Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by SeaWarrior, Dec 26, 2013.
Does anyone know why there are so few prior enlisted at USNA?
Probably a combination of reasons. Some enlisted don't want to become commissioned officers; rather, they aspire to be NCOs or Warrants. Some don't have the aptitude or desire to attend USNA. Some who want to become officers do so through other paths, including LDO. Some are too old by the time they decide they might want to attend a SA. Some are married and/or have an obligation to support a child. Some are sick of the military and want to attend a civilian college or get out and work as a civilian.
And probably a few more reasons I haven't thought of.
It's actually "harder" than you might think to pursue a USNA career as an AD enlisted -- and a lot depends on how willing/interested your unit is in helping you. You've got to find time (and the place) to take the standardized tests. If you're deployed, this can be a challenge. You have to fill out applications, get your CO's endorsement . . . and remember, to the unit, you're potentially a loss of a terrific enlisted person whom it will take time to replace. So they have to want to help you knowing it will "cost" them, in the short term.
The impression I got at most of the units I cruised with as a mid and from talking to a lot of enlisted Marines was that are a lot of misconceptions floating around out there about the Academy. I got asked a couple times about how I knew my Congressman or if my family was well off/influential, etc. If I were to guess, it seems that some enlisted guys who are seeking to commission are daunted by the application process.
To go to USNA as a prior-service enlisted Sailor or Marine there's also a fairly narrow window to apply considering they must report by their 23rd birthday (versus MECEPs in my TBS platoon who were in their mid thirties as 2ndLts). A number of the MECEPs I talked to didn't even consider competing for a commission or have a strong package to do so until after they were no longer eligible to apply to USNA.
Arguably, USNA is not a great route for enlisted personnel to commission either. MECEP or STA-21 allow Marines/Sailors to continue their time in service for retirement purposes, keep their rank/rate/paygrade, and, depending on the unit, treats them like adults.
At USNA, everybody sort of starts over at the same point. Priors are treated with respect, don't get me wrong, but they still have to play all the plebe year games alongside everyone else. Some guys are okay with that and some aren't, and choose other ways to get their commission.
Yeah I'd say there are a few main reasons that either get in the way or deter applicants. The first is that STA-21/MECEP is definitely more appealing. Not only do you keep AD pay, it jumps to E-5 pay , you get BAH/BAS, you go to a normal school and have fun, you finish in 3 years. So all that is appealing to someone who's a little older and has been around for a little in the fleet.
Also it's really hard to work on the application when you're working. Being out to sea you work 12-16 hour days 7 days a week and it's hard work so you really have to be motivated to put it the extra time and effort necessary. To get computer access there were times I woke up at 2-3 am to work on my essay/paperwork. Then you have to get your commands approval which at times can be very hard. You have to show that you are not only motivated but capable so that means coming in early staying late moving fast on your quals doing immaculate work. It all depends on the command you have to really work your butt off for it but from my experience it was well worth it. I love it here and am amazed every day at the opportunities offered to us.
Thanks y'all, I was curious why I was the only one at a hospital with 1,300 enlisted who applied this year. It sure was a difficult process but not insurmountable.
Here is some info on my self for any interested applicants or curious people.
High School GPA 3.6 unweighted. All honor's courses including Calculus DC, Geology DC, Physics AP, etc. Ranked 23/160. Top 64 at Texas UIL State Debate. Varsity Soccer, 10,11,12, Captain 11, and 12. Varsity CC, 12. Varsity Track 12. Varsity Football 11, 12. Class VP 10, 11, 12. Student Council VP 11, President 12. SADD President 12. Science Club. Church Group. Key Club. I graduated in 2009 at 17. I signed my enlistment papers 4 months before graduation and went to basic in January 2010. Valedictorian (1/120) at Hospital Corps School Great Lakes, 4/49 at Naval School of Health Sciences. I was an Athletic Petty Officer at both schools. My first assignment was at Naval Hospital Yokosuka, Japan. Now I am at Walter Reed Bethesda. I have scored an excellent or higher on all of my PRT's. My SAT/ACT scores were from 2007 so I retook the ACT this past October. I scored a 29 Composite, SCI 34, RD, 32, ENG 26, MATH 24. I have 55 credits at Central Texas College with a 3.56 GPA.
My chain of command has been extremely helpful during this process. I can't imagine doing this while out to sea/sandbox. I received an endorsement from my CO, a SECNAV nomination, and a Congressional nomination. I thought I had everything squared away until I received a letter from DoDMERB. Anyways, good luck Class of 2018.
For me, there were a couple of issues not mentioned here - first, MECEP is relatively easier to get into (and there are fewer hoops like getting a nomination to jump through), the time in school counts towards retirement, which the Academy doesn't, the pay is whatever you were already making or E-5, whichever is higher, and you wouldn't be treated like a boot (Plebe) for the whole first year. On the other side, the Academy has a great reputation and the leadership training is probably better. Oh, and with MECEP, if you finish, you stay a Marine - with the Academy, you could wind up in the Navy instead.
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