Senior commits to military

Altmann joins lifelong dream to join the navy

Grace Leonardi and Abby Williams

Standing with his head held high and his right hand raised, senior Raymond Altmann watches as his lifelong dream unfolds in front of him. Joining the Navy has been his passion his entire life, and he’s finally been sworn in.
Waking up at 4am, Altmann started the journey that would shape what is to become the next chapter of his life.
“On the carried there, I felt excitement to walk into a new, bigger doorway of my life.” Altmann said.
Though the process of getting to this point seems like it could be a challenging and tedious one, Altmann was shocked at how easy it was.
“As long as I can do sixty push-ups, sixty sit-ups, ten pull-ups and a 500 yard swim in ten minutes,” Altmann said, “I get a guaranteed spot at boot-camp.”
Altmann first contacted a recruiter two months ago, who asked him to come to the recruiting station without hesitation.
“I called the Navy recruiter and kick some butt” Altmann said “and they said “okay, do you want to come down to the recruiting station?””
A week after contacting the recruiter, Altmann was taken to MEPS, or the Military Entrance Processing Station in Troy, MI.
“Once I rang the bell at the station, they did a COVID screening and took me to fill out paperwork.”
The paperwork took so long that Altmann felt cramps in his hand from signing so many papers.
He shared that he had to mail in his birth certificate, social security card and drivers license to become official.
“I don’t trust the mailman with that important of information.” Altmann shared.
After finishing with the paperwork, he was taken to a medical professional for a physical exam.
“Once I was at MEPS, I was taken to a doctor and they had to exam me,” Altmann said, “They gave me this five-star hotel room, and I spent the night there.”
Doctors at MEPS examine multiple things including hearing and vision tests, blood draws and urine tests. After the examination, Altmann was taken to an office designated for the Navy branch.
“I was talking to the guy there, and he just kept saying that if I lie I could go to jail.” Altmann said, “Then I had to get my fingerprints taken so that they could run background checks.”
The process wouldn’t have gone nearly as smooth if it weren’t for the help of his recruiter. Recruiters put hard work and thought into choosing the best candidates for the job.
Recruiters work to find recruits based on the needs of the Navy. There are many positions that need to be filled each year based on the people who leave or retire.
Depending on the job, recruiters look for candidates who have those specific strengths to be successful.
For example, nuclear technicians need to have strong skills in Math and science.
“There are aptitude tests that are taken in conjunction with high school grades, from which recommendations are made for those jobs.” Chief Petty Officer Darrel brown said.”
In the Navy, each job is called a rate.
Recruiters are looking for aptitude, not knowledge. The Navy, and for all that matters, all services train recruits to do things their way.
“A recruit goes to Navy Recruit Training Command Great Lakes in Chicago where they are taught the basic skills required to be a sailor.” Brown said.
The Navy has its own language and is filled with history and tradition. Sailors learn a base of the previously mentioned history and traditions as well as damage control, ire fighting, how to stand watches, maintain their uniforms and most importantly how to be a member of a team. A critical skill in potentially life-or-death scenarios.
As Altmann prepares for his journey, he shared some information about some of the programs offered, for instance the nursing program.
He explained how just eight weeks of Navy nursing training is equivalent to earning a two year nursing degree.
Ready to serve our country, Altmann shared how the navy’s learning process works and its intensity.
“You learn from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep.” Altmann said.