Commissioning

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by blackhawkmom, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. blackhawkmom

    blackhawkmom Member

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    Can someone explain to me how the process works--say a mid makes three requests of assignments or whatever they are called. I am hearing there are a lot not getting any of the three. Mids wanting marines are getting ships and mids wanting ships are getting marines. After four years and being in a course of study for that area how do they decide who goes where?
     
  2. NorthernCalMother

    NorthernCalMother Member

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    Blackhawkmom, I sent you a Private Message.
     
  3. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Blackhawk mom, try searching on "service selection" in the USNA forum. There have been several germane threads and detailed posts about the process in recent years, as well as stats posted about what percentages of a particular class got their first choice of service selection (Navy surface, Marine air, etc.). Service assignment is the actual ship or pipeline school date.

    Bancroft Hall is one of the most lively rumor mills in existence, and hearsay thrives. It seems to me over the last several years, the vast majority of mids have gotten what they wanted. No doubt some are disappointed, but that's the deal coming in. We had a sponsor daughter a few years back who really, really wanted Surface Nuclear Power. She didn't get it. She's a very happy conventional Surface Warfare Officer who just got selected for command at sea, a major career milestone.

    I wouldn't say there is a "course of study" that leads to one area. Service selection is a coming together of needs of the Navy and Marine Corps on the one side, and the track record (class standing), achievements, and choices of summer training and other activities on the other. Some warfare communities require additional hoops to jump through, such as physical skills screeners or interviews. Everyone gets their B.S. in one (or more) academic major. Everyone gets the briefs on the service warfare areas, the service selection process and the options available. Everyone makes choices along the way about summer training. The 2/C and 1/C summer cruises and training are really designed to help the midshipmen make an informed choice about the best fit(s) for their service selection. A plebe may start out coming to USNA bound and determined to be a naval aviator, but changes his/her mind after being exposed to Marine things and Leatherneck during 1/C summer. That same plebe could find himself medically dq'd for air during 2/C year, and have to find a new path. The ac year experiences and summer training are designed to let mids try things on for size and make their best informed choices. After that, it's the one reliable constant in military life: the needs of the Navy and Marine Corps will govern how many ensigns and 2LTs they need in particular flavors any given calendar year from all sources, including ROTC, OCS and other commissioning programs.

    There is not much you can do except be supportive as the years go on, and your mid travels the road of thousands before him. Each year, and each mid's experience, are unique. The long view is to look at this uncertainty as good training for life in the military. I knew I would move every 2-3 years, just wasn't sure where or to what assignment. It's the same process - I would fill out an Officer Preference form online (commonly called a dream :eek: sheet), discuss options with my detailer (assignment staffer), hope I did everything that was required to go to a certain type of job, and hope the needs of the Navy coincided with my own at that particular juncture in time.

    There is plenty of help on here from current mids, alumni, BGOs and parents of post-service selection mids. Factual knowledge is power!

    O Wise Mod: this thread might better live in the USNA Forum, as I'm sure the processes differ from SA to SA.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2010
  4. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    One of the things that you quickly learn in the miltiary is that "the needs of the [name your service -- e.g., Navy] come first." It may not always be fair, but it's life in the military. And, thus, people in the military learn to deal with it.

    It can be very difficult for family members (parents, spouses, kids) to deal with. In the civilian world, if things aren't "fair," we typically have the option of opting out. For example, most employees work "at will," meaning that they can leave for any reason without notice. Thus, if your civilian boss says she's sending you to Korea for a year unaccompanied and you don't want to go, you can quit your job. Not ideal, but an option.

    Not so in the military. There are certain times when you are likely to be able to get out (as an officer, you always serve at the pleasure of the President so you must always request to resign your commission -- that generally isn't a problem if you don't have any remaining service obligation) -- and at those times, you're more likely to get desirable assignments. There are other times when you can't get out . . . and then you may or may not get your optimal job, assignment, higher education, etc.

    As Capt MJ stated, MOST mids get their first or second choice of assignment. The higher your class standing, the more likely you are to get your first choice. However, for various reasons, some mids won't get their first choice and a few won't get their second. It happens -- needs of the Navy.

    As noted, it's something you come to accept in the military. There's not much you as a family member can do other than be supportive. In most cases, things ultimately work out for the best. That doesn't make the disappointment of the moment any less painful. But, we deal -- or have dealt -- with it. And so will he.
     
  5. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    If you've ever watched "Master and Commander," with Russell Crowe, from a few years back, not much has changed in terms of "needs of the Navy." As Captain Aubrey tells a disappointed and upset Dr. Maturin about a change in HMS SURPRISE's schedule, he cites "requirements of His Majesty's service" as the reason. Many of the mids watched that movie for SMT a few Saturdays ago, and I told them to watch out for that line and other parallels to modern day life in the naval service.

    Great comments by Super Mod, one who has certainly been there and done that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2010

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