Commissioning and Oath of Office

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by hhb101fs, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. hhb101fs

    hhb101fs New Member

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    Hi,
    New to the forum and not sure who may have this answer. I understand that the midshipmen graduate and are commissioned in a group ceremony. However, if a graduate has a family member that is an officer they'd like to perform the commissioning and sign their oath of office, is this allowed, such as possibly before the group graduation and ceremony? Thanks.
     
  2. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    From a symbolic perspective, you could have your family member administer the oath of office after the ceremony (doing it before is probably not a good idea as you haven't graduated or earned the commission at that point). As far as paperwork, it is likely your company officer will sign (a lot of paperwork is done in the last few weeks and this is one document you fill out and sign ahead of time, but is dated for graduation). Someone correct me if this has changed.
     
  3. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    At CGA certain relatives can hand you your commission…. I forgot the requirements…. something like they had to be a direct family member, active duty or retired (and maybe reserves). I'm not sure if USNA has the same thing.
     
  4. hhb101fs

    hhb101fs New Member

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    Thanks for the response. I'm actually the officer in question and not the graduating midshipman, so I'm really not up on how this goes for them. I'm also not Navy and a bit unfamiliar with USNA traditions/protocol. I just remember that the most memorable part of my commissioning years ago is the name on my oath of office and not necessarily the ceremony itself. I can't imagine the academy doesn't accommodate allowing a family member to sign the oath of office, even if it's future-dated, but then again I really have no idea how anything runs at the USNA. I'd just really like to be an official part of my youngest sibling's commissioning (and he wants it as well) if at all possible. However, it does seem to both of us that this isn't typical and probably isn't the way things are done over there. I also remember being commissioned a couple of days prior to my official college graduation, because once final grades were announced, we had technically met the requirements for commissioning.

    Do you what official at the academy may have the most accurate answer for this question? Thanks again; I appreciate the help.
     
  5. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    My recommendation would be to have the midshipman talk to the Midshipmen Personnel officer first to see if it is possible to have the paperwork changed. I also think the only way for a family member to administer the oath of office would be afterwards. (Similar to I-Day).
    At other college ceremonies where there might not be as many graduates/candidates, it might be feasible to do individual oaths or to have a family member participate during the ceremony, but that is definitely not the case at USNA.

    Best of luck and hopefully it all works out!
     
  6. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    The mids get a brief on this, and there are many individual oath-takings after the official ceremony is done on Commissioning Day. No problem there. The paperwork is done well in advance, and mids get a packet of orders, transcripts, and other commissioning papers that week, and collect their diploma on Commissioning Day. The mid will have to explore any variations on the signature. As always with a special request, the special circumstances and the precedent a variation sets will be considered. The Midshipman Personnel Office is a well-oiled machine that kicks into high gear to close out midshipman status and simultaneously launch over 1100 mids into two separate services with multiple documents, while taking care of regular business for the other 3 classes. It will be interesting to know the answer.



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  7. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    usnabgo08, that is what I recall also. Mids can have someone administer the oath after the ceremony. Some do it back at Memorial Hall, some do it at the stadium or other places. They will have already done the official oath so this is just for the family and friends of the newly commissioned ensign. For most Mids the biggest part of the day is who does their first salute and who changes their shoulder boards or does their pinning.
     
  8. hhb101fs

    hhb101fs New Member

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    Thanks for the info. We'll see how it goes. Much appreciated.
     
  9. hhb101fs

    hhb101fs New Member

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    Just wanted to provide some guidance I received from the Midshipmen Personnel office. The Oath of Office forms are officially received from the service secretary in the spring, sent to the Company Officers to read to the midshipmen and get signatures and return to the Personnel office to file. The officer I spoke with initially sounded as though this request isn't common enough to have a prepared answer but after a little discussion of possibilities, the officer kindly offered advice on how a family member may administer the oath and sign the official form that is filed in the service member's OMPF.

    The midshipman would need to make the request to their Company Officer to request and ensure that officer doesn't sign their particular oath of office and just makes a note of it to the Personnel office when returning the forms that a family member will be signing at a later date (hopefully a date already agreed to by these few people involved). Since these oaths are the official forms and future-dated, the actual signature and the date of administering the oath are not really an issue. I'm sure if a midshipman were to fail after that point, the oath would be shredded, regardless of who had already signed it.

    We haven't finalized a date/time/location yet, but I am looking at possibly arriving a week prior to graduation to sign the form and administer the oath so as to ensure the very helpful Personnel office staff have the form in hand to make sure the Midshipmen out-processing packets and such are entirely complete as a group. Regardless, all graduating Midshipmen are officially commissioned on the date of their graduation/commissioning ceremony regardless of the person that administers the oath or the date of the reading and reciting, whether by a family member or the Company Officer.

    Hope that didn't confuse anyone... bottom line... communicate and coordinate. Good luck and take care.
     
  10. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    Glad it all worked out and they will allow you to sign it.

    For this reason, I am personally in favor of having someone administer the oath of office on graduation day right after the ceremony, since you can't put the "next rank" on until that time.
     
  11. hhb101fs

    hhb101fs New Member

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    Thanks! I'm pretty happy about the academy's support as well.

    As for the rank part, I guess it would depend on when we decide to do the oath. If we knock it out the morning of graduation, technically, he could be “pinned” since it will be on his date of appointment as an officer, but I’m pretty sure it would be frowned upon for him to show up to the ceremony out of uniform with his classmates, so we’ll avoid that. But realistically, I’ll be leaving the pinning up to whomever he decides for all the pomp and circumstance and such that day. If I understood it correctly, the rank will be pinned during the large ceremony, so pinning afterwards in private with a private oath of office is all just celebratory family matters and for parents to snap pictures.

    However, to clarify, the only real requirements are that the oath be administered and sworn to before entering upon the duties of his/her office and that an active or retired commissioned officer (warrant in specific cases) administers the oath and signs the oath of appointment, dated IAW the date specified by the secretary of the service. He needn’t ever be officially pinned nor even wear a uniform for the oath of office (although we will both be in uniform to reflect the appropriate attitude towards this appointment and oath). It all just adds to the tradition and even reverence of the ceremony but not required.

    My intent on accepting this request from him was to take the opportunity to ensure he gets a good talking to about the oath and the depth of responsibility in swearing his life to defending our constitution and freedoms, and I am appreciative that the personnel office was willing to be accommodating. They chose to make a decision to support a midshipman’s commissioning request opposed to doing what would be easy.
     

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