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Focus on Service

From Realtor to Riverine

Switching from a suit and tie to a Navy uniform

For many grinding out the daily nine to five is perfectly fine, but for Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Bruce that normalcy was not enough. The need to contribute to something bigger and to see the world drove him to take a chance at another path in life.


Working as a realtor in Saugus, Massachusetts, Bruce wanted something his family and he could take pride in. Five years ago, that need brought him to the local Navy recruiting station.

"I always wanted to join the military, but I knew I wanted to have a family first," Bruce said. "When that finally happened my wife and I talked it over, and we decided to finally do it together, so at the age of 30 I joined the Navy."
Collage with three photos of Petty Officer Bruce with his family, Bruce hugging his wife, and Bruce taking the oath.


Almost immediately Bruce fell in love with the long hours and hard work. Whether it was staying up all night on watch, performing crane operations, pulling lines or small boat operations, the camaraderie that he built with his peers made his job worth it.

"Waking up, working all day ... those 10 to 20 minutes with your guys and gals afterwards just reflecting and laughing getting that sense of satisfaction from the days' work really makes it all worth it," said Bruce.

In his short time in the Navy, Bruce has come a long way from being an undesignated Seaman to the leading petty officer at Coastal Riverine Squadron 8. He attributes his success to his maturity and pride in his job.
Three photo collage of Petty Officer Bruce with a cadet, and two photos of Bruce operating a riverine boat.


"If you're goal oriented and put your nose on the grind stone you'll make rank and eventually put yourself in a position to lead and make a difference. It makes it a lot easier and worth it," said Bruce.

Satisfied with finding what he has been looking for, Bruce looks toward the opportunity to lead Sailors and relies on his family for guidance.
Infographic on becoming a riverine. Facts listed at the end of story.


Coastal Riverine Force Qualifications
Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen, this requirement will not be waived.

Physical Standards: Because CRF training and mission requirements are arduous and require members to operate in austere environment, Sailors must not have any physical conditions such as chronic back or shoulder problems, knee problems. And members must have passed their most recent three physical fitness assessments (PFAs). Normal color vision to correctly distinguish running lights and navigational aids. Therefore, color blindness and night blindness are disqualifying medical conditions for CRF duty. This requirement will not be waived.

Swimmer Qualifications: All personnel must be qualified as second class swimmers prior to assignment to CRF.

Security Clearance: All members must currently hold a Secret clearance.

Non-judicial Punishment and Military or Civilian Convictions: Members must not have had any alcohol-related incidents, NJP, or military or civilian convictions, excluding minor traffic violations, within past 12 months.

Driver's License: Members must possess a valid state driver's license; this requirement is non-waiverable.
Infographic for Coastal Riverine Squadron's weapon and boat facts. Facts available at end of story.


Riverine Force Protection
M240B measures 47.5 inches, weighs 27.1 pounds, fires 7.62 rounds at 100 rounds per minute. Effective range of 875 yards and is belt fed.

M500 varies in length, weighs 5.5 pounds, and fires a 12 gauge. It is pump action and has an effective range of 43 yards. Can hold up to 9 rounds.

M9A1 has a 15 round magazine capacity. Weighs 2.5 pounds and uses 9 millimeter rounds. It is single action, has an effective range of 54 yards, and is 8.5 inches long.

The Sea Ark
is 34 feet long and 12 feet wide. It has a double jet drive and can go up to 30 knots.