!

    2. Hey there, any tips on OSVET training? I will be shipping out in a few weeks, Thanks! I see you went through fairly recently.

  6. Im shipping out this Monday? Do I have to bring all legal documents for my dependents? Seriously, how long do you stay in Great Lakes?


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