Military Sealift Command | Keep Serving Your Country – at Sea |
Published in the July/August 2011 issue of print Search & Employ® |
Bruce McKee was meant for a life at sea. After joining the Navy in 1972, the world’s oceans kept calling him back. After working as an EMT in the civilian world, he wasn’t satisfied. He joined the Navy Reserve and then chose to return to active duty, serving all over the world before retiring in 1999.
McKee, now a medical services officer with the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC), said going to work at MSC was the smartest thing he ever did. “I still get to serve my country and work in a job that is very fulfilling and helps my fellow man. Every day is exciting now,” he said.
McKee serves as a ship’s medical officer when onboard one of MSC’s many vessels. Since he is usually the only medical expert on large ships, his duties run the gamut from treating aches and pains to being a lab technician. McKee also maintains a ship’s safety, especially when his ship is sending supplies to a U.S. Navy ship while at sea. “About 90 percent of this job is administrative,” he said. “But I still get that charge from helping people. You get hooked on saving a life; it changes you.”
“I feel like I’ve got the best job,” McKee said. “I get to serve my country doing something I care about, do fairly well financially, receive great benefits, and travel the world. Even the food is good.”
McKee enjoyed his time in the Navy, but likes life at sea as part of MSC much better. “We have a lot fewer meetings,” he said. “Plus, we work shorter days and get paid extra if we do something like have to skip lunch to get something done or work overtime. It’s a lot less stressful. MSC takes very good care of its mariners. On MSC ships, you know that everyone wants to be there.”
“We understand the Navy’s needs,” he said. “We still speak the language and understand what they do on a daily basis. We know about the inherent dangers that go with their jobs and that they are working hard to support their country.”
“I can’t imagine a better place to work,” McKee said. He recommends that service members who are considering careers with MSC get started as early as possible, and get their Merchant Marine Document, which is issued by the U.S. Coast Guard, right away. McKee also suggests that job seekers check the MSC job site all the time and call 877-JOBSMSC to stay up to date on opportunities. “Don’t ever give up,” he said. “The job you want will come.”