I am participating in my sister's wedding which falls on August 19 (a Saturday) and I was wondering, if I get appointed to the USNA off the waitlist, would I be able to take the weekend off to go be in my sister's wedding?
During the academic year, plebes can leave the Yard on Saturday for a certain number of hours. This is not the same as being able to leave the area and be gone overnight (that's a "weekend" or "overnight") - plebes may earn some of those later, but certainly not at the critical weekend marking the transition from Plebe Summer into regular academic year companies. You are still executing PS training schedule at that point. Book/stuff issue, computer issue and set-up, mandatory training, getting ready for class start - it's a crazy transition time, and often plebes do not even get town liberty the Saturday of that weekend.
Getting permission to be away for important family events is hard enough, and for a plebe that particular weekend....well...it would be an unlikely exception.
This is where the reality of an active duty status, immersion military academy experience is the proverbial bucket of cold water on the head. A fact of life in the military is missing important family events because of duty requirements.
You can always ask, which means routing a special request chit through your chain of command. Setting a precedent will always be a decision element. If they let you go, what about other plebes who ask? PS experience is about everyone experiencing and embracing the suck together.
Now, here's a suggestion that I am not making in jest, because I know at least five mids who have done it. Faced with missing a wedding or other family event for military reasons, they ordered "flat daddies." Flat daddies are life-size photos on cardboard that stand up, which became and continue to be very popular with deployed military members, so as to be "present" in a humorous but visual way in photos or at events. Google flat daddy or party stand-up.
First things first - get the appointment, solve other problems as they present themselves.
As the father of a current plebe, my guess is that although it doesn't seem like an issue to you now to ask and be gone that weekend, even if it were possible you may get there and decide it's not wise to even ask.
DD was supposed to be in a wedding during her Plebe year. She was not able to attend, or even leave the Yard that day. She did have a little bit of free time so we Facetimed her so she could congratulate the couple and talk to family and friends for a bit. Sure, it's not the same as being there, but as Capt MJ said it's part of the military life she has chosen.
This is the part of the military that gets neglected here on the forum. Attending a Service Academy is the first step to becoming a leader in our Armed Forces. Their is a great deal of sacrifice that goes along with this service.
This is only the first event that you will miss for at least the next nine years and maybe 25-30 years. Their will be graduations, weddings, funerals, birthdays, births, parties, reunions, school plays, sporting events and the list goes on and on that will take a backseat to the mission.
Please make sure you understand that this is the type of life you are volunteering for and ensure that you are willing to sacrifice those things before you accept an appointment.
The service will do things for extraordinary events but I would not see this as one of those. I do not think your request would be well received.
DS and I have talked about this, and also having to deal with the VA later. Between my father's struggle with the Veterans Administration due to his agent orange exposure, and his work with our congressman and helping veterans who can't even get their wheelchairs repaired, I was wondering if he understood what he was signing up for. His answer really surprised me, he said "it's the cost of doing business, Mom."
Yeah, be prepared by being aware there is a cost...