USNA vs USMA -- I'm wedged on a decision!

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by SimpleMan, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. SimpleMan

    SimpleMan Member

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    Hi, I am a high schol senior who has been lurking on here for almost a year, and I cannot imagine how I got through the application & appointment process without these forums.

    NOTE: I am also cross-posting this same message on USMA & USNA for which I apologize if it violates TOS, but i really have this question for both communities. Admins: Please forgive and move this if it neds to be somewhere else...

    My situation: I've got everything done; got LOAs to both USMA and USNA. DoDMERB, CFA, etc etc all clean and done; have started my nomination interviews and in my first one, I was asked to rank USNA vs USMA in terms of my top choice.. I am honestly in a DEAD TIE as to which one I would prefer to attend. Thye both are awesome and I have to get to a final ranking, but I was told by my MOC person that they will only give me a nomination to on eor the other, and that they coordinate with the other MOCs in my state so I only get a nomination from one of them. I know this ia a lucky position to be in, and want to make sure I give it the high amunt of consideration it merits.

    Bottom line: I likely need to decide in the next week or two which one I prefer, and as i type this I realize that if I intend to attend USMA or USNA then I should be mature enough to work this out in my own head, but i can't.

    I'm not looking for someone to tell me which one, but more looking for any ideas on how I can do the compare... I am planning to do overnights at both, but what kind of decision chart makes sense, what aspects?

    Sorry, but I'm paralyzed with a humbling set of good news.
     
  2. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Simple, what military career would you like to pursue?

    Want to be an Airborne infantry kicking down doors or Marine Recon kicking down doors, serve on a nuclear submarine, be an Armor Officer riding 60 ton
    M1A2 with 120 mm smooth bore cannon, or whatever

    Five years in military or longer with a chance of being harms way outweighs four years at West Point or Annapolis
     
  3. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    Like MemberLG said, what do you see yourself doing AFTER USNA/USMA. You spend 4 years at the school, 5 years in the service.

    What are you interested in doing? What do you want to accomplish at both services? Does the thought of being at sea make you feel sick? All of these are valid questions, because if you go to USNA there's a good chance you'll be at sea at some point during your cadet or officer career.

    Congrats on securing LOA's this early in the game. That takes a huge load of your shoulders. Talk to any Army or Navy/Marine Officers that you can. Remember, it ultimately comes down to what YOU want to do.
     
  4. rotorhd

    rotorhd Member

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    Congratulations!

    SimpleMan - Congratulations on securing LOAs to both USMA and USNA. Do you have appointments to both? I was a little confused by your reference to starting your nomination interviews. Unless things have changed in the admissions process, I was under the impression that the nomination needed to be secured before a LOA / Appointment was offered.

    Anyway, as other posters have said, you need to figure out where in the military you see yourself. For example, If you are tending towards aviaton, USNA will offer more options. Army aviation is mostly helos - that's thier aviation mission and they do it well. Navy has helos, jets, maritime patrol (multi aviation missions) in addition to both pilot and NFO career tracks.

    Have you visited both academies? Talked to many alumni about their experiences?
     
  5. 1017225

    1017225 Member

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    rotorhd- You can and often do get an LoA without an nomination. One of the main contingencies of an LoA is that you DO secure a nomination. Thats the situation I am in with USMA
     
  6. SimpleMan

    SimpleMan Member

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  7. America's Finest

    America's Finest USMA Cadet

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    LOA are given when the academy wants a candidate who has not completed their application. The majority of the time it is due to lacking a nomination it can range from a pending DoDMERB test to an incomplete CFA. Appointments, however, do require a nomination (along with a complete application) and occur automatically when a LOA is secured and the conditions under the LOA are met. LOA's have come out as early as July, an entire year prior to R-Day while appointments take much longer since the nomination proccess does not start that early.
     
  8. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    You might want to start with the assumption that you will not control where you serve for the first 2-3 years. Of course you might be one of the small group at the top of the OML and you will be in a better position, but there are no guarantees.

    In the Navy, you will Select Naval Aviator, Naval Flight Ops, Subs, Surface Warfare. Just a tiny few do other things like Grad School, SEALS, etc.

    In the Army, you have 16 Branches, but the majority of WP 2LTs go into 6: Infantry, Aviation (helos), Armor, Air Defense Artillery, Engineering, Chemical, Signal Corps. The much smaller Branches for a WP commissionee are Human Resources Mgmt. (called Adjutant General), Transportation, Supply (Called Quartermaster), Ordnance, Military Intelligence, Military Police, and a couple more I forget right now.

    I think you really need to speak with someone from each of those Navy Service Communities and Army Branches to get a feel for what you are going to like.

    The only easy decisions come if you tend to get seasick (No Navy, period), claustrophobic (no Subs), or dream of driving a fast fixed wing plane (no Army).
     
  9. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    Have you visited both? Where do you see yourself? Which culture is more "you"? Ultimately, what do you see yourself doing? My DS was in a similar position 4 years ago (wow, that long??). He finally realized he didn't like boats, didn't care for subs, and didn't want to land planes on boats....so that made the decision easier for him. He is hoping to branch army aviation in 3 weeks. Best of luck w/ your decision. As you stated, it's a great position to be in. Remember, life is full of choices...sometimes there isn't a "right" or "wrong" choice...sometimes there's just a choice. Make the one that works for you.
     
  10. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Very few branch into Chem or Signal. You left out Field Artillery. In the Class of '11 only 11 cadets branched Chem and 46 branched signal. Conversely, Field Artillery was the second largest branch for men (142) and the third largest overall (147).

    As far as the OP's choice, your years in the service will pass quickly. It's not a prison sentence, even if you don't get your first choice of job. The people will define your experience much more than the textbook definition of your branch will.

    It's easy to fall into the trap of "what service job do I want." First, statistically speaking, there is a good chance you'll do your 5 and get out. Secondly, you do need to consider the school itself. From that perspective, I recommend West Point.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  11. GoArmyBeatNavy

    GoArmyBeatNavy Member

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    Disregarding my username, which is just for fun, both services have advantages and disadvantages. ScoutP's advice is sound.

    Its best to talk with graduates and current cadets/mids about their experiences. Your overnights will play a big part of this, especially because you will have a lot of access to current mids/cadets. Ask graduates and cadets/mids why they made the choices they made and if they are happy with them.

    I have been in the Army for a bit and I have worked with many fine Army Officers/NCOs, Naval Officers/NCOs and Marine Officers/NCOs. I have also worked with some terrible officers in all branches from all commissioning sources.

    Each academy really just molds it graduates. If the clay is weak, then the product will be weak as well regardless of the service branch.

    Good luck:thumb:
     
  12. Packer

    Packer Member

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    This is fairly similar to the advice given my son by his MALO.

    Scout, off topic but if you would not have gotten aviation what was your second choice?
     
  13. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Knowing that I was high enough to get whatever I wanted, I literally made a last-second choice. It was Friday morning and branch selections were due by 1200. I was still terribly conflicted between Armor and Aviation. As I walked back from third hour class contemplating my future on that drizzly morning, I was greeted by the sound of one of the Hueys doing a cav takeoff from the north dock pad and then a low pass over my head. I went back to my room, submitted my choices, and that was that. It sounds cheesy, but I figured if I was ever going to get a sign that was probably it. Or pure coincidence. Either way, I made the choice.

    I put Armor second, Infantry third, and Engineers fourth.
     
  14. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Tanks or helo's sounds like you wanted to be in the drivers seat.
     
  15. rotorhd

    rotorhd Member

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    "In the Navy, you will Select Naval Aviator, Naval Flight Ops, Subs, Surface Warfare. Just a tiny few do other things like Grad School, SEALS, etc."


    Dunninla - You left out another "minor" USNA option - that of the Marine Corps. THe USMC has Officer MOSs that equate with most of the Army branches. Overall different mission from the Army however. In a nutshell...Marines take the beach - the Army occupies it.
     
  16. William36912

    William36912 Member

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    Thanks so much for posting this- I'm actually in exactly the same situation, with LOAs to Army and Navy, and good chances for a nom to either. If it's a toss-up between Army and Navy, am I correct in assuming that like me, you're torn between the Army and Marines? (any input into this specific comparison from other users would be greatly appreciated)
     
  17. GoArmyBeatNavy

    GoArmyBeatNavy Member

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    except in Normandy!:thumb:

    After occupying the beach, the Army proceeds to destroy the center of mass of the enemy's forces :biggrin:
     
  18. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    When was the last amphibious assault? Inchon? Holy irrelevant tactic, Batman!

    Anyhow, yes, dunninla missed some major points.

    I spent the day on a Navy ship. Navy flight deck crews are great to work with!
     
  19. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    You totally neglected to mention that at navy they get to wear those darling little sailor suits. Moms just love those...remind us of when you fellas were little bitty boys! I just wish they came with short pants and button on shirts (and saddle shoes!). Army outfits aren't nearly as sweet.

    Go Army!
     
  20. GoArmyBeatNavy

    GoArmyBeatNavy Member

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    Marines have the best uniforms, seriously. The Army has decided to make everyone look like bus drivers.
     

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