question for cadet parents

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by jobee, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. jobee

    jobee New Member

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    My almost 16 yr. old son is showing interest in joining CG. I would like to hear from the moms out there your feelings when your son enlisted, how satisfied/dissatisfied they are with their decision. I feel my son needs to know all the details before persuing this. Thanks for any feedback.

    JoBee
     
  2. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    If they are cadets' parents, their sons/daughters did not enlist. Are you talking about the Coast Guard Academy or enlistment (for which the training is at Training Center Cape May, NJ)?
     
  3. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    jobee; your question is a little vague. This forum is predominantly for the service academies. So, can I assume that when you use the word "enlisted"; you're meaning applying to and getting accepted to a military academy. And then after graduating, having a 5 year military commitment as a military officer??? If so, then I'd be happy to give some opinions on how I and my wife felt about our son applying and attending the Air Force academy. It's not Coast Guard, but as a parent, it's the same feelings. Let me sort of make these as points to seem more organized and not just a parent rambling on.

    1. As with your son, the vast majority of those that apply and get accepted into a military academy, has had this as a desire for a while. It isn't usually something they wake up during their senior year of high school and say; "Hey, let's go to the academy". The application process is close to a year long. For those who also applied to summer seminar prior to their senior year of high school, the process was at least 18 months long. That's definitely not something that was done without having some thought and consideration. For that; I have to truly respect my son's desire and determination.

    2. Getting accepted to a military academy is in line academically and with the prestige to that of an Ivy league type school; along with it's peers such as Stanford, Brown, MIT, Purdue, etc... The academies are not some sort of school you apply to because you couldn't get accepted into another school. The average attendance is around 14% of those that applied. That is in line with some of the most prestigious schools in the country. So, academically, getting accepted and receiving an appointment to a military academy, was equal to getting accepted to Harvard, Yale, Brown, USC, Stanford, etc...

    3. Without exception; those who are accepted to a military academy, had the grades and determination to get accepted to some of the finest schools in the country. Many of them were the Ivy League and similar that I mentioned above. My son personally was accepted to 6 other schools. 4 with scholarships. 2 with 100% full ride scholarships. Some of these schools were Michigan State, USC, Tulane, and others. So, for my son to give up 100% full rides, (in the case of Michigan State a 110% ride because it included a monthly stipend for spending money), and choose the Air Force Academy; means he must have definitely wanted it. Again, I can definitely respect such a thought out decision. One of the other schools would have definitely been the easy way out. And when your kid goes his entire 13 years of school K-12 with a 4.0 gpa and #1 class ranking; you really expect him to go to one of the Ivy League type or private schools. And when you get those types of offers, and he still wants the Air Force Academy, we had to respect that.

    4. When he told us that his desire is the air force academy; that he WON'T apply to any other academy; and that ALL OTHER schools was going to be his BACKUP; that also made me realize that he really wanted it. He was also a football player in high school. And other schools were willing to talk football. And he knew that the academy has so many players trying out for the team, that he might not get to stay on the team at Air Force. He said he'd rather go to Air force and NEVER play football again, than to go to "X" university and play football. Again, I have to respect such a thought out position.

    5. And in our unique situation, I spent 21 years in the Air Force. My son was born in Spain on an Air Force base. My daughter was born in Texas at an Air Force Base. The Air Force is what our family was. And even though my son was 10 years old when I retired, he understood and knew what the Air Force was all about. He remembers me leaving to go to the desert and "Play War". He understand. Therefor, I have to respect his decision as well thought out.

    Now; I and my wife combine all the things I wrote above, and we realize that this is obviously something he really wanted. Now I knew that a lot could happen in his senior year of high school. He could change his mind at any time. (A teenager's prerogative). Plus; as the school applications go out for early acceptance, his mind might change as the offers came in. I.e. #3 above. Well, he did get all the college applications done early. Before September actually. The thing is however, was that he finished his entire Air Force Academy Application by July 19th. 100%, to include medical, CFA, recommendations, etc... It was totally complete. Now we knew that it was possible that he would have to wait until March to find out. Well, he found out about all 6 schools by October. And he received his Appointment to the Air Force Academy the first week of November; on a Saturday. And he accepted that appointment and had it back in the mail on Monday morning. So, there was no doubt in our mind that this is what he really wanted. It's what we NEEDED to support. We are very satisfied with his decision. It was well thought out; rational; not impulsive; and not because of a "Lack of Choices" but rather the choice that he wanted above others. Yes, we are satisfied.

    As a parent, am I a bit scared of the possibilities for the future???? Yes I am. I have been there. I know EXACTLY what he can possibly expect and the possible dangers. And I also remember my mom and dad's response when I did the exact same thing and left when I was 17 years old. They too were scared for me. They wanted me safe. But they knew that I had to do what I had to do. Their only request (Because I was under age); was that I only go Air Force or Navy because she thought it would be safer, plus we lost a few relatives/friends in Vietnam, Korea, WWII, etc... in the Army. So I agreed. (Boy was she shocked when she found out about Grenada, Libya, Panama, etc... LOL).

    But there are no guarantees in life. I had a close friend die drowning in High School. I had a military friend die from cancer. My best friend in the military died because she and her boyfriend were driving drunk; and I live with that pain every day for not stopping them or doing something; and yet equally scared because I was just as drunk and I and my wife survived. And yes, there were some places doing military duties that I've been to where not everyone came back. It is tough. Life is short. Life has no guarantees. All I can say is that you have to do what it is you dream of. Cherish each day. If this is what your son wants today; and tomorrow; and after the process; and on the day he walks through those doors; then support him. As long as it's a thought out decision, that's all you can ask. And unfortunately, our country is the greatest country on the face of the earth, because of the men and women who are/were/will be willing to do EXACTLY what I, others, my son, your son, and so on are doing. It's a necessary risk that our country requires. "Freedom ISN'T FREE".

    The good thing is that the academies allow a 2 year out option. If in the first 2 years, your son decides that maybe this isn't what he thought. That it isn't what it's all cracked up to be. He is free to leave at any time in those first 2 years. He doesn't owe them anything. He doesn't have to spend time in the military. He is free to leave.

    Anyway; sorry for writing a book. You asked a simple question in 3 sentences, but it wasn't possible to answer it in 3 sentences. For many who go this route, it is years of desire. It is a parent watching for 18 years and hoping that their child gets OPTIONS. Then when they do have options, you wonder if they'll choose the "Right One". But the right one has to be right for them. Not for us. Best of luck to you and your family. Later.... Mike.....
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2009
  4. jobee

    jobee New Member

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    Christcorp

    Thank you for a very eloquent reply to my question. My son unfortunately does not have the grades to enter the academy, so I now understand that he would have to enlist (I'm a bit green about all the details). I would absolutely support my son in whatever decision he makes, it is after all, his life. It's just nice to get a feel from other parents as to what they are experiencing. Thank you again.
     

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