I'm a Soldier; Should I Wear My Uniform?

Discussion in 'Nominations' started by El_Lowell, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. El_Lowell

    El_Lowell New Member

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    I'm a private first class (PFC) in the Army National Guard, and I'm applying to the United States Military Academy at West Point.

    The interview for a congressional nomination will be conducted by a panel of military and community leaders.

    Should I wear my Army Service Uniform to the interview?
     
  2. WestPoint2017

    WestPoint2017 Member

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    Good question. I have seen both sides: one of my friends was in high school when he joined the National Guard and he chose to wear a suit for the interview (he got the nomination, but was appointed through his "Reserve type " Nomination). I have also had a friend who chose to wear his uniform and he got a nomination and was also appointed via a ROTC nomination It doesn't hurt to wear your uniform and if anything it is a good conversation starter. If I was in your shoes I would choose to wear the uniform, but I'm just a poster, so take what I said with a grain of salt!
     
  3. Stevewar2

    Stevewar2 Member

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    Interview

    My 2 cents. I would wear the uniform. Shows you have already made an initial commitment to our Nation and it should only help as you compete.
     
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Are you soldiering at the interview? No. I wouldn't wear the uniform, but I certainly would talk about my prior service.
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    My 0.01977643 cents, wear whatever you are most comfortable wearing. The fact is your resume will inform them that you are in the Guard. The committee has your packet in front of them, iow, if you placed it in your packet they will know it.

    I agree it can open up a starting point, but you don't know what that point will be, and the fact is they will look for the same thing with you as with every other candidate...the WHOLE PERSON.

    I.E. Our DS interviewed and received a nom for AFA. He was not in JROTC, a poster here interviewed for the same MOC., he was and wore his AFJROTC. He did not receive the nom. The uniform may be a make or break, but it isn't the be all!

    I am sure the committee respected that other poster, but it still came down to the whole package, not the wrapping!

    If you wear the uniform, make sure everything is in the right place. I.E. I know for Bullet and my DS when they wear their service uniform or mess dress the ruler, the shirt garters, lint brush roller and shoe edging all come out as if they were being inspected by a 4 star.
    ~ Just saying make sure you give the uniform a 1x, 2x, 3x over. Ribbons, insignia, shoes, etc., off kilter by even a little bit can be distracting to the eye for the military member because they will know it. Wearing a suit with polished shoes, not so much.

    Just my 0.01977643 cents, now toss it in the circular filing cabinet.
     
  6. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    If you are a FULLTIME member of the Guard; a uniform. If you are a weekend warrior, a PART TIME member; civilian clothes.
     
  7. payitforward

    payitforward Member

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    Not even apples and oranges to compare JROTC with National Guard.
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    payit,

    I think you missed my point.

    Both boys were HS candidates, and the poster that did not get it wore his uniform.
    ~~~ It came down to their resume. The uniform did not matter.

    I get that the OP is a private in a Guard unit, but let's play it differently.

    An AROTC scholarship cadet wears a suit, he is in college and on scholarship, majoring in Electrical Engineering, SAT best sitting was 1390 out of 1600, attending UNCCH or UVA (considered public Ivies). He is a 2nd time applicant.

    All we know about the OP is he is in the Guard...don't know if he is full time or a weekend warrior. We don't even know if he is in college, or what his HS stats were, such as SAT and cgpa.

    My point was, and is, it is the WHOLE PACKAGE, not the wrapping (i.e attire).

    I would also say, remember how MOCs are charged. It is the WCS. Maybe you will get it because you wore the uniform. I.E. They had 1 slot left between 2 people, and they gave it because the uniform illustrated commitment.

    HOWEVER, when the MOC is charged it is highest WCS, unless Principal. Number 10 on the list from a WCS perspective will just throw you into the NWL, if you are fortunate when the highest is charged to the MOC.

    Flipside, maybe their stats are so great that wearing the uniform will get them a principal because again they have to select between 2 candidates.

    It is funny to me because on this site, the wear a uniform or not is akin to things like are you:
    Dem or Repub
    Pro-life or Pro-Choice
    Religious or Atheist

    Some people have very definitive opinions. It is to some black and white.

    To me, there will always be a shade of gray in the equation. In this case, the resume matters just as much, if not more than if they wear a uniform or a suit.
    ~~~~
    If they are more comfortable in the uniform...wear it! However...
    I gave an example, and I am sorry that in my post these two things were lost in the message.
     
  9. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    You are in the Army right? Do you want somebody to know that? Then wear the uniform. If it is something that is really not that central to what you want the interviewer to remember- then no don't (but if you don't want them to remember that you are a soldier now, then why are you applying to USMA anyway?). I have seen folks talking about JROTC uniforms etc... different ball game. I assume that you have already gone thru Basic and AIT- so you are a no-kidding, honest to goodness US Soldier. Wear the uniform and do so proudly. There is no downside unless you wear it wrong or wear something you are not authorized to wear. They won't make the decision based on the uniform- but they might actually give you some small nudge in your favor becasue you have already something about yourself- that you were willing to make a commitment of your time and your energy to the US Army. Little things like that sway interviews when the decision isn't so obvious.

    Good luck
     
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I'm torn on this. It's not the same thing as wearing a JROTC uniform, or Sea Cadets/Scouts or whatever else is an option for high schoolers. That's obvious.

    That said, it will bring attention to you, which CAN be good "hey, that soldier is already serving and wants to be an officer". But I think it can also have unintended consequences, which aren't entirely bad or good. Often MOC interviews are done with a staffer AND possibly an officer. The uniform COULD be a distraction for the staffer who may not be used to uniforms. Depending on your time in, and officer COULD make some assumptions based on the uniform and your awards (oh this soldier doesn't have the AWESOME SOLDIER medal that most people would have with 3 years in.... etc.).

    When you LEAVE the military you go through TAPS. One of the things they talk about is what you're wearing can do for/against you. I don't think the uniform itself will have people against you, but is there a chance the younger staffer for Congressman Goobligoo is checking out your ribbons instead of giving his undivided attention to your answers? I don't know. Are your nice bright (and proudly earned) ribbons the equivalent of a flashy distracting tie for the interview? I have no idea.

    Here's what I'll say. I had a number of prior service classmates, and your future classmates will be lucky to learn from someone who has been on the "other side" of the officer/enlisted relationship. Thanks for your service, I'm happy you're considering West Point and I hope your interview goes well, whatever you wear. You should feel proud to wear the Army uniform, and I'm sure you'll represent it well, in uniform or in a suit.

    Good luck.
     
  11. El_Lowell

    El_Lowell New Member

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    Thank you all for replying.

    I've decided I'll wear my uniform to the interview.

    I'm sure the military panel members will be pay extra close attention to detail because of my ASU, but it shouldn't be a problem. It's normal, heheh. I'm already used to being around high ranking officers and non-commissioned officers all the time. I haven't been enlisted for too long and I've never deployed, but at least this means there isn't too much stuff on my uniform I have to worry about.

    I want to wear my uniform to the interview not just to make an impression, but also because it's something I am really proud to have.

    Becoming a U.S. Army soldier is my proudest accomplishment in life. It was probably the best decision I've ever made.

    And thank you for your support!
     
  12. good_dad

    good_dad Member

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    JROTC/Sea Cadets/Scouts.......should they or should they not wear their uniforms? New to the process so it's not obvious to me yet. Sorry, but thank you in advance for the clarification.
     
  13. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    General consensus is no. Reason is that it comes across as a bit pretentious. If you're in one of these groups, it will be on your resume. It is not a profession, as is the military. It's not your full-time or even part-time job. It's a high school-level ECA.

    Now, some folks (per the above poster) do wear their uniforms. I don't think it will cause a negative reaction per se and I suppose it could be viewed favorably by some. However, as a BGO and someone who once sat on a nom committee, I wouldn't be impressed with someone showing up in a JROTC/Sea Cadet/Scout uniform. Wouldn't hold it against the person but also wouldn't have a particularly strong positive reaction.

    IMO, because it has the POTENTIAL to be a turn-off to some folks, I'd stick with the civilian clothes.

    Just being honest . . .

    As an aside, the OP's situation is different. Being a member of the National Guard is a MUCH closer call -- especially in today's world when the Guard is frequently called up, has deployed in the war, etc. I'm OK with wearing the uniform under these circumstances, especially if the OP has actually been full-time at some point in his/her Guard service.
     
  14. El_Lowell

    El_Lowell New Member

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    I was on Active Duty for Special Work for a few months, until budget cuts reduced the number of full time soldiers they could have. Another Full Time National Guard Duty position just opened up in my state, so I'll apply for that soon.

    There's a part of me that feels bad for never being deployed. At Basic Combat Training, nearly all my drill sergeants were combat veterans. On my way to Advanced Individual Training, people would shake my hand and say "Thank you for your service." I really appreciate their support, but all I did was take an oath and graduate from BCT. I felt like I didn't do anything, so I started thinking about volunteering for deployment.

    After graduating from AIT and meeting my unit, I asked my sergeant about volunteering. When he heard about my decision to apply for West Point, he was really supportive about it, and told me to focus on West Point instead. My sergeant has been deployed twice already; one of those deployments was voluntary. He's not doing that again.
     

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