VMI vs USNA

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by Katrina, Jun 9, 2014.

  1. Katrina

    Katrina Member

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    Once you get into the fleet, is there really much of a difference? I have visited both, I just did the USNA Summer Seminar, but I am leading towards VMI.
     
  2. Physicsguru

    Physicsguru Member

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    No. Once you get into the fleet, where you got your commission matters less than if you can get the job done. This is especially true in aviation where most of the wardroom are OCS graduates. In my squadron tour, we had 60 officers, of which there were three, maybe four ring knockers in the bunch. None of my squadron CO's were Navy grads (though one did graduate from West Point).
     
  3. Jarhead1775

    Jarhead1775 Member

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    Not to say that VMI doesn't have prestige, (I'm part of the class of 2015+3) but a Service Academy has the most prestige out of any military college. Plus USNA has major assets for training that you don't get at VMI. I can't speak for the Navy as I'm doing Army ROTC but in comparison to West Point, VMI Army ROTC doesn't have all of the flashy training that USMA does. No door kicking, rocket launcher firing, "basic training" kind of stuff at the Institute. Like I said, I can't tell you for sure that the NROTC detachment is like that but I suspect it is.

    Like others have said though, it doesn't matter after commissioning. It doesn't matter if you did ROTC, went to USNA, did OCS, or went enlisted to officer. You come out as an ensign with the same training and are all equal.

    Either way, good luck to you!


    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    After graduating from whatever commissioning source you're from, when you get to the fleet, you'll be expected to do the same work and you will sink or swim because of that work.

    Service academies and senior military colleges have great networks, but how is that different for USNA?

    At VMI you will have many classmates in ROTC and some who are not. Some of those ROTC students may be in NROTC or Army ROTC, but the point is, 100% of them are not going into your service. Some may not be going into any service.

    At USNA close to 100% of you classmates will be going to the Navy or Marine Corps (mostly Navy). That means you'll already have a class network in your service that far outnumbers the classmates you'd have in the Navy from VMI.

    Also keep in mind, the Navy officer corps is 50,000 strong. So while 1,000 of your classmates may be entering that officer corps, it's going to be pretty spread out. They're also mixing in with new officers from NROTC, OCS, direct commission and other sources.

    My experience at the Coast Guard Academy was close, but I think it was easier to maintain that class network. When 200 of us graduated, we went into an officer corps of 6,000. Around 40-45% of those 6,000 officers came from CGA too. So while CGA produced less officers, those officers also went into a much smaller officer corps. I had a tighter network than, say OCS-produced officers from an OCS class of 50 or from the one or two USMMA grads who were commissioned into the Coast Guard.
     
  5. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    Out of curiosiy, why are you leaning towards VMI?

    In the fleet it doesn't matter (allegedly. I'm not there yet :rolleyes:). I can attest to there being a network of USNA grads even at TBS/flight school. Not with students/instructors (O-1s are equally worthless to IPs), but I have yet to be in a class or do any kind of training without running into people I know and like. The Navy and USMC may be big compared to the Coast Guard, but they're much smaller than you'd think. I can't think of many friends out in the fleet that don't have a classmate or two with them in the same unit. There are downsides to this too, like if you're a recognized turd by your entire class, but that's rare.

    VMI's a great school, but if you want a military lifestyle in college and ultimately to commission into the Navy or Marine Corps, I would give strong consideration to USNA. You're essentially guaranteed a commission active duty, it's free (they even pay you, sort of) without the caveat of having to get a NROTC scholarship and all that entails, the academic programs are great to include summer training and internships, and officers from every community are there for you to learn from. Cool and unique opportunities aren't handed out at USNA, but they're there if you're willing to work for them.
    This is far from an ironclad statement, but in a lot of ways if you leave USNA unprepared for or ignorant about what you're about to go do, it's your own fault.

    ...Oh, and great name, OP.
     
  6. Katrina

    Katrina Member

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    I am leaning towards VMI because it is smaller, especially their physics department and they offer a concentration in nuclear energy.
     
  7. nuensis

    nuensis USNA 2016

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    Yes, we have a larger student population. But almost all academic classes are under 20 midshipmen. A physics or chemistry class might have a couple more than 20, but I've never seen one with over 25. Some classes are in the single digits.

    If you want to study nuclear energy, we have a nuclear engineering major and a sub-critical nuclear reactor.

    http://www.usna.edu/Academics/Majors-and-Courses/Majors/Nuclear-Engineering.php

    For training opportunities, USNA will outstrip NROTC. Guaranteed. Whether you take advantage of those opportunities is an entirely different story.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2014
  8. Katrina

    Katrina Member

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    I did not realize they had nuclear engineering. I was just wondering the difference, I would probably accept an appointment to the Naval academy. I just don't think I can get in.
    Does anyone know if you apply early decision to VMI, then get accepted to USNA if you have to go to VMI?
     
  9. Frankie

    Frankie Member

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    Look through the forums. More often than not, someone has asked your question(s) and someone else has answered them to the best of their knowledge.

    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=21017
     
  10. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    No, the only way (according to this site) to get out of a VMI ED commitment is to get an offer from a service academy.
     
  11. Katrina

    Katrina Member

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    USNA is a service academy...
     
  12. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    I know that. So if you applied to VMI ED, the only way you could NOT go to VMI was if you got accepted by USNA.
     
  13. zrxkuma

    zrxkuma Member

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    My perspective is from being a retired Senior Chief. As far as most enlisted are concerned, the Officers were ranked in quality as follows:

    former enlisted
    VMI/Citadel
    Naval Academy
    Other ROTC

    Sorry Academy grads, just the perspective of most enlisted guys I talked with over my career.
     
  14. sprog

    sprog Member

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    I'm a VMI grad.

    If you get into USNA and your ultimate goal is a career in naval service, it would be most beneficial to take the SA appointment. For all the reasons the SA grads have described.

    I was in the USAF. While I was judged on my own performance, I didn't have the network that the USAFA folks had. When they came to the base, they already knew people and it certainly didn't hurt them. VMI will get you to the same place, and there will even potentially be a smaller network of grads for wherever it is you land out there on active duty. Still, though, it's not to the extent as the SA, and while VMI is a strong school, it isn't 100% focused on preparing you for a career as a military officer in a specific branch of service. ROTC has training opportunities, but I don't think there is the full breadth of exposure like you'd see at one of the SAs. Plus, SAs are free, and there's nothing wrong with that.

    There's no shame in not getting an appointment. I tried for an SA and didn't get one. Most people who try don't get one. VMI can be a great backup in that case (assuming it is financially viable for you). Also, if you're not sure that you want to go on active duty (but are drawn to the military school environment), VMI is a good choice. If, however, you know you want active duty, and you know you want a certain branch, the SA should be at the top of your list.
     
  15. VMI82

    VMI82 Room 131

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    Its the Officer … not the Ring

    It is the person that wears the ring that matters - not where the Ring is from.

    I have heard the same comment as the Senior Master Chief from many a Sgt. Major or Master Guns about Marine Officers.

    But, in my humble opinion (ok … maybe not that humble) it is the Officer - not the Ring.

    I feel the same way about Rifles, Planes, etc. - it is almost always the Man shooting it that matters more than the rifle. Or the Lady flying the Fighter v. which platform she is flying.

    I know many a good officer from both VMI and 'Canoe U' (could not resist) … and I've known world class jerks from both.

    The mission of the schools IS different: VMI prepares a 'Citizen Soldier' whereas USNA a Professional.

    My hypothesis it is the USA's "Citizen Soldier" that confounds the Professional Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen of the world.

    That is because our "Citizen Soldier" is unpredictable, more of an independent thinker, and 'free styles' in combat instead of following tightly scripted doctrine. Any student of US Military History will affirm this going back to Washington's evacuation of NYC by a rag tag bunch of boatsmen.

    So I will repeat myself - I believe there is no 'better' between the schools. They are similar, different, different purposes - but ultimately it comes down to the Officer/Man/Woman wearing the ring that defines, in my mind, which is better.

    PS … I do think the "Middie" on the USNA Milk Carton is a smarmy looking little dude. Call it jealousy, call it what you want … but your own Dairy USNA? (or at least it had one back in my day in 1882)
     
  16. sprog

    sprog Member

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    The dairy has been closed for a while, I think (1998?). I grew up in Naptown and we took a field trip to see the cows when I was about six years-old in the early 1980s. The goat used to live there (not sure where he lives now).
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
  17. Freda'sMom

    Freda'sMom Parent

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    I've hear that as well.

    But I've also heard that the higher you rise in rank, the chances you will be saluting a USNA grad with that ring increases exponentially.
     
  18. sprog

    sprog Member

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    Probably true. The USNA's mission is to produce career naval officers, so I'm unsurprised.

    Most people aren't going to be Admirals, though (no matter where they went to school). Of the few who do get that far, it makes sense that the majority are USNA folks.
     
  19. sprog

    sprog Member

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    I did a bit of surfing just because I was curious...

    The Navy has shut down the dairy farm, but they still own the land. The County has a 30-year lease on the property, and there is an independent organic dairy operating there. Part of the lease is that there has to be space for the care of three goats (the USNA mascots). The Navy pays vet bills, but the County pays for feeding and housing them.
     

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