commissioning to a different branch

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by thepetester, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. thepetester

    thepetester Member

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    How difficult is this? For instance, if my daughter went to USAFA, but then wanted to commission to the Army. I have a couple officers who have told me it isn't that hard, you just request it towards graduation, but then I just spoke with an adviser at one of the military colleges who was/is in the army and he said it can be very difficult because you need to find someone to 'switch' with you. Which is correct?
     
  2. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    Both and neither. It depends on the year, the situation, the service academy administrations, and the phase of the moon. A cadet or midshipman can apply and list their reasons and the chips fall where they may. I have known Mids whose parents have been 3 stars in another service who made the switch and those who did not with an equally high ranking parent. I have also known those who switched who claimed it was because a corresponding Cadet wanted to switch but they really did not know. Look at it this way: it is very, very rare and hardly in the best interest in either of the services. Why would the Navy, for example, want an Air Force junior officer who has never been aboard a ship, doesn't know the difference between a Third Class Petty Officer and a Mess Officer, and has never taken the conn of a rowboat let alone a destroyer (done on First Class Cruise) and make him/her a Division Officer aboard ship? Why also would the Navy want to train a junior officer for 4 years with the attendant cost and effort and then give them to the Air Force where they would be equally lost? It is a lose-lose deal for the Services. It is far better for the service academy candidate to realize they have to make the right choice in the beginning.
     
  3. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    In olden days, not too hard; today: not too easy.

    But I delight knowing that the head of US Navy Special Warfare (Think SEALS) is my classmate and friend: Rear Admiral Brian Losey, USAFA '83!

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
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  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    It's service specific. There are natural transfers, such as Navy to Coast Guard.... and there are unnatural ones.... such as a non-sea service to a sea service. Keep in mind that cadets and midshipmen from each service academy have been training for four years. Some of that training applies to all services.... some is service specific. How well will a West Point cadet do on a ship if he has no nautical science exposure? Not well. Now there ARE things that will happen, at least in the Coast Guard, for transfers. The officer from the Navy, Army, Air Force or Marine Corp will go through an abridged OCS... that will teach them specifically about the Coast Guard and its missions.

    To my knowledge, there are (or at least WERE) transfer programs between the Army and Air Force.... "Blue to Green". I'm not sure if it was a two-way program, and I'm not sure if other services had the same thing.

    And remember, the service just paid for the individual's entire education.... there's got to be a reason to convince them a cross-commission is reasonable. Does it happen? Sure. Often? Nope.
     
  5. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Best advice is do not plan on it. The big rumor is that it is a 1 for 1 exchange between services, not true. My class had to go Air Force. Air Force had none go Navy or Marines. We had a West Point grad in my TBS class. Those who I saw be successful in cross commissioning had compelling arguments. I had a buddy a year ahead of me who married a West Point grad. She was NPQd from going unrestricted line, so she requested to go Army so she would have more options and could be more closely stationed with her future spouse. The two grads from class who went Air Force were both Air Force brats and both did exchange semesters at USAF. The West Pointer in my TBS company requested USMC because he had done some training with them during the summer and really enjoyed the Marine culture and ethos. The best advice is be prepared to serve in the service that your SA commissions to. You can always apply, but it takes alot of work from a Cadet or Mid. Get to know the officers from that service on campus, request a semester at that SA, gain exposure to that service. A Mid or Cadet should have a solid case as to why and what have them done to prepare themselves.
     
  6. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I knew someone who did it several years ago. He/she was the ONLY person in the class permitted to do it and was originally told "no," only to learn in April that it would be approved. Some of the things they consider: parent or other family in other service, applied to other SA but not admitted, exchanged (and did really well) at the other SA, want a career path that is not available in your service, did REALLY well at your SA. Strongly agree you should not plan on it or attend SA #1 assuming you will be able to join the service of SA #2. But if you're at a SA and want to cross-commission, you certainly can apply and see what happens.
     
  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I know there's been one since, but in the four years I was at CGA, I know of only one person who cross-commissioned into the Coast Guard. She was from the USNA class of 2004. She had been on exchange at CGA in 2002. I remember her outside, on her cell phone, in a very emotional phone call about her time there. It must have made in impression on her, because two years later she joined the Coast Guard. I saw her again at the shortened OCS/DCO class for service transfers. A few years later I saw her again at CGHQ. She was a Coast Guard lieutenant by then. It's a small enough service that'll you'll run into the same people over and over again. Other than that, the only other service academy grads I served with were either from the Coast Guard Academy of the Merchant Marine Academy.

    There was an officer at CGA, an instructor, who had graduated from West Point, and at some point had transfered to the Coast Guard.
     
  8. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    As others have said, it is pretty difficult and usually requires some good reasons.

    A consistent set of transfers do go from USAFA to Navy Aviation. In speaking with the Inter-Service Transfer Aviation Officer with the Navy, they reserve about three slots a year to IST from AF to Navy and they almost almost go to USAFA grads who are considered color vision deficient by the AF but color vision safe by the Navy (fairly common situation now...).
     
  9. baileydb

    baileydb Member

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    Just out of curiosity, if you get accepted to your second choice of SA but not first, are you able to reapply for your first choice the next year if you attend your second? This is purely out of curiosity.
     
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    It's just like college.... as long as you still meet the requirements to apply, you can apply. You wouldn't "transfer"... you would apply to the school, go through the process and, if you were given an appointment and accepted it, you would start over as a freshman.

    You can apply and reapply until you're no longer qualified for admission (in this context.... maybe because you're eventually too old).
     
  11. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    As a practical matter, it is EXTREMELY unlikely (read: almost impossible) to be appointed to SA #2 while a mid/cadet at SA #1. The reason is that no SA wants to be seen as "poaching" from sister SAs. Can't say it has never happened (sure it has) but the odds are virtually zero. You stand a much better chance attending a civilian school and reapplying.
     
  12. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    Intra-service requests require the service Undersecretary for Manpower to approve. Ultimately, if the manpower people recommend to the Undersecretary that they don't have the body(ies) to give up and there is no compelling reason, the request will probably be denied. Manpower numbers aren't in anyone's control, so it is better to assume that it will not happen.
     
  13. SpadGuy

    SpadGuy Member

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    and the deputy commander, NSWC is Rear Admiral Scott Moore from your class too!


     
  14. SpadGuy

    SpadGuy Member

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    Also one cannot graduate from USMA and join the Special Forces, unlike USNA grads to SEALs.
     
  15. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Yeah, SF only takes grownups.
     
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  16. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Yes, Scott was one of the guys that did the "UDT" thing our junior year...he and Brian...and he did well too!!!

    Amazing gents!

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
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  17. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Is this a good enough reason for someone to be allowed to branch transfer (i.e. USMA grad saying I want to be a SEAL right after graduation)?
     
  18. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Probably not.... there are enough midshipmen who say that.... and have experience in the Navy.
     
  19. SpadGuy

    SpadGuy Member

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    no. But might be a good experiences for all SEALs-option grads to experience the fleet first for a few months to a 1 year then go to BUD/S.

     
  20. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    I only know of one instance of this ever happening and it was USMMA --> USNA. The guy stayed around after knowing he was accepted to USNA to make sure he finished the quarter (quarter system at the time). Like you I'm sure there are a handful of others out there, but I would bet you could count on one hand the total.

    I agree that going to civilian college and reapplying would likely be easier, but I'd be hard pressed to turn down my #2 Service Academy...I bet that person would end up loving where they went and never regretting the decision..
     

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