Diving into new waters: Noah Haig HM ’22 to embark on Navy nuclear submarine training

A headshot of a white male in a blue button down shirt
Noah Haig HM ’22 will be the first Mudder to enter the Navy’s nuclear propulsion submarine officer candidate program. (Courtesy: Noah Haig)

With graduation just around the corner, seniors are gearing up for new journeys that await them. Some are headed to graduate school, some are still looking for jobs. But one senior is headed for an non-traditional yet unique experience: he’ll be working on a submarine.  

Noah Haig HM ’22 is set to embark on a five-year program as a nuclear propulsion submarine officer candidate with the U.S. Navy, becoming the first student at Harvey Mudd College to enter the program.

The job of a nuclear propulsion officer candidate entails training to become an officer on nuclear-powered equipment, such as submarines or aircraft carriers, an engineer designing nuclear reactors or an instructor.

Haig, a physics and math major, was initially contacted by a Navy recruiter on Handshake more than a year ago, who reached out to him about the program, providing links and additional information. 

When Haig contacted Career Services at Harvey Mudd, he found that no alumni had gone through the program, meaning he would be venturing into new territory. After doing his own research and seeking some independent advice, Haig accepted the offer last summer. 

After graduation, Haig will be headed to the Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island for 12 weeks, where he will undergo physical and mental training.

Upon completing that program, Haig will be commissioned to the U.S. Navy as an officer for six months at the Nuclear Power School in Charleston, South Carolina. 

In these six months, Haig will be subject to the self-proclaimed most academically demanding program in the U.S. military, focused on technical science and engineering fundamentals. The program consists of 40-45 hours weekly in class, with an additional 10-35 hours per week outside lecture. 

Following that, Haig will spend 26 weeks with hands-on training in Charleston at the Nuclear Prototype School, learning how to operate the nuclear reactor.

In the last stage of his training, he will spend two more months at submarine school in Groton, Connecticut for submarine operation training.

The program will culminate in Haig going to one of seven submarine bases in the U.S. for a remaining three and a half years of service, leading a division and porting around the world. 

“I’m excited. I think it’s gonna be super fun,” Haig said. “These submarines port all around the world for short stays. I’m excited to be in on a secret [since they’re] very tightlipped about what the submarines do and … I think physically [submarines] are cool.”

Despite the uncommon nature of such an experience straight out of college, Haig is excited about the work.

“Just out of college, [I’ll] really be able to lead people [and] actually be in charge of a division of eight to ten people on the submarine,” he said. “I’m super excited about that aspect of it.”  

As for his future after the program, Haig said his plans are still flexible, depending on what his interests may be in five years, whether that be graduate school, defense contracting, an MBA program or continuing in the Navy.

Regardless, he is hoping to build leadership skills as well as technical skills.

“I think [these skills] will have some career utility depending on what direction I take it,” Haig said. “And then, [I hope to] just have a cool experience.”

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