Why the USNA?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by NROTC-Hopeful, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. NROTC-Hopeful

    NROTC-Hopeful Member

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    I was wondering what some of your input would be as to why you picked the Naval Academy over the other SA's or why USNA is your number one choice. :thumb:
     
  2. doctorwaffle

    doctorwaffle New Member

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    Simply put, because I want to be an officer in the Marine Corps or the Navy, not the Army or Air Force.
     
  3. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    And what are the common factors between the Marine Corps and Navy that aren't included in the Army, Air Force or Coast Guard?
     
  4. SETXDad

    SETXDad Member

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    Why is the mountain high? Why is the sky blue? There is no answer other than whats inside of you :smile:
     
  5. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    For me, there were several reasons.

    1. The USAFA and USMA are very remote campuses. Unlike the Naval Academy, which is quaintly nestled in Annapolis, they are fairly remote campuses. It is 7 miles to the front gate at the USAFA and then another 8 miles into the nearest town! At the USNA, you walk outside the gate and you're in Annapolis. There is more to do in the near vicinity - with Baltimore and Washington, D.C. in the vicinity. You can conveniently walk out in town and get a pizza. That is a major undertaking at the other academies.

    2. Half the professors at the USNA are civilians. This is by design. It is kind of nice to get a more balanced perspective of the world. You get plenty of military influence and it is sometimes refreshing to get away from that.

    3. The are more options for service selection at the USNA that can lead to a viable naval career. The Navy has more facets. You want to get dirty and be a ground-pounder? Be a Marine! You want to fly? Go Navy or Marine Air! Surface ships ... submarines ... SEALS ... Medical Corps ... EOD ... the list goes on and on. In the Air Force, if you're not a pilot, you are really a second rate citizen. That's not true in the Navy.

    4. The USNA always win in football! :smile:
     
  6. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    There's not a right or wrong answer. Each of the SAs and each of the military services (including the Merchant Marine) has its ups & downs.

    There are two separate, but related issues. Which SA interests you and which service are you drawn to? I thought I wanted to be on a ship, so looked at USNA and USCGA. In my day (long ago), the opportunities for females were better in the USCG. However, it was also the first year of the Reagan administration and DOD was getting budget increases whereas USCG (then in Treasury) was getting cut. I also wanted the larger size of USNA.

    In hindsight, I'm glad I spent my college years at USNA but think my career would have been better and more interesting in the USCG. However, that was nearly 30 yrs ago -- lots has changed and the reasons I did what I did may or may not make any sense to today's candidates.
     
  7. USNA '16

    USNA '16 Member

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    Why the NA....

    I am only a sophmore and I can tell you two things about the Naval Academy:

    1 - I want to go there to make my family proud and keep a tradition of military service in the family. I am honored to do or talk about anything relagted to the NA because it is such a prestigous school. I will start applying next year to get in and I hope to make it.

    and

    2- usna1985 is right when she says there is no right or wrong answer. I do want to add that you should have no doubt in your head about where and why you are going to the SA that you make it in. (That is for plebe summer I'm told. Lol.) Just go with our gut and work hard towards your goals.
     
  8. 2012Cadet

    2012Cadet Member

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    In your opinion, what are the ups and downs of each SA/branch of the military (as far as Navy, Marines, Army, Air Force)?
     
  9. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Before we get into the ups and downs, it's also important for everyone to remember the Ups and Downs of a Service Academy do not always correspond with the ups and downs of the service.

    usna1985, the Coast Guard was most likely under the Dept. of Transportation when you were looking. From 1790-1967 the Coast Guard was under the Dept. of Treasury. From 1967-2003 the Coast Guard was under the Dept. of Transportation, and finally from 2003-present the Coast Guard has been under the Dept. of Homeland Security.
     
  10. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    ^^^^

    I stand corrected. It was a long time ago. I came oh so close to attending USCGA. But the number of women in a class at the time (~30) was so few -- not that USNA was much better (~110).

    USCGA and the USCG are great opportunities. It really depends on what you want -- there is no right or wrong answer but, in general, one SA or service is probably better for certain individuals. Research, talk to grads, etc. Figure out what you want and the best place for you to serve.
     
  11. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    Ups and Downs of the Services?

    LITS-Could you please elaborate on this for me? I've applied to both (been accepted to one :thumb:) and want to make sure, like my fellow candidate, that I make the best decision as possible. Thanks! :biggrin:
     
  12. FeartheGoat

    FeartheGoat Member

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    If you really think about it, there isn't a huge difference between the different branches. You always hear that one group has harder training or is more elite than another depending on who you talk to. For me, it was a couple of my friends, one of whom enlisted in the Navy and another who attended the Naval Academy, that drew me there. When I talk to them they talk about how much they enjoy what they are doing. Plus my grandpa and uncle were in the Army, so I think I want to do something different. It all comes down to what you feel is best for you and where you think you might have the most success, just do some research and see what you think.
     
  13. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I think for many the type of service they want is very determinative. If you want to be a small-unit infantry officer, you're looking at USA and USMC. If you want to fly jets, USAF and USN. If you want to fly jets off carriers . . . If you want to do something like Medical Service Corps or Intel (right out of school), you are better off in the USA or maybe the USAF (not sure of their options).

    If you want to do customs work, nab drug-traffickers, ice-breaking, border patrol, etc., that's the USCG. Do you want to be on a ship? -- that's mostly USN and USCG. Subs -- only one option.:smile:

    If you don't know yet -- and that's ok -- figure out what is a non-starter for you. And which SA offers the most options upon graduation. For example, if you know you don't want to be at sea, USCG isn't right for you and USN may present some issues b/c you can't be sure you'll be a Marine.

    In terms of the SAs themselves -- some of the major differences include location, size (USCGA vs. the rest), focus/emphasis (ground vs. air vs. sea), etc. USMMA is another option but VERY different from the others. Honestly, it's not all that different than choosing among colleges with similar attributes.
     
  14. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    You don't realize how different the services are until you do something joint. You also don't realize how similar some of the services are until you're joint.

    I've been to joint schools in the past, but I recently completed a joint school that lasted a little over two months. In that time, the cultures of the services really came out, and the reinforced the underlying differences.

    The Sea Services had a number of similarities, that I usually hadn't noticed. Terminology was similar. A head was a head and a deck was a deck. We had division officers, department heads, etc. There's a chief's mess, and the roll the the chief is different from our ground pounding brothers.

    These similarities weren't striking at first, until we all started trying to cope with the Army terms. And for anyone who hasn't done "joint", joint means Army, and they won't speak your language, so it's best to learn theirs. Even the Marines had a lot in common with their sea faring brothers.

    The Army and Air Force were also very close. Doesn't take Einstein to realize that this is because they WERE the same, and there is a good chunk of the population that can remember back to when there was no Air Force, but Army Air Forces and Army Air Corps.

    So once you look past those differences, between the services, you find another "division" in the class, those serving in uniform and the civilian members of the class. It is here you can see the similarities of service members in general. Each has a love of their country, an appreciation for their individual service, a love of their "gear", whether that be ships, cutters, planes, guns, tanks, etc. They each understand their "part" in the grand military scheme of things. They understand while some wear blue or another shade of blue or black or green or another shade of green, they're all on the same team, and they each bring something different to the fight.





    But now for Sam's question. I can only speak for what I see the Ups and Downs of the Coast Guard. I'm going to start with the downs and end on a good note.


    Downs:
    Funding - While funding for the Coast Guard has gone up, especially since it was moved to the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, the manning and funding is not where it could be ideally. You will work on older ships. Marine Corps says they do more with less, but on scale, you will see the Marine Corps has greater funds than the entire DHS.

    Mission - You will have more missions that your sister services can shake a stick at, but you will have a hard time giving each one equal focus.

    Understanding - Most people will have no idea what you do. While this is somewhat understandable for the general population, where it will be frustrating is when your fellow service members in DoD have no idea. The ones who do know, know because they've worked with you before.

    Identity - We have a bit of a continuous identity crisis. Crisis might be too strong. The Coast Guard has so many missions, each with it own flavor. The Coast Guard is a military service, at all times, read 14 USC 1. The Coast Guard is also a federal law enforcement power, read 14 USC 89. How does that get confusing? A small boat station in New Jersey engaged in LE may not see its actions as very "military". Sure the sailor at a Navy base who works on the pier may not see that a very military either, but he also doesn't see it as a primary mission. He might spend less time underway, over seas, but he does not see his time away from the seas as a primary mission. The Coast Guardsman at that small boat station doesn't have that "comfort". That's not an issue for him, in general, but the military aspect of the job is much more clear to the Coast Guardsman working with JIATF-South or the cutter in the North Arabian Gulf.



    UPS:

    People - Smart, quality people. When you work elsewhere you frequently want to return to your shipmates in blue. They know their jobs, they know where they fit into everything, and their appreciate their role. They understand the authority they have been granted. It's a small, tight-knit group.

    Mission - We know what we're doing. While the missions we conduct daily in peace and war don't translate well into commercials, they are the big and small things, you likely never think of, but take for granted, and if they weren't happening, you would have a very bad day. Also, as I said PEACE and WAR. Up until 2001, the Coast Guard had a good chunk of the actual action. If you liked doing a job you were trained to do, instead of training 90% of the time, it was a good choice. Obviously some things have changed, but they won't always be this way.

    "Gear" - Our ships are generally pretty old. Some new ones are out there, and newer ones are on their way. Our largest cutter is 420'. Driving a Coast Guard cutter is what driving ships is about. We rarely used a tug to pull in one my cutter. If we did, either the currents were crazy, of the port required us to.....but driving a ship involved a lot of "twisting" springing on lines and the fine use of CPP. There are some single-screw ships out there....now that's REALLY what ship driving is. In general you will see Coast Guardsmen refer to the kind of cutter/boat by its length instead of by its class. I was on a "Reliance class" cutter, however I refered to it as a "Two Ten". I have friends on "Three Seventy Eights", "Two Seventies" "One Seventy Fives", "Eighty Sevens", "One Tens", "One Forties" and "Two Twenty Fives". A few get their own names, like the two "Polar Rollers", Healy, Alex Haley, the "New Mac" and Acushnet.

    Size - We're small. Now, I've heard Marines say they're a small service, but they dwarf us. There are 10,000 more soldiers stationed at Fort Hood alone, than Coast Guardsmen that make up the entire Coast Guard. Those 41,000 or so Active Duty Coast Guardsmen are charged with defending the 96,000 miles of inland waterways and coastline of the United States, as well as the EEZ, and anywhere the U.S. has jurisdiction. All that, for a service that is roughly the size of the New York City Police Department. That means if you don't know someone, you know someone who knows that person. That can be good or bad, but mostly, it's good. Anywhere you are along the coast, if there is a Coast Guard base near by, you know there's someone you can count on. And, while I appreciate the service of all service members, I'm drawn to my own color, blue.

    Those are the Ups and Downs for the service. There are many I'm overlooking, but I like my shipmates, they're the best in the world.

    In the end, when you're looking at a service academy, there are, maybe three main things you want to think about. The first and most immediate for you, the school. Is it the kind of school you want to go to, because you WILL have to go there before you really start serving out "in the fleet" or "in the real military". Once you've considered that....is it going to lead to a service you want to be a part of? You may LOVE the Air Force Academy, but if you don't want to be in the Air Force, then I would recommend NOT going there. There is, after all, a commitment once you've graduated. Lastly, and most "long term", will the the degree your looking at help you in "the real world" post-military service?
     
  15. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    That is very true!

    I do not think there is any way to sugar coat it - but the Navy is the military's "away team." During time of war (like now), the Army can be as bad. But, in the Navy, you are going to be away from home much more - even during time of peace. The Air Force life is much more conducive to having any semblance of family togetherness.
     

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