Navy or Air Force?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by kirbinator, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. kirbinator

    kirbinator Member

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    I know this is a Naval Academy thread, but I have the blessing of being able to choose between the USNA and the USAFA:eek:. I would love to attend either institutions, but I was thinking long term-- what are some big differences between a career in the Navy and one in the Air Force? My passion is to lead people (it might sound broad and corny I know), and I am not extremely picky about a career (but if I am in the Air Force, I will do anything to escape pressing "print"). Any suggestions?
     
  2. em3nuketype

    em3nuketype Member

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    Just remember, America hasn't won a major conflict since the Air Force became its own force... Just Sayin'... :p

    I would figure out exactly what you want to do, if you had to pick right now and then decide. The forces are vastly different in their roles and missions, with the two big things in common being supply/logistics and aviation. Then again, if you look at the trend in the Air Force, you're more likely to spend your career playing flight Sim X the real game than you are to spend your career in a manned bird.


    Take a look at what each service has to offer, and then decide. Don't forget that you have a ~15% chance of being a Marine if you go USNA.
     
  3. NewNavyMom

    NewNavyMom Member

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    My son has the opprtunity to attend Norwich (full academic scholarship), VMI (NROTC scholarship), USNA and probably VA Tech (won't hear until April 1). For him, at this point, it's definitely USNA BUT he was given some excellent advice while visiting Norwich.

    He asked the Navy Officer there, who was an academy grad, How do I decide between an academy and a Univ with a corp/ROTC? The officer replied: You want to be happy where you go. If you are not happy, then your grades will not be the best, your leadership will suffer and your college experience will be less than it could be. He also advised him to not look at college only as a means to an end but as part of his life.

    He advised him to examine the geographic location, the setting (small town, rural, urban, etc) the male to female ratio, the climate (lots of snow in Vermont), basic lifestyle characteristics. To get your first choice coming out, you want to be on top. Go where you think you will be the happiest, or it's not likely you will be on top.

    This advice has stayed with him. He is actually going or has gone to CVW at each school to be sure that he is making the right choice-to be as happy as possible while he is in college.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    The go Marines through the Naval Academy or Army.
     
  5. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

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    Not trying to be contentious, but I'm not sure that a SA is where someone will be "happiest," particularly not Plebe year. I've heard a number of people say that USNA is a good place to be FROM. Don't take that the wrong way, kirbinator. My daughter (2012) and most of her friends are satisfied that they are in the right place, but a Plebe at USNA is almost certainly NOT going to be "happy" a la the typical freshman at State U.

    In terms of a career after USNA vs USAFA, IMO USNA gives you more career options. You can end up a pilot either way (if medically qualified), and even the percentage of pilots isn't hugely different - I think combined Navy and MC aviation was ~40% of last year's class, versus roughly 50% for USAFA. However, what if you don't want to fly, or what if you aren't medically qualified to fly? From USNA, you can go Marines, SEALs, surface warfare, or subs.
     
  6. Kero

    Kero Member

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    ^^^^ agreed, If you are really as undecided as it sounds the Navy(including USMC) kind of has something for everyone, but I am a little biased.
     
  7. NewNavyMom

    NewNavyMom Member

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    In response 2012mom?: :smile: When I asked my son recently if he thought he might be happier at a mainstream university as opposed to a SA, he said "What makes you think I won't be happy? This is what I want to do!" He has been to several JROTC camps, not that they are anything like the Plebe summer, Rat Line or Rook Year, but he always says that it's not fun but he loves it. Happy to him is working out hard, challenging himself academically and doing something he never thought he could or would. I guess he's just made for it.
     
  8. kirbinator

    kirbinator Member

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    Yes, NewNavyMom, I understand that. I am transferring from a civilian university (2nd timers Woot!) and I don't think its that great to be honest.

    If I was in the Air Force, I would definitely want to fly either some sort of fighter or a pavehawk for Special Ops. I am not sure what I would like to do in the Navy. I do like the idea of being able to go home every night as a fighter/helo pilot unless you are deployed.
     
  9. MJOmom

    MJOmom Member

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    My son originally wanted Air Force, but after speaking with the Navy BGO and the Air Force rep ... he realized how many, many choices and service opportunities the Navy has ... many types of aircraft, many types of sea vessels ... the joke is if at Air Force you fly a plane or you fly a Desk ... only a some get to fly ... have a back up plan whichever way you go ...
     
  10. Kero

    Kero Member

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    Well the Navy has both of those.
     
  11. 2012Cadet

    2012Cadet Member

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    Well if you went Army wouldn't passion to lead others be more than satisfied by becoming an Army officer...just sayin'.
     
  12. 2012Cadet

    2012Cadet Member

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    I think I've asked this already but still haven't made up my mind...based on these possible careers/goals/etc. I want, which academy should I lean toward more...

    Army: Infantry/Ranger/Special Forces or Intel
    Navy: SEALs or Marine Corps Infantry/MARSOC or Intel
    Air Force: SpecOps/fighter pilot or AF SpecOps (Pararescue, etc.) or Intel or Aero Engineer

    Goals: to lead others, challenge myself to push beyond limits, to be "a special breed" of military officer, serve in "field" to highest rank possible (not behind desk...besides Intel or Engineer, which are givens), become a jack of all trades, and to have traits/skills best necessary in case take second job after retire
     
  13. Arete

    Arete Candidate Appointee

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    USN v USAF - This says it all!!!

    Although I am a SWO, I've always told my son, now a plebe at the Naval Academy, sea stories about former shipmates who were Naval Aviators.

    I always ended with the following words of wisdom "Fly Navy, the Best always have!!":thumb:

    Bob Norris is a former naval aviator who also did a three year exchange tour flying the F-15 Eagle. He is now an accomplished author of entertaining books about US Naval Aviation including “Check Six” and “Fly-Off”. In response to a letter from an aspiring fighter pilot on which military academy to attend, Bob replied with the following:

    Young Man,

    Congratulations on your selection to both the Naval and Air Force Academies. Your goal of becoming a fighter pilot is impressive and a fine way to serve your country. As you requested, I’d be happy to share some insight into which service would be the best choice. Each service has a distinctly different culture. You need to ask yourself “Which one am I more likely to thrive in?”

    USAF Snapshot: The USAF is exceptionally well organized and well run. Their training programs are terrific. All pilots are groomed to meet high standards for knowledge and professionalism. Their aircraft are top-notch and extremely well maintained. Their facilities are excellent. Their enlisted personnel are the brightest and the best trained. The USAF is homogenous and macro. No matter where you go, you’ll know what to expect, what is expected of you, and you’ll be given the training & tools you need to meet those expectations. You will never be put in a situation over your head. Over a 20-year career, you will be home for most important family events. Your Mom would want you to be an Air Force pilot…so would your wife. Your Dad would want your sister to marry one.

    Navy Snapshot:
    Aviators are part of the Navy, but so are Black shoes (surface warfare) and bubble heads (submariners). Furthermore, the Navy is split into two distinctly different Fleets (West and East Coast). The Navy is heterogeneous and micro. Your squadron is your home; it may be great, average, or awful. A squadron can go from one extreme to the other before you know it. You will spend months preparing for cruise and months on cruise. The quality of the aircraft varies directly with the availability of parts. Senior Navy enlisted are salt of the earth; you’ll be proud if you earn their respect. Junior enlisted vary from terrific to the troubled kid the judge made join the service. You will be given the opportunity to lead these people during your career; you will be humbled and get your hands dirty. The quality of your training will vary and sometimes you will be over your head. You will miss many important family events. There will be long stretches of tedious duty aboard ship. You will fly in very bad weather and/or at night and you will be scared many times. You will fly with legends in the Navy and they will kick your *** until you become a lethal force. And some days – when the scheduling Gods have smiled upon you – your jet will catapult into a glorious morning over a far-away sea and you will be drop-jawed that someone would pay you to do it. The hottest girl in the bar wants to meet the Naval Aviator. That bar is in Singapore.

    Bottom line, son, if you gotta ask…pack warm & good luck in Colorado.

    PS Air Force pilots wear scarves and iron their flight suits.
     
  14. attacklax17

    attacklax17 Prospective

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    I'm not going to try to be like everyone else who will shoot you down when you say Special Ops. But they are extremely, EXTREMELY hard to do. I had my heart set on it two or three years ago and everyone just told me I'd never make it. This was potentially a good thing though, because it made me consider other fields, and I realized being a pilot was a better choice for me. I'm not saying you can't, but if you do, just go in with your heart and everything else and crush it! From what you wrote after "goals:", it sounds like you've got your mind in the right state. But who knows, my dreams are still changing while getting ready to apply next year, so yours might too. :biggrin: Just don't let people say you can't do it!
    Read: Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell, its about the SEALs in Afghanistan. hands down the best book I've ever read. Got a lot more respect for them after reading it.

    To the original poster: I'd say if your not too locked onto one field but want leadership options, go to USNA. Marines, SEALs, Aviation, Subs, Surface warfare.. That is a lot of options and inside each category is more sub categories. The AFA, as said above, is basically Aviation vs. Desk.
    For me, I'm one of those biased USNA people, so for me the choice is easier. Ask some friends or recruiters what they know about the two for a day-to-day basis. The academics will be similar but lifestyle outside of the classroom may be different. (location, people, summer work).
    Hope it helped, somehow =]
    -al17


    PS

    "Bottom line, son, if you gotta ask…pack warm & good luck in Colorado.

    PS Air Force pilots wear scarves and iron their flight suits. "

    hahahaha, that made my day
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
  15. goldfarb1

    goldfarb1 Candidate

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    As long as you are not medically disqualified, you will not get intel. Graduating from an SA requires you go unrestricted line, and if I am not mistaken, intel is restricted line.

    If you are seriously looking for a combat oriented career...AFA is not going to be your strongest bet. As an officer you will not be a PJ, they have officers that organize the missions, but officers do not go on the PJ mission. Obviously there are officers that fly the helicpoters to drop the PJs, but I'd imagine that is extremely competitive. AF does have combat weather and forward air controller, look into that...unsure on officer opportunities there.

    I would push you towards USNA and USMA.

    USMA is going to have more options as far as special operations go. Army, you have rangers and SF (Speaking of going rangers from WP, look into the documentary "Brothers at War"). Army also has the elite infantry units, 82nd, etc.

    USNA will have SEALS/SWCC, EOD, and pilots that fly the AIRRs. Not sure the oppurtunities for officers as far as combat diving goes. Then you also have all the Marine options. Marine infantry, Force Recon (unsure about USNA to force), regular recon, and I'm sure there are a few more.

    I notcied that you had listed Aero Engineer. If you are interested in engineering look into Combat Engineers...Army and USMC both have 'em. That would blend your two interests together.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
  16. 2012Cadet

    2012Cadet Member

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    That's exactly why I am also considering other possible fields...as for others, I never let them get to me when they say I can't do something, so okay there. As for Lone Survivor, I agree...it's an amazing book.

    I thought the restricted/unrestricted lines were only for Navy (and USN only)? As for AFA, really if I went there it would be because I didn't get into Navy/Army, and I'd probably want to be pilot or intel. I also, from what have seen/heard, I've noticed that USMA has more chances for combat training during summers, as well as more combat oriented extracurriculars and opportunities. However, USNA does have more options I'm considering and would give me flexibility if I changed my mind (combat arms and intel at USMA vs. pilot (plane), intel (if accept USMC ground), USMC combat arms, SEALs at USNA).

    If I did become a combat engineer, I'd want to be a sapper leader in the front. Does USMC have sapper leaders?
     
  17. goldfarb1

    goldfarb1 Candidate

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    Woops, my bad you're right. Unrestricted line is for USNA.

    As for USMA vs. USNA for combat/flying...its a tough one. They both provide excellent options...it's really a question of which service you want to join. I do think USNA provides great flexibility, since it provides two routes for flying (USMC and Navy). And then you have the combat branches of both navy and USMC. I think the question would come down to...what are your long term career goals? Do you want to live a Navy/Marine life? Or an Army life?

    Yes, USMC has sappers. However, a USMC sapper is a bit different than an Army sapper. A USMC sapper is a combat engineer attatched to an infantry unit. While an Army sapper is one who earned the tab going through the 28-30 day (I think?) course. Another difference is that an army sapper may not be an engineer by MOS. For example an infantryman can earn the sapper tab. While a USMC sapper is a combat engineer. Basically, what I'm trying to get at is that sapper is defined differently in each branch.

    As a USMC combat engineer, what you do depends largely on what unit you are assigned too. If you are attatched to an infantry unit, plan on dealing with IED's, mines, blowing up doors, etc...However, you may also be assigned to other types of units, where you could be constructing an airfield in the middle of a recently captured hotspot.
     
  18. 1964BGO

    1964BGO Member

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    Not only does USNA open doors to more career fields; eg, SWO, Navy Air, Subs, Marine Ground, Marine Air, etc, they all also have viable access to star/flag rank. Also consider that the Navy/Marines do tend to be the tip of the spear due to their highly mobile nature. In August of 1991 my older son was on the Independence headed to Australia when Hussein invaded Kuwait; within a few days he was at the Straits of Hormuz joining up with another birdfarm ready to go into the gulf. A down side: the amount of time on deployment.

    Also, interested in getting into the space program? NAVY has had more grads in the astronaut program than any other school in the US.

    All said and done, candidates should weigh their choices carefully as they will have to live with them.

    Best wishes to all candidates, and patience to their parents... it's just really getting started!
     
  19. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    I agree with everything above - and I was a Naval Aviator.

    As far as academies are concerned, the Naval Academy is better. The Air Force Academy is isolated and dreary. It's almost 7 miles to the front gate and another 7 miles to town. The Naval Academy is picturesque and nestled within the quaint town of Annapolis. You don't even need a car.

    However, once you graduate, you will discover that the Navy is far more arduous than the Air Force - especially if you have a girlfriend or plan to get married in the near future. The Navy is the military's "away team". The Air Force is the "home team."

    Carrier operations for an aviator is more of a religious experience than a flying experience. It's something you never totally get used to. In fact, the older, more experienced pilots are sometimes more intimidated by the prospect of flying at night than the younger, less-experienced guys. Why? Answer: The younger, less-experienced pilots have not scared themselves enough times to develop the necessary appreciation for the experience. They will. And then they'll understand and have the requisite fear.

    Being based in Germany is a lot better than bopping around on the ocean for 6 months. Going out to sea only sounds glamorous. In reality, with the exception of an occasion postcard quality sunset, it is mostly monotonous. The "charm" of the ocean wears away very quickly.

    Water, water, every where,
    And all the boards did shrink ;
    Water, water, every where,
    Nor any drop to drink.

    (The Rime of the Ancient Mariner)
     
  20. MomoftheMagik

    MomoftheMagik Member

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    Thank you for that insight, Arete.

    Kirbinator and 2012: Four generations of my family have been Navy. While I have great admiration and respect for all the armed forces, my heart has always been for the Navy as well. When my father-in-law, a retired Air Force Colonel, bomber pilot and veteran said to my son, "If you want to fly, Fly Navy!", that was all I needed to steer my kids in that direction.

    As for spec ops...obviously it is tough, and who would want it to be otherwise considering the job they have to do? If it is really what you want, go for it, but it has to be REALLY what you want, or you will not make it. Even then, there is no guarantee it will work out. My son had to be dropped from SEAL training due to an old hip/leg injury. He was told he could try again in two years, but he's not sure he will ever be healed enough to make it. In spite of the fact that he was the fastest swimmer in his division, could max out the sit ups and usually max out the push ups, the constant running gave him trouble. There are no shortcuts or exceptions in SEAL training. You also have to be mentally and emotionally strong because, to put it mildly, the trainers are not exactly push-overs. :rolleyes:

    Finally, you need to understand that, if you decide to go spec ops but wash out, you will still be in the military and will have to take on whatever job they have available for you. I know former SEAL candidates in all kinds of different Navy careers, some are happy, some not so much. It is just something you have to be prepared to face. Obvioulsy not one of those young men went into training thinking he would wash out. As for my son, he got really lucky. An officer heard him sing and sponsored him to audition for vocalist. He graduates from the School of Music next week...but in two years, he'll probably go for Spec Ops again, though this time it may be Diver or Rescue Swimmer.

    That's a lot to process. I wish you well with whatever decision you make. Congratulations on the success you have achieved so far!!

    GoNavy:cool:
     

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