Spera_14

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Oct 19, 2018
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8
Hello!
As I am researching the academy before I apply next year, I found out about PROTRAMID. It sounds like an amazing experience to get to know the different options, but I am pretty sure I would not be able to handle Marine week (gas chamber and all). Are there any other options, or is PROTRAMID a mandatory, unshakably happening event? Can someone "opt out" of a week? Thank you! (Sorry if there is more information about this on this site, but I could not find it :D )
 

USMCGrunt

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@Spera_14: YOU and anyone else can handle Marine week. Don't be scared off over a little discomfort in a gas chamber. Marine week is usually the highlight for attendees (even those who are not interested in going Marines)
 

kinnem

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You'll only be in that chamber once, not once a year (or some such schedule) as Marines do. And I can't think of anyone I would want guiding me through that process than a Marine. It's good to know and experience what your brothers go through.

EDIT: Said the man who has never done this but would trust my Marine son to get me through it.
 
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NavyHoops

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It’s nothing you can’t handle and no you can’t opt out of it. Part of this process is to learn to be uncomfortable. The gas chamber won’t harm you. It is more mental than physical. You are uncomfortable for about 10 minutes from the time you enter and when you leave and adjust.
 

Old Navy BGO

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I am pretty sure I would not be able to handle Marine week (gas chamber and all)

Are you really cut out for USNA or the military ? Regardless of what branch of the service you going into, you are going to be put into situations that (intentionally) push you to your limits. If you are worried about Marine week, what are you going to think about getting waterboarded at SERE school ? USNA (and the military) is looking for people that look at these things as challenges to overcome, not look three years in advance and worry about whether you can handle it.

Here's a hint, and it applies to almost every stressful military training evolution -- Uncle Sam has a vested interest in keeping you alive. You will receive training necessary to help you get through these situations. Beyond that, it becomes 100% mental. It is important that you believe in yourself ... you cannot become an effective leader of others if you are worrying about yourself.
 

Capt MJ

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Hello!
As I am researching the academy before I apply next year, I found out about PROTRAMID. It sounds like an amazing experience to get to know the different options, but I am pretty sure I would not be able to handle Marine week (gas chamber and all). Are there any other options, or is PROTRAMID a mandatory, unshakably happening event? Can someone "opt out" of a week? Thank you! (Sorry if there is more information about this on this site, but I could not find it [emoji1] )

This is training, designed to put you through uncomfortable, physically demanding or mentally unsettling experiences in a controlled, safe environment, so that you know you can handle it in a real-world situation. Getting through it, sharing the experience with others, feeling the self-confidence that comes with knowing you can push yourself past a self-imposed limit or mental reservation - this is all part of personal and professional growth.

There are all kinds of similar training experiences in a Navy or Marine career that you may encounter - the helo dunker (upside down inside a helo cabin, blind, submerged, figuring out how to get out), the very high tower platform jump into a pool, the g-force centrifugal trainer, extended swims in clothes, the ship damage control trainer with water rushing in as you and your team try to patch the leaks while in water up to your waist - just a few.

Is this a can’t or won’t or don’t wanna situation? Make no doubt about it, military service is still a physically and mentally demanding way of life, and you may never face what this type of training prepares you for, or you may find yourself in the thick of it.

Anything to do with water never scared me too much, because I knew I was a strong swimmer and had gotten myself out of riptide situations with a cool head. I really didn’t like the idea of a gas mask on my face but just blanked my mind and told myself to get on with it, to just focus and breathe, focus and breathe. I watched big strong athletes simply freeze up on that tower platform and be unable to make themselves step off. Human beings have interesting minds!

I had also never hit anyone, deliberately, until I was exposed to some basic boxing and hand-to-hand training. Nor had I been hit. That was an interesting experience. Again, blank the mind, just do it.

Keep researching, and trust that you will know how to dig deep and get through something when it’s time. Anytime up to starting classes your junior year, you can walk away, if you determine military service is not for you. Don’t worry about what you can or cannot do some years down the road. Deal with it when it’s time.
 

MidCakePa

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May 22, 2018
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@Spera_14, it’s a very good thing that you’re researching your options this early in the game. That’s true whether for USNA, another SA, or any other college.

Your concern here is a very good reminder that USNA is N*OT COLLEGE. You’re signing up to eventually become an active-duty, unrestricted-line officer. Once commissioned, you’ll undoubtedly face situations that are scary, uncomfortable, ambiguous, terrifying — perhaps all of the above rolled into one. And your foremost responsibility, in that moment, will be the men and women under your command, who’ll be facing the same emotions. They, not you, will have to come first. As their leader, you cannot opt out.

I agree with @Old Navy BGO that, with all due respect, this may not be the best path for you. Nothing wrong with being scared, but another thing to already be thinking about how to opt out of training before you’ve even received offer of appointment. Not everyone at USNA will become a Marine. But there is a certain gung-ho, bring-it-on attitude that’s necessary to succeed as a Midshipman and officer. Remember that courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s the overcoming of fear.

Bottom line: Keep researching. If, in the end, it’s for you, then great. If not, best to know that before you get in. Best wishes.
 

Spera_14

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Oct 19, 2018
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@Spera_14, it’s a very good thing that you’re researching your options this early in the game. That’s true whether for USNA, another SA, or any other college.

Your concern here is a very good reminder that USNA is N*OT COLLEGE. You’re signing up to eventually become an active-duty, unrestricted-line officer. Once commissioned, you’ll undoubtedly face situations that are scary, uncomfortable, ambiguous, terrifying — perhaps all of the above rolled into one. And your foremost responsibility, in that moment, will be the men and women under your command, who’ll be facing the same emotions. They, not you, will have to come first. As their leader, you cannot opt out.

I agree with @Old Navy BGO that, with all due respect, this may not be the best path for you. Nothing wrong with being scared, but another thing to already be thinking about how to opt out of training before you’ve even received offer of appointment. Not everyone at USNA will become a Marine. But there is a certain gung-ho, bring-it-on attitude that’s necessary to succeed as a Midshipman and officer. Remember that courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s the overcoming of fear.

Bottom line: Keep researching. If, in the end, it’s for you, then great. If not, best to know that before you get in. Best wishes.
Thank you so much!
 

Spera_14

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Joined
Oct 19, 2018
Messages
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You'll only be in that chamber once, not once a year (or some such schedule) as Marines do. And I can't think of anyone I would want guiding me through that process than a Marine. It's good to know and experience what your brothers go through.

EDIT: Said the man who has never done this but would trust my Marine son to get me through it.
Thank you! That really encourages me :)
 

mgreen

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Nov 1, 2015
Messages
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Spera_14, it's good to research your options. My DS is currently a Marine Option 2/C Midn in an ROTC program. The year he completed CORTRAMID, which I believe is the ROTC equivalent, all of the Marine Option Mids got gassed twice. They all survived and so can you. Don't worry about and focus on your goals. Good luck!
 

usna1985

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You will (likely) be surprised at what you can do when "forced" (called upon) to do it and especially when your new BFF (i.e., classmates) are with you or are depending on you.

Some of those who earned the Medal of Honor probably would tell you they never expected to do what they did, never would have predicted it. There was a moment when they were called upon to act, and they did.

You're obviously not asked to do anything close to that at USNA but the same sentiment holds true. If you really can't hack it, you will one of those who decides it's not for you and leaves. But, as noted, that's a rarity.
 

Spera_14

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Joined
Oct 19, 2018
Messages
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You will (likely) be surprised at what you can do when "forced" (called upon) to do it and especially when your new BFF (i.e., classmates) are with you or are depending on you.

Some of those who earned the Medal of Honor probably would tell you they never expected to do what they did, never would have predicted it. There was a moment when they were called upon to act, and they did.

You're obviously not asked to do anything close to that at USNA but the same sentiment holds true. If you really can't hack it, you will one of those who decides it's not for you and leaves. But, as noted, that's a rarity.
Good insight! Thanks!
 

MABlue

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Jan 1, 2016
Messages
223
Marine Week is really not bad. Essentially, the Marine Corps is trying to sell itself as an appealing option for you. I have no desire to be a Marine, but still found it to be a pretty good(might I even say fun) experience. The gas chamber is uncomfortable for a few minutes, nothing more than that, and after you're done, you'll be joking about it with your classmates in no time. Some people that are scared of heights found the rappelling tower to be a forgettable experience, but I would say doing the 10m jump at USNA is far more scary. Everyone in my PROTRAMID company completed both, and I'd venture to say a lot of us were initially apprehensive about it. Highlights from the week are definitely shooting a host of weapons(M27 IAR, M249, .50 Cal, M32 Grenade Launcher, Stinger Missile, etc.), flying from Pendleton to LA in a CH-53, and firing sim rounds in MOUT town. The most uncomfortable part was constantly wearing all of the gear in the So. Cal heat. Also, I wouldn't go and immediately conclude that "this is not for you." I, as well as others, had the exact same thoughts about the gas chamber. If it was really so difficult, not everyone would be able to get through it. Most everyone at USNA is a normal person, just like you.
 

Spera_14

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Joined
Oct 19, 2018
Messages
8
Marine Week is really not bad. Essentially, the Marine Corps is trying to sell itself as an appealing option for you. I have no desire to be a Marine, but still found it to be a pretty good(might I even say fun) experience. The gas chamber is uncomfortable for a few minutes, nothing more than that, and after you're done, you'll be joking about it with your classmates in no time. Some people that are scared of heights found the rappelling tower to be a forgettable experience, but I would say doing the 10m jump at USNA is far more scary. Everyone in my PROTRAMID company completed both, and I'd venture to say a lot of us were initially apprehensive about it. Highlights from the week are definitely shooting a host of weapons(M27 IAR, M249, .50 Cal, M32 Grenade Launcher, Stinger Missile, etc.), flying from Pendleton to LA in a CH-53, and firing sim rounds in MOUT town. The most uncomfortable part was constantly wearing all of the gear in the So. Cal heat. Also, I wouldn't go and immediately conclude that "this is not for you." I, as well as others, had the exact same thoughts about the gas chamber. If it was really so difficult, not everyone would be able to get through it. Most everyone at USNA is a normal person, just like you.
Aaaah yes, you do have a point! By all of these replies, I am learning that I really need not be so apprehensive about anything that may or may not be in my future. And yes, SoCal heat is NOT fun! Thank you for all of the details :)
 
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