USAFA vs. USNA (Lots of Questions)

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by SpiralPilots, Mar 25, 2016.

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Which School Should I Go To?

  1. USAFA

    69.2%
  2. USNA

    30.8%
  1. SpiralPilots

    SpiralPilots New Member

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    *Disclaimer, This is a super long post because I’m running out of time to choose where to go to school, and I feel like I have some questions that I just need answered and some thoughts that I want to write. Thank you in advance for any guidance or answers you can provide me. Thanks!


    I have appointments to USNA, USAFA, and USMA, and now I am making what seems like the hardest decision of my life trying to choose where to go. (I’ve pretty much ruled out USMA) I have great academics and I am a track runner and will compete at any school. After the academy I want to fly fixed wing fighters, or if I am medically disqualified become special forces, either Paratroopers or SEAL. I have a few questions and comments below, but I would love to hear some opinions of which school is better, and which will better serve my academic interests. Thank you

    I’ve heard that the Naval Academy is more difficult military training than the Air Force Academy, and that you are allowed less freedoms after your first year at Navy, but are considered an upperclassman your second year at Air Force.

    Navy is considered to have across the board better athletic teams. I wont play football or basketball, but is it better to go to the better athletic school to be able to cheer for a better team and have more class spirit, or is Air Force still loyal fans and love their teams.

    Uniforms. Navy and Marine uniforms are sweet! Navy’s dress uniforms look incredibly sharp, while Air Force blues are cool, but they’re not whites.

    I think I would rather fly in the Air Force. The Navy doesn’t service F-22s and I like the homogenous air force training. But Top Gun happens in the Navy, and there is nothing as cool is F/A-18s landing on a carrier deck. Also, the Blue Angels are cooler than the thunderbirds.

    I am a family oriented guy, and I’ve been told that in the Air Force you are able to rotate home more often, and I like the idea of being able to see my wife and kids more than every six months.

    I love Colorado; Colorado Springs is beautiful and I love the mountains and mountain air.


    Now, Questions. What does a pilot’s schedule look like in the navy compared to the air force? How long are fighter pilots on a carrier before they rotate off, and is it one pilot/per airframe or are their many people assigned to the same plane?

    Are Midshipmen Uniforms actually as awesome as they look in pictures, or are they a beast to take care of and keep clean?

    Why does the Naval Academy have so many more applicants? (18,000 to USNA as opposed to 7,500 to USAFA)?

    Which school has better academic programs, and which is more prestigious? Twenty years down the road which one do you want to be able to tell people you are a grad from?

    Which school do you have to put up with more B*llsh*t. Which has more hazing, mindless traditions, and cleaning bathroom floors with toothbrushes.


    Anyways, sorry for the long post, but I’m not from a military family, and I feel like I’m committing to one service twenty years of my life. Thanks for all of the help, and please say where you graduated from when you comment, Thanks!
     
  2. EmperorQin

    EmperorQin Member

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    I'm definitely in no place to be giving you advice, since I'm struggling with a similar dilemma myself. However, I can say that I initially did not apply to USAFA due to the whole "you're a pilot or you're not" thing. As for the 18,000 to 7,500 comparison (I believe it should be greater than 7,500, though), it is probably because the AFA is newer and thus not as well-known--yet.

    I'm curious, by the way, why did you cross off USMA?
     
  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I can only answer a couple side questions. Yes, Midshipman uniforms ARE awesome. Can't speak to keeping them clean but DS had no trouble in NROTC.

    It's possible that USNA counts applicants differently than USAFA. One might count anyone who opens an application while the other might only count those who complete an application. Can't say I know the reason but it seems to me irrelevant to making your decision.

    I'm sure there are academic areas where USAFA is better and areas where USNA is better. I've no doubt you can hold you head high as a graduate of either.

    Again, I can't speak from experience, but I've no doubt that both academies have about the same amount of B*llsh*t. BTW, it is NOT B*llsh*t. I know its hard to see but everything you mention actually serves a very important purpose in your training. I'll leave the reader to discover what that is.

    Your questions that focus on what life is like after the service are the ones to be considering as you won't really find too much difference between the schools other than the academic majors available, elevation, and proximity to fun stuff.

    Birthday Ball 2.jpg 2013 Summer Whites Inspection 1.jpg
     
  4. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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  5. murfthesurf

    murfthesurf DS - USNA 2020

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  6. Sydney C.

    Sydney C. Member

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    With all due respect to the dilemma of having to decide which SA to chose from (congrats on being selected to all 3) are you sure you're asking the right questions here? Some of these are coming across as very superficial and hopefully, have no real bearing on your decision making process.
     
  7. Joongim2

    Joongim2 Member

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    Agree with Murfthesurf. One comment on the uniform: A good friend recently retired as Captain in the Navy after 30+ years, having attended USNA. A uniform is a uniform and no longer a novelty, he says, especially after a few years. In fact, when he travels (domestic & international) while on duty, he wears civies looking like a middle aged man he is. So you can rule out the uniform as a factor to consider. I told my kid he'll look like a glorified cook if he get in.
     
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  8. FutureCadet12

    FutureCadet12 Member

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    Before responding to this, I must apologize that I do not have all the answers to the questions, so someone else may have to help me out there. Doing a bit of research online, here is some excellent insight from Bob Norris, a former Naval aviator who also did a 3 year exchange tour flying the F-15 Eagle. He is now an accomplished author of entertaining books about U.S. Naval Aviation including "Check Six" and "Fly-Off".

    In response to a letter from an aspiring fighter pilot on which military academy to attend, Bob replied with the following:

    22 December 2005
    Young Man,


    Congratulations on your selection to both the Naval and Air Force
    Academies. Your goal of becoming a fighter pilot is impressive and a fine way to serve your country. As you requested, I'd be happy to share some insight into which service would be the best choice. Each service has a distinctly different culture. You need to ask yourself "Which one am I more likely to thrive in?"


    USAF Snapshot: The USAF is exceptionally well organized and well run. Their training programs are terrific. All pilots are groomed to meet high standards for knowledge and professionalism. Their aircraft are top-notch and extremely well maintained. Their facilities are excellent. Their enlisted personnel are the brightest and the best trained. The USAF is homogeneous and macro. No matter where you go, you'll know what to expect, what is expected of you, and you'll be given the training & tools you need to meet those expectations. You will never be put in a situation over your head. Over a 20-year career, you will be home for most important family events. Your Mom would want you to be an Air Force pilot...so would your wife. Your Dad would want your sister to marry one.

    Navy Snapshot: Aviators are part of the Navy, but so are Black Shoes (surface warfare) and Bubble Heads (submariners). Furthermore, the Navy is split into two distinctly different Fleets (West and East Coast). The Navy is heterogeneous and micro. Your squadron is your home; it may be great, average, or awful. A squadron can go from one extreme to the other before you know it. You will spend months preparing for cruise and months on cruise. The quality of the aircraft varies directly with the availability of parts. Senior Navy enlisted are salt of the earth; you'll be proud if you earn their respect. Junior enlisted vary from terrific to the troubled kid the judge made join the service. You will be given the opportunity to lead these people during your career; you will be humbled and get your hands dirty. The quality of your training will vary and sometimes you will be over your head. You will miss many important family events. There will be long stretches of tedious duty aboard ship. You will fly in very bad weather and/or at night and you will be scared many times. You will fly with legends in the Navy and they will kick your *** until you become a lethal force. And some days - when the scheduling Gods have smiled upon you - your jet will catapult into a glorious morning over a far-away sea and you will be drop-jawed that someone would pay you to do it.

    Bottom line, son, if you gotta ask...pack warm & good luck in Colorado.

    Banzai

    Anyhow... all uniforms, regardless of service, are pretty much the same hassle to take care of. But, I think the sharpness of the mids' uniforms makes it worth it.

    Many people choose USNA due to the Navy's wide variety of career options post-graduation - air, ground, AND sea. Also, it should be noted that USNA has a very strong science and engineering program.

    Both schools have strong academics, but most people attend for a quality leadership education that is hard to find elsewhere. If you must look at statistics, US News has ranked USNA at #9 for national liberal arts colleges. USAFA is #29. Between these two schools, academically, I would choose USNA.
     
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  9. ktnatalk

    ktnatalk Sailor. Shipmate. Parent.

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    Spiral, if you agree with what is posted by FutureCadet, AFA with be welcoming you with both arms open, and someone waiting for a BFE from USNA may get to thank you.

    Best of both worlds however you look at it! Congrats to your accomplishments!
     
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  10. Joedoe

    Joedoe Member

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    Spiral, why are you only soliciting opinions/votes from the Naval Academy forum and not the AF forum as well?
     
  11. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    Because it's against the rules of the forum to post identical threads in multiple areas of the website.

    Stealth_81
     
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  12. jbusn

    jbusn Member

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    I have been told MANY times by Navy and Air Force Pilots (and even an Army helo guy), if flying fighters is your ultimate goal, go Air Force.
     
  13. SpiralPilots

    SpiralPilots New Member

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  14. SpiralPilots

    SpiralPilots New Member

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    Yeah, I realize that, these are just the superficial ones that friends keep bringing up and I just wanted to get off my mind, I've visited both campuses and am just in the last steps of deciding
     
  15. SpiralPilots

    SpiralPilots New Member

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    But, if I am being superficial I should also mention that Air Force is sponsored by Nike, and Navy is sponsored by Under Armor.

    So AF > N
     
  16. ktnatalk

    ktnatalk Sailor. Shipmate. Parent.

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    I thought Navy used to be sponsored by Nike until UA came knocking on the door. Haven't you seen those cool custom haze gray UA shoes that go with the cool custom football hamlets painted with ships?
     
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  17. ktnatalk

    ktnatalk Sailor. Shipmate. Parent.

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    Spiral, upon considering more about your dilemma, we think you are PREFECT for USAFA. It is evidence, so being such a smart person you are, you probably already figured it out by now.

    Congrats again!
     
  18. ahs67

    ahs67 Member

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    Makes sense, but honestly I had the same question.
    Between this post and the other one with the candidate pondering their choices between MA and NA, it's interesting (and maybe a little weird), they both posted on the NA forum., as if hoping to be talked out of their first choices.
     
  19. jbusn

    jbusn Member

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    No problem. If you do decide to go USAFA, I'll see you on I-Day! I, too, would like to be a fighter pilot.
     
  20. Usnavy2019

    Usnavy2019 Member

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    I'm a USNA appointee, but I will try and provide you with my unbiased advice :)
    For starters, congratulations on your appointments. One of the few problems you want to have! On the Navy side of the house for carrier aviation at least, tours are three years and one year is spent at your NAS (Naval Air Station) doing different training, one year of work-ups (preparing to go on deployment), and then your deployment. You will either go on one or two deployments depending on the time you report to your Fleet Squadron. I'll let some of the USAF folks on here speak to their schedules.

    I wouldn't pick your school based solely on the sports teams (and their sponsors for that matter) and the campus location. You are only going to spend four years there before going off and training away from the Academy.

    Two things (Well, I like a lot of things) I like about USNA is the fact that there are so many different jobs in the Navy and Marine Corps. Also, I love to travel and the sea, so it was an obvious choice for me. Sure there are different jobs in the USAF, but I have heard that if you are not a pilot in the Air Force, you are second rate citizen. While I am not saying that is 100% true, I have read that a couple of times on SAF. The Navy needs guys and girls to drive ships, drive submarines, fly planes, blow up IEDs, etc. Every job has a path to command while it seems only pilots get command in the USAF. One thing carriers do is go into port. Australia, the Mediterranean, Hawai'i, etc. Carriers don't just go to the Persian/Arabian Gulf and back. They visit other places too. From what I have seen, USAF is mainly stateside or over in the Middle East.

    USNA might get more people because it covers two services (USN and USMC). It is set up that way as the Marine Corps, although a separate branch, is overseen by the Department of the Navy. It could also be how each Academy reports their numbers. One other thing that could influence your decision is the fact that you can apply for Marine Air as well. I have a friend who is a 3/C at USNA and he said that they were handing out Marine Air billets like candy because they have a longer commitment. USMC officers (both Ground and Air) have to go through The Basic School, a school that teaches Marine Officership and platoon level infantry tactics as every officer is expected to be able to lead an infantry platoon (Every Marine is a Rifleman). Then after TBS (6 months), you report to NAS Pensacola. Then after Flight School, you start your service obligation. While most of USMC Aviation is helos, most of the fixed-wing fleet is composed of Hornets, Prowlers, and Harriers (all jets).
     

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