Thaunagamer

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Jun 1, 2020
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Hi, to everyone who views and replies.👋

I've been Recruited to run Track and Field at USNA. I'll Be class of 25'. I've never really thought of going to a military academy until the coach contacted me at the beginning of this school year. I've always seen going into the military as a last resort type of thing.
However, I know about how good of a deal this opportunity is , in regards to my desire to attend a very good Engineering School that can offer accelerated education (4+1 Programs) or really good/strong Connections with Co-op and internship opportunities, all while being able to compete and improve competitively in Track and field.

All in all, what I'm most worried about is the 5 years of service. I don't mind doing the 5 years of service after I graduate, what I'm most worried about is having to spend most of my service on Ship. I been reading and I know that this is a serious decision since, when I graduate I'll be an officers and enlisted soldiers will rely on me to fulfill my duty as an officer.
I really am not fond of spending a lot of time on the ship. And I want to blame it personally on the fact that as a woman, when I Graduate I'll be 22, just like anybody else I'll want to start working my way into a career but also work towards a relationship and starting a family. Now tell me if I'm wrong - but is it possible to do that during my 5 year service?

Is being placed on a ship Mandatory ( probably dumb question- cause you know it is THE "NAVY") ?
How long does an Avg. USNA graduate spend time on a ship after graduating (minimum months/years)?
If, not, what are the other available options to undergo during my 5 years?
 

demolition

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Mar 31, 2020
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Can't speak for the starting a family or building relationships during the 5-year commitment. Others on this forum might have more experience with that. However, there are plenty of options with your service select that do not put you on a boat. I suggest you read up about these options on USNA's website. These include Marine ground/air options, Navy flight (pilot or NFO), submarines, or special ops. A large number of graduates do end up as surface warfare officers (on ships) but you declare your preference and based on the needs of the Navy and your performance, you may get the track you want. I think it might be useful in deciding if USNA is the right school for you if you think about what would happen if you were put on surface warfare and how you would react to that, since it would always be a possibility.

I think the most important thing you can do right now is read every drop-down menu and section on the USNA website. Most of what people will tell you on this forum will come straight from there.
 

MidCakePa

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+1 to the advice about reviewing every aspect of the USNA website.

It‘s the Navy, so to paraphrase a brilliant poster here: Everything you do will be on the water, below the water or above the water. The aviators — most of them operate off ships. Even the warfare community that seems land-based — the Marines — spends time on ships. That’s why they’re part of the Department of the Navy.

You’ll have some say in the warfare community you end up in, by virtue of your academy performance and personal acumen. But ultimately the needs of the Navy prevail. So be ready for that.
 

Thaunagamer

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Jun 1, 2020
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+1 to the advice about reviewing every aspect of the USNA website.

It‘s the Navy, so to paraphrase a brilliant poster here: Everything you do will be on the water, below the water or above the water. The aviators — most of them operate off ships. Even the warfare community that seems land-based — the Marines — spends time on ships. That’s why they’re part of the Department of the Navy.

You’ll have some say in the warfare community you end up in, by virtue of your academy performance and personal acumen. But ultimately the needs of the Navy prevail. So be ready for that.

Can't speak for the starting a family or building relationships during the 5-year commitment. Others on this forum might have more experience with that. However, there are plenty of options with your service select that do not put you on a boat. I suggest you read up about these options on USNA's website. These include Marine ground/air options, Navy flight (pilot or NFO), submarines, or special ops. A large number of graduates do end up as surface warfare officers (on ships) but you declare your preference and based on the needs of the Navy and your performance, you may get the track you want. I think it might be useful in deciding if USNA is the right school for you if you think about what would happen if you were put on surface warfare and how you would react to that, since it would always be a possibility.

I think the most important thing you can do right now is read every drop-down menu and section on the USNA website. Most of what people will tell you on this forum will come straight from there.


Thanks for you guys input! It seems like my decision on attending the USNA is undoubtedly set, when considering my on how I want the next 10 years of my life to unfold.
The Navy is a good career to pass up. If I choose not to go may the lord grant me opportunities and a way of life, that undermines my regret of not choosing the USNA.

Until then I'll be reviewing every aspect of the USNA website. :)
 

kinnem

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A couple of pieces of food for thought:

1. If you're really concerned about the 5 years, then I don't think the military is for you. Some of the positions mentioned earlier (eg aviator) require additional years of service.

2. Relationships aren't always all they are cracked up to be. My own philosophy (gained thru the school of hard knocks) is that while you're in your 20s you should have fun, see the world, and enjoy the adventures. Late 20s is early enough to be thinking of relationships, settling down, and family. DS is 27 and will be 28 when he and his fiance finally marry next year. In the meantime he's been through the Panama Canal, experienced the challenges of OCS and TBS, spent nearly 3 years in Okinawa and while there visited mainland Japan twice (saw the sunrise from the top of Mt. Fuji), Hong Kong, spent two weeks vacationing in Australia, and another 2 weeks in Indonesia - all personal travel. Every 6 months his girlfriend (now his fiance) would join him on one of these adventures. He went to S. Korea, the Philippines, and around the US on "business". He snorkels, scuba dives, surfs, goes bouldering and camping in the California desert, and now has a puppy (I think he's nesting). As they say - Join the Navy (or Marine Corps in his case) and see the world. Then worry about the relationships after you've had more time to mature and know yourself, and what you want, better.

Just one man's two cents.
 
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justdoit19

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Apr 9, 2017
Messages
3,326
Go into this with eyes wide open. My kid is about to sign his 2 for 7 contract. More likely than not, he will be on a ship.

Something to keep in mind is you may not stay on the team. Do you want to go to USNA even if your not on the track team? You could get cut. You may decide it’s too much. The good news is you CAN quit

You say ‘25. So are you naps? If so, you should have a good idea whether this is a good fit to you after this year.

My son was a recruited athlete, no longer participating. Things do change. Just don’t go only for track. Go to be a Naval officer, and serve your country. Wherever needed. Even on a ship.
 

Capt MJ

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You are wise to work to understand the service aspects of what goes along with a service academy education and subsequent required service. Sometimes recruited athletes hear what they want to hear and seem surprised when they realize they have to march in parades, take the same hard courses as everyone else, and expect to put in a minimum of 5 years in uniform, a good chunk of which will likely involve being far from home and working hard.

You should not look at this as strictly a “deal” in any way. It is a hard, challenging path. The varsity athletes at USNA and the other SAs play for the love of their sport, and face challenging time management situations.

As far as your personal life, midshipmen and junior officers have love lives, and after USNA, get married and have children, just like anyone else. It takes a bit of management due to deployments and sea duty. You meet high-caliber men and women, smart, athletic, capable, from all kinds of backgrounds with a range of interests. As a woman who spent 26 years in uniform, I can attest to that. It’s a running joke most military women marry military men, because no one else gets us. I also would not exchange the world-expanding opportunities I have had for anything. I grew up in a small community where everyone tended to return home or to the next town, even if they went away to college. I had places to go, things to do, people to meet.

You are not teetering at grave’s edge if you do your 5-year minimum and get out. Military junior officers, with their experience in leadership and resource management, are attractive to the corporate world. You can rejoin the civilian world with a career and tend to desires to start a family.

If you have reservations about shipboard duty, think about why. Is it physical uneasiness about being on the water, thousands of miles from solid land? Is it the months away from wherever home is? Is it the inherent danger of military life? It’s okay to be worried about these things, and only you can decide if that is a life for you. The needs of the Navy and Marine Corps rule all career options, though you get to submit a list of your preferences. Many of these options involve water. No one can guarantee you going in that you will never serve on a ship in any capacity whatsoever. The Marine Corps does do more things ashore, but you have want to embrace being a Marine. They do love varsity athletes though, as a very fitness-centered culture.

Some things to think about. You can attend the first two years without incurring an obligation. That allows you to learn about various career options through hands-on experiences in the summer, talking to officers in that community throughout the year and getting a better feel for all the options. You are likely to spend 3 weeks on a ship during the summer. You can walk away before you start your junior academic year. This is not the ideal attitude to take, but “the system” does allow for this kind of attrition.

As noted above, you can quit your sport, and there is no scholarship that is affected. The happiest USNA varsity athletes love they can still play their sport and are also happy they have chosen a path of service, and see themselves thriving in a couple of different career paths.

Inquire into when athletic recruit visits to USNA might resume. Those are good opportunities to attend class, meet and talk with midshipmen, talk with potential teammates, see how the place works. You should be doing the same with other schools.

Pore through the USNA.edu website pages, links and hamburger menus to learn about the process of application, nominations, the academic background expected, the career options available.

Are there any graduates of your high school who are attending USNA? Your guidance counselor might know. They might be willing to talk with you.

On a personal note, I love that you referred to “women” in your thread title, not “girls.” It’s subtle, but it makes a difference, and hints of your strength and self-confidence. That’s exactly what you are, a young woman on the edge of adulthood, facing adult choices.
 
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Old Navy BGO

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For OP -- CAPT MJ's response is clear "read and initial" advice. She's been there, done that ..and has the ribbons to show it. I expect that NavyHoops and USNA1985, and perhaps others who went ahead of you will have some good advice. I'm not even going to try to answer the female experience questions.

I will however, weigh in on the recruited athlete issue. First, it is great that you are asking the questions about Service. USNA is a "Service Academy", not a "Track and Field" Academy. The mission of the Naval Academy is "develop Midshipman morally, mentally, and physically to be Officers in the Naval Service...." (or words to that effect), not produce a great track team. What that means is that first, and foremost, you have to have a desire to serve in the Navy or Marines Corps upon graduation.

That doesn't mean that you need to be committed to a 20 year career, but you should have an open mind and a desire to serve the young men and women you will lead. It doesn't have to be onboard ship, but there are a lot of things worse than being on a ship. (Actually, its kind of cool.).
The Naval Academy's mission includes "physical development", and there is no question that participating in collegiate level athletics leads to development of teamwork and leadership skills. I suspect (and hope) you are being recruited because of academics and leadership in addition to athletic ability. The Navy and Marine Corps offers great opportunities, regardless of whether you stay in 5 years or 30. If you get a recruiting visit, I encourage you to talk with the Officers and other Midshipman, not just the track team, to get a clear understanding of what being in the Navy /Marine Corps means.

Good luck ..and BEAT ARMY !
 

Dr. Strange Love

Time Traveller — Blues Man — DD USNA 2024
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Messages
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... when I Graduate I'll be 22, just like anybody else I'll want to start working my way into a career but also work towards a relationship and starting a family ...
.
Yes. This is what we were made to do. Just ease up a little, and don’t put pressure on yourself to “make it happen”. Life is like a box of chocolates.

Family and Kids = Responsibilities and Cost .... do some research here, but don’t let what you uncover scare you from having a family and kids. Just don’t be so quick to “Make it happen”.
.
 
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usna1985

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OK . . . on being female and in the USN. It sounds like your main issue isn't so much being on a ship as potentially not being able to find true love, marry and have kids . . . all within your first 5 years.

First of all, most professional women today don't get married and have kids right away. I know very few professional women -- in the military or outside -- who had kids before age 25. Many didn't have their first by age 30. All sorts of reasons for that -- not just related to career. It's a subject for another forum.

Being in the military won't preclude you from dating, falling in love and getting married. Today, it's common for female mids to marry male mids (or recent grads) shortly after graduation/commissioning. I know many more who married within their first five years of graduation. Not many had kids within that time, but I suspect that's because both spouses were going through training, their first tours, deployments, etc.

Most SA women end up marrying men who have been in the military. Oddly, this tends to hold true even if they marry after leaving the military. Whether you are on a ship or in a squadron, you will be around a lot of military men -- and non-military men. It was easier to meet/date non-military guys when on shore duty.

If your #1 goal is to get married and have kids (and stay home with them) right away, a SA and military life probably aren't right for you. If you simply want to be able to have a social life with the possibility of something more, the military is no different than most professions.

In terms of how much time you spend on a ship . . . first tours are usually 2.5 - 3 years. Not all that time is "at sea." I was assigned to a land-based squadron for my first tour. Just under 3 years. Spent a total of one year deployed. Then went to shore duty for 4 years.

Finally, I echo those above who counsel being sure you want a SA lifestyle and a military life -- not just a good engineering school and great track team (you can get that at Stanford). I STRONGLY suggest you do a candidate visitation weekend or official visit in the fall (hopefully, things will be more back to normal by then) where you can see what things are like, talk to mids on the track team as well as those not involved in varsity sports, etc.
 

NavyHoops

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All great info above. 1985 and CAPT MJ have a wealth of experience as women in the Navy. I was a recruited athlete at USNA and served in the USMC. I echo the sentiments above about dating and marriage. There are plenty of opportunities to date Mids and even civilians. It's a little tougher to date a civilian as you just can't leave every night for dinner or to meet up. But in reality, as a D1 athlete at any school with a tough academic schedule, your days would be packed anywhere.

I am still very close with my 3 room mates at USNA. All married not long after we graduated. One was commissioning week, one was Dec after we graduated and the other was about 18 months after we graduated. My one room mate married a West Point grad she met at on a summer internship. The other room mates married grads, both a year or two ahead of us. They all had children while on active duty also. I have dozens of friends, classmates and team mates who have all made it through the USNA journey, married and managed or are managing military careers with children. It's not easy. But, honestly it's not easy as a professional woman in the civilian world either. I could write pages on this, but it comes down to what are your goals as an individual, your spouses goals and your family's goals. Sometimes one or the other will have to sacrifice, this isn't any different than as a civilian. In the military you have less control over alot of it. You will need a strong family support system. I would say take it one day at a time. I know 5 years seems like alot now, its not.

I actually never served any time on a ship outside of my Midshipmen summer cruises. My MOS in the USMC wasn't one that normally went on the ships. Your time at sea can vary based upon career selected, etc. But if you become a SWO, you will go to sea. I recommend, if attending USNA to become an officer is still of interest to you, then go on a recruiting trip. There are more former D1 athletes at USNA than active D1 athletes. My team started with 9 recruits and only 3 of graduated. I think the remaining 6 stayed at USNA but moved to other club sports. It's not an easy 4 years at USNA. Being athlete is a massive time commitment. Track & Field is a big commitment as its two seasons, indoor & outdoor. I am thankful I chose this path everyday. I have had amazing experiences and it has played a huge part in where I am today. Good luck.
 

usna1985

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One of my classmates was a standout track athlete -- at least one of her records stood for ~30 years. She graduated in the top 50 of her class, married a grad, had several kids (at least one of whom graduated from USNA), and had a full 20-year active duty USN career (her husband did 30 years). They're still married. And this was years ago when doing the above was more difficult than it is today. So definitely possible.
 

Thaunagamer

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Jun 1, 2020
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I was hoping you'd answer my question, I seen you on other threads. :)



But yes you all are right. I haven't actually thought about separating the sport from the actually school and I need to think about whether I would go there without sports.

All in all, it seems that I am scaring myself when it comes to love and life outside of duty. As for the "Civilian life" its also probably a traditional mindset I have based on my family. My parents, step parent, and my aunts and uncles (on both sides) all have gotten married and had children (at least two) all during there 20's. You know later on some of them (my mom) had one more in there early 30's, so I think thats one of the main reasons why I'm concerned with having relationships and starting a family so early.

And for the military life; I have distant relatives I know that served but never went through the academy and none of my immediate family members served so I don't know what to expect, outside of what information I can find from others. I'm trying to paint a clear picture and get as much input from people to revise amongst myself and really figure out would I fit at USNA.

Thanks to everyone for replying. I will definitely plan on taking a visit.










 
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