Cadets - In the Army or College?

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by Just_A_Mom, Feb 24, 2009.

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  1. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    This topic has arisen on another thread so I thought I would address it here - from the "West Point" point of view.

    It is true that cadets and midshipmen at USMA, USNA, USAFA and USCGA are Active Duty Military.
    What exactly does this mean?

    Speaking from the "West Point" perspective (I can't speak for the attitudes at the other academies) - all Cadets are Active Duty Army, with the rank of Cadet and the first Duty station is West Point.

    If you are a parent whose child has an appointment or a Cadet Candidate - keep saying this to yourself, it will make "I wonder why...." a lot easier.

    Parents - if you go to R-Day, you will be welcomed into the Army Family and it will be stressed over and over that your child is in the Army. You will soon learn the difference between "Walking Privileges", "OPP's", "Pass" and "Leave". You will discover that your child must sign in and out and the Army will tell them when they have leave and when they don't have leave. You will learn (hopefully not firsthand) that leave can be revoked and a pass may not be issued even if your child has a plane ticket.
    Welcome to the Army Family.
    On A-Day ask to see your son/daughter's military ID - When you read "Geneva convention" it may give you the chills.
    Your son/daughter is no longer "yours". He/she is a independent adult now (haha), with a job and a paycheck.
    You will learn quickly that your child is not a college student on a college campus but an Army Soldier stationed to an Army Post.

    Cadet Candidates and those seeking appointments - On R-Day when you take the Oath, you will be a soldier IN the Army, Active Duty. You will NOT be "considered" to be Active Duty, you WILL be Active Duty. Your first post is West Point and your first job is Cadet Basic Training. Your second job is to attend class, athletics and perform your duties in your company. You will have two Chains of Command - the Army (Legal) Chain of Command and the Cadet chain of Command. You are bound to the UCMJ.
    You have all the rights and responsibilities of being an Active Duty soldier. You will have access to complete health care including eye and dental. There is a cadet clinic and a hospital on post. You will earn a paycheck and your net pay will be direct deposited into your checking account.

    This is a completely different mind-set than going to "college". West Point does have a college (and an excellent one!) on post and you will attend class. This is your job. Doing your homework and studying is your job.

    Don't ever think of the 47 month journey at West Point as anything less than being a Soldier who is embarking on a college degree in a leadership laboratory.
     
  2. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    With one HUGE difference.......

    A cadet is NOT subject to combat deployment.
     
  3. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I don't think people will argue that cadets are not in the Army...they are.

    The general thought on the other thread....would a West Point cadet consider himself as the same "Active Duty" as an active duty soldier not at West Point.
     
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I think you mean, "speaking from the West Point parent perspective."

    I have sat through plenty of classes with West Point cadets....I can tell you, they do not run around showing their Geneva Convention rating, bragging about active duty status. They may be thanked by the public when they're out in uniform, but I can also tell few in uniform as at academy believe that thanks has been earned. They also wouldn't put themselfs at the same "active duty" status as the guy in Iraq, or the women who has had to move her family around many times.
     
  5. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Correct. What does this have to do with the price of tea in China? Nothing. Lots and lots of soldiers are not subject to combat deployment nor are they in deployable units. This doesn't make them any less a soldier nor any less Active Duty.
     
  6. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    If a West Point graduate serves his 5 years after graduation and then leaves the Army, how much active duty time is he credited with?
     
  7. WAMom68

    WAMom68 Founding Member

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    FYI - It is always possible cadets could be graduated early and sent to war if the need arises. It has happened before.

    From the history of West Point:
    “The demand for junior officers during the Spanish American War caused the class of 1899 to graduate early, and the Philippine Insurrection did the same for the class of 1901.”

    “The outbreak of America's involvement in World War I caused a sharp increase in the demand for army officers, and the academy accelerated the graduation for all three of the upper classes to meet this requirement. By the war's end in 1918, only the freshman cadets remained (those who had entered in the summer of 1918).”

    “As World War II engulfed Europe, Congress authorized an increase to 2,496 cadets in 1942, and began graduating classes early. The class of 1943 graduated six months early in January 1943, and the next four classes graduated after only three years.”


    My cadet does not consider himself equally experienced as a combat veteran, but he does acknowledge he is in the Army. He is subject to whatever the Army wants him to do. If they say he is going to Iraq next week, then that is where he is going. He knew going into West Point that his education could be curtailed at any time and he could be sent into the regular Army. Yes, he knows he is not "regular Army" because he is at West Point but he does have all the privileges and responsibilities of an active duty soldier.
     
  8. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Also, while it is active duty time, it does not count towards retirement. How is this exactly explained?

    They also do not have the same LEAVE policy as the real Army.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
  9. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Correct.

    When I was a cadet, we KNEW we were in the Coast Guard. Knew it every day, always wore the uniform, "yes sir, no sir", knew we were technically active duty, had our CAC cards, etc.

    That being said, we also knew that our goal was to be in the REAL Coast Guard, to be in the "Fleet".

    Most of the discussion has gone on with parents defending their children's status, but I am interested in hearing what cadets and midshipmen think now. I have a feeling that their opinions may differ from their parents.

    On top of that, your cadets have a Geneva Convention rating of III. I would not recommend your cadets going out in the real Army and start comparing their III rating with an E-5's II rating....things will quickly become a whole lot less comfortable for them.
     
  10. J Collins

    J Collins Founding Member

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    CGA prep school does count towards retirement, what about the big 3?

    very odd.
     
  11. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    No, actually I don't. I mean from the "West Point" perspective. The "powers that be" at West Point do not hesitate to remind parents that their children are indeed in the Army and Active Duty soldiers.

    Wow - thanks for the reassurance. I never said they did. In fact, the ones I know could care less about it.

    It doesn't count for MILITARY retirement. It is explained in that they receive a diploma.
    However, if a cadet graduates and serves 8 years, resigns and takes a Federal job the 4 years at West Point count and he would have 12 years

    Most of this discussion has gone on with people stating FACTS and others trying to discount those facts.

    Let's deal with the FACTS. The FACT is that Cadets are Active Duty Soldiers in the US Army.
    The Cadet will learn all of this durning BCT. When a Soldier from the 10th Mtn division calls them "Sir" during a training excercise, it will feel awkward (and more). I don't think anyone here is talking about Cadets running around the country bragging about their AD status. In the US Army, bragging is very bad form. Most cadets I know are very uncomfortable when people thank them for their service.

    Parents who read this forum, who don't have any military experience should be correctly informed. After all this was one of the reasons for this forum.
    They need to know that their Cadet is Active Duty and subject to a Military Chain of Command.
    I am not saying that West Point parents should hang a blue star in the window. That is not for me and the only parents I have seen with blue stars are those of Firsties.
     
  12. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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  13. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Correct and we have ALREADY established that they are ACTIVE DUTY. However if you remember how this discussion originated, we were talking about the use of "real Army" when discribing that cadets want to be in the "real Army". You of course had to challenge that. It's more tender for parents than the cadets themselves.


    Cadets/Midshipman are Active Duty.
    They are members of their branches of the Military.
    Cadets/Midshipmen are subject to UCMJ (which exception of USMMA)
    Cadets/Midshipmen exist in confusing place where the TECHNICALLY outrank the enlist force, know far less than them, and should never "PULL RANK", although sometimes try to.
    Cadets/Midshipmen's time at their academies will not count towards their 20 to retirement.

    Cadets/Midshipman will be uncomfortable with "Thanks" because they understand they haven't earned it yet. Yes, they will eventually, but they haven't earned it yet.
     
  14. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    edited by Luigi - nevermind.
     
  15. WAMom68

    WAMom68 Founding Member

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    LITS,
    I am curious, why do you feel the need to argue about whether or not USMA cadets are "real Army"?

    I used the term "regular Army" meaning the one outside of West Point vs. a cadet who is AD Army, just not "regular Army", they are both the "real" Army.
     
  16. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    WAmom, this actually carries over from another, non-West Point thread, and has elements on both the Air Force Academy thread, and I believe either off topic or military news.


    Why argue it? Because I would rather them (prospect cadets) hear someone someone who has been in the situation.
     
  17. J Collins

    J Collins Founding Member

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    Personally I don't see how you can equate a Midshipmen/Cadet with an Active Duty Soldier, Airmen, Coastie, Marine or Sailor. They are the ones that endure the real deal, the daily grind, the military BS, The deployments, The hardships, the war... etc...

    Most of the Services offer ROTC, I would more imagine Academy Midshipmen/Cadets would be called AOTC for Active instead of Reserve but never active duty soldiers, Airmen, Coasties, Marines or Sailors.

    Calling them Active duty Soldiers, Airmen, Coasties, Marines, Sailors just doesnt seem right to me. Kinda takes away from the real deal.

    And at the same time our Midshipmen and Cadets have alot to be proud of themselves for their accomplishments, but maybe after my DD has a year or two in the Academy I will see it differently. These are just my opinions....
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
  18. KPMum2012

    KPMum2012 Parent

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    I don't think that JAM is trying to equate what cadets and mids do with what those on the front lines are doing. But she does make an important point for parents that your cadet or mid now belongs to their respective military service. They are not your dependent at college who happens to be in a military environment. They are subject to, in the case of West Point, Army regs and the needs of the Army.

    I didn't cry when I dropped our D at I-day. I cried on Parents Weekend when I watched her take the oath that was almost identical to the one I watched my husband take numerous times as an active duty Army officer. That was when it hit home for me that she was no longer my baby, but had signed on the proverbial dotted line and her primary commitment was to the service of our country. (I know KP mids aren't in quite the same category, but they are members of the Navy Reserve while at KP and D hasn't ruled out going active duty when she graduates.)
     
  19. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Yet ironically KP mids are the only Service Academy midshipmen/cadets who are routinely deployed into hostile environments while still midshipmen, and are the only cadets authorized to carry a battle standard.
     
  20. oldgrad

    oldgrad Banned

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    In certain cases, service academy time does count toward retirement and also seniority for pay purposes.
     
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