Officers after USMA v. Offices after ROTC/Senior Military College

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by gridironkid, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. gridironkid

    gridironkid Member

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    My guts are telling me that there is no way I can get into West Point, despite the fact that I work hard at my community college I am terrible at the standardized tests. To make matters worse I live in the most competitive county in the U.S. (Fairfax, VA) I have been denied once already and have gone for it again but my file is "closed" and won't be considered for admission unless my test scores rise. I don't even care if I am considered for USMAPS since I have at least showed some dedication to my commitment. My plan B is to enlist in the reserves and be in the Simultaneous Membership Program while being in the Corps of Cadets at Va.Tech (several cadets have done this) Now, what kills me inside is that I feel that I am being mislead by people who tell me that the end result in terms of getting a commission is the same for a cadet who graduates from USMA and a cadet who graduates from Va.Tech.

    Honestly, I feel that an officer who graduated from USMA is more inclined for benefits not available to ordinary officers in the military (those who did not graduate from USMA) due to programs that help out USMA grads in their military career. Also, USMA grads tend to go through the ranks at a quicker rate than an ordinary officers why is that?--hence how most famous/high ranking officers in the Army come from USMA. Whether I join the corps or not I wish to turn the military into a career not something I join just to help pay for school, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to go to USMA--not for the "glory". Who can I trust when it comes down to the reality behind how USMA grads and ROTC officers are "treated" in their military careers (long term)? because when it comes to this part of a cadet's life, it will really help him or her get a better perspective about how their lives in the Army will be--Prosperous v. Destitute
    Thank You
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2013
  2. USAF-RETIRED

    USAF-RETIRED Member

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    Cause and Effect

    It may be that the same traits/attributes/characteristics that secured a nomination and subsequent appointment to a service academy are in fact the same traits/attributes/characteristics that make someone a successful military officer. It may NOT only be that they graduated from the service academy, but that they where the type of person/officer that the service academy believed would be successful in the armed forces.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2013
  3. gridironkid

    gridironkid Member

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    So what you are saying is that that such qualities are what determine the future success of an officer?--anyone can have such qualities even if you do ROTC. But I know there is more than this.
     
  4. AcademyFriend1

    AcademyFriend1 Member

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    Dear Gridironkid,

    It sounds like you are struggling with high levels of frustration right now. At the same time, you are making many assumptions about advantages that Academy grads have that may have been true in other eras but are not generally true now. Here's a link to an academic article that is positive in its outlook on the military academies but also gives a good sense on how well ROTC performs in the universe of officer training programs, and how much of the senior leadership in the military is often not academy-trained officers: http://www.claremont.org/publications/crb/id.1750/article_detail.asp

    It's obviously okay to be frustrated when a major dream -- attending West Point -- seems out of reach. But if you look at empirical data I think you will see that those who are telling you that other officer accession programs offer many career opportunities are giving you an accurate picture.

    Good luck to you.
     
  5. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Thanks for posting. That is an excellent article. On the plus side it mentioned my favorite battalion. I also forwarded it to my son as an example of some excellent writing (besides containing great content). Evryone concerned about ROTC as a backup plan should read this.
     
  6. runslikeajohndeere

    runslikeajohndeere Member

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    Dear Gridironkid,

    You already have a few qualities of an officer. Foresight to plan(applying to WP), desire to succeed for your career, and asking questions. DS also did not make WP out of NY candidates. Similar qualities have produced a great first semester as ROTC. These traits combined with dedication and trust in your strengths could drive a fine career.

    Best wishes,

    JD

    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  7. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    The good news for you is that you're operating under a few untrue assumptions...

    Why do SMP versus just attending VT as an ROTC cadet (scholarship or not)? Do you WANT to do SMP?

    Your gut is lying to you. A 2LT is a 2LT is a 2LT. None of you will know anything, and you'll all be laughed at and made to learn the business from the ground up.

    I must've missed these "programs" that help USMA grads in their career. I'm kidding, I didn't miss them. They don't exist. Secondly, there is no such thing as an "ordinary" officer or a "USMA" officer. There are just officers. We all stand on our individual merits.

    It's because we're taller, smarter, handsomer, and better lovers. Actually, it's completely false. USMA officers do NOT go through the ranks faster, despite pernicious rumors to the contrary. It just isn't so.

    I'm giving you 100 extra points for drama on this one. "Prosperous vs. Destitute"? Come on, man. Be serious. If you want to be treated as an adult in this discussion, be adult about it. Do you really think, even for a moment, that ROTC equates to being DESTITUTE in one's career? If so, an awful lot of flag officers with ROTC backgrounds must wonder how the hell they got where they are. I've had 7 battalion commanders in my career, plus several O6-level commanders. Thus far, one of them has been a USMA grad. One. And he wasn't even the best one.

    If you want someone to trust, ask someone who's actually in the Army. That'd be a very good start.
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    +1 Scout.

    As far as ROTC grads go have you ever heard of a guy named Colin Powell?
     
  9. GoBlue1984

    GoBlue1984 Member

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    +1 to PIMA, ScoutPilot, AcademyFriend1.

    With Christmas I've been offline but here is my take on the topic:

    The USMA does guarantee you AD. AD is not guaranteed with ROTC.

    At the USMA you get a lot of "extra stuff" you have to put up with that ROTC doesn't offer (DS calls it CR*P). I know a current Navy Seal who decided ROTC over USNA because he wanted a "normal" college life. Conclusion, ROTC still gives access to desirable/competitive MOS.'

    At USMA you have to take a bunch of classes you might not be interested in as it is a "classic" liberal arts education.

    Interacting with academy grads (I am not one) would suggest an equal percentage do a "5 and fly" as those who do out of ROTC. Living the dream may not seem as glorious as dreaming the dream.

    Living in Fairfax County, you may seem to encounter a lot of Pentagon academy grads and equate that to promotion and advancement. But your experience may be skewed by the sheer number of AD military in the area and who you encounter, as there are an equal or greater number of ROTC in the Pentagon - they just might not advertise where they went to school.

    In the end, both give equivalent commissions and the WP ribbon does not appear anywhere on the uniform.
     
  10. USAF-RETIRED

    USAF-RETIRED Member

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    I think the ribbon is worn on the finger!


    I believe the ribbon is worn on the finger!
     
  11. gridironkid

    gridironkid Member

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    Tell me if I am wrong but many Generals (the very decorated at that) the ones that have graduated from Army War College etc. seem to be the one's who hold the much higher positions. For example I have looked up a lot of Army generals and I have noticed a pattern--the one's who hold some high military office positions (ie commandants, commanders of some military institution for higher military training, ISAF, etc.) were typically USMA graduates at some point of their lives (either they 'transferred' there or went to USMA after high school) there are few Generals who went through the ROTC or OCS program after college that hold such positions. However, I am not saying it is impossible for them, its just that the majority have graduated from USMA--which makes me feel like no matter how good of an officer I am I can be beaten out by an officer who went to USMA. I know I sound childish with my argument, but I am only stating something I noticed (I look up and read about famous Army Generals when I am bored)
     
  12. gridironkid

    gridironkid Member

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    With the situation I am in (in regards to getting into USMAPS or USMA) I might have to go ROTC. I understand a West Point grad and an extraordinary student who participated in ROTC will be 2nd LTS. I am more worried about future 'advancements' in the Army that may not be available to me that is available to USMA grads. My dream has always been to be the best officer I can possibly be. I am obsessed about this to the point where I look up to Pete Dawkins, Patraeus (prior to his issue) Robert E. Lee hence why I think USMA would be a good choice because I will get the necessary training to be at their levels later on in my military career. But it looks like that 'dream' is not looking so good :mad:
     
  13. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    If you try as hard as you can like you say you are and focus on what is actually within your power to change then you shouldn't have any regrets or worries anyway. Not everyone can be the next MacArthur dude. But everyone can be the best they can. So stop worrying and just focus on the here and now.
     
  14. mmb5

    mmb5 Member

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    ... and actually, at a presentation by several recent USMA grads on the transition from academy to Army, all said they didn't wear it, and kept their USMA background very, very low-key. Colleagues and commanding officers were not necessarily from the academies, and none of the grads wanted to appear to presume privileges.
     
  15. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    You are seeing the tree, but not seeing the forest.

    Graduating from the US Army War College, or equivalent, is a requirement to become a general officer. Not all war college graduates become general officers.

    Trust us when most of us are telling you that your performance will be more important than your source of commission. It is going to take about 22 years before making a general and you become a colonel, you had real successful military career.
     
  16. USCGA_2018

    USCGA_2018 Member

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    gridironkid,

    I am a parent of a 17 and 19 year old. I am well aware of the seemingly insurmountable tasks that young people face with their education and career choices. When my own children are doing nothing but talking about the challenges they face and the barriers they are encountering, my wife and I are both quick to cut them off and encourage them to be "problem solvers".

    As other have pointed out here, you are taking the initiative. You realize the hurdle. That is more than most will even take on. Now you need to solve your problem. You may need to compromise or find a work around, but there are solutions.

    You are fortunate to be in Virginia as there are many great state schools with ROTC and not one, but two SMS schools (VPI and VMI). You mentioned being in community college, I was wondering have you been accepted into Virginia Tech? That is a task in itself, especially if you are choosing engineering.

    Does it sound as if I am coming across as a scolding parent? Good, because that is my intention. Many knowledgeable and experienced long term posters have taken the time to guide and encourage you on your journey. Take the time to reread their words and inspirational messages. I think you will find that many of their contributions deserved a simple thank you.

    Best wishes in your endeavors.
     
  17. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Alright, kiddo, apparently you just want someone to tell you you're screwed if you don't go to USMA. Fine. You're screwed. You'll never amount to anything without USMA. I don't know why we even have ROTC. It's obviously a waste. If you don't get in to USMA you should probably just find a bridge to live under.

    Satisfied? :rolleyes:

    I don't know why we even give advice. All kids want on here anymore is confirmation of their notions.
     
  18. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Robert E. Lee was a traitor, there are better generals (or admirals) to look up to. There are also a large number of non-general/flag officers to look up to. Some of the more inspiring officers I knew didn't have stars, and some officers with stars were underwhelming.
     
  19. db11usma

    db11usma Member

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    +1 Pima, great connection regarding this subject.
     
  20. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    General George Marshall
    General George Decker
    General Fred Weyland
    General Gordon Sullivan
    General Peter Schoomaker
    General George Casey
    General Colin Powell
    General Ann Dunwoody
    General Hugh Shelton
    Galen Jackman
    Lou Holtz
    Sam Walton
    Earl Graves
    James Earl Jones
    Samuel Alito
    Frank Wells
    Dean Rusk
    Nancy Currie
    Leon Panetta
    Darrell Issa
    Douglas Clayton

    This took about 5 minutes scrolling through the internet.
     

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