Is every applicant a die-hard patriot?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by PlanAhead, Jun 25, 2016.

  1. PlanAhead

    PlanAhead Member

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    I struggled with how to phrase the subject line for this question. I may not have done a good job, so please excuse me.

    What I'm wondering is if all applicants to all academies/ROTC programs are applying out of a deep sense of patriotism. Of course, there will be many motivators for many different people, and I know it's impossible to analyze the reasons for every applicant. But I was talking with a group of young people who are interested in service academies and ROTC and the idea of serving their country was not the foremost thought for them. They were fine with that aspect and the need to "give back" the 4-5 years of service once their education was completed, but they were more interested in the top-notch education, preparation for their future in terms of leadership and career, as well as the free tuition, or scholarship. So I was wondering, do you have to be "in it" principally out of love for your country, or can you go through the application experience successfully, earn your degree, and serve well, without patriotism being your primary motivation?
     
  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    No.

    People apply for all kinds of reasons, including economical. Sometimes what they say or write is not really what's in their heart. Sometimes they apply for self-serving reasons, trading years of obligated service for a degree, a commission, a job, veteran benefits and work skills, and then they surprise themselves by developing their sense of service.

    The "system" is geared to take all kinds, with predicted attrition rates at all points along a career path.
     
  3. Sandra614

    Sandra614 Member

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    Wow. That was such a great answer you gave! It's good to know you can apply for various reasons.
     
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  4. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    I know I wasn't. I mean, I grew up with parents who made sure we kids appreciated the history of the country and our good fortune to be born and grow up here, but I would not have called myself a patriot when I applied. I applied because nothing had ever been hard for me, and I wanted to do something hard with other people who also wanted to do hard things, and I didn't know of any other option. One of the great ironies of my life is that although I separated willingly at the end of plebe year, that year was important in developing my patriotism.
     
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  5. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    I always say many kids join ROTC or attend a Service Academy (and enlist) for a variety of reasons. The reasons why they went and the reasons why they stayed often will have a re-order of reasons as they progress year to year. It's also the same thing once one is commissioned. I know at USNA many came for a dozen different reason, but we all stayed because we wanted to serve and lead as officers.
     
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  6. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    What's REALLY important is completing your service obligation honorably: doing your job, going in harm's way, acting with integrity, and always, always, taking care of those for whom you are responsible. Why you do it is less important, to me, than how. You can do all that, for various reasons, and uphold your end of the deal.
     
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  7. gonavysophia

    gonavysophia New Member

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    No.
    Many kids are forced into it by their parents who think it would be "cool" for their kid to attend a service academy, or they may be forced to for economic reasons. Most are patriots who want to prepare themselves for a career in the military, however.
     
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  8. VMI2017+3

    VMI2017+3 Member

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    As someone who's in that position, for me, patriotism, and a sense of duty is why I want to do it. However, I have talked to a lot of people who are interested in ROTC/service academies and haven't found someone with the same reason as mine yet (even though I know they're out there of course).
     
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  9. PlanAhead

    PlanAhead Member

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    This is helpful. Thanks!
     
  10. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Many join (for a variety of reasons), some fall out (for a variety of reasons), others start with one reason and end with another, some are forced out by situations outside their control, and still others do their time and move on.

    Great question, but in the end, there is no clear cut answer except patriotism is seldom the primary motivation.
     

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