ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- A Naval Station Rota David G. Farragut High School graduate enlisted in the U.S. Navy Aug. 26, but not by the usual means.
Alexander Serrano-St. Germain, 19, enlisted entirely on base, without involving a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). Such an enlistment is unusual, but not impossible.
"This is something that doesn't happen in the fleet," said Navy Counselor 1st Class John Hughes, Naval Station Rota command career counselor.
"It's always the recruiters bringing in the recruits. This is a very unique situation because these are active-duty members bringing people in, not recruiters. This is only the second time I've seen this happen in my career," he said.
Despite the rarity of the situation, it wasn't that difficult to pull off, according to Hughes.
"We worked hand-in-hand with the recruiter up in London," Hughes said. "Instead of sending the potential recruit up to London to sit down with the recruiter and get processed through there, we worked with him here [via telephone and email]."
"We utilized all the different offices on base," Hughes said. "We have a full medical facility, so [potential recruits] can get all their medical portion done here. We have a full legal service system here, so they can get background checks and all the legal side of the house done here. We use Security for fingerprinting, the Personnel Support Detachment (PSD) to do the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), and the Navy College for anyone that wants to come in as an officer for the officer aptitude test.
"Once we get all these documents together, we scan or fax them up to the recruiter, who communicates with a recruiter in Maine that we have, getting [our recruit] into his class," Hughes said.
As soon as the career counselors here receive the "okay" from the recruiter, it's vital to get the recruit sworn in as soon as possible, according to Hughes. "When it happens, it has to happen right away, because that locks in the school we have them penciled in for," he said. "That's why it had to happen Friday - if not, he would have lost the school and the program he was being guaranteed."
Despite the rush, St. Germain was glad to swear in. "I just decided this was something I wanted to do with my life," he said. "I'm really excited to finally do something productive with my life. I'm looking forward to it."
Annabelle St. Germain, St. Germain's mother and a retired Navy journalist, said she felt confident about her son joining the Navy. "I think he'll have a good future and [the Navy] will help him become self-reliant. There are positive aspects of the Navy that I think everybody can benefit from."
St. Germain's next step is into the Delayed Entry Program (DEP), in which he will remain until his ship date.
"The program is a training tool for the recruits to prepare them for the transition - boot camp - from civilian life to that of a Sailor," said Chief Machinist's Mate (SW) William Barnes, one of the DEP leaders. "Even though these recruits are from a community such as Rota, where they are somewhat familiar with the lifestyles of a Sailor, there are those things which they need to learn to decrease the stress and increase their chances of successfully completing recruit training."
St. Germain signed into the Navy with a slot in the Interior Communications Electrician (IC) "A" School in the advanced technical field. "I've always had a fascination with electronics and tinkering with different things," he said. "It comes second nature to me.
"He'll do well," said St. Germain's mother. "He's a smart guy, and the field he's chosen will benefit him the most in the long run - not just being in the Navy, but as a civilian too."
St. Germain is scheduled to ship out to Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes, Ill., in April 2006.
For related news, visit the Naval Station Rota, Spain Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/rota/.