USNA, USMMA, NROTC or Navy Nuclear, and DODMERB

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Hockeydad, Dec 18, 2015.

  1. Hockeydad

    Hockeydad Member

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    My DS may have some hard decisions ahead and I hope someone can help us understand how things will work going forward. Being in the US Navy has been his dream since he was very young. Although he's applied to USNA, USMMA and NROTC, to make sure he's on track, he's already enlisted in the Navy Nuclear program to start next summer if none of these materialized (scored a perfect score on the qualifying exam). His contract allows him to instead go to a US service academy or NROTC if one of these comes through. His SAT scores were 760 math and 630. His GPA is 3.65 and majority of his classes are honors or AP (AP calculus, AP physics, AP English, etc.). He's an outstanding musician on saxophone and guitar and involved in marching band, jazz band and city HS honor band all years of HS. A lot of service at work camps in West Virginia summers to help the poor. He's a top level ice hockey player who's been a captain and MVP on his HS hockey team for 3 years and led his team to the city championship last year and played on top travel teams. Also pays lacrosse. He's had other leadership positions in HS. He excelled on the CFA. One obstacle he's had to overcome was having cold-induced bronchitis when he started hockey at age 7 and until 9 or 10. He was treated for that for a few years and then it just disappeared and meds were stopped but "chronic bronchitis" was carried forward on his electronic medical record until he was 14 despite never having anything beyond 10. He passed the methacholine challenge test with flying colors two year ago and pulmonary specialists documented he had no evidence of asthma or bronchitis past age 10. Despite this, DODMERB disqualified him and he needs a waiver. He's received 2 MOC nominations each for USNA and USMMA in the past two weeks. We think both MOC use the method where they have no primary nominee but send the list to the service academy and let the service academy decide.

    USMMA gave him a waiver on his DODMERB disqualification and sent him a LOA two weeks ago, and has noted he's "fully qualified". Of course, if you graduate from the USMMA you can join the US Navy as an officer. One of the Blue Angels is a USMMA, so it seems you have a wide range of opportunities if you enter the US Navy from USMMA.

    His USNA application is complete and only lists "Complete Medical Qualification Exam" as remaining before his final consideration. His two MOC nominations were listed on the USNA site this week.

    So here are the questions:
    1. How long will USMMA allow him to wait for a final decision from the USNA before accepting his appointment to USMMA that is likely to come?
    2. My DS talks about possibly declining USMMA and going to Navy Nuclear or NROTC (if offered) and then reapplying to USNA again a year or two later. His concern is somehow USMMA graduates might not have all the same opportunities in the US Navy as USNA graduates. Is that a real concern? My advice to him is to take the bird in the hand if USNA appointment doesn't happen this year because who knows if he and his commanding officer will get along and who knows if DODMERB will derail him again in the future.
    3. Is it common to get a DODMERB waiver from one service academy (USMMA) and not from another (USNA)?
    4. When is USNA likely to complete evaluation of his DODMERB disqualification to determine whether he gets a waiver from them or not?
    5. Is a NROTC experience as rich as the USMMA experience is likely to be?

    Thank you for any information you can give us. Any insights will be much appreciated.
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I wouldn't venture to answer all your questions but I can attempt a few.
    3. The granting of waivers is up to the commissioning source so there is really no telling. USNA may or may not grant a waiver. It's neither common nor uncommon and is simply case by case.
    4. There is absolutely no way to tell when they might complete a waiver review. Some waivers don't get approved until May. I'm sure they make every effort to complete it as soon as possible, especially for a competitive candidate.
    5. I guess it depends on what you call rich. He won't spend as much time at sea but excellent officers come from both sources. If he does NROTC he is guaranteed active duty Navy. I would think it's a surer road to being a Navy officer. Hopefully someone with more experience from going USMMA to Navy will chime in here.
     
  3. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Contact his BGO or the Navy Admissions office and request an update.

    Sometimes candidates are reluctant to contact their BGO/Admissions office, but just asking for an update won't hurt them.
     
  4. swrakow

    swrakow Member

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    I'm a BGO for USNA and my daugher just got into USMMA. I'm also a USNA grad. Here are my thoughts on the five questions you posed:
    1. USMMA will wait until the deadline in the offer of appointment, which is May 1st;
    2. If your son wants to be an officer, USMMA is a fine institution and will train him in vastly different ways for the Navy. When one completes the summer indoc, they are sworn into the Naval Reserve. At graduation, your son would be required to serve either on active duty for five years (like any service academy), or serve in the maritime industry with a naval reserve commission for five years. The active duty can be performed in any branch, but certainly your son could serve on active duty in the Navy if that's still his choice. The USMMA grads I've known are top notch officers and know way more about being at sea than USNA grads (USMMA grads spend a year at sea during their four years at the academy);
    3. Waivers are granted by each commissioning source and your son may not receive a waiver to USNA and may not receive a waiver from NROTC. I'm sure he had to get a waiver to enlist in the delayed entry program for Nuke Power as well;
    4. When will USNA complete the waiver process? My daughter has been waiting on her waiver from USNA for vision since August and no change. USMMA reviewed the waiver, required her to get another exam, and granted the waiver right after Thanksgiving (she had an LOA right before Thanksgiving). They'll complete the waiver review on their own timeline and it could be as late as May.
    5. The NROTC experience is completely different than the experience will be at USMMA (just like the experience at USMMA is vastly different than USNA). NROTC is a civilian school experience with Naval classes and some other requirements thrown in; however, it's mostly a civilian experience.
     
  5. Hockeydad

    Hockeydad Member

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    swrakow, thank you. Also very helpful. Interestingly, the US Navy recruiter had their own medical evaluation and exam done using the same records DODMERB had and passed my son before accepting him for delayed entry into Navy Nuke. Fedex just delivered my son's USMMA appointment 15 min ago. There is a reply form saying they will wait until May 1 and he would report in June. However, we recently went to a USNA event sponsored by our BGO and one of the USNA midshipmen at the event told everyone she found out about her appointment to USNA on July 2 of this year! Given that, he could still end up in a position where he doesn't have a final answer from USNA before he must give USMMA an answer. I hope he doesn't have to make that decision.
     
  6. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    1. Looks like you got your answer on that. There is no issues sitting on it and seeing what else comes in before making a decision. I actually recommend kids to do this. Some want to jump at the first one that comes in the door. There is always a draw to being wanted somewhere, but they might be wanted at multiple places, just give it time.
    2. Really read the USMMA thread. They have specific mission of developing merchant mariners, have a unique school set up with trimesters and sea semesters and majors. That is the mission and goal of the school. Its important to understand that. Has your DS visited USMMA? What does he think? Is it a good fit? There are tons of threads on going active duty in the USMMA thread. Take a look at them. Remember at USNA there will tons of folks who want to go SEALs. That training environment to push and succeed tends to help push Mids. Also there are SEALs stationed at USNA to specifically prep Mids. The model works so well USNA has the best rate of success at BUDS and why they have continued to up the numbers for USNA. Not saying there might not be a few USMMA who want that too, but from a numbers perspective it just might not be there. Same with ROTC, tons of qualified folks, but having a SEAL to train, mentor and push really does help. Same with having like minded folks. I would say the opportunities are not more or less, they are simply different. If he wanted to be a SWO, heck he would know the sea way better at USMMA than at USNA by the time he graduates.
    3. Its really a mixed bag. Also depends on what it is. All you can do is sit and wait.
    4. No one knows. USNA will evaluate a 3Q candidate with a nom for a waiver for the most part. Hang in there and if they request any additional items, just send it.
    5. Its different. ROTC can vary greatly by school and size of unit. Life at an SMC is vastly different than at State U. You really need to visit any det he is interested in.

    Also I caution anyone taking the enlisted route needs to be prepared to serve the contract. Not saying he wouldn't get the chance to apply, but as you said, a CO's endorsement is required. A CO might say he wants to see him perform for a year prior to endorsing him. The nuke route is probably the best route of all to (just my opinion). They pull alot of kids in nuke school to USNA. Most are very highly qualified kids who great grades that maybe didn't know about USNA or a recruiter got ahold of them and that is the path they went. The medical process for enlisted is totally different than DoDMERB.
     
  7. Mman5247

    Mman5247 Member

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    2) I suggest you call the Navy office in Garden City to get the stats on commissioning opportunities out of USMMA. My observation is that the opportunities are as good as USNA if not better because you have less classmates competing for the same slots. But I only have anecdotal evidence from what I hear from happy m/n and am no expert. So go to the source.
     
  8. Mman5247

    Mman5247 Member

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    5) Agree with the previous post, NROTC being mostly civilian and vastly different from the Academy experience. After NJROTC, summer seminar and NROTC Indoc, my son was still a bit overwhelmed by KP Indoc and plebe life. It's a unique experience. USMMA regimental system is less rigorous than USNA because of the academic and licensing demands and other reasons. A new Commandant just got installed who is Marine Corps, so things might tighten up. The experience is rich regardless and you will be well prepared for both military or civilian career. I hope all your son's options come through, but keep in mind that it is quite common for for an appointee to be dead set on active duty and decide on reserves 4 years later. Also, many of those who decide on active duty from USMMA had zero interest in the military when they entered. As a parent, I would be guiding towards the path that allows for flexibility. But ultimately it has to be your son's decision. When the time comes, campus overnight visits will help. I think you'll know before May 1. Anything after that is rare.
     

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