USAFA vs. USMMA

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by valbowman3, Apr 3, 2016.

  1. valbowman3

    valbowman3 New Member

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    I have received appointments to both the USAFA and the USMMA and am still waiting to hear back from the USNA. I'm having trouble deciding between the two and was looking for advice. I would like to know if I would have any opportunity to work with air crafts if I attend the USMMA and what possibility I would have of becoming a paratrooper at the USAFA. Thanks!
     
  2. Joos

    Joos Member

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    Sounds like you either want to fly or be a paratrooper. Know which place has both of those opportunities?

    What makes you want to attend USMMA if these are the opportunities you seek?
     
  3. valbowman3

    valbowman3 New Member

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    I like the idea of having the opportunity to join any branch after graduation with the USMMA and I would also have the opportunity to run cross country and track as I am a recruited athlete at USMMA.

    I'm torn because I am so drawn to the sea opportunities I would have at USMMA as well. I can't figure out how to decide between air and sea.
     
  4. Sneak

    Sneak Member

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    Sounds like you should apply to USNA lol
     
  5. valbowman3

    valbowman3 New Member

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    I have, I'm just waiting on a yes or no.
     
  6. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    The Air Force does not have paratroopers. The 82nd is part of the Army. There are a limited number of AF special operations jobs that require one to be jump qualified.
     
  7. FutureCadet12

    FutureCadet12 Member

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    If you get accepted to USNA, definitely go for USNA. Of course, that is, if you haven't chosen between USAFA and USMMA.
     
  8. valbowman3

    valbowman3 New Member

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    I found out today that I didn't make it into the USNA so that's out of the picture.
     
  9. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    valbowman3, have your read back some of the older threads on USMMA talking about active duty? If you enjoy the sea then USMMA is a great option. Have you really looked at the majors offered? Also at the Merchant Marine career path? Have you visited both schools?
     
  10. valbowman3

    valbowman3 New Member

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    I will be visiting both schools in a week or so. I have done some research on the majors at the USMMA but the thing that keeps bringing me back to the USAFA is the larger number of majors they have. For instance I could major in biology. I just feel as if I would like the Merchant Marine Academy more.
     
  11. valbowman3

    valbowman3 New Member

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    Is it something that most cadets generally experience, I see quite a bit about it
     
  12. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    The 5 jumps that you get in the Jump Program at USAFA do not qualify you as a paratrooper.

    Stealth_81
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  13. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    What career do you think you would enjoy more? Being an officer in the USAF? If you didn't fly, what would you want to do from there? If you didn't get the few SF billets from USAFA, what would you want to do?

    USMMA is a great school with tons of options. If you didn't go active duty, how would you feel about being a Merchant Marine? Remember that there is no way to predict what active duty spots and billets will be available 4.5 years from now. Will there be some, I am guessing yes! Will there be a USAF pilot spot? None of us know. Even if some reason there were no active duty spots that year and you could see yourself as a Merchant Mariner, then great! Sign on up!

    Really think about post SA time. What kind of life do you want? What kind of future can you see yourself with?
     
  14. FALgarand

    FALgarand Member

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    Please post about your experiences visiting the two academies when you return. There was a recent thread on the Navy forum on USAFA v. USNA, and on the USMMA forum there are threads on the USMMA-to-Active Duty option. Lots of diverse opinions, some of them very thoughtful.
     
  15. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    Might I suggest that you don't base your decision on something that will only affect 4 years of your life? I know that it sounds like a long time to you, but it is nothing compared to a lifetime.

    Choose the Academy that will allow you to do what you want to do for much of your adult life (or at least 5 years after graduating). What mission interests you the most? As a famous person (eh-hem) once said, "Whadaya wanna do with your life?"
     
  16. valbowman3

    valbowman3 New Member

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    I appreciate all of the advice offered and comments posted. I will be sure to share about my visits. Part of my problem is little knowledge of life after graduation from either academy or where their various career paths or majors can take you, besides military service of course.
     
  17. Usnavy2019

    Usnavy2019 Member

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    @valbowman3

    Firstly, congratulations on your appointments! What a good problem to have. While I am headed to USNA this summer, I applied to USMMA last year and I have a limited amount of familiarity with respect to Air Force career fields.

    Looking at your above desires (Working with aircraft/being involved with military parachuting missions), I would go to the Air Force Academy. Your summer trainings will be based around aviation (Gliders, parachuting, powered flight, etc.) and you have a lot better chance of getting a rated (aircrew...Pilot, Combat Systems Officer, Air Battle Manager, RPA Pilot) slot out of USAFA than USMMA. Historically, just about everyone who was qualified for a pilot slot (medical, conduct, etc.) and desired one was sent to Undergraduate Pilot Training. Even if you are not qualified for pilot come graduation, you still have other career fields that take an active role in aviating. Also, you can select Combat Rescue Officer out of the Academy as well. CRO's are the officer in charge of the Air Force Pararescuemen (known as PJ's) who MEDEVAC casualties from the battlefield. The are part of Air Force Special Operations and their pipeline is tough. Although they do a large part of their work utilizing the HH-60 Pave Hawk, they are still trained in parachuting and utilize it from time to time (depending on mission requirements). In other words, this is the closest thing to paratrooper the USAF and it is pretty close. The only difference is that CRO's and PJ's are on the ground for as long as it takes to get casualties loaded, while Army paratroopers parachute in and then fight.

    On to USMMA:

    USMMA's main mission is to produce Merchant Marine Officers that serve as licensed deck officers and marine engineers aboard ships of the United States Merchant Marine. The Merchant Marine includes all U.S. flagged ships that are used for commerce (passenger and cargo) and government operations (Military Sealift Command mainly). The U.S. Merchant Marine does not include U.S. Navy warships. U.S. Coast Guard Cutters, or NOAA research ships. All three are uniformed services of the United States while the former two operate under military doctrine as armed services. While there are a multitude of military options available to Midshipmen at Kings Point, none are guaranteed. The only thing guaranteed to you is your license and your commission as a Strategic Sealift Officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, serving 2 weeks each year. Air Force is by far the most rare of the branches that Midshipmen commission into. Most Air Force slots that I have seen were Air National Guard slots. USMMA is at the mercy of the military for slots. One year, the Navy might need a ton of pilots, so they take everyone who is qualified. The next year, they might have no slots for Kings Point Midshipmen. Also, you shouldn't go to USMMA just for the commissioning opportunities. You should have an interest in shipping and serving in the Merchant Marine more specifically. One year of your four year experience will be spent at sea aboard active U.S. Merchant Marine ships. Slots are too variable to say how good of a chance you have for Active Duty four years from now.

    Final thoughts:

    USAFA guarantees you an active duty commission in the Air Force, where USMMA only guarantees you a license and a Navy Reserve Commission. USAFA also offers career paths that fit both of your interests. USMMA Midshipmen are somewhat limited in their choices as they are at the mercy of branch manning requirements. You are the only one who can choose as this is your life. However, we are always here to provide advice, support, and points that may not have been considered. Best of luck!
     
    Falcon A likes this.
  18. valbowman3

    valbowman3 New Member

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    Thank you for both your congradulations and information. It was very insightful, especially because I have little knowledge of the USAFA. The only aspect I wish it contained isthe interaction with the water. I am also being offered the opportunity to complete in cross country and track at the USMMA and it is difficult to decide based on what I want to do when I know little about the end result of an academy career or their majors.
     
  19. Usnavy2019

    Usnavy2019 Member

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    A question you will need to ask yourself is this: Am I willing to give up the water to fly/be a CRO (who actually are trained for water rescue) or would you rater give up flying for a Merchant Marine career (keep in mind you may be giving up Active Duty in the process)? USAFA has a multitude of majors that can be applied to the civilian sector after you leave the service. Also, depending on how long you stay in, you could get a Masters Degree paid for by the Air Force. USMMA majors can be applied to the corporate sector, but mainly in the transportation and logistics companies. Also, going to a service academy just for sports might not be the best idea. Do it for the service. Sports are just a nice addition. You could maybe walk on to the cross country or track teams at USAFA. You could also find a new sport that you love. You can't go wrong with either as both don't have graduates at the unemployment office. Where you should go mainly lies with your answer to the above question.
     

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