After Graduating Can Son Join Any Military and Be an Officer

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by coloradomom, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. coloradomom

    coloradomom Member

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    I was just wondering, after graduating from the USMMA could my son join any military branch he wanted? Also, would he be guaranteed to be an officer in active duty? Thank you.
     
  2. beyond

    beyond KπΣ15'

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    Nothing ever is 100% certain. However KP grads every year do enter every branch as officers. Nothing can be promised as far as going active duty goes. However, as far as I know everyone that graduates from KP that wants to go active duty, can go active duty.
     
  3. KPMarineopsdad

    KPMarineopsdad Member

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    They can also commission into the officer corps of NOAA. Almost all of the branches provide for direct commissioning upon graduation. It looks a little strange seeing all of those different uniforms at commencement.
     
  4. coloradomom

    coloradomom Member

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    In the USMMA catalog under service obligation it says graduates can be a commissioned officer on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces or NOAA but then it says apply for and accept, if tendered, an appt. as a commissioned officer in the reserves of the U.S. Armed forces for 8 years.

    So, I'm wondering, would my son have to be in the reserves first? He'd prefer to go active duty in one of the Armed Forces.

    Do more kids from USMMA want to go active duty after graduation or reserves? Thanks.
     
  5. KP2010

    KP2010 Member

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    Your son or daughter has the opportunity to go active duty in any branch of the military (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force or Coast Guard). Basically if you put in for active duty you can get it. However there is a chance you will get the dreaded "subject to the needs of the (enter branch here)". The reason why they say you have to accept a commission if tendered one because some people (in rare circumstances) can be medically or disciplinary (DUI) rejected from the officer corp which in that case they just serve in the maritime community with no military obligation I believe. Like everything if you work hard you can get it.
     
  6. F18

    F18 New Member

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    Does that mean that one might be "drafted" into the Army if that was the need at the time - even though he/she wants Navy or Marines?
     
  7. KP2010

    KP2010 Member

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    No. I don't believe there is any way you could be drafted into the Army. If a need arose more than likely you would be put on Merchant Ships since that is the primary mission of the academy, to produce Merchant Marine Officers, possibly Navy ships as well.
     
  8. KPMum2012

    KPMum2012 Parent

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    It's an either-or proposition. Those that do not go active duty are required to accept an appointment in the reserves in addition to working in the maritime industry. Most choose Navy. I think about 30 percent of last year's graduates went active duty. If your son wants to go active duty, he will most likely have no problem doing so.

    Needs of the military means that when you commission into the Army, for example, you may want to be in the military intelligence branch, but the Army may really need infantry officers. In that case, if you want to go active duty Army, you may have to accept a infantry slot. But the Marines won't step in and cancel your Army commission to make you be a Marine.
     
  9. coloradomom

    coloradomom Member

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    Okay, thanks now I understand. I was getting a little worried that my son could only be in the reserves and I know he wouldn't like that. He would like to be a Navy Seal, SWCC or something like that.

    Of course, I think being a Merchant Marine officer would be good, maybe he'll
    like that too once he's there for a while and learns it all. First, he's gotta get accepted though. We're still waiting. He got the nomination but just waiting for the FEDEX truck to deliver his appointment. LOL!:smile:
     
  10. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    coloradomom: As a taxpayer, alumnus and proud parent of the USMMA Class of 2012 let first congratulate you and your son on obtaining his nomination and wish you well in his attendance at the U.S.Merchant Marine Academy.

    It is indeed a fine institution, of course in your son's case, as with many cases of young men and women who seem to be coming to Kings Point these days I, as an alumnus, am disappointed they are not doing so with a primary goal of attending to graduate and pursue careers in the Maritime Industry - the primary purpose for having a Merchant Marine Academy and not fund larger classes at the other Service Academies and/or more funding for ROTC programs. Of course who knows maybe he "won't like it" and then who knows he could leave and pursue something else, or maybe during his sea year he'll see the light, change his mind and go on to become one of our future Maritime Industry leaders.
     
  11. KPMarineopsdad

    KPMarineopsdad Member

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    It is surprising to see how the objectives and goals of these candidates/midshipmen change as they are exposed to more experiences. Some go determined to go on active duty and change their minds. Others are determined to sail and end up on active duty. Keep an open mind, realize that sea year is an awesome experience that no other Academy can provide and be thankful that KP can offer these kids such an amazing number of options.
     
  12. coloradomom

    coloradomom Member

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    I agree KPMarineopsdad. Jasperdog - How does a 17 year old know what he's going to do, I was just asking a question.
     
  13. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Don't take this stance personally. There are some alumni (not sure if it is a majority or not) who are very much against the recent trend of many midshipmen graduating and going on active duty in the service. There are any number of reasons why they feel this way, but some of it has to do with the history of the school and it's stated mission.

    Again, don't take it personally, but it is an important aspect to consider and an ideal that many alumni have.
     
  14. coloradomom

    coloradomom Member

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    Thanks KP2001 - It says right in the USMMA catalog that the kids have a service obligation after graduation, so it was a reasonable question.

    I appreciate your post.:smile:
     
  15. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    Oh well ...

    So first let me say as KP2001 indicated, I did not intend you to take the stance personally nor do i believe I directed it so.

    As for "How does a 17 year old know what he's going to do." That's an interesting question. Ironically, in the case of many who come to USMMA with the intention of going active duty and who do not approach the "Options and Opportunities" is has to offer with an open mind, had they gotten into their "first choice" which if it wasn't USMMA would likely have been one of the other Service Academies - that's exactly what they would have been required to do.

    I could gladly give you a ton of statistics here as well as "anecdotal" relevant, and factual information to explain why I and many other alumni have grave concerns about the increased number of recent graduates going active duty vice pursuing careers in the maritime industry immediately upon graduation - basically over the past 10-15 years the number has increased from an average of about 15% to 25+% and last year was almost 33% - but right now that's obviously what you want to hear. Additionally, regardless of what I or any other individual feels; either active duty in any of the services (you might be surprised to learn for example, there's a sub-group of alumni for example, some of whom are Active Duty Navy and Coast Guard, who feel that having non-Maritime Services and options i.e. Army, and Air Force so openly available isn't a good thing) are as an acceptable way to satisfy your service obligation, as sailing on your merchant marine license.

    I will only say this, every year I talk to many, many young men and woman about coming to the USMMA, and in all cases whatever they decide is fine by me - that said I do suggest that they approach all the opportunities available to them upon graduation with an open mind, and I indicate that if they feel very strongly that what they are looking for is a career on active duty, there are likely other avenues for them to pursue, especially if what they are looking for is a career in one of the services other than Surface Navy, that may serve them better. There are numerous threads here on this forum that you can look over to see a) I'm not unique in my opinion, and b) there are numerous reasons why some who share that opinion have it.

    On the subject of why I said what I said as an alumnus and what KP2001 alluded to I will only say my opinion and growing concern is rooted in one thing and one thing alone. Continued and increased funding of the USMMA by Congress. During this past fall's budget hearings, there were more questions than ever as to what unique mission the USMMA was serving when so many graduates went active duty upon graduation in 2010.

    Again in closing my thoughts on this subject, I apologize if in any way you felt I was raining on your parade. Congratulations to your family and as has been said earlier - your son - assuming he gets a full appointment, completes the full four year program, and passes the Pre-Commissioning physical, basically be able to join any of the armed services as a commissioned officer.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  16. coloradomom

    coloradomom Member

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    Jasperdog - Thanks for the apology.

    Actually USMMA is his first choice. I was inquiring because I was confused what kind of service obligation he'd have. I'm not military so I don't understand the lingo and came to this site to get some questions answered. Not to upset anyone.:wink:
     
  17. KPMarineopsdad

    KPMarineopsdad Member

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    Nobody is upset. I think you will find this site to be a great resource. Come here often to have questions answered, make observations or "vent" a little:smile: As former alumni Jasperdog and KP2001 are great sources of information I'm sure you will find them to be most helpful.
     
  18. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    coloradomom,

    Trust me I am absolutely not upset - that job and the ability to do so seems to be something that a certain USMMA second classman, and occasionally his mother have. Of course my second job is often doing the same to them.

    Chances are if USMMA is your son's first choice, it's because he understands to a large degree the choices he'll have upon graduation, and he'll want to explore many of them. In the end as KPMarineOpsDad indicates and you allude at 17 how can they really understand what they want to do - at least most of them. If he approaches the whole four years with a reasonably open mind, and isn't unduly influenced by others he'll have ample opportunity to figure it out across a wide range of options.

    As to the service obligation there's a lot of details but the basic choice is a) Maritime Industry/Qualifying Employment for 8 years which includes maintaining your Merchant Marine License and additionally meeting you basic commitment as an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve Individual ReadyReserve Merchant Marine program (that's not the current acronym and my son would correct with the new/proper name & acronym if he were here) or b) going active duty as an officer in the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, the NOAA Corps - hopefully I didn't miss any of the options there but if I did, trust me folks will chime in, as you've already seen, not many of us in the USMMA community are bashful, the basic obligation can then be satisfied in 5 years, of course that doesn't include additional/extensions to your obligations should your son want to fly and get selected, etc.

    Good luck on the journey
     
  19. USMMECOM

    USMMECOM Member

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    Jasperdog,

    Don't be too discouraged by the young man's desire to serve as a SEAL rather than as a Chief Engineer. I'm sure you recall the various reasons your classmates decided to sign up way back when you reported.

    My Plebe year was not long after the movie TOP GUN came out and almost every single candidate wanted to be Maverick... I can't think of a single classmate who wanted to sail in the industry when we were in Indoc. In the end - after four years of training, education and exposure to the Maritime Industry - we ended up right about where every graduating class ends up statistically according the "law of thirds".

    - about 1/3 of the class went to sea on merchant ships, tugs, rigs, etc,
    - about 1/3 of the class went into the maritime industry ashore - maritime insurance, brokerage, law, logistics, engineering, etc; and
    - about 1/3 of the class went into the military...

    Our would-be TOP GUN class didn't even fill our pilot/naval flight officer quota.

    Until we have a remake of "Action in the North Atlantic" (perhaps the greatest movie ever), the Academy has to find candidates who know very little about how the world works from a logistics perspective and even less about the Merchant Marine... KP will open their eyes and most will chose to serve in the industry over the military.

    The goal is to find outstanding young men and women with the right attitude and aptitude for public service - and accepting young Americans who want to service in the military is the same demographic that has served the merchant marine so well.

    The issue for Coloradomom is in determining how serious her son is about becoming a SEAL… I agree that while becoming a SEAL from KP is possible, achieving that end is extremely remote, and perhaps more difficult than from another source like USNA, NROTC or OCS. If he is going to be heartbroken if things don’t pan out along the path to Special Warfare, perhaps he should look to another commissioning source or enlist. Quitting KP after a year because the prospect of becoming a snake-eater looks dim, robs the taxpayer of a graduate and robs an alternate candidate of a shot at service. If on the other hand he wants to be SEAL , but his mind is open to other avenues of service, KP offers more options and freedom to choose than any other Academy by far.

    What I often find discouraging is that most of the questions and conversations in this forum are lead by parents rather than future-midshipmen. I want to be careful here… There is absolutely nothing wrong with the parents looking out for their children or contributing in this forum - the debate and discussion here is wonderful… but where are the potential candidates and why is there so little in the way of their curiosity in asking questions here for themselves???

    Just a thought...

    USMMECOM
     
  20. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    I can tell you that this alumni doesn't much care what career paths graduating midshipman choose to take. Everyone has their own paths to take and even my own journey through KP took many twists and turns from what I fully intended. I think where many alumni have issue is when the school itself starts to become "Annapolis lite" if you will. I can recall some of my classmates who knew nothing about the maritime industry and only came to KP because they couldn't get into another service academy. Some even said they never heard of KP until their Congressman suggested it since said Congressman had nominations left unused.

    As to the original post about becoming a SEAL from KP. From what I recall of a couple classmates who wanted to become SEALs, a fellow KPer who didn't graduate but is now a SEAL and an Annapolis grad who also pursued Special Warfare the likelihood is EXTREMELY remote. Probably the most efficient path to becoming a SEAL Officer would be to enlist now, become a SEAL and pursue Commissioning later. The pertinent question seems to me, "Would you rather be an Enlisted Seal, or a Surface Warfare Officer?".
     

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