Question: USNA attrition after 1 or 2 years?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by jomass, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. jomass

    jomass 5-Year Member

    Nov 2, 2009
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    All new to this, but wondering what happens to those who just don't care for the USNA lifestyle after 1 or 2 years....or even after plebe summer. Many of these guys/gals are right out of high school and making a critical decision as a 17 yr old to enter the Academy.

    What's the course of action if after 1 year or 2 years, you want to leave the Academy? I'm not talking about flunking out; I'm asking about some who just feel it's not for them. I assume they'd make it pretty tough on you to make sure you're doing the right thing and have you face some pretty intimidating officers to rethink your decision....but I'm only guessing.

    I'd like to hear from some who have been at the USNA and might know more (as opposed to just some who are making assumptions/guessing). Thanks for your honesty!
  2. wannabe2013

    wannabe2013 5-Year Member

    Nov 20, 2007
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    They council you a lot over plebe summer and during your first couple of years here, but if you don't sign your 2 for 7 you go home within a couple of weeks.
    It takes awhile to be outprocessed but we've already had a youngster quit in my company this year and I've seen other plebes do it too. It takes a lot of effort and you have to meet with the Dant but if you really want to leave they won't keep you here.
  3. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

    Jun 9, 2006
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    You are free to go. I believe that, during plebe summer, you must wait 2-3 wks to leave -- and that's about how long it takes to outprocess. But you can go with no obligations other than repaying the costs of things you were issued (e.g., uniforms).

    You typically start the process by telling your company officer. After that, you must meet with a lot of people -- who depends somewhat whether it's during plebe summer or ac year. Usually the Batt Officer, the Dep Dant, Dant, maybe a chaplain (not sure). They don't try to talk you out of it per se, but try to determine if this is what you really want or are just reacting to a bad occurrence. Once your decision is confirmed, you try to sell back your uniforms, give away or toss the rest of your stuff, turn in your rifle, sign a bunch of papers, etc. Eventually, you walk out the door a civilian. I THINK (but may well be wrong) that USNA will pay for you to return to the place you came from.

    During Plebe Summer, you are assigned to "Tango" (for transition) company and do stuff during the day but are no longer w/your unit. If you change your mind and decide to stay, you're put back in a different unit. During Ac year (and MOST people leave at the end of a summer or ac year), you typically don't attend classes but do have to participate in military formations, etc. until you are ready to go.
  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 5-Year Member

    Sep 27, 2008
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    As someone who was in that counseling chain, officially, and now unofficially, as a sponsor, I have seen many midshipmen choose to leave during the no harm, no foul first two years when they can walk away without further obligation. The system is designed to accommodate this type of attrition.

    The Naval Academy makes every attempt to elicit the reasons for leaving, in case it's a short-term issue that could be resolved, by stepping the mid up through the chain of command and chaplain.

    I could usually tell those who were all set to go versus those with a transitory bad feeling. The ones who were ready to go said things like, "I've tried and this is not for me. I love my friends here and USNA, but I realize I want to do different things with my life. I've already explored scholarships at Civilian U, have discussed this at length with my parents about how I plan to complete my education and obtain employment and am ready to walk away with sadness but no regret."

    The ones who are iffy say things like "my girlfriend will break up with me if I don't go to her same school, or my roommates don't like me, or I'm not getting all A's here, or (fill in some coming-of-age challenge.)

    The heartbreakers are the ones who say "I got caught up in the excitement of the competition for the appointment and started thinking back in senior year that I really didn't want to go to a service academy after all, but my parents/family/guidance counselor were so excited and bought all this Navy stuff, and everyone made such a fuss, and there were stories in the hometown newspaper, that I felt I had to come, and I've hated every minute of it. I still haven't told my parents because they told me if I gave up I wouldn't have a room to come home to."

    To go back to the initial post, it's not the officers who are the intimidating ones. Quite often it's the folks back home the midshipmen is worried about disappointing. SA staff get the fact it's not for everyone, and they will focus on sorting out whether this is a committed and well-thought-out decision, or an impulsive one that can be addressed at the SA and restore the mid's desire to stick it out.
  5. Miidaangg

    Miidaangg 5-Year Member

    Feb 1, 2009
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    I've seen people leave within two weeks of plebe summer and people who chose not to sign their 2 for 7 in my company this year. During the summer, it is especially hard to leave. You go to millions of meetings with people because they want to make sure that this is what you really want as opposed to you cracking under pressure.
    I know a youngster in my company who had to go through the entire first semester before he could leave. It just really depends.
  6. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom 10-Year Member

    Jul 9, 2006
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    Capt MJ, that was a very nice post. This statement is so true and heartbreaking. Believe it or not this happens. Some kids won't even call their parents because their parents have told them if they quit, not to come home or if they quit they won't support them in school elsewhere.
    Every parent needs to contemplate what their reaction would be if their son/daughter called telling them they wish to separate.

    The saddest phone call/email/letter a parent can get from their child begins -
    "Please forgive me and don't be disappointed in me....."
  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006 5-Year Member

    Nov 25, 2007
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    True. Remember some of these young men and women are concerned about service, not only to their fellow Americans, but family and friends. They don't want to let people down, and that includes relatives. It's a great deal of pressure. While that pressure exists at an academy, it doesn't go away once you walk across that stage in four years. You continue to want to "make the people proud", do the right thing. The pressure, often self-imposed may transfer from a focal point at the parents to a girlfriend or wife or kids.
  8. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 5-Year Member

    Oct 27, 2008
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    I am a good example of somebody who went to the Naval Academy for all the wrong reasons. It was not a lifelong dream of mine. I applied on a whim and then continued with the application process more as a game than a true desire to serve in the Navy. Once I got the appointment, I felt like I won the Application Game. I shrugged my shoulders and reported for I-Day. I figured, "Hell, it's free. How hard could it be? It's a great education."

    Immediately - I hated it!

    It wasn't so much getting yelled at and all the rigors of Plebe Summer - that didn't surprise me all that much. I was surprised to learn that I really had no passion for anything nautical. I started thinking, "I may not belong at a service academy - but I really do not belong at the Naval Academy." I didn't even like sailing.

    But I stuck it out. I didn't want to be labeled as "a quitter" by my friends and family. The only thing that kept me there was pride.

    And then things started to change.

    I started feeling very comfortable at the Naval Academy. I was developing some good friendships. I got used to the routine. I wasn't a Plebe any more. I was doing well in my classes. I decided that aviation might be interesting.

    The next thing I knew I was a Naval Aviator and loving every minute of it.

    So - I guess the moral of the story is that you can go to a service academy for all the wrong reasons -and- you can hate it and still, with persistence - it can surprisingly morph into a great experience with a happy ending. Sometimes you have to give it time.

    It's an acquired taste.
  9. jennyp

    jennyp 5-Year Member

    Nov 3, 2008
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    Gosh, Memphis, I have read a lot of your posts in the last few months. Now I feel like I know you much better. Very interesting story, Memphis. Good for you!:thumb:
  10. marvin7794

    marvin7794 5-Year Member

    May 31, 2009
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    Even if you go for all the right reasons, it still sucks from time to time. One day at a time.

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