USNA Negative Stigma

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by laker7745, Apr 16, 2015.

  1. laker7745

    laker7745 Member

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    It seems to me that when talking with men throughout the Marines, can't talk for the Navy, but there seems to be a negative attitude towards Naval Academy grads. Especially among the enlisted ranks... Just curious, don't need any hate mail, but I'd like to hear from some people on if this seems to be true.

    Thanks!
     
  2. MiddyB

    MiddyB Member

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    It seems these Marines adhere to the old "ring-knocker" attitude. They may just be stereotyping, or they may have had a bad officer from the Academy. I'm sure these Marines are in the minority, as are the ones that think the only good officer is a mustang. Truth is, if you treat your enlisted right, respect them, and take care of them, then they'll do the same to you no matter your commissioning source.
     
  3. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Not entirely sure what the reasoning is…… for the Naval Academy. I have my suspicions…

    But here's something I've seen…. "Ringknockers don't know what it's like to be enlisted." For the most part that's true. So it's assumed that they won't sympathize this the crew. You'll see other officers get the benefit of the doubt. There are some pretty horrible prior enlisted mustangs out there…. but that's always "he doesn't remember.." or "he must be academy…."

    I had a CO, Citadel grad, who was prior Navy officer, Coast Guard enlisted, and then Coast Guard officer. He liked to think he understood our crew…. but he didn't. I had another CO who was a CGA grad, loved but respected.

    Now that said, there's a little more to it with the Naval Academy.
     
  4. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Laker: I encourage you to challenge stereotypes and generalizations every chance you get. Ask these same Marines which Recruit Depot produces the best Marine: Paris Island or San Diego. That will start a great conversation!
     
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  5. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Let me first state that I am a USNA grad and former Marine... so my opinion may be slanted. Most of my Marines didn't know I was a USNA grad. I was deployed for 10.5 months at a FOB with 100 Marines. I was the lone female there and it never came up until the very end when they asked me to play basketball with them. Long story, but after a thorough beating by the Lt they finally learned I had played D1 ball at Navy. I was the lone USNA grad most of the time in my units. We had officers from all commissioning sources. For the most part I don't think most of the Marines knew where we went to school or how we got our commissions. We only had one Lt that was universally hated in our unit by all. He was actually not deployed at one point because our CO was scared of what the Marines would do to him. He went to some tiny school in the Mid-West no one knew of and was a PLC grad. We had another Marine officer who was separated for being an idiot and went to some small school no one heard of and was an OCC grad. We had two officers not selected for augmentation, both were prior enlisted. The only officer who didn't make it through TBS and was eventually separated from our company was prior enlisted and got caught cheating. My first duty station we had two Marine officers tossed out for frat issues... both Citadel grads. As you can clearly see good and bad Marines come from all commissioning sources. Marines will form an opinion or stereotype based upon the bad apples they run across. Don't let those stereotypes phase you.
     
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  6. Freda'sMom

    Freda'sMom Parent

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    A great rebuttal answer to a potentially loaded topic, well done!
     
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  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Great points NavyHoops!

    Academy grads are an easy target. It's like saying "tax the rich." Who's going to defend those good-for-nothing silver spoon endowed nancy pantses?

    Part of it is, once you have a common point of entry, it's easy to point to it and say "SEE!"

    It's hard to do that with ROTC.... "he's horrible because he's ROTC..." OK maybe at UT but not at Vandy, not at UNC Chapel Hill, but maybe at Auburn. Painting prior enlisted officers with a broad brush just hurts some enlisted members ideas of what it means to be enlisted. "He's horrible." OK, but he came from the same source that you came from.... so what's that say about you?"

    There's also an expectation that you'll do well, but some will just wait for you to slip up and say "see, it's an academy thing."

    As with most things, one or two bad apples can make everyone else look bad, but having such a large officer population coming from one commissioning source aids in the finger pointing.

    I'm not sure if it's worse or better in the Coast Guard. About 40% of the officer population in the Coast Guard came from USCGA, so we weren't as "rare" (at least within the service, which is also small). I think where I saw (and see) it more often in the Coast Guard, is not from the enlisted, but from other officers. The USCGA community is relatively tight, and whether we like it or not, CGA officers know each other from schools and assignments. OCS or direct commission officers don't have that connection, and I don't think that makes all of them happy. You can't let it get to you though. It's their problem not yours (unless you are infact a problem).
     
  8. mdn18

    mdn18 Member

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    My brother-in-law was a grunt for 5 years and he says he's had both good and bad from every source. I think for the most part he sees SA grads as somewhat arrogant (and I might agree a bit based on some of the cadets/mids that I've met). BTW he did get his degree before enlisting - not sure why he didn't go officer route. So it's not like he "wasn't smart enough" to be an officer and that he had animosity towards them a priori.

    He didn't like any of his Texas A&M officers. I think it was due to their performance.

    I've read Bruce Fleming's articles like I'm sure everyone else has, and I have to say, some of his points (if they are in fact true) are very convincing. I think that although SAs used to be the only way to go to get a commission, there are may other routes (ROTC, PLC, OCS) that will produce equally fine results.

    Bottom line, he said to me: "If you do what is expected of you, you will get the promotion and continue on."

    Not trying to stir the pot, this is just my viewpoint based on who I know and what I've read/observed.
     
  9. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Don't put too much weight into what Fleming has had to say.

    It is interesting to see the numbers for officers who serve beyond their obligations, based on their commissioning sources.
     
  10. mdn18

    mdn18 Member

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    I don't want to steer the conversation towards Fleming, but does he have any good points (that are factual)? No military experience here, just military family to go off of when reading his articles.
     
  11. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    First, I agree with NavyHoops, there is no need to come out saying on your own will "I graduated from USNA" because that will typically generate the "I am better than everyone else" stigma. However, if someone asks, then it definitely is okay to tell them your source...nothing to be embarrassed of.

    Second, I would presume that the stigma of "ring knockers" exists, because, unfortunately there are some bad apples and you don't know whether that particular service member had a previous good or bad experience with SA grads. But, it is completely within your control to try and change this based on your own merits and leadership style. I truly believe that if you act in good faith, take care of your people, show a true/genuine interest, have a strong work ethic, and want to lead...you will gain the respect of practically anyone (regardless of commissioning source). You will soon see that the person who believed [COMMISSIONING SOURCE] were bad leaders will change. However, it is up to each individual.
     
  12. Sledge

    Sledge Member

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    I seem to remember reading somewhere that, sometime in the past, 60's?, 70's?, the Marine Corps wanted to buy The Citadel and turn it into their own academy.

    My Google Fu is weak this morning. I couldn't find anything. Maybe I'm imagining it.
     
  13. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Not in my opinion, but I haven't read everything.

    I think he has little true facts here and there, which he combines to form false assumptions.
     
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  14. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Some USNA grads can be arrogant, so can any other commissioning source. I think USNA grads tend to be more confident out the door when commissioned. I say that because we have lived in a 24/7 military environment, been around a ton of officers, and generally just have more military exposure than ROTC programs do. I think this tends to level off after a few months. My two room mates at TBS were ROTC grads and both really struggled to adjust to military living and it being a daily thing.

    When we first arrived at TBS we got sent to Mike Company before we class up. It was all USNA and MECEP grads in there. At first all the MECEP grads were very unsure of us and had the general perception that we were all silver spoon, entitled punks. We were unsure of them mostly because we had not interacted with MECEP guys. After two weeks we were all buddies and got along great. They realized we knew the Quanitco area very well, were normal people who were not rich kids (there are always a few but that goes for anywhere) and just there to make it through TBS like them. When the ROTC grads all arrived we generally got a pretty good chuckle because they were pretty lost at first. And I don't say that in a negative way, for non-SMC ROTC grads at TBS, for many its the first time they have lived in a environment that is 24/7 military, the time they spent at Quantico was at OCS so its not like they are on vacation and its a just a totally different lifestyle. But we all helped one another out and everyone got along fine.

    usnabgo08 is completely right. You can't change previous interactions, but change perceptions for the better. Do your job, know your people and treat people right and you will be fine. I was never embarrassed or hid from being a USNA grad, I am proud of that. I would tell those who asked, but didn't run around shouting it. USNA grads will almost always know someone where they are stationed. Its been a great resource to have an immediate social group, help with new bases and cities and a support network who can help out at work and at home. I see those as the benefits of attending a SA and they have proven to be great in and out of the military for me.

    Agree with LITS. Ignore Fleming. I actually had him as a professor. The military and SAs have their flaws and can always be improved. There is no argument there. Part of the problem is his arguments are not factual, they are all opinion pieces.
     
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  15. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Laker: there are good responses here and very practical observations and experiences. In the end, there are great, good, less than good and poor officers from every commissioning path and like the others, I have had the "pleasure" of dealing with all of them. Remember, by the way, that you can learn valuable lessons from all of them.

    Your original post could have been fodder for some bashing and I am glad it didn't go down that path. Stereotypes exist for a reason and there is always a hint of accuracy in the characterization. I really don't think my units had any idea where I went to school and it certainly wasn't something I heard discussed about other officers. In the end, your unit wants to know that they can trust you and that you are taking care of them.

    Now, I was withholding this point since your posting was about the enlisted man's view of officers. I can tell you that there is a soft undercurrent amongst Marine Officers regarding USNA grads. Many find them to be arrogant and hold the fact that the Academy grads don't go through OCS as evidence that they are not as good. Its all BS in my book. I sincerely appreciate the fact that EVERY Marine officer goes through six months of TBS setting the baseline even. From there, every officer makes his own reputation as he continues schooling and hits the fleet.
     
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  16. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Excellent posts NavyHoops! Dead on!
     
  17. mdn18

    mdn18 Member

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    Hmm. This post is coming at a good time for me, because I've been doing a lot of serious thinking recently about whether to apply for a 3rd time. I still think I'm a little annoyed/perplexed why I wasn't admitted, given my experience compared to a HS student. If I reapplied a 3rd time, I'd be 21 when entering and I'd have half of my MechE major completed, including advanced classes like Thermo, Finite Elements, Mechanics, Calc 1-3, Diff EQ, etc. I'm questioning whether at this point it is worth it to try to get into the Naval Academy because there are many options available to me. I could do the Marines PLC in the summer then be more prepared for OCS, or try to switch schools to one that has NROTC. But I'd rather be in the Navy than the Marines. I find that my school is sort of growing on me., but it's private (and by that I mean it receives ZERO federal dollars, so scholarships and things related can sometimes be hard to come by. Finances are somewhat of a concern to me.)

    A Navy grad that I know, whose daughters went to my school, just raves about how good my school is. He said that he thinks I'd find it "simple" if I went to the Academy after being at my school a year, 2 years. I think he means about the academics. Now I don't know about that, but I feel that the education I'm receiving here is very good.

    I don't know. I sort of just feel like I'm in a limbo right now. There's just so many good options of what to do during your college years. Any help? :frown:
     
  18. intruder533

    intruder533 New Member

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    I just had this discussion with my son who is on his way to NROTC after just getting his TWE. During my ten years as a Marine Officer.( I'm going to make a generalization here) Initially we noticed at TBS that the Academy guys were behind in there Marine skills just because of the fact that they never attended OCS or Bull dog. A number of Academy grads chose Marines in order to get a flight slot that they couldn't get in the Navy. About 10 Academy grads waived their month leave after graduation in order to go straight to TBS and get out of TBS Fox Company. We noticed that initially some of these guys had a very different attitude then the rest of us and were lax in basic Marine skills and PFT. On the first day of classes I remember one of them being sent straight from class by the instructor and told not to return until his hair was within regs. When he came back smiling, he was sent out again and counseled. My general feeling was that they felt that they had already accomplished something and we felt that we were just getting started. This all seems to even out by the end of TBS.
    On the other hand it did seem that in the competitive fighter pilot world, That there were a disproportional number of Fighter Pilots from the Academy. I attribute this to their tougher academic and technical backgrounds.
    Pleeb summer and 4 years at the academy may be difficult in one way but in no way do they equal the challenges and trials of OCS. I have no doubt that most academy grads would do outstanding at OCS. But I also have no doubt that a handful would have been weeded out. OCS is an experience that Marine officers wear as a badge and have in common with their young Marines in some way. I for one am happy that my son will be going there and learning the lessons only a Marine DI can share.



    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  19. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    mdn18, I think at this point you have to decide what is best for you. If you don't want to be a Marine, then don't apply. It is a different world than the Navy and if you don't want to be a Marine first and foremost then don't go that path. Have you talked to a recruiter about OCS for Navy? With your background I am assuming Nuke is on the table from a qualification stand point. They are always looking for nuke officers.

    Not sure I necessarily agree with intruder533. Not trying to pick a virtual fight or anything, just express my opinion. I do agree that things even out by the end of TBS. Tactically USNA grads did fine when I went through. Leatherneck and our practicum class taught us more than they learn at OCS. Heck we found Leatherneck to be much harder than TBS. TBS in all honesty wasn't hard, it was more a pain. I think because my company had so many USNA and MECEP guys we actually tended to agree on alot. We grumbled at stupid stuff because we had all spent so many years playing stupid games in our previous lives. My ROTC room mates used to freak out at these and we tended to just ignore them or let them roll off our backs as we knew where all these games were going. I can see how that can be taken the wrong way. I spent a few months working at OCS and have a great appreciation for the school. They actually tracked PFT scores for different commissioning sources when I was at TBS. They were doing some studies or something. USNA grads in company were higher by nearly 20 points. MECEP was lowest, but they were also older. There is always some back and forth about USNA grads attending OCS or not. I am not sure when you went through TBS or served in the Marine Corps, but I think from my experiences and what I see USNA doing to prepare those going the USMC route is pretty solid. I think they have refined and improved the Leatherneck program since it was first established. I also think the practicum class does a good job of preparing those who selected Marine Corps for TBS and beyond. Just a different perspective and opinion on things.
     
  20. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

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    Also, don't let those stereotypes describe you.
     
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