Why the hate?

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by Tbone72, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. Tbone72

    Tbone72 New Member

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    I know people who go/went to the other four service academies and they all talk about KP like it is one of the worst places to go to school. I have ben told that KP is incredibly unprofessional, a waste of money, and where those who want to feel like they have "accomplished" something without much real work go to school. Is any of this true, or do they just say that because KP graduates only have the option to serve in the military, where all the other academies have a minimum time of service in the military after graduation?
     
  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Different mission, different priorities at KP - and differences always make them easier to pick on. They know who they are and what they can do -which is a broad spectrum of things. They may or may not take the warrior path, which is perfectly fine. I respect the school and its grads, unless the grad individually falls short, same as I would an officer from any other source.

    I have had the honor to serve with many professional and skilled KP grads as AD naval officers, as Naval Reserve officers on active duty training, as master mariners in MSC ships and other lines, as shore staff, and in the business world.

    Watching a senior master (KP grad) of an MSC USNS oiler take Navy ship after Navy ship alongside on hot afternoons at sea, practicing unrep approaches and breakaways, listening to him patiently coach the raw Navy ensigns conning the destroyers and other ships - I was impressed beyond words. One master had been at it long enough that the brand new admiral in charge of the battle group came up on the radio to express thanks for the lessons he learned as an ensign 26 years earlier.

    A case of apples and oranges.

    KP grads all have to serve out an obligated time as a Navy Reserve officer if they don't go active duty. That means taking required courses and fitting in active duty training a certain number of days a year, squeezing it in during precious shore leave, if they are sailing. Many choose to serve a full career in the Reserve, while still sailing or working in another career field.

    Their trimester system, Sea Year and sea project, plus sitting for their license exams - intense and challenging.

    As I said, different mission, different obligations, just ...different. Not worse.

    Edit: I also saw many great master mariners out of the State maritime academies. Professional seamen, not warriors. Worthy of respect.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
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  3. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    Likely they just don't understand the mission of KP and only focus on how much/little the regimental system plays in the life of your typical KP M/N vs the other SA Midn/Cadet. That and the other SAs typically suffer from a heightened sense of their own importance. They love their titles but forget that people don't follow titles, they follow courage.

    I'll rate the typical new 3rd Mate/Eng very highly against an O1 who can barely find the chow/mess hall without the help of an E7.

    KP ... The easiest academy to get into, the hardest to graduate from.
     
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  4. stemthetide

    stemthetide New Member

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    The opinions expressed by all the people you know who go/went to the other four service academies are vastly different from what I have heard. I also know numerous people who attend or have attended the other four service academies, and quite frankly I have not heard those types of statements from them. Quite the opposite, I have heard others speak favorably of Kings Point and it’s graduates.

    Other than good natured banter revolving around sports rivalries between the academies, I have not come across any of them bad mouthing another Academy. It’s unfortunate that the people you know speak that way, but rest assured, they are the exception. Without knowing your friends, it seems they may be unaware (or misinformed) of Kings Point rigorous trimester academic program and the military commitment of it’s graduates.

    As you probably already know, Kings Point is unique among the Service Academies in that Kings Point is a Maritime Academy (with a regimental system) while the others are all Military Academies. Graduates of all of the Academies, however, have a military service commitment. Kings Point graduates, however, are unique in that they also graduate with a license to serve as officers in the U.S. Merchant Marine.

    Perhaps the area of confusion is that unlike the Military Academies, Kings Point graduates have the option of serving their Military commitment by going active duty (which about 25% - 35% choose) or as an officer in a reserve unit of the armed forces. Those not serving active duty have a commitment to work five years in U.S. Maritime industry (in addition to their Navy Reserve obligation).
     
  5. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    I sailed for two years and have been active duty for for 13. I've never heard anyone express what you have experienced, even working in joint situations. I have heard some sighs of jealousy though when I tell other Academy grads about my experiences.
     
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  6. KP Eng

    KP Eng Member

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    I'll echo kp2001, I've worked and socialized with grads from all the Academies and never once heard that.
     
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  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I'm not sure who you've talked to, but beyond the playful stuff that academy grads dish out to each other (which isn't all that mean) I can't image this coming from them.

    Agree that KP is misunderstood by most.
     
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  8. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Keep in mind there is always the "friendly rivalry" aspect to responses on this question. After all "who guards the streets of heaven"? (google it)
     
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  9. swrakow

    swrakow Member

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    When you graduate, no one on active duty cares where you went to school. You just have to perform. Those going active duty Navy SWO will most likely have a leg up initially over those from USNA or NROTC. Why? Way more sea time and experience aboard ship - ship handling and engineering. As a USNA mid, I spent a grand total of two months on board ship with much of that time in port. Then spent a couple of weeks on a YP. That's a far cry from a year at sea required of KP grads.

    I'm a BGO for USNA now, but from what I've seen KP is NOT easier to get into than USNA. The acceptance rate is about the same, only there are about 1/3 the applicants. Navy's class size is about 1160 now. KP is about 260. Still must meet all academic, physical, and medical requirements (or get a waiver), plus get a nomination. Perhaps the nomination is easier to obtain, but the rest of it is just as hard - IMHO.

    I have a DD who has been offered an appointment to KP, but has also received an NROTC scholarship to GW. Still waiting on USNA - and have been 100% complete since 9/1/15 (waiting on eye waiver) and offer. Honestly, from what I've learned of KP during the past 18 months (and I knew very little about KP until my DD applied), I think KP is a better "fit" for her all around than USNA has the potential to be. Way more options on graduation as well.
     
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  10. AlexT

    AlexT Banned

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    I've heard quite a bit of trash talk directed at USMMA --- primarily from folks tied the CGA -- on game day! ;)
     
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  11. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    I actually have seen it first hand, although I guess it was more SWO/MMR then USNA/USMMA since some of the offenders were not from Severn River Vocational Academy.

    I was at MSC HQ at the time on AT surrounded by SWOs, I was wearing my black jacket so none could see my pin, and they must have all assumed I was a SWO although my high level of competence and ability to learn quickly should have given it away that I wasn’t. Soon they started bashing the MMR program as a whole, that they were wastes of uniforms and generally of no value to the Navy in general and to MSC specifically. One of these SWOs was an Annapolis grad and the Operations Dept. Head for the MSC Reserve unit.

    I found it a bit humorous when a few drill weekends later all of MMRs were being moved to Operations because they couldn’t manage their weekend watches. I pointed out to our Dept. Head that in my view our knowledge and competence was neither appreciated or respected within Operations and the SWOs that populate it. He disagreed. The following drill weekend we sat down with the OPS Dept Head and he opens with “Don’t worry, we SWOs will teach you guys about MSC and what we do here” I looked over at my MMR CAPT who just shrugged his shoulders.
     
  12. cruisemom67

    cruisemom67 DD USMMA Class of 2020

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    We recently went to a college fair at my DD high school for my sophomore. CGA was there but KP was not. I talked to CGA rep for a few minutes. Told him DD (senior) was planning on KP. He said that's where kids go if they don't get in to CGA. MY senior DD was not interested in CGA mainly because of the massive amounts of swimming they do. She was on swim team for several years and HATED it. It was the only sport she couldn't dominate in. All the other sports ( soccer, softball, volleyball) her teams have placed in the top 5 in Texas. But I thought that rep was very rude about her wanting KP. KP has so many more opportunities. Plus KP beat CGA in volleyball this year and DD is recruited volleyball player!
     
  13. swrakow

    swrakow Member

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    SWOs tend to eat their young, so it doesn't surprise me that they feel superior to, or threatened by, MMRs. My cousin (also a USNA grad and SWO) said that USMMA grads were really the only ones who knew how to run a ship. If you want to read a recent book about some (hopefully isolated) ways in which SWOs life aboard combatants is harsh and the leadership suspect - check out "The Long Way Out" by Nicole Waybright.
     
  14. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    Since I did NOT go AD or sail with MSC, my exposure to other academy grads is very limited. I have worked with a few USCG grads, both when I was working as an American Bureau of Shipping field surveyor, and also in the job I have now as a Loss Adjuster. I have also had a neighbor who was a USMA grad. I can tell you that there is NO animosity, except for the occasional dig about sports rivalries. There may be legitimate gripes about KP and how is serves the current state of the US Merchant Marine, but I can say that it does a good job in graduating newly minted merchant officers, if the students have the right attitude. And that does not necessarily mean that they blindly go with the regimental system.
     
  15. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    So sorry this was your experience.
    I highly valued the MMRs who came to drill with me at the MSC units I was at. I felt it was my responsibility to ensure they had useful AT time at the MSC commands where I had a say. I especially valued the deck officers during major joint exercises, when we would be loading Army rolling stock into RORO vessels, and the engineers when we had heavy dealings with inspections and contractors during repair periods. I was not at HQ.
    A small sea story - during a major joint exercise, the Army rolled up with the unexpected "Eddie Bauer" version of their trucks, adding additional weight and cube, completely blowing apart the computer-generated load plan for a BOB HOPE class RORO. The two deck MMRs I had on hand, a KP grad and a Mainiac, put their heads together with my civilian Deputy Ops (another maritime grad) to re-do the load plan by hand in a matter of hours, ensuring a balanced load and a stable ship. The SWO OpsO focused on solving schedule issues raised by a delayed sail. Good takeaway, always ask the Army if they have gotten recent mods to their gear.

    SWO officers who find themselves at MSC find themselves away from a familiar cruiser-destroyer or amphibious ship environment. Some may not be comfortable with the MSC shipping environment and have never dealt with maritime academy grads except during unrep.
     
  16. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    I've been around enough SWOs to know that not going SWO (Thought about it senior year) was the best decision I never made.

    Its Your Ship by Michael Abrashoff is another good book. The chasm between what I thought of the book and the rest of the SWO community thought of the book only reinforced the above for me.
     
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  17. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Yeah, not the appropriate place or time for the rep to talk about that (reps are instructed not to bad mouth other schools).

    My experience overnight at USMMA was good. If I mentioned I was also looking at CGA, I got a lot of grief for it.

    The next day or two I was overnight at CGA and when I mentioned I was also looking at USNA and USMMA, no one said anything.

    USMMA is a good school. I think what it does and what the students are learning is generally misunderstood (less misunderstood by their rivals at CGA).

    And I've enjoyed the small number of KP grads I've worked with in the CG fleet.

    Nothing to be ashamed of going to USMMA. You won't get a better taste of the sea in any other service academy (and that trimester schedule will weird everyone else out.
     
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  18. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Hated that book.... Not sure why the SWO community hated it, but the revolutionary approach he claimed was already done, on some level, in the CG.

    He just seemed full of himself.
     
  19. USNASWO

    USNASWO New Member

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    I served with Nicole Waybright during the tour she writes about in her book. I can vouch that everything she writes about is absolutely true. I highly recommend her book.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 30, 2016
  20. MMA19kid

    MMA19kid Member

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    There's nothing to be ashamed of having attended a school that offers government and management as majors and chains you to being a pencil pusher for 5 years either. Do you think that a brand new ensign who studied environmental science at the USCGA and is JOOD or equivalent on a cutter has the breadth of knowledge, skills, or experience as a Merchant Marine Academy grad?

    I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that in many aspects (almost everything from navigation to shiphandling to engine work), USMMA grads could do a better job. So no, there isn't really anything to be ashamed of.
     

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