Choose Your Rate, Choose Your Fate
One Sailor's Struggle With Perform to Serve
Five years ago, while milling about in Billings, Mt., CTI2 Jasmine Loran, with Navy Information Operations Command Texas, wasn't even remotely thinking about joining the military.
But after joining the military, thoughts of pursuing a commission and making a career of the Navy quickly took over. Jasmine was living the dream, until PTS shook her awake.
"About six months ago, everyone in my year group was told that manning was so bad only 15 out of 45 of us would be able to stay Navy, and that PTS would be the deciding factor in all of that," said Loran.
"You spend so much time making that initial decision to do what's right for your country," said Loran. "And then as soon as you get comfortable with your decision, and build your life around the idea that serving your country is your life, the rules are changed."
The first thing she did was look to convert to another CT rating, but they were overmanned for her year group across the board. She looked at YN, but that didn't look much better. She was even denied for the reserves because there was no billet available. Out of time and out of options, Loran has no choice but out.
"The Navy has done nothing but improve my life. I have been able to provide for myself, buy a car, a house, and when it came down to it, provide for my son as well," said Loran. "I have just received my associate's degree by using [tuition assistance], and I have met some of the most amazing people. I joined the service to become more independent and self reliant, and I have."
Loran said the Navy has done a lot to ensure she is set up for success and she credits her chain of command for a lot of that.
"I'm proud of my chain of command," she said. "My local chain has always done whatever they can to make sure Sailors are taken care of. When I was a brand new third class, two chiefs stayed with me when I was hospitalized. Shipmates look after each other here every single day and I love it."
What Loran will miss most about the Navy is the missed opportunities and experience.
"There has not been a single day in my career where I have hated the Navy, from boot camp to now. Because PTS is required for certain orders - and billets are scarce for CTIs anyway - I feel like I missed out on the true Navy experience. I didn't see a deployment and what it is like to work in an all-Navy environment."
And with the newly announced changes to PTS, Loran hopes that more Sailors will be fairly judged on their performance and not just on their year group.
"I don't think I'm a bad Sailor, but PTS makes me feel like I am despite my chain of command consistently telling me I'm doing a great job," said Loran. "I am hopeful that a more local system will help my shipmates who are phenomenal Sailors are who are coming into their reenlistment window soon. If this program had been in place earlier, maybe, I would have stood a much better chance of staying in, or at the very least, had more time and more options."
Loran will be transitioning to the Coast Guard Reserves in the fall so she can go to school. She hopes to eventually come back to the Navy as an officer and continue what she started five years ago.
Loran is hopeful that if she is able to come back to the Navy, a different path will give her a better chance of finishing out that dream.