USAFA vs USNA

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by justbeingjackie, Mar 22, 2015.

  1. justbeingjackie

    justbeingjackie New Member

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    I need some solid advice. I have been offered an appointment to both academies, and I am having a hard time deciding. I intend to study political science. I am not 100% certain as to what I'd like to do in either service, but I'm leaning towards pilot or something with intelligence. Thanks in advance for your inputs!
     
  2. hopefullcadet2015

    hopefullcadet2015 Member

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    Which do you wan to be an officer in the Navy or the Air Force? The academy is only four years when mandatory service is 5. Look at where you want to be in four years an officer in the Navy or the Air Force they may have similar career paths but have different missions.
     
  3. justbeingjackie

    justbeingjackie New Member

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  4. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Jackie: Congratulations on being accepted to both academies. You clearly have demonstrated intelligence, leadership and a strong "whole candidate" score.

    But you really need to discern your interests and objectives going forward. The Navy and the Air Force are much more different than they are similar. Consider the mission, the roles officers take, the jobs available, the duty stations available, etc. In reality, pilot does not equal pilot when you compare branches of the service. A pilot in one branch has a very different role, different platforms, different landing strips that the other. Military Intelligence in one branch is very different than the other. Its time to come to grips to the service you choose to serve in.

    Good luck.
     
  5. mroberts5102

    mroberts5102 Member

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    Study the mission and the specifics of each branch and see which one appeals the most to you. I would say that the Air Force probably has better opportunities for flying and intelligence, but the Navy also has great opportunities. It will really come down to which branch you romanticize with more.
     
  6. justbeingjackie

    justbeingjackie New Member

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    Thank you both! That is sound advice - much appreciated
     
  7. Gasdoc

    Gasdoc Member

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    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. The hottest girl in the bar wants to meet the Naval Aviator. That bar is in Singapore.

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

    Banzai
     
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  8. MotoMan

    MotoMan Member

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    USNA and USAFA midshipmen/cadets have one thing in common -- they both got into the USAFA.

    Go with the Best -- Fly Navy!!
     
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  9. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    (MotoMan, I remember when the only USAFA cadets who got a 4.0 did their semester at Navy...)

    Justbeingjackie,
    It depends on what service you want to be in. If you want to be a fixed-wing pilot, the AF is probably the way to go (unless you are very slightly color-blind...see Hornet's tale of woe). The AF being the AF focuses a lot on pilots and aircraft. In the Navy, this is a bit less so. Flying wise, the Navy tends to put together a short list of "things you can't do" and other stuff is likely allowed. The AF gives you a slightly longer list of "things you can do" and forbids most everything else. Carrier based pilots will be gone a lot. USAF pilots may or may not be gone a lot. (A C-5 crew may be gone 15 days a month, but they return home for a week or two. A U-28 crew will likely be on 4 months on 4 months off or 6 and 6...things vary.) The AF tends to be the most "corporate" of services, which has its pros and cons.

    Both services have sets of really cool missions, and both services have their own set of highly frustrating issues. It's your opportunity to decide which set you want to live with!
     
  10. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    I had the great good fortune to be accepted to both...and both are AMAZING!!! In my opinion, you can't go wrong at either IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT!!

    I eventually (I really had to think about this a LOT) chose USAFA because...and Navy folks, this is the honest answer: I wasn't sure I could handle the separation that Navy families deal with as a routine. I have always taken my hat off to Navy families...saying goodbye like they do...

    Yes, our AF deployments became longer (okay, the worst was a 12 month, average was about 120 days; not much compared to army/marine 12 months norm) however navy families...deployments of 6-10 months were routine and I honestly didn't want to put a family through that.

    So I chose USAFA.

    Determine what field you truly want to pursue...then decide which service fits the bill the best...THEN choose between the two.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
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  11. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    There are even shorter and longer deployments depending on what air frame you've got.

    Seriously, picture yourself at age 30 (difficult, but trust me, it happens): what are you doing? what are you wearing?

    AF has the best housing and golf courses.

    Navy has better.... boats.
     
  12. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I might disagree that USAF has the best and brightest enlisted...... unless the writer is ignoring the minimum ASVAB scores.

    I'm 3rd party here. As a cadet I always through USAFA was a little sloppy.... but only a little sloppier than USNA. USMA was the least sloppy of the five service academies, in my opinion. I have friends from each service academy, so they all have great people and less than great people.

    The Air Force has the money and the technology. The service seems, to me, to have the best training and education opportunities. I went to a Navy school for two weeks.... it was a mess. The Air Force spends money on enlisted and officer training. It feels more "corporate" and less "military." Maybe that's the muddy way of saying "The Air Force is more comfortable."

    The Naval Academy has more tradition. Some of that tradition is stupid (as traditions often are). The Air Force Academy is the youngest of the five service academies (and it feeds the youngest service).

    I don't think you can go wrong either way, USAFA and USNA are both great institutions. As others have said, it's all about the mission. Assume the two schools are nearly dead-equal and one won't help you more than the other in the future.... the only difference is, which service do you want to be an officer in?

    My personal opinion? You'll find happier people in the Air Force. I'm not sure how much difference they feel they've made, but in my experience, the Zoomies seem happier. And that goes back to an old (and fairly true) saying "A b#$%ing sailor is a happy sailor."
     
  13. md403

    md403 Member

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    This is probably going to upset a few people... I live in Annapolis and can throw a baseball and hit the Academy! Anyways, Im interested in both AFA and USNA. Both gasdoc and flieger make very good points. My question is after graduating from either school, what is the outlook for going to grad school for MBA. Yes, Im interested in only 3 schools AFA. Texas AM and USNA. That being stated, with my desire for wanting MBA from Wharton, which SA would be better fit. My background is unique as I would not be able to go and serve in fighters ships or subs as Im 6'10' HS junior, so yes, I WILL serve my country but Im also concerned with what happens after graduation looking towards getting my MBA. Again Im not trying to ruffle feathers here...
     
  14. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Is there a height limitation for surface ships?
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2015
  15. MJP

    MJP Member

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    +1 LITS
    Depends on what you see yourself doing for the next 9 years of your life. You may not have the time nor opportunity to get that Wharton MBA during your 5 year active duty period after graduation from the SA of choice but either could be a pathway to get there.
     
  16. md403

    md403 Member

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    We had a MID that was 6'8" and during general quarter drills he constantly hit his head going through the hatches and the beds were not long enough for him. My height will will hinder me during those drills and after talking to an ex basketball player from USNA, he was deemed too tall for service on planes, subs and ships and served in the Seabees. Another growth spurt and I might even get in if I can now as I have read that the height is 80" but is waiverable. My dream of serving just may go wayside because Im too tall! I have been practicing the CFA and my numbers are good. Academically speaking, Im top 3% in class 3.92 GPA ( full IB with HL math, physics, history and english ) with SAT of 2200 and ACT of 32. That being said I know I would be 2Q with a possible height waiver. Yes, Im working on plans B, C and D.

    @justbeingjackie congratulations on both appointments and make the right decision for yourself
     
  17. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Well, not sure this will make you feel any better, but at 5'10" I had to duck on my cutter too. Eventually you come off a ship doing two things.... ducking and knocking on every door you come to (inside and out.... even your own door).

    You'd never guess going through doors could be so dangerous until you serve on a ship. HAHA!
     
  18. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    As a former basketball player I was around alot of the tall guys at USNA. 6'6" is the line to be deemed too tall for ships, subs, etc. So essentially at that height you will be able to go Marine Corps or any of the other restricted line options. Most, but not all that means supply or Intel. Yes other options are available, but this is what the majority of folks who are NPQ end up. As a supply or Intel officer you can be assigned to a ship or sub, but with your height that won't happen. I had a buddy who was 6'8" who went Marine Corps and is still an Infantry Officer today. He just makes a very large target and has to dig alot to make a fighting hole. I have had a few friends attend Wharton, but they all did it after they completed their service obligations. There are lots of post grad opportunities in the Navy. For an MBA, generally supply is the best path to get selected for this on the Navy's dime. Now, will it be Wharton, probably not. The Navy does send some folks to Ivy League grad schools, but it is very rare and generally because they are amazing at what they do. Realize there are pay back tours associated with these kinds of schools. Hope that answers your questions.
     
  19. Allforone

    Allforone New Member

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  20. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    MBAs are the law degrees of 2010s.... everyone wants one and the work force is becoming super-saturated in them....

    But if you want an MBA, receiving it from a top 10 business program is probably the best way to make it worth something.

    On the other hand.... MBAs are supposed to be the most usefull master's degree.
     

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