US Military Academies rank/insignia compatibility with the rest of the force?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by BrianReed, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. BrianReed

    BrianReed Candidate

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    Do ranks held by the cadets/midshipmen at the various US federal military academies hold any weighting in perspective to the rest of the military force? ie. Would a Cadet 2nd Lieutenant at the AFA be 'superior' to an E-2 Airman?
     
  2. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I believe that AR 600-20 place the precedence of the "rank" of Cadet immediately below that of WO1 (Warrant Officer 1). I would strongly disabuse you of the misconception that you have in fact any rank. You are a Cadet (or Midshipman)- in reality you are a soldier/sailor/Airman in training with no command authority or responsibility and I sure would not expect in your shoes to get any more than the courtesy due any other person in uniform from E1 on up. There are some times that you may be put in a position while training to stand supervised watches or act as a temporary platoon leader and you would be due the courtesies expected of someone in those positions, but if you are standing on your perceived "rank" as a Cadet- my prediction is that you will have a short and unpleasant career when you do get to the exalted rank of 2Lt/Ensign. My opinion, but at this point in your career- while your mother may think that you are a budding Patton or Nimitz, the rest of the military world will see you as a college kid in uniform. You would be well advised to act accordingly and let your overall stellar performance while in summer training convince them that you deserve respect rather than be standing on some technicality of a regulation.
     
  3. SubSquid

    SubSquid Member

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    BZ Bruno. I recall those high and mighty Mids on summer cruise that thought they rated salutes from blue jackets. Yes, your are correct that those same Mids thought they were hot stuff when they pinned on the butter bars. Reality can be very rude.
     
  4. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

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    True story that I thought was funny: A couple of years ago, the USNA Women's Glee Club was on fall tour over Veteran's Day weekend in Chicago. Plebes were allowed to go on tour, but they were required to wear whites while the upper classes were allowed to wear civvies during liberty. As a group of Mids walked down one street, an E-1 from great Lakes came the other way. He saw what looked like officer uniforms, so he threw his best salute. The Plebes started muttering that they didn't rate receiving a salute, but the upper class Mids muttered back, "Salute anyway. He's trying to do what he thinks is right." Those Plebes gave back their sharpest salutes, but all weekend they were reminded not to get big heads over it!
     
  5. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Once upon a time, a cadet came to the unit for CTLT. He sat down in tue maintenance office and confidently told the various warrant officers that he was "laid back" and that they didn't have to call him sir in the office. He further told them that he only cared if they saluted him when other soldiers were around. Following this, he put his feet up on the desk and wanted to start BSing. At that moment a CW2 flew across the room, slapped his feet off the desk, and deftly informed him that he didn't outrank a single person in the room, and his first job would be to hold every warrant's helmet bag during preflight.

    Be careful how you approach your "rank."
     
  6. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    I can't help but think back to a couple examples that solidified the relationship of cadets and the "active force" to me.

    When my class graduated, one of my classmates during his interview with the commandant was asked: "So cadet, what do you plan to do when you report to your first assignment?" (he was going non-rated).

    He answered: "Sir, I'm going to find an old Chief Master Sergeant and go to work for him and learn my job." This was received not very well by the BGen who said: "Son, you'll be an officer, you outrank the chief and he'll work for you."

    My classmate smiled and said: "Yessir." And later told us that when he got to his first base, he did precisely what he said he would and learned his job MUCH faster and was on the "fast track" because his NCO's took him under THEIR wing because he respected THEM.

    The other was my own. I learned as a young dependant that while officers have nice uniforms, medals, etc...etc...that the enlisted force does most of the work and without them...my father and grandfather insisted I know this. And USAFA had a great summer program: Operation NONCOM. You went to a base and worked as a junior airman for the entire program. I roomed with an E-3 and worked on the flightline doing aircraft maintenance. Dirty, hot, hard, smelly, you name it, that was the job. I might have bitc**d a lot about it like one of my classmates but...Dad and Granddad's voice rang in the head...so I shut my mouth and opened my ears and did what I could to help.

    The last week...I was told to preflight a C-141 for an overseas trip. That's a LONG preflight...but I did as I was told, being followed by a fully qualified crewchief of course. The last item to check was the fuel tanks. To do that you have this long pole with a bottle on the end. You insert the pole into a slot on the bottom of the wing, push up and a rubber seal prevents the fuel from flowing anywhere except the bottle.

    I didn't check the bottle for the rubber seal. Can you picture what happened? :eek:

    After the fire truck completely foamed me down (funny thing, that truck just happened to be nearby) I was told "...Steve...you're okay for a zoomie..."

    Years later...when I was a young captain and was working in the wing HQ...one day I wore my ring. And the Wing Chief saw it and said (and I treasure this comment)...

    "OH CAPTAIN...you're a ZOOMIE? Man...but...you're NORMAL?!"

    Don't think the academy ring or title gives you anything at all...be humble, with silent mouth and gaping ears...it'll serve you well.

    Rank can be granted, respect must be earned.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  7. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

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    tpg: My Mid has been fortunate to have two USMC Gunnery Sergeants as her company Senior Enlisted Leaders while at USNA. They (and others, of course) have had a tremendous amount of influence in her development.

    You're not working Leatherneck this summer, are you??????
     
  8. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    TPG
    As per my prior Mid and now 2LT. The "Gunnys" at USNA are the best. Met a few and they were very professional. It was their influence that made her decide MC. Hope you get to talk to some of those young TBS Marines. They sometimes need a wake-up call from someone who has been there and done that. They are dedicated and Gung-Ho but sometimes need to throttle back a bit.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2011
  9. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Not sure if something changed in the last 10 years, but while I was still on active duty, an academy cadet or ROTC cadet had no rank or stature equal to the active duty. They were below E-1. We were always told to be polite and everything, but that they weren't officers or enlisted, they were college students. They weren't officially on active duty. Just like a cadet who doesn't graduate, with more than 2 years, they have to serve as an enlisted. I believe they start as an E-3. (Just like a normal enlisted with SOME prior college starts as an E-3).

    Now; did we have a couple of cadets who thought they were all that and a bag of chips??? Yes, but luckily there are very few of them.

    On a side note; as an enlisted person, enlisted generally have a much higher regard for Academy Grads than ROTC and OTS officers. Are there exceptions to all rules? Yes. But most enlisted has found 3 things about academy grads that usually impress us. 1) Normally; it takes a very special person to receive an appointment to the academy. We respect that. 2) The academy is 24/7, just like the "Real Military". You learned real team work. You learned real service before self. Not just a couple classes a week; or a 6 week BCT via OTS. 3) Half of academy grads are rated officers, and they're a different breed all themselves.

    Are there the JERKS out of the academies like "Major Powers" (Heartbreak Ridge)? Yes. Fortunately, most of them don't make it all the way up the food chain unless they change their attitude. Any officer in a position of command, has a very difficult job. Getting the mission done while maintaining the respect for their position by those they command. An O-1/2 might out rank an E-7/8/9, and the O-6 won't slam the O-1/2 in front of the enlisted; but you can bet you salary that if the E-7/8/9 tells the O-6+ their opinion/position on a matter, and the O-1/2 doesn't agree and has their own opinion, which way the O-6+ is going to go. But like Steve said, when the new butter bar comes in and humbly want to learn their job and be the best they can, so they can better command the enlisted force, the enlisted respect that. I've seen some really outstanding OER's and fast tracts because the young officer really did care about learning the "Real Job" and taking care of their people.
     
  10. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    I spent two summers doing what Steve describes (Operation Air Force) as well as many short stints whether in research or other trips. I had a large variety of reactions in terms of how to view us. Really ranged the scale. I had one group adamant that we would be called LT while with them and treated as such in terms of vocal respect and courtesy but of course defer to the skills of the people around us when we work and I've also just blended into the enlisted groups.

    When I was a rising 3 dig I worked at Davis-Monthan for 3 weeks in the life-support shop. I got to learn how (and did it) to pack the parachutes for the PJs with some E-5s and below. I went to PT with them, interacted, worked, followed, etc. as if I was about the same rank. Really cool experience that most officers don't have a chance to see. Was nice to integrate and learn their side of the world.

    Later on I was in a shop (upperclassman time period) and in a squadron where the senior enlisted were explicit that we were referred to as Lts and called sir/ma'am. We still learned jobs from them, followed them around, and had a blast while being treated as an officer would. That was a great experience too!

    All in all, I had wonderful exposure to the enlisted outside of USAFA. I never once tried to play the rank game. Never necessary since courtesy and respect went a long way with everyone. As a result, I made some good contacts, learned a lot, had fun, and got to see some of the "real" AF a bit in the meantime.

    :thumb:
     
  11. DHinNH

    DHinNH USMA 1989

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    You were mistaken. Bruno correctly summarized service academy cadets (and mishipmen) position in the rank structure in the second post in this thread. And they most certainly are on active duty.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011

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