CGA vs USNA - pros and cons

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by bt2011, Jan 10, 2007.

  1. bt2011

    bt2011 New Member

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    I applied to both USCGA and USNA - and though I haven't heard from either yet, I am wondering how others with this choice decided? or will decide?
    Seems like there is alot of insight on these forums and so I'm asking for opinions.
    I've gone to both summer programs but I don't want to base a decision on a week at each. Also want to know about career and stuff after the 4 years at the academy. Guess this won't matter if only one or none happens, but still can't help thinking about it.
    thanks
     
  2. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Okay, I will be the first to jump into this hornet's nest. Your decision should be based on what you want to do for a career. If you want to fly, go Navy. The odds of flying in the Coast Guard is much less. Many of the Coast Guard pilots are inter-service transfers from the Navy, Army, USMC, and USAF.

    If you like the idea of being on the sea, go Navy.

    If you like things technical, go Navy.

    If you don't think you will like the idea of being away from home, go Coast Guard.

    If you need instant and constant job satisfaction, go Coast Guard. They do the same thing day after day after day.

    After a career in the Navy and 12 years of it at sea, I can honestly say that I would not trade the experience for anything. Flying at sea is the most challenging and rewarding career that one could imagine. For the surface types, the ultimate goal of command at sea, commanding officer of your own ship has got to be one of life's greatest accomplishments.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2007
  3. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    USCGA seems to have a high degree of satisfied customers with over 80% going beyond minimal 5 year hitch post commissioning. It would seem like CG would be more conducive to quality family life than some of the other services. Lots of opportunity to fly, just not jets. And you don't have to generally land 'em on a postage stamp in the middle of a typhoon.

    CG is smaller, possibly less political. Different mission than other services, and it would seem to be growing in import given our national security issues of our generation. All of which would SEEM to suggest that CG should be positioned to get a fairer piece of the $$ pie. But that may be overly logical.

    All that said, the USNA is THE greatest fraternity in the history of humankind, aside from Christianity. Tough to beat the many opportunities for those that can abide the downsides. As McKain's grandad said, "The greatest profession for men seeking adventure."

    For a biased but informed point of view, I suggest talking to LT McMunn @ USCGA. He was accepted @ both and went CG. And just ask any Navy man for the flipside, I suspect.

    Good luck. Hope you get the choice. Bottom line? They're both amazing opportunities for a young person setting the course of their life's calling.
     
  4. The Commissioner

    The Commissioner Retired Staff Member Founding Member

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    My son applied to both and will accept an appointment from the Coast Guard before the Navy. Why? He was selected for the Coast Guard Academy's summer camp, AIM, and had a great time. He made relationships there, enjoyed the taste of the academy lifestyle, and has a better appreciation of Coast Guard mission.

    There's no question he would have had the same experience at the Naval Academy's summer camp but he wasn't selected. Naturally he is more loyal, at this point, to the academy that gave him a chance.
     
  5. MaritimeGirl11

    MaritimeGirl11 Member

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    Well My dad was Air Force but I like the water and boats. I like the size and the family style service. I like what the Coast Guard has to offer and I dont want to go to war but I still want to serve and thats what the Coast Guard has to offer. It's not a war kind of service its a humanitarian service and I love helping peple and keeping the bad guys out of our nation. I also like what it stands for, the mission of the Coast Guard and what it has to offer.
     
  6. bossf51

    bossf51 Parent

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    Both the CGA and USNA are great places and the CG and Navy are great services. You may wish to attend the CGA as it is a smaller school with a family atmosphere. You are more likely to be able to play a varsity sport, even one which is new to you(crew for example). The classes are small and you get very close attention.

    There are plenty of opportunities to fly. I heard that they are increasing the number of flight billets especially relating to helicopters.

    For women the Coast Guard has tremendous opportunities as well. Every job up to and including Commandant is available to women.

    It is a humanitarian service which also has a great appeal, along with its mission in the fields of homeland security and environmental protection.

    Good luck to all in their search for the right school.
     
  7. MaritimeGirl11

    MaritimeGirl11 Member

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    Did you pick Crew as an example because of me?:smile:
     
  8. repIII

    repIII Member

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    "I've gone to both summer programs but I don't want to base a decision on a week "

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    Last edited: Jun 15, 2007
  9. MaritimeGirl11

    MaritimeGirl11 Member

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    I would say it depends. At AIM you have to memorize a lot of stuff. and many that I have talked with say that AIM at USCGA is the hardest but I think its what ur choice is. I went to FLC at Norwich and I tought it was tough. it was longer and I think very phsically demanding with PT every morning and hicking up and down mountains and long huge hills everyday. I would recommend that you also look into FLC at Norwich University because its a it easier to get accepted to and its longer, 2 weeks. For the most part they are all unique in their own way.
     
  10. BR2011

    BR2011 USAFA Cadet

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    im am facing the same decision. as of right now i am leaning more towards USNA, but i would gladly take my CGA appointment if i dont get one from USNA.
     
  11. MaritimeGirl11

    MaritimeGirl11 Member

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    Make a List of your OWN Pros and Cons because yours are prob. different then someone elses and go from there.
     
  12. repIII

    repIII Member

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    By the way bt2011, Don't listen to USNA69

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    Last edited: Jun 15, 2007
  13. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Family Separation

    Naval officers, no matter what career path they choose, normally start out with schooling of some type or other. Then, commencing with sea duty, they will alternate sea and shore duty. Each period is approximately three years with sea duty often being a little longer and shore duty being slightly shorter. After two each sea-shore rotations, they are usually O-5s eligible for command. After that, things get less structured. So, by the 16th or so year, the average Officer has had two three year sea duty assignments.

    The typical sea duty tour will consist of two extended deploymenst of six months or so and a lot of work-ups preparing for these deployments. Typically, half or slightly more of the tour is spent away from home.

    Navy families are not like a civilian in the same situation. The entire neighborhood knows the spouse is deployed and bends over backwards to provide support, both morale and physical. And the neighborhood is usually comprised of like-minded families. When the hurricane swept up through MD last fall, son was away. The electricity went out and the basement sump pump, of course, failed. Daughter-in-law came home from work to a flooded basement. Within an hour, a loaned jury-rigged generator had pumped the basement dry. The neighborhood retired chiefs were having a blast.

    When a unit deploys, the spouses group is very active. They become the family. They do things together constantly, as much as each spouse will allow.

    Also, before kids, there is usually an in-port period at a nice port where the spouses come over. Some ships assist with arranging charter service. My daughter in law has been to Australia twice.

    A Navy career does require a supporting spouse because the member will be having the time of his life doing extended underway operations but it is manageable.
     
  14. MaritimeGirl11

    MaritimeGirl11 Member

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    That's true. My friend who goes to the USCGA sid that he choosed USCGA because it allows you to have more time with your family then the Navy. He got accepted to NA and CGA and that what made him decide CGA.
     
  15. radawsonco

    radawsonco Member

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    I think there are quite a few coast guard cutters in Iraq right now.
     
  16. bossf51

    bossf51 Parent

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    That is correct. Don't get the impression that there are "no dangers" in the Coast Guard...quite the contrary. They do patrol the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Mexico for drugrunners and illegal immigration, guard our harbors against terrorists, etc. etc.

    But what Lesya alludes to is it is not a military aggressive type service. We are not shelling the coast and invading countries.

    However in times of world war CG comes under the Navy so they in past years have served in the rivers of Vietnam and landing Marines on Guadalcanal.
     
  17. bt2011

    bt2011 New Member

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    wow - thanks for all these responses so fast...lots of good stuff.
    um, the question about which summer week was harder -- its hard to say really. I think USNA was tougher physically. Both were amazing fun but hard work. You just have to expect to be yelled at...
     
  18. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    I am in no way attempting to be critical, but, in most instances, there are two sides to every story. Here is the other side.

    This is really a non-statistic. At both academies, officers will normally stay through their first shore duty assignment, which is a year or so beyond the minimum commitment. When comparing those who make it a career, the percentages are comparable.


    Let's not impose our middle-aged family value requirements on our young adventurous offspring and make this an issue when it is not. There aren't many places in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Far East I haven't been. I have been in places in the Vatican which the general public will never see. I saw the Mona Lisa when she was just a nondescript painting in an out-of-the-way third floor hallway. I have sat on the Spanish Steps and watched cute young American girls line up in the morning at the American Express office to receive money orders from home. I have played golf with the future sultan of Oman, hitting the ball off Persian carpets and putting on oiled sand greens. I have skiied the Alps with expatriate CIA agents. I have caught bonefish, permit, and tuna in the Indian Ocean until I was tired of catching them. I have played W Somerset Maugham and taken the three day train trip from Singapore to Bangkok, overnighting in little coastal villages. I have sat in sidewalk cafes in little Vietnames villages eating roast monkey on a stick with very spicy noodle soup, knowing that my waiter would, that very evening, don black pajamas and come after me, trying to kill me. The earliest memory my oldest son has is Christmas shopping in El Corte Ingles in Madrid. There are bars all over the world where, to this day, I could not buy a drink. Millionaires could not afford these experiences. I would not trade these memories for anything in the world.

    And not forgetting that for whice we are deployed, a trained crew on a operational ready ship is a team and an experience that few will experience. The operational requirements are there and the funding is available to operate on the cutting edge of one's abilities. It is truly an opportunity to savor.

    And, as has been mentioned on this thread, CG ships do deploy. My understanding is that billets on these type ships are extremely competitive since a deployment is a very nice "tick mark" when being considered for promotion. So perhaps for comptetitive promotable CG officers, family separation is also an issue. Maybe someone with more current knowledge can comment on this.


    About 45% of the USNA class of 2005 is presently in aviation, over 400 officers. About half of the 800 or so CG pilots are transfers from other services. Maybe 12-15 of each class at USCGA go immediately into aviation with a few more later on. The fact is only 15 or so new USCG helo pilots are trained annually and even less fixed wing.

    You might want to tell this to the USCG helo drivers. The typical SAR scenario is to get a cutter on scene as rapidly as possible to serve as a refueling platform. A night SAR condition in the Bering Sea makes for a mighty small postage stamp, and an erratically moving one at that.



    Very well said. And the greatest job-hunting network in the world for recently retired USNA officers. Graduate contacts, willing to help, are everywhere doing everything.

    Also, the group that you spend four years with at either academy will be the closest friends you will ever have.


    I have always hated the "been there, done that" statements but I have to invoke that statement here. Unless you have experienced the opportunities of the Navy, don't try to compare them to the downsides. Any young person contemplating the Academy has to condider these "downsides" as an adventure and an opportunity. In short, you are correct, if they do not, they are probably at the wrong institution. Again, a middle-aged family guy's downside is a twenty-something's opportunity and adventure of a life time. Let's not hold them back.




    Without a doubt.

    And good luck to all who do it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2007

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