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How can my son become an F35B AET?


My son is an AET. He has just completed his leading hands course and will be promoted at month end. From joining the navy it has always been his hope to work on the F35B, hence him becoming an AET in the first place. As a newly promoted AET it would make sense for him to commence training on the F35B but the course doesn't start till January. Because the Navy doesn't want him doing nothing for six months, they are starting him on the Merlin course next week, which he will be committed to for about a year. He lives in Norfolk where the F35B is based. He has a very sick mother also living in Norfolk, and it is all he has ever wanted. It appears that the Navy is doing all it can to make his career as difficult as possible. As the person who recommended he join as an AET so he could work on the, then, upcoming carriers and jets, it is hard to explain why this isn't happening. He has spoken to his DO, who I know is doing everything he can, but even he seems powerless to help. He seems to be on a career path that he can't get off. I respectfully ask if anyone knows of the best way forward to change his career direction?

Many thanks, in advance.

A hopefully helping father,



He could try asking on compassionate grounds, but I would assume his DO had already gone along on this path, however, you say it makes sense that he should be on the F38 path as he is a newly advanced LH, but the Navy still needs AET's to work on helo's, so I am afraid that thought is incorrect, and if the need AET's for the Merlin that's where they will put him, especially in todays Navy, having a L/AET hanging around for 6m, months for a course when he can be put on one earlier does not make financial sense


As a serving Leading Hand he should be well aware of the Divisional and welfare systems within the RN and how to utilise them to assist. As a concerned parent all you can do is offer him your support.


War Hero
Your sons life and career, he has to sort it out or leave. Joining with an idea of I will do X so I can do Y, very really works out well, the RN will utilise his skills where they see fit.


War Hero
As you advised him to join as an AET and as a ex matelot yourself, surely you must have had a notion the navy places folk according to the needs of the navy.
However, I am sure he as a responsible leading hand will know the divisional system, and as such be aware he can ask to be moved closer to a sick relative. I'm not saying he will get it but HE should be pushing for it if that is what he really wishes.
If you don't ask he won't get!!!
Good luck, the system does work - I used it and it worked for me!!


War Hero
My POs course consisted of many of the SAMCOs required for the Sea King helicopter. This was back in 1967/8
I was then drafted back to a Buccaneer circuit. No complaints as I loved Buccaneers. However The Buccaneers had just moved to RAF Honington in Norfolk and I had recently bought a house near Lossiemouth. My wife was pregnant and I had asked for a draft to Lossiemouth any section including front line.
The RN still sent me to Honington.
Time for your son to realise that the navy sends him where they want to not where he wants to go. As someone shortly to be a leading hand he should have realised that long ogo.


Lantern Swinger
Aged 18 (joined at 16 in 1979), and due on my first decent deployment (Windies Guardship), Spring 82, this is what I joined for!
But I was on H.M.S. Plymouth so rather than spend 4 - 5 months W.I. Guardship and plenty of bronzying, I spent it along with many other brothers and sisters of Class of 82, doing what we were primarily paid to do, recapturing the F.I. before coming home in July.
Just over 12 months shore based at Whitehall followed.
Jan 84 - flown to Ascension, and North Sea ferry to Port Stanley for 4 month draft before flying home and one month leave.
June 84 - joined F88 Broadsword, destined for South Atlantic and F.I. Guardship until Dec 84.
I brought this up with CCY, explaining that 82 was fair enough but 2 x deployments to the Falklands in the space of 1 year was a little over the top, to be given the retort, 'life in a blue suit Jack, suck it up', as many will have been told before me and also many since.
Reverted to notice engagement the day I joined Broadsword and submitted 18 months notice by lunchtime.
Left around Sept 85.

Do I regret it, of course I do, and I wouldn't have missed a moment of my 6 years in the mob.

My point is, I wanted to join a lovely marketing brochure pussers grey war canoe, a type 21, 22, 42 or carrier. Instead I was dealt the card with a Rothesay Type 12 - I'd never heard of one at 17 years old, but blimey was I lucky, a great ship to all those that served in her before me and also after me.

Your son should accept the cards dealt to him, if I could turn back the clocks; I would not have submitted my notice back in 84, knowing what I know now.

I hope he stays in, makes the most of, and enjoys the remainder of his naval career.

Good luck to him Ken.



Lantern Swinger
Sorry Ken, forgot to mention, as a fairy, he could always consider becoming a crab, he would then be able to enjoy 5* luxury hotels for the remainder of his career ;)


War Hero
Of the 11 stokers and 2 killicks that joined Fife with me 8 had just completed JICE course at Sultan wanting a draft to one of the cat class frigates or better yet , sweepers.
You say your son is a Killick or passed Killicks course? I would expect to have the piss ripped out of me if my dad went online asking about drafting advice?

He knows how to get a draft to Marham, put in a draft chit or see if somebody will swap!! if not he has another two options, put up with his draft or bang his notice in.

You also mentioned he hasn't spoken to his DO? There is the starter for 10 :)


Lantern Swinger
I used to teach the boiler adqual and got drafted to a gas turbine ship, makes sense to someone


War Hero
Apart from miramar, Diego Garcia was my second preference. As stated, tell him to suck it up and stop being such a fanny.

FFS. Killick as well???
What you making him for scran tonight????


War Hero
I put in for any frigate going to the FES, I got Dolphin, S/M quota :(
well volunteered, better than a pressed man.

all my earlier draft chit said anywhere foreign, got Tribal in Rosyth ? WTF

one of the AB's did the same, forgot about it, was married, then RXed his draft, Hong Kong for 2 years, he had to break it to his misses who had never left Scotland, he says you know you will probably have to leave Scotland when I am drafted, she replies I know England, shortly followed by jaw drop. saw him after he came back, said the hardest thing was returning, his wife had a ball out there, no house work and lots of socialising , back to Scotland and reality.


War Hero
Super Moderator
well volunteered, better than a pressed man.

all my earlier draft chit said anywhere foreign, got Tribal in Rosyth ? WTF

one of the AB's did the same, forgot about it, was married, then RXed his draft, Hong Kong for 2 years, he had to break it to his misses who had never left Scotland, he says you know you will probably have to leave Scotland when I am drafted, she replies I know England, shortly followed by jaw drop. saw him after he came back, said the hardest thing was returning, his wife had a ball out there, no house work and lots of socialising , back to Scotland and reality.
The point is, I didn't volunteer :rolleyes:


War Hero
You two gonna stop trying to get us all feeling sorry for you?
Good grief - its normally hotel this, money that.
And now you are complaining!


didn't say we were complaining, just pointing out, it doesn't matter what you volunteer for or want to do, pusser will send you where needed.


War Hero
As it appears to be 'Dit On'. Here's mine.

Joined 819, (passive ASW Sea King squadron).
Joining routine. Senior Observer, (SOBS), asks me how I found 810 squadron. (810 - ASW training squadron).
I reply glibly, follow the A30, turn left at Redruth!!!!
SOBS, "No! I meant how was the course?"
Me - What course? I left 829 Friday. (Wasps, borne as a missile Aimer and navigator).
SOBS, blood vessels bursting. Your no effing good to me!!!! I need ASW aircrewmen!!
SOBS now phones Drafty.
Drafty, to SOBS. You asked for an aircrewman - I gave you one. You never specified an ASW aircrewman.

I remained at 819 for nearly two years as a non ASW aircrewman on a pinger squadron. (Was dicked to form up 819 SAR flight plus plus for me). No pinger and all the secondary role flying.
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