Morale: Better Racks for Junior Sailors


January 26, 2006: A major problem with the sailors life is living on the ship, under cramped and not so comfortable conditions. With a volunteer force, this can be a major problem in getting people to stay in. For NCOs (rank E-5 to E-9), the U.S. Navy allows them to have a place ashore, even if they are not married, for those periods when the ship is in port (typically about two thirds of the time). But for junior (E-1 to E-4) unmarried sailors, home is the ship, and that’s that. This makes it a little difficult to convince junior sailors to reenlist. The U.S. Navy is dealing with this problem in two ways. More immediately, it is providing housing ashore (college dorm grade digs) for the junior sailors. This is a project that will take years to complete. So as the new housing is built, sailors will be selected via a lottery to get the shore accommodations. In addition, the navy is improving the living conditions on board. New ships have larger, and better designed, living spaces. Part of this is the result of more automation, and smaller crews. Over the next decade, the navy is losing about ten percent of its personnel, and it wants to make a greater effort to keep those that it still has.


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