Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Completing the Nuclear Pipeline

Officially a Nuclear Mechanical Operator, MMN3

The Naval Nuclear Power Program (aka Nuclear Pipeline) consists of three training periods – In-Rate “A” School, Power School, and Prototype Training, and typically takes about 2 years for a Sailor to complete.  It’s the most academically challenging enlisted program in the Armed Forces, and requires an incredible amount of hard work, determination, and perseverance to complete.

Last Friday, about 3 weeks after completing the requirements for qualification in the program, Nicolas graduated from Prototype Training, officially becoming a Qualified Nuclear Mechanical Operator, MMN3.

We were thrilled to be able to attend this final graduation ceremony, held at the Patriots Point Naval Museum in Charleston, SC.

Families arriving for Prototype graduation

It was a chilly morning in Charleston, as the families made their way onto the WW2 Aircraft Carrier, Yorktown.

The graduating class took their seats in the back of the room,

I spotted Nicolas while we were waiting

as we waited for the Official Party to arrive – the Captain, The Command Master Chief, and the civilian Technical Advisor.

Official Party

National Anthem


The ceremony began with one of the National Anthem sung by one of the graduates, followed by the Command Master Chief’s and Captain’s comments to the graduates.

Captain Lott

Command Master Chief Comments

Nicolas ended up being 1st in line


I thought Nicolas might be towards the beginning of the group since he was on Alpha crew, but the Navy typically does things in alphabetical order, so we were a little confused when Nicolas showed up first at the side of the stage.

He said he was confused, too!





We soon understood why he was there when the XO explained that one student from each crew was selected to receive the Personal Excellence Award for their demonstration of integrity and professionalism throughout their training. 

Nicolas was the recipient for Alpha crew, and we were so proud of him!

Receiving his Personal Excellence Award

Congratulations Nicolas!


One of Nicolas’ good friends was another recipient.

Petty Officer Smith receiving a Personal Excellence Award, as well


Following the presentation of the awards, each graduate received their certificate.  I tried to catch pictures of some of Nick’s friends.

Petty Officer Coleman























It was a quick ceremony – only about an hour – and we spent just a little bit of time taking pictures of Nicolas and some of his friends before they said their good-byes.

Nicolas and his shipmates

Gimmarro and Smith with their Chief

Nicolas and more friends

The majority of the graduates were leaving Charleston to take their assigned places in the fleet, but Nicolas will return to Charleston after Christmas leave to begin his next training session – Engineering Laboratory Technician (ELT), which is a specialty within the Nuclear Machinist Mate rate.




It was a wonderful graduation ceremony, and we are so proud of all that Nicolas has accomplished in his first two years in the Navy. 


This was not an easy program for him, but he rose to the challenge and gave it everything he had, always keeping a positive attitude for himself and his shipmates.  This is just the first step in a long and successful career for him!



  1. Well, we knew he was a "Class Act" and the Navy is so fortunate to have him. What a great accomplishment!!!

  2. Nicolas truly proved that he is very serious at whatever challenge he faces and will always do his best. Congratulations Nicolas and we are sure that you will once again make all that support you proud in your future endeavors.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  3. That is a fine achievement. Opportunities are always about what you make of them. Looks as he has a good start. You have to be one proud family during this Christmas season.


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