A little help?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Just Dad, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. Just Dad

    Just Dad Member

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    We are not a Navy family or even a military family for that matter. For my daughter, those 5 years after commission are totally "Undiscovered Country", and 9year commitment looks like forever to a 17 year old. I know some here have service experience following Annapolis. Would you mind sharing a little bit about what those 5 years where like?

    Your favorite assignment:
    Favorite thing about those 5 years:
    Best Memory:
    Best Lesson, best skills acquired .................Etc.:
    Maybe some of the bad too:

    Perhaps someone can direct me to other information resources?

    My daughter is moving rapidly toward decision time. She loves Annapolis, wants to join "The Mids Tribe". She wants to serve, but it would be a huge help to know a little bit more about what those 5 years look like, (whatever comes after 5 is kinda moot, if she stays 10-30yrs she will know exactly what she is getting into).

    BTW: Our extended family is Horrified by her USNA direction, she is getting a lot of static but is holding position well. I'd give a USNA commitment 85%, but I'd sure like to offer more than just my conjecture about what life as an ensign looks like.

    Thanks
     
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  2. dakine

    dakine Member

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    College decisions time is stressful, but no reason to be horrified at this point. She will not have to give her binding commitment ("2 for 7") to serve until the start of her 3rd year at USNA. Lots of opportunities to figure out if service is for her.
     
  3. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    To answer your overall question:
    (1) It will truly depend on the Service and/or community your DD picks...I know it is cliche, but it is true.
    (2) I can only speak for myself and the limited number years of service...but tours are similar to sinusoidal waves...there are "ups" and "downs" when it comes to work, deployments, etc. However, the one thing that continues to be the fuel, no matter where you are along that wave, is the people you work with (and lead). I seemed to learn something new everyday from those I worked with and it is even more rewarding to see the things they accomplish...promotions, awards, innovation, etc.
    (3) I have worked for some really bad (as in their civility) leaders and some outstanding ones. Some of those experiences were very painful (and thankfully, I wasn't the only one to notice...so I know it wasn't something wrong with me...although, I have had my fair share of mistakes), but I have tried to use these as lessons to improve my leadership skills. In some respects, USNA prepared me well for this...plebe year exposes you to good and bad leaders (and the definition of good, doesn't mean that they are easier on you...it means they demanded a lot, but were fair).

    If you truly enjoy working with people and want to make a difference in the lives of others....then I think the 5 years after graduation will end up flying. However, you have to be prepared to work your behind off and sacrifice sometimes. As others have posted, there are other factors that influence staying on longer (i.e. family, other ambitions, etc.).
     
  4. Next Generation

    Next Generation Member

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    BTW: Our extended family is Horrified by her USNA direction, she is getting a lot of static but is holding position well. I'd give a USNA commitment 85%, but I'd sure like to offer more than just my conjecture about what life as an ensign looks like.

    Thanks[/QUOTE]

    Had to laugh! My side of the family has been super supportive of DD's aspirations to serve and attend a SA. My DH's family, on the other hand, is totally against it. Yesterday my mother-in-law called and asked if DD had heard anything. I told her the Navy and Air Force had both turned her down this past week. "Good!" she replied. I said, "Well, she's still waiting to hear from the Coast Guard..." "The Coast Guard?" she said. "Well, she doesn't belong there, either! I'm adding the Coast Guard to my prayer list now!" Seeing that she seems to have a better "in" with God than my DD does right now, I guess I should have kept my mouth shut...
     
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  5. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    What those 5 years look like, on a daily basis.

    Some broad strokes, because the paths split many ways...

    She will service select Navy or Marine.

    If she goes to any school or pipeline training, she lives either in an apartment solo or with others, or in officer dorm at Marine Basic School (TBS). She gets up, puts on uniform, and work for her is her school - duty under instruction. She PTs every day, wears civilian clothes after hours and spends her time learning professional skills needed for her Navy or Marine job. She will have her own time after hours when not in duty or other working status. She will have a social life, a paying job with excellent benefits, and a career path that can take her as far as she wants to dream in her service, or take her much-desired skills to the outside world, where Fortune 500 companies will vie for her - a skilled junior executive ready to slot into their exec development program.

    If she goes right to her operational unit, say, a ship, she will step right into the role of a junior white collar supervisor, running her division, and working on her professional warfare qualifications. She will live off the ship, with enough pay and untaxed allowances to live in a nice place. She will go to work on the ship every day, learning to be a surface warfare officer. When the ship goes to sea, she will go with it, and fall into her rack exhausted after a long operational day - but proud and happy with her division and the way they performed, and because she got to see the Green Flash at sunset from the bridge wing of the destroyer she is learning to drive, and in two days, there is a Hong Kong port call and her parents are flying in to meet her. She will eventually have shore duty, a "normal" military office job, and then, back to sea. She will complete her obligated service and decide to stay or go.

    There will be good bosses and bad, crazy days, sailors/Marines who will make her smack her forehead with their bonehead actions (which make for great sea stories/war stories years into the future, and form the glue for the lifelong bonds of vets), and sailors/Marines who will make her face ache with pride as they manage the impossible, and she realizes the depth of the honor it is to lead them.

    At the house tonight, we had a USNA alumni sponsor daughter, a Marine who left active duty just a few years ago. She got her M.S. in Finance at Georgetown on the Marine dime at night. She immediately found employment at Deloitte as an analyst, via one of the many junior officer placement firms who specialize in putting separating junior officers with the Fortune 500 companies eager to have them. She just got headhunted away from Deloitte by an international financial firm with a major NYC base. They paid to re-locate her, and her mentor is a USNA grad, one of the top executives in the company. She just led a team on a project for two weeks out of the country. She credits USNA, her training as a junior officer to lead, manage, prioritize, analyze, persevere, plan, execute and succeed, all at an age far earlier than most of her peers in age - for her successful transition into an upwardly mobile financial executive track. She will always be a Devil Dawg in her heart.

    I am not sure if the family "horror" at USNA is unfamiliarity with the prestige and honor of bring a well-educated junior officer, a stereotype of the military as uneducated and rigid, or "how will she get a job when she gets out if all she knows how to do is work on a ship" syndrome. Time to punt to the thread, "Your son or daughter goes where?!"

    If I could go back and be a junior officer all over again, I would do it in a heartbeat. I worked hard, I learned to lead, gained confidence and skill, and yes, there were plenty of bad times/bosses/job moments along the way. I also had a blast, saw amazing things in the far corners of the world. Attended the International Hydrographic Conference aboard USNS WILKES, tied up pier side in Monaco (yes, that one), across the pier from Jacques Yves Cousteau, visiting ships from other nations during a two-week period, taking care of all the logistics for daily visit ship periods, receptions, as well as the unglamorous stuff like fuel, garbage and port issues. Well. That was a good one, as temp assignments for a junior officer went.

    If you want to have a fun exercise, and if you are on LinkedIn, do this:
    - log in from computer, not phone
    - in advanced search, put "Naval Academy" (or any SA) into School, then pick a big company of your choice, say, General Dynamics, and put in Company. Or, USAA, Navy Federal Credit Union, Deloitte, Booz Allen Hamilton, Boeing, Michelin...
    - Search. You should see all USNA grads at that company who have a LI profile. I am confident you will see them in executive positions.

    I hope this gives some context. Your DD is wise to wonder about what happens after USNA. The good thing is she will get briefs on all kinds of things, talk to senior enlisted, junior and senior officers about their experiences and roles, and use summer training to get up close tastes of what awaits. She will have two full years, and she can walk away, with respectable academic credits in hand, if it's not for her.

    If she stays for her service obligation and the required time to get the max benefit, she also walks away with the Post 9/11 GI Bill educational benefits, plus federal VA benefits (no down payment VA mortgage, etc.) and her resident state VA benefits.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2016
  6. pknguyen44

    pknguyen44 USNA '13, NAPS '09

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    Hasn't been 5 years yet, but here's my two cents since graduating in 2013:

    Your favorite assignment: Living in Hawaii on the Navy's dime and flying Navy planes

    Favorite thing: The camaraderie with those in my squadron (Officer and Enlisted) and USNA grads that I've come in contact with. We can't help but talk about our time there, it's almost natural instinct. Most rewarding is seeing the Enlisted succeed and those who willingly come to you and consider you a mentor.

    Best Memory: I'll get back to you, deploying this week so I should have some memorable moments

    Best Lesson, best skills acquired .................Etc.: Time management, it's very different from USNA. At school, you're told what when where and why. In the fleet, you have to find the perfect balance between work and your social life in order to continue to do your job well. If not, it WILL slowly eat you away.

    Maybe some of the bad too: Being away from my family. I'm about to go on my first deployment and am in awe of how some of the guys and gals in the squadron do it with wives/husbands and kids. Sometimes, there are things you don't want to do and there will be times where you'll have to pick up the slack for some other people which creates longer hours and takes attention away from your assigned duties.

    The friendships formed at USNA are second to none. My closest friends were made there and even though we're miles away from each other, we always seem to pick up where we left off when we meet again. It is a unique fraternity, something very special to be apart of.
     
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  7. Just Dad

    Just Dad Member

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    Just want to thank you folks for the input, I will put it to good use. I am guessing that there are others on this board who will find your inputs helpful.

    dakine:
    We visited the USCGA on a trip back East. Liked the place a lot, but I loved those kids! I spent 2hrs talking with a group of about 15 of them; I left hugely impressed. My daughter opted for USNA, but on the strength of that visit, USCGA figured in her thinking up to the point of making application. I hope your daughter gets and offer there; please post over here if she does!

    As for Horrified relations: Aunts and Uncles are "Cusp Baby Boomers" Immediately post Viet Nam adults. Of 5, Three are college professors 1) One degreed in "Radical Communist Feminism" 2) One Famous for "ground breaking writing" in advancement of Socialism in the book 'Empire' 3) One at UCON teaching law (LGBT). If I could have thought of a stronger word than "horrified" I would have used it. The others are Microsoft-ies. who live in the "wanna be San Francisco" of Seattle. Every one thinks my kid is crazy! including her teachers. Kinda sad, but DD is doing fine, (by the way I am a long way into this process to ask but DD, DS = distinguished daughter?? or ??

    Capt, USNABGO 8, Pkyuen: Thank you for taking the time. My daughter knew about 2-7 letters, (still appreciate it dakine). She, (and her mother and I), figure that once she's in, she won't exit unless its a really radical mis-match. Your inputs are exactly what I was looking for. Our B&G officer wasn't a lot of help in this area ----we've had very little contact with our B&G. So thanks, I will pass on your inputs.
     
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  8. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    An important element I didn't include in my lengthy post geared toward any horror related to employability, was something touched on by others: lifelong friendships formed at commissioning source, duty stations, at the gym and as neighbors in military housing. Shared experience, shared values, shared laughter and tears - my closest friendships today are the ones I formed with fellow JOs.
    True, too, how time and distance don't matter, and you pick up where you left off.

    For family and friends in the horror of military service camp, declare it will be your DD's honor and privilege to defend their right to free speech and the principles, rights and freedoms we know as Americans. Cue Jack Nicholson as Colonel Jessep in "A Few Good Men," in his testimony. For good measure, talk about how you are so glad that diversity of thought is such a good thing to support.


    Edit: Go here for acronyms.
    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/The-Acronym-List.11568/
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2016
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  9. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Regarding family members... its her life to live, they can be as horrified as they want. If this is what she wants, go for it.

    Favorite assignment/Favorite Thing- The time overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan and other lovely locations. Leading Marines, Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors in combat zones was the greatest privilege I have ever had. I led platoons, sections, detachments in each role and loved it. It was not easy. The bad days were bad. It was mission planning, prep work, taking care of the Marines which includes alot of paperwork, ensuring equipment was ready, etc.

    Junior officer life honestly can look different depending on warfare specialty. A pilot could be in flight school for 2-4 years in some cases. A SWO will go straight to a ship and begin to get qualified while leading a Division. Subs will go to Nuke school for about 2 years then report to a sub, never see sunlight, and work on getting qualified and lead a Division.

    Best Memory - My friends. Still to this day we can go without seeing one another for years and when we do its like a day hasn't gone by. We will drop whatever we are doing to help one another without a question asked. Mids are a tribe and so are the alumni. We are fiercely protective of one another. We are like siblings, you can pick on one another, but the minute some else does... there will be problems. I can't tell you how many times I have run into another grad and been offered jobs. One of the great ones.... Many years ago I was TAD. My car had gotten towed with my check book in it. My ATM card had expired and the new one hadn't arrived yet. The tow place would only take cash and it was a Sunday. I went to the grocery store and was buying a pack of gum and getting the max $20 back until I could get to $75 in cash. A guy with a USNA T-shirt walked up behind me (I knew the shirt as its one I had from a USNA club) and I of course had a Navy hoops shirt on. He finally asked if I was ok. I told him my story, he walked to the ATM got me the money, and drove me to my car. He waited until I got my car completely out of the lot and then we had lunch. I mailed him the money back when I got my ATM card and threw in a thank you gift card. That is why USNA is great.

    Best Skills Acquired - Time management, work ethic and work capacity. To this day I can still accomplish more in one day than any one else on the team. USNA and the USMC taught me how to prioritize work and tackle it a huge amount of it at once.

    The Bad - Its a tough life, long deployments, moving, career timing with marriages and children (I say this as a fellow woman as your DD looks at the service and these are factors). I served during some very tough years in Iraq and Afghanistan. I went to 25 funerals before the age of 30 (and only 1 person was above 40). I buried a best friend and an ex-boyfriend. I have told 2 families their kid/husband wasn't coming home. I have watched on TV a good friend get shot down and killed. I have seen more horrible things with my own eyes. I don't sugar coat these experiences for any kids, because they need to know its more than a college experience at the end of those 4 years.
     
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  10. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Thank you, Hoops, just, thank you, sister vet. Things beautiful and terrible all in the same life, and we wouldn't choose otherwise if a do-over was offered.
     
  11. JaxNavymom

    JaxNavymom Member

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    We are a Navy family and have been for going on 19 years. My husband swore he would get out as soon as his commitment was up then 9/11 happened. It's a rollercoaster ride without a doubt! He/we have a lot of USNA female friends who served or are still serving. If she would like to communicate with another female mid I'm sure his friends would be more than happy. His recommendation is look into what she wants to do in the Navy. There is a lot of differences between aviation and submariners. It is the benefit of the Navy that there is a lot of choice but during those tough days its good to be able to focus on what she is striving for. Personally I had a cousin join the Navy and his immediate family was so against it he was allowed to be discharged before he started training after bootcamp. It was too hard on him and I am still bitter at those family members for doing that. Best of luck to your daughter and family!
     
  12. ChuckUSNAdad

    ChuckUSNAdad Member

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    Not at 5 years, have not even hit 2 for 7 yet. My encouragement ( and free plug) is that the mid parent clubs can be super helpful through the transition for a non-military family. It does not take long before one starts wearing navy apparel and decorating with anchors. Whether they go corps or fleet, you get surrounded by a new extended family who are there to support you. You mid is our mid, our mid is your mid.
     
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  13. ktnatalk

    ktnatalk Sailor. Shipmate. Parent.

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    Thank you for your service, Hoops, CAPT, pknguyen and JaxNavymom's husband!

    Just Dad, I suggest encouraging your DD to look at all options and then decide. She would appreciate your support for whatever decision she makes. Coast Guard and Navy do have different missions, and one is much bigger and has more diverse opportunities. The saying "join the navy and see the world" still holds truth for the most part.

    Good luck to your DD!
     
  14. nodiva

    nodiva Member

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    This thread just might be my favorite thread ever on this forum. I have cut and pasted the responses and will forward to DD. It's one thing to go to a CVW or NASS, fall in love with USNA and Annapolis (all EASY TO DO), but it's another thing to understand the day in day out commitment one is making. It's all above eloquently stated--the good, the bad and the ugly!

    Thank you to all who are posting stories of your lives in the US Navy beyond the Yard and Mother B.
     
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  15. Brawny77

    Brawny77 Member

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    When we toured USAFA two weeks ago, we were briefed by two new grads who had just completed the academy and one of them said something that made me think about the 5 year thing differently. She said "I am guaranteed employment at a good pay rate and fantastic benefits for at least 5 years." She also told us one of her friends had graduated from a civilian engineering school in May and was still looking for a job. She told us she was debt free and had money in her pocket to go to concerts... and was excited about her future. That really put a different slant on the 5 year commitment thing for me. Just sayin
     
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  16. Row2020

    Row2020 Member

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    I asked my DS at least 100 times if not 1000 why the desire to serve. I had no clue from whence it came. One day last summer he summed it up in terms that I could understand. "I want to go to school and work with people whom not only have the same work ethic as me but also value integrity as much as I do. Name another organization where I can get the best of both worlds?" I get it....now.
     
  17. Just Dad

    Just Dad Member

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    I don't want to keep bumping my own topic thread, but I have to offer my sincere thanks to those who have responded my inquiry.

    You've provided exactly what I needed. The fact that you'd take the time to respond so directly and honestly to my inquiry speaks well of this community of USN leaders that my daughter wants to join. Your posts have help to fill in a blank spot in her understanding of the USNA opportunity that she has been presented with.

    THANK YOU!: (and so I don't find myself doing this again, my thanks to anyone who responds subsequent to this note).

    PS: Just to be clear, my daughter had opportunities at USAFA, USCGA, and USNA. She down selected to USNA before she submitted her application. She has an appointment to the USNA, thats it.
     

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