Videos: Today's Military

Bristol Hartlich: My name is Bristol Hartlich. I'm a lieutenant in the United States Navy, and I went through the NUPOC program.

Joel Winbigler: NUPOC stands for Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program. When you sign up for NUPOC, you are committed to five years of commissioned service. So you'll go to Officer Candidate School for 12 weeks and then commission as an ensign after you graduate.

Michael Koch: Essentially the Navy's making an investment in you. They're saying, "You know what? We see in you the ability to become one of us."

Joel Winbigler: I was into computers, things like that. I got my degree in computer engineering.

Bristol Hartlich: Growing up, math was it for me, so, yeah. Physics is pretty interesting. Nuclear engineering just sounds neat, and I wanted to learn more about it.

Michael Koch: In the NUPOC program, from the day you sign up, you're an active member of the United States Armed Forces.

Bristol Hartlich: That's probably the biggest benefit of the NUPOC program is being active-duty, full-time active-duty, E-6 first class petty officer.

Joel Winbigler: The financial benefit is huge. They pay you as an E-6 the whole time you're in college, from the time you sign up and get accepted. E-6 pay is pretty good. At this point, it's probably around $50,000 to $55,000 a year. They gave me a $10,000 signing bonus. I believe that's actually gone up since then. I would really recommend it because you can invest a lot of money and get a really good head start on your future.

Michael Koch: The thing that really stood out to me with the NUPOC program was the benefits that I got while I was in college; just the pay that I got while I was in school was definitely a large incentive.

Peter Koziel: You accrue leave, which is, you know, definitely a coveted thing in the Military. In the NUPOC program, you're accruing leave, which is gonna be 30 days a year.

Bristol Hartlich: When I first checked onto my first ship, they said, "Would you want to take holiday leave?" And I said, "Of course." And they said, "How many days do you have?" And I had 60 days already set up.

Joel Winbigler: My opinion, the ideal NUPOC candidate is someone who's driven to work hard, driven to succeed at everything he does. There's really a whole range of people in the NUPOC program, and they all belong here. In fact, the diversity of it is something I really like about it.

Bristol Hartlich: I'd never considered joining the Military or the Military as an option until I'd heard about the NUPOC program and learning about nuclear engineering.

Joel Winbigler: The Navy has given me a great opportunity to be a leader, to get some real-world experience, and it's given me a great opportunity to get a job after I get out, too.

Bristol Hartlich: Having these experiences kind of set me a bit apart and set me up for future success.

Joel Winbigler: The NUPOC program is something that makes me proud to be part of the Military.

Bristol Hartlich: My name is Bristol Hartlich.

Michael Koch: Lt. j.g. Michael Koch.

Joel Winbigler: My name is Joel Winbigler. A lieutenant junior grade, United States Navy. I'm a nuclear submarine officer.