Recurring Topic: USMMA to Active Duty

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by FALgarand, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. FALgarand

    FALgarand Member

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    Thanks in advance for the thoughtful advice. The many previous threads addressing this topic contain a range of the anecdotal: "KP is a great springboard to AD" to "KP is a poor springboard to AD"; but also some empirical: 18 of 35 applicants received AD appointment, and 21% of 2012 graduating class to serve AD.

    1. Is the sentiment of those believing KP is a weak or inappropriate path to AD based on (a) a bias favoring the merchant service, (b) the KP pedagogy/curriculum/culture; (c) a bias on the part of the military branches against KP; (d) something else? Let's presume that attending another SA is not an option.
    2. All other factors being equal (e.g. academics and leadership assessment), is an AD appointment more difficult to achieve out of KP than out of ROTC? Is the seemingly low (50% quoted by one poster a year ago) appointment rate comparable to ROTC in recent times? Or is that rate attributable to other factors such as branch of service chosen?

    My son and I have read the old threads and they're not entirely clarifying, especially the varying range of opinions. He wishes to attend KP, but doesn't want to unreasonably handicap his chances of AD should that be an option he wants to pursue upon graduation.
     
  2. USN1991AZ

    USN1991AZ Member

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    First I think it depends on which branch of ROTC. My husband and I both were NROTC grads on a scholarship many years ago and everyone who completed the four year program got an AD commission. It is (as far as my understanding) still that way today. You may not get your first, second or even third choice (pilot, SWO, etc) for what you do when you get in however. If you are not on scholarship (college program) I do not know what your chances are.

    My DS has a NROTC and AFROTC scholarship and the AF path is different. (Again, this is my understanding). Students go to a board after their soph year - even if they are on scholarship - to determine if they will continue on to a receive a commission.Not all are afforded the opportunity. In addition, in recent years, some AFROTC grads were offered the chance to NOT serve. They got their school paid for and could walk away if they wished. (Heard this anecdotally from two NROTC students at U of Arizona last year).

    As far as Kings Point is concerned, we went to a parent lunch in Jan and this is the info we received: historically, about 25% of grads go on to serve in the military. The number of spots varies from year to year. Most of these spots are in the Navy. Many of these spots are for Naval Aviation (either pilot or NFO). A couple of years ago they had Marine pilot spots for the taking. Army and AF comissions tend to be more limited. If you want to be an AF pilot, Kings Point is not the place for you as no one could remember an AF pilot spot being available. I think it's hard to predict because the percentage of students wanting to go active duty varies, and the number of slots varies from year to year.

    Students should probably have a strong desire to serve in the maritime industry if the are unable to serve on AD.

    I know my DS is also trying to make the best decision as well, so I too would love any additional info that people have to share!
     
  3. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    With regard to how KP grads are seen in the Active Duty military, I cannot comment, but there are other alumni that have taken that track and can comment. I was told while there that a KP grad that goes AD will be considered as a grad from a ROTC program because KP IS a NROTC program. The primary mission of KP is to graduate deck and engine officers to serve in the US merchant marine. That is what the training is geared to do. It IS a maritime academy, not a military one. Yes, there are ample opportunities in the military, but it is not the primary mission.
     
  4. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    Most undergrad programs and all academies are pedagogical in nature so that has nothing to do with it. You typically don’t find an andogogical approach until grad school.

    That being said … there is no bias per se in selection as “we don’t take KPers”, but keep in mind that each military service has its own academy which serves as its primary commissioning source. The number of slots KP gets each year varies and is solely a numbers game based on the accessions and separations for the specific branch. You may have a run of a lot of slots for one branch for several years and then the slots seem to disappear while a different branch suddenly starts seeing a lot of slots. There is no way to project out 4-5 years from now. Its not weak, its just not guaranteed. Its not inappropriate although some alumni take umbrage at kids who see KP as a second rate fall back which they will grace with their presence on their way to a bright and glorious future on Active Duty. It kind of sends the message that I’m too good for the Maritime Industry which is the purpose of your academy but I’ll use your academy to get what I want for me because I can’t get it through the typical path.

    Getting AD isn’t the necessarily difficult, it’s getting the AD slot of your choice that may be difficult. This again is strictly a numbers game. The number of slots changes every year, the number of applicants changes every year and the qualifications of those applicants changes every year. Your son may be a slam dunk stellar applicant one year and not even close the next.

    The only impact attending KP would have is that AD won’t be guaranteed, you have to apply whereas as the other SAs you have to apply to NOT go AD. Whether he gets it or not, will depend more on what he does while at KP than just being from KP.
     
  5. FALgarand

    FALgarand Member

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    Thank you for the thoughtful comments.

    To my understanding, this is universally true for all SA and ROTC grads seeking certain AD slots. My question is a bit different: whether that "numbers game" is different for a KP grad than an ROTC grad when all other factors are equal.

    Is such a hostile perception common at KP or among KP alumni? Perhaps such umbrage would be more fairly directed at the USMMA administration for prominently promoting AD as an option to prospective applicants, and at Congress for enabling it in the first place?
     
  6. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    How the powers that be determine the exact number of various AD slots that KP gets vs. StateU I don’t know. I believe it is specific to each service and their HR/Manpower weenies so it very well may be different for KP than ROTC bit it is a numbers game that would be far beyond your control as a M/N. Once those slots are given specifically to KP than you are only competing against your KP classmates and not ROTC writ large.

    I wouldn’t necessarily say “hostile” but I could only say how common it is amongst the alumni that I know and interact with. And yes, the feelings are directed towards the administration far more than towards any prospective students. From what I have seen, kids with an attitude are given an opportunity to see the error of their ways before any ire is directed.
     
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  7. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    I have never heard of someone wanting an AD slot out of KP and not getting it. I agree that getting the exact slot you want isn't as easy to predict.

    I've seen some pretty awesome "deals" coming out of KP including a classmate who knew exactly what platform he was going to fly before even signing on the dotted line (C-5 by the way) because they lined it up with an ANG unit that only flew that aircraft. I thought that was a pretty sweet deal that I've never seen out of USxA.

    My opinion is that your chance of AD is better out of KP than ROTC.

    The anti-active crowd is mostly based on a group of years where it seemed every other grad was going active duty (particularly USMC). Those times have passed and the grads that are upset are, in general, the same grads that didn't have nearly the scrutiny of their "maritime job" that current grads have. The reporting rules were a joke for many years and over the last 15 years or so have become much more stringent. At one time they denied almost every request to work shore-side.
     
  8. Mman5247

    Mman5247 Member

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    Ironically many USNA rejects who come to KP are the ones who change their mind about active duty. And the candidates who choose KP but have not considered active duty often are the ones who end up AD.

    My observation is that the hostility you sense is more on this discussion board. I have not heard these strong feelings or controversy anywhere else (except maybe gCaptain, but I swore that off awhile ago).
     
  9. FALgarand

    FALgarand Member

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    Makes sense. What do 18 year olds know? Mine did not apply to USNA specifically to keep the option open between AD and the maritime industry, even pondering a future in naval architecture.
     
  10. Mom517

    Mom517 Member

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    REJECT?! Really?! "Harsh R" as my kids would say. My DS applied to both, heard from KP first and has accepted his appointment. He did not get in to USNA. I do not believe he would be considered a "reject". The service academy's are like Harvard or MIT, everyone applying is the cream of the crop, and not everyone can be admitted. I did focus on the word you used, but I do agree with the rest of your statement
     
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  11. MMA19kid

    MMA19kid Member

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    This is definitely not true. I could point to KP's 30% attrition rate...I mean really, the class of 2017 got decimated. There are fewer than 150 in the class now. They started with ~230. And that's business as usual at KP.
     
  12. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Maybe I read his post wrong but I don't think they were implying everyone there was a reject or even people who subsequently didn't get into USNA are rejects. Rather there are a handful of people who use KP as a backup, as opposed to the others who think of them on equal terms when applying. Those who use it as a backup I would consider "rejects" and agree with his experience that many realize they don't want to go AD after all.
     
  13. Mman5247

    Mman5247 Member

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    "Backup" would of been a better choice of words. Reject was just a shorthand. Sorry!

    The attrition rate has nothing to do with this topic. There are many reasons (some good, some not so good) for disenrollment or setback or resignation. The numbers for those who are disenrolled for academic reasons has been on the decline.
     
  14. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    I was one of those that did not initially set out on the path to attend KP. I was always fascinated by flight and wanted to go to Colorado Springs. It was during my initial phase of contacting my MOC that I was offered the option of the other Academies. Frankly, I had never heard of the USMMA until the day I got the form to fill out. I put it down as No. 3 of my preferences, behind Colorado Springs and Annapolis. This was during my junior year of high school. As I made my way through the process, I spent a lot of time at both AF bases in the Sacramento area (gone now) for the DoDMERB stuff. Not sure it was called that then, but same thing. Had a full flight physical at Mather AFB. Quite a day, yet I digress. The more time I was spending around military facilities, the less attractive that kind of life seemed to the 17/18 year old me. I was nominated to all three, but only accepted at KP. To be honest, the idea of using KP at that point to get into the AF or Navy was not an option I wanted to follow, even on that first day of Indoc. Some of my classmates did well in the service. One was the captain of a boomer for some time. Another was an NFO on Prowler during the first Gulf War, sent in on the first wave. . . great stories there. . . As stated above, I think that most of the hostility, if any, is from alumni and others that view an AD career as a waste of maritime training. There was certainly no hostility at school about those that were on a military track. Personally, I felt that it was one less guy in the Union hall that I had to throw in against to get a berth. . . .
     
  15. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    Reject (noun) - a person or thing dismissed as failing to meet standards or satisfy tastes.

    So if USNA did not accept you how are you not a USNA reject? The 2014 USNA acceptance rate was 7.9% so about 92% applicants are “rejects”. The 92nd percentile isn’t a bad group to be in.

    If one is to attend KP, I suggest learning to own other peoples attempted slights and wear it with pride. It is what sets KPers apart
     
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  16. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Trophies for all!
     
  17. Mom517

    Mom517 Member

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    Oh, STOP IT! Seriously I'm the last parent who has ever told my kids that they deserve something just because they showed up. The recurring theme on all of these SA forums is people who get on to either hear themselves talk or they just want to be jerks because they can do it anonymously. If questions are answered and opinions are given with constructive criticism in mind that is one thing, but darn straight I have a problem with the name calling, and the belittling, and then telling us we should have thicker skins because life is full of idiots that we will always need to deal with. I'm sure there is a Trump forum around here somewhere.
     
  18. MMA19kid

    MMA19kid Member

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    Tell your son that he'd better develop a thick skin, because upperclassmen and plebes alike will not hesitate to belittle him and call him names. It's an enigma, on one hand I've never met a kinder select group of people, on the other hand, I've never met a more abrasive group of people who will take every opportunity to belittle you. But of course, it becomes camaraderie and all in good fun. Some people though, just abrasive.
     
  19. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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  20. MMA19kid

    MMA19kid Member

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    Jesus, this is so true. I guess some things never change.
     

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