Honor Those Who Got the TWE

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by fishbowl, May 20, 2011.

  1. fishbowl

    fishbowl Member

    Jan 22, 2010
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    Incoming Class of 2015: I met somebody the other day who had been very competitive for an Air Force Academy appointment but another candidate was given the nomination by the MOC and received the appointment. The MOC called the young man and explained that it was a very difficult choice, but she felt that the other candidate was just slightly more competitive. Later in the summer after graduation, as the unsuccessful candidate was driving down the street in town, he saw the successful standing on the corner waiting to cross the street - he had dropped out of BEAST summer. Moral of the story: PLEASE, PLEASE make sure that it is your decision to go to USNA. Remember how elated you were to get the BFE and compare that to the level of disappointment for those who got the TWE.
  2. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

    Jul 15, 2007
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    fishbowl, I think you have a great point. However, some appointees -- no matter how much they research, hear, or see the challenges of plebe summer, plebe year, or USNA (in general) -- won't know what it is like to actually "feel the pressure." They might have wanted to go to USNA with the ultimate goal of commissioning, but just mis-calculated how "difficult" it might have been.

    Therefore, someone dropping out of USMA/USNA/USAFA's indoctrination isn't necessarily indicative of them being uncommitted or trying to take someones spot.
  3. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

    Jun 9, 2006
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    Amen, jadler. Especially in these cases, none should assume much, if anything.
  4. rkrosnar

    rkrosnar Member

    Jan 27, 2010
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    That was written with a lot of respect, thank you.

  5. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

    Oct 27, 2008
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    Why is there always the ASSUMPTION that those who came up short in the admissions process for any of the service academies would, somehow, have been more committed and faired better than those who were able to gain admission, yet, ultimately quit?

    Believe it or not, there are those at the service academies who actually graduate, yet, had they quit along the way, the military would have been better served. It's possible to lack commitment and still graduate. I know this is going to sound odd, but there are some graduates who were just too lazy to quit when they should have.

    I currently have a son at the Naval Academy who is just finishing his 2nd year. What he has LEARNED at the Naval Academy, so far, is that he would like to serve his country through medicine. He does not want to be a Marine, an aviator, or surface warfare officer, nor be on a submarine.

    He has a 4.0 in all his technical courses and is even taking his MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) this summer - after only 2 years. He's doing great in all areas of the academy: academically, conduct, aptitude, physical fitness ... etc. He shadows doctors whenever he gets the chance and volunteers for just about everything from Special Olympics to working at the Annapolis Homeless Shelter. Yet, he is giving very serious consideration to leaving the academy.

    I can't say I blame him. If the academy would commit to him (i.e. allowing him to pursue the Medical Corps) at this point time - he'd stay. But it doesn't work that way. He has to commit to the Naval Academy before the Naval Academy will commit to him. With his achievements, the chances of his getting admitted into some medical school is close to a certainty. Ironically, the only obstacle to his objective is the Naval Academy, itself.

    What he does not want to hear a year-and-a-half from now is ...

    "We really need somebody like you in a submarine," or
    "I'm sorry, for budgetary reasons, they have terminated the Medical Corps selection option," or "We know, in the past, we have taken 10 into the Medical Corps, but now we're only taking 5. We're sorry, but you just came up #6 - what's your second choice?"

    Yes - yes - yes, I can predict what some of are thinking, "You should never go to the Naval Academy unless you are open-minded enough to serve your country in whatever capacity they think is best. You must be willing to enter into any of the available service selections."

    And I would agree with that.

    Yet, while at the Naval Academy, in addition to learning that the "Navy just isn't for me", one can also learn that a particular service selection is the only option for you - both of these may be reason enough to quit.

    It's very easy for somebody on the outside looking in to be critical with this dynamic. But how can they be so sure that it wouldn't be THEM with the same dilemma?

    Entering the Naval Academy is a lot like entering into a marriage. Nobody ever gets married and thinks, "We'll probably get a divorce." Everybody thinks they'll be married forever. Yet, more than half of all marriages end in divorce.

    Everybody competing for admission into the Naval Academy always thinks something along these lines, "I think I'd like to be a pilot but I'd be so grateful just to get an appointment, I'd be willing to do anything they asked of me." Less than half the midshipmen will maintain that attitude. Make sure you repeat this mantra to your Blue & Gold Officer during your interview, however. They really love that sort of stuff. :smile:

    Don't fool yourself - there are many embittered midshipmen who end up unhappy with their service selection. They mark time in the Navy, watching the calendar, just waiting for the day they can get out. The midshipmen have coined a term for this - "5 and dive". In other words, their only intent upon graduation is to serve the minimum time possible and make a hasty exit for the civilian world.

    So - what point am I making?

    Don't be too quick to judge those who leave the service academies. They leave for a wide variety of reasons - some of which may surprise you. And do not be so sanctimonious as to think that they should have selected YOU instead of that guy who quit because YOU would certainly have been more committed than he was.

    It's easy to be critical while looking on from the "cheap seats."
  6. jennyp

    jennyp Parent

    Nov 3, 2008
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    Good post, Memphis. None of us has the luxury of understanding someone else's situation.

    Good luck to your son. My oldest, currently in vet school at Texas A&M, has applied twice for the Army Vet Corps. Last year he was told he was the wrong race (he's just a plain ole white boy) and this year that they selected less due to budget constraints. I am urging him to try again next year.

    My 3/C son at USNA agrees wholeheartedly with the sentiment that some SHOULD quit. He felt the powers that be tried too hard during their plebe summer to talk people into staying. Many of those begged to stay have since left or are always unhappy, griping, etc. Apparently the administration now is not so commited trying to keep every mid and is much stricter with violations.
  7. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Jun 9, 2006
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    What you think you want at age 17 may not be what you end up wanting at age 18 or 20 or . . .

    I agree with what those above have said and would add the following:

    It's natural to have some doubts about attending a SA. However, if you start to have serious doubts, pay attention. The #1 reason people quit USNA early on is that they felt pressured to attend -- by parents, teachers, friends, or just the system that pushed them forward and heaped congratulations at every step of the way. USNA is not civilian college, it's not ROTC. It's a restrictive, military environment -- be sure that's what you want. Don't attend because you think that not going will upset someone else.

    There are many reasons people voluntarily leave USNA and there is a reason that USNA gives you two years to make up your mind. Some people realize that 2 more years of USNA and 5+ in the military aren't for them. That's ok. My roommate quit right after plebe summer. She went on to a successful life and career and, years later, her son graduated from USNA.

    I've often said that, in some ways, it's harder to quit than to stay. Hard to explain but often true.

    Finally, no one will ever know if a TWE recipient would have made it through USNA. Maybe, maybe not. Unfortunately, for almost all of us, rejection will be a constant companion. It's particularly difficult when it comes at age 17 and about something so important, but for most this won't be the last time. And, most of the TWE recipients are excellent students and outstanding men/women -- they will do well in whatever path they choose.
  8. Bullet

    Bullet Member

    Jan 9, 2008
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    VERY well said! :thumb:

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