Urgent Difficulties with NROTC

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by TRON1160, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. TRON1160

    TRON1160 New Member

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    I'm not exactly sure how to word or phrase this, so I will just spit it out: I am having... difficulties working with the Officer assigned to handle my application. I am applying (or tying to apply for) the NROTC Marine Option Scholarship.

    From the beginning of our encounters this Officer seemed to be somewhat hostile towards me (I suspect because I notified him there were technical issues with my application, he said he couldn't offer help, then I found a way to turn in the application anyway with the help of another Officer from a different region, albeit the application technically being late. It seemed to me he had a chip on his shoulder because to him I was able to "game the system").

    To try and attempt to save from giving every single detail of our exchanges, I missed his chosen deadline to submit my PFT results (is there a national deadline for this or is it up to each individual officer to handle when they want it due? I could not find a national date, and am seriously beginning to suspect he was just looking for a technicality to catch me on). The date was missed partially because I had a family friend's funeral, partially because he never clearly stated the deadline to me (even after I asked for clarification on what he meant in his emails), and partially because the SSgt who he advised I contact to take the physical test with has STILL not responded to my email, a week later.
    After I sent him an email explaining the circumstances his response was short, and can be summarized essentially by "I'm sorry to hear about that, I can't/won't offer an extension now, try again next year."
    Shortly after that last email I was notified my application has been "withdrawn" from the system, I only assume by this Officer.

    In addition shortly after posting this as a response on another thread I received a reply from him on my email explaining the entire situation, to which he says it is "unfortunate" and that he can't give me an extension because it may show preferential treatment...
    I can see where he is coming from, however I was not even given an opportunity to schedule my PFT, let alone take it. I don't believe it would be preferential treatment to correct an error that was not my fault.

    I understand this is a very serious and competitive scholarship and I certainly won't be angry if it's not awarded to me, but I will be upset if I'm not even given the opportunity to compete for it.
    I know it sounds like I may be trying to place all the blame on this Officer for things, but I genuinely believe I have done as much as I am able to comply with his directions, and that he has been slightly unfair to me in correspondence and regarding the process in general. As I said, I at one point even asked him to clarify when certain elements would be due, and he still gave me an unclear answer, and did not mention the PFT at all. I don't like to play victim, but given the situation and all that hangs on it I'm not sure what else I can do, or how I can dispute this.
    If anyone can offer help, advice, or any sort of guidance it would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    This is the draconian, serious complaint route: contact Commander, Naval Recruiting Command (CNRC) Inspector General. The IG is the office which handles all complaints and issues with people and processes. CNRC is the hq which oversees all Navy field recruiting.

    If you are satisfied you have acted completely professionally, met all deadlines you were informed of, held up your end while communicating, met all other requirements, were proactive in seeking answers, and, very importantly, can document exchanges with all recruiters through emails, then get all your ducks in a row and contact:

    http://www.cnrc.navy.mil/contact.html
    It’s the first number. This starts a formal chain of events. No guarantees.

    Most recruiters are good folks who do their duties competently. There are a few who do not.

    The readers here don’t know all the facts about your record, whether you are competitive or something went off the rails here, with fault on both sides.

    If it doesn’t work out for you this year, and being a Navy Officer is what you want, you put your head down, try the college programmer route, be a top-performing midshipman, and ACE the PFT. Leave no doubt about your desire and ability to perform, and re-focus on a local scholarship.
     
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  3. Walman888

    Walman888 Member

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    DD had two NROTC interviews. Both officers were clearly not happy in their work. The formal interview steered her away from the NROTC then and there. They were not positive in regards to the USN or their careers. Shortly after she won scholarships with both the Air Force and the Army. FYI we are in California....

    Best of luck.

    There is a chain of command, follow it according to their recommendations. You are not the first and wont be the last with an issue like this. Bear in mind that some of these officers are overwhelmed this time every year.
     
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  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    +1 to Capt MJ. Follow that path to 'protest'.

    Now, I'm going to play hard a$$, not to be mean, but to serve as constructive criticism.

    YOU need to be responsible for your application. The deadlines are available online. It is Jan 31. You shouldn't need an officer to hold your hand. In fact, you do not need an officer at all to submit your application. You only need an officer for the interview and PFT AFTER the application is submitted.

    My DS went through the same process without the difficulties you had. He did not receive a scholarship. He did enroll in NROTC MO without the scholarship. When applying for a sideload NROTC scholarship during the spring semester of his freshman year, he got his application in 1/2 day late. He too said there was confusion about the deadline, but his application was not submitted to the board for their consideration.

    DS took ownership of the screw-up, got determined, picked himself up and worked even harder. He got a scholarship next fall.

    I hope, if the officer was incompetent or negligent, that you get a break and your application is considered. If not, you need to pick yourself up and get ready to charge again. While pursuing a commission, and while an officer, you will fail time and time again. Marine OCS is, in part, designed to guarantee some (small) failures. They want to see that you can pull yourself up and continue to pursue the goal. After all, you'll need to do this very thing in combat.

    Good luck! If you don't get a scholarship for whatever reason, enroll in NROTC MO and pursue scholarship opportunities next year.

    Semper Fi.
     
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  5. TRON1160

    TRON1160 New Member

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    Thank you a lot! I've actually already began trying to sort out our email exchanges in order, for exactly that type of purpose, in case someone was able to provide such a link or contact.

    I have no doubt most recruiters, OSO's, and service members in general are great people, competent in their duties. As I said, I believe I may have just rubbed this Officer the wrong way, and perhaps paid the price for it.
     
  6. Jeepman

    Jeepman Member

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    I am sorry you have been having difficulty. My son's application has been a tad difficult too, as the "recruiter" working with him appears to have NROTC applications low on his priority list (yes, he did try to get my son to enlist when they met for the first time, rather than work on the NROTC stuff....unbelievable but true). Anyway, I suggest you call the Pensacola number and get someone on the line. We finally did this, and after five minutes with the first person we were transferred to someone who took control, and wanted all the facts. I feel like we are now in much better hands. Fortunately, we have not had an issue with deadlines, but have had serious issues with the portals being updated, emails returned, phone calls returned etc. My son took initiative and arranged a face-to-face for his NROTC interview with a LT at a local college unit, and within 24 hours after the interview the portal was updated and "Interview" was no longer an open item. About two weeks ago, my son FEDEDX his "recruiter" a package of "open" portal items, and they were delivered and received. However, based on a recent conversation (yes, I called him and he picked up) he simply said "I have not had time to input the information". Thankfully, my son has learned a lesson about his future--make sure whoever has it in their hands respects it, otherwise move on.

    If you message me I will provide numbers if you need them.
     
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  7. doireann

    doireann Member

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    I totally agree with the above poster. If the scholarship is something you really badly want, then from the day the application opens, that is the day to start the process. Make sure that you are on top of all your paperwork and follow up with everything.
    My ds was lucky enough to get a scholarship this year. But he was relentless with his emails to the officer, he was lucky that he had a great officer who replied to every email. But in one school he did apply to, that officer didn't give him the time of day. He even had a sophomore call my son to congratulate him. So there are some that are not great, but two out of the three we have met have been just fantastic.

    The moral of the story is ; stay on top of everything, do as much as you can do by following up and do not leave it so late to apply.
     
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  8. TRON1160

    TRON1160 New Member

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    Thank you! And I'm absolutely open to some criticism; part of why I posted this was to see if I even have some sort of 'case' against the guy, or if I'm the one being unreasonable.

    However the written application isn't actually what I have the problem with here. After the written application was submitted electronically, the Officer contacted me and gave me a large amount of paperwork and somewhat convoluted directions all in one email. I asked for clarification, because he DID give me a due date for the paperwork (most of which pertained to the letters or recommendation for the application, and was met), but DIDN'T give me a due date for the PFT, so I replied, asking what the date he had specified was for, and was told all the paperwork. Several days later he contacted me asking if I had reached out to the SSgt he CC'd on his original email to take the PFT, saying PFT results were due to him the next day. I had already reached out to this SSgt, and received no response (and still haven't). As I said, as far as I could find online there was no national deadline for the PFT, and this Officer had picked a fairly arbitrary date for it. I understand everything would be needed to submit to the board, but he never even began to schedule me for an interview, give me or ask for the drug test forms, schedule a medical exam, etc; lending to my suspicion that he had little interest in helping me through this process.

    If things stay the way they are, I'm more than prepared to just join a unit, and apply for a scholarship next year. I purposely chose my schools with the fact I may not get the scholarship in mind, so that I was still able to join a unit.
    But I would still like the opportunity to compete for one this year...
     
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  9. swimmermama1

    swimmermama1 Member

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    Agree with Jeepman. DS also had problems with local office both this year and last year. We also got the feeling that NROTC is not a priority. He called Pensacola and was able to get help needed.
     
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  10. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt 5-Year Member

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    Tron: I am not swayed by your passionate defense here. You are calling out a USMC Officer as being biased and unprofessional yet here is what I can gather...

    YOU failed to complete the application by the deadline. Your previous posts had you online after midnight EST yet before 12:00 CST as the system went down. You cut it too close.

    YOU were lucky enough to find someone in IT to allow you to submit the application late. They gave you a “pass” based on system timing.

    YOU failed to understand the process necessary to get your packet in front of the board: Application, teacher recommendations, interview, PFT.

    The Officer Selection Officer handling your application gave a list of action items and YOU failed to understand and/or accomplish them.

    YOU asked for clarity and then blame the Officer as being unclear. Where is your responsibility in seeking clarity and understanding?

    YOU are quick to assess ulterior motives and offer up excuses.

    Frankly, you should be embarrassed by your posts here. The USMC gave you two extra chances to submit an application after the deadline and you failed to capitalize on them. I recommend you step off this soapbox and learn from your mistakes. Take accountability for your actions and learn from them. That is the type of personal character the Marine Corps is looking for.

    I recognize that this may not be a popular post. I know that other posters have supported you and shared their situations but you may note they all found a way. I believe that most of the situations I have seen outlined on this forum have more to do with lack of familiarity of the recruiting process, the military, and speaking to the wrong people. Few posters, if any, blame their failure to get an application in on time on the Marine assigned to their case.

    Good luck.
     
  11. Walman888

    Walman888 Member

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    Can't argue with that. Good post.
     
  12. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    I have to ask this one question, when did you open your application? June, Sept, Nov or last month?
     
  13. rocatlin

    rocatlin 5-Year Member

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    Not to truly "pile on" to what USMCGrunt says, but to add another observation of how you are being perceived...

    The whole thread you posted gives all the readers (and probably the officer evaluating your application) that you have issues with responsibility and ownership.

    Becoming a Marine Officer is truly a screening process at a human level. It's more than filling out paperwork.

    The good news is, there is always next year. The hard news is, you've got some work to do before then.

    I believe Marines on this board will be of one accord with me on the following troublesome statements:

    "I am having... difficulties working with the Officer" The Marine Corps is very leadership centric. Leadership involves working with others -- even if you have issues with them.

    "another Officer from a different region" -- Never, ever, go outside of the process or chain of command.

    "albeit the application technically being late." There is a saying "Early is on time, on time is late." Application submission deadlines are posted. Always get the completed application in prior to the early board in the fall. It sets you up to make updates (if requested) for the main board in the spring.

    "It seemed to me he had a chip on his shoulder because to him I was able to "game the system" He was justifiably irritated with you because you did game the system -- see the point of never going outside of the process or the chain of command.

    "his chosen deadline to submit my PFT results" Procedurally, the PFT deadline is chosen by the local officer handling the jacket. As far as "his chosen" reads -- that comes across as a deflection of responsibility.

    "seriously beginning to suspect he was just looking for a technicality to catch me on" First of all, you set your own trap on technicality by being late to the game and not giving yourself time to make adjustments. Again, a huge part of the application process is the human evaluation of the applicant. That's the way it should be. You have to show that you are flexible enough to deal with issues proactively in order to be deemed fit for consideration to lead Marines.

    "I was not even given an opportunity to schedule my PFT" Totally not buying this -- even with your own statements.

    "correct an error that was not my fault." Reads as deflecting responsibility for your mistakes. Not giving yourself enough time and ground to handle your own application is your fault.

    "but I will be upset if I'm not even given the opportunity to compete for it." You were given the opportunity to compete the moment the online application was opened the spring of your junior year in high school.

    "I know it sounds like I may be trying to place all the blame on this Officer" I think we are all in agreement on this.

    "slightly unfair to me" Frankly, you are being more unfair to the officer handling your package as well as the Marines you imply you want to lead one day.

    "I don't like to play victim" To be blunt and obvious, it seems like you do.

    "dispute this" You don't need to dispute this, you need to own this.


    My son did not receive the scholarship out of high school. Later we found out that his package was essentially lost even though he had all in prior to the first board. The officer that was handling it left the Corps mid year. The one that took it over after it was discovered what happened hand walked it through because of it. His package was resubmitted after he graduated high school. He also joined a unit as a college program midshipmen. He received the 4 year scholarship on the first board during his freshman year at college -- although he could only use 3 years of it. He commissions in May.

    As far as advice goes, if you really want this and think you are worthy...

    1) Do some soul searching on your attitude. Is service life, especially in the Marine Corps, the right thing for you.
    2) Reapply for next year
    3) Join a unit as a college program midshipman
    4) Look at all options.
    5) Own it.

    To paraphrase Grunt, this is something you probably didn't want to hear, but it's something you need to hear.
     
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  14. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    I think I would add to all these "tough" posts is that they describe how it will work in NROTC and even more so in the Corps. If you have a problem accepting these things then perhaps military service is not for you. If you can take responsibility then that's one aspect they're looking for.
     
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  15. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator 5-Year Member

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    The OP should heed the words of Admiral William McRaven, the SEAL commander who oversaw the operation to terminate Osama Bin Laden. He said this in his book regarding life being "not fair" and describes what life was like in SEAL training:

    If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward
    Several times a week the crew would get uniform inspection. Just like making the bed, the standards were unbelievably high. No matter how polished your belt buckle nor how starched your uniform, it was never enough. If inspection was failed, the students had to run fully clothed to the surf zone, and while wet, roll around on the beach until every part of their bodies was covered in sand. This effect was called the “sugar cookie”. Some students struggled with the fact that the instructors were never going to let them succeed. They couldn’t accept that their uniform would never be perfect. Those students didn’t make it through training. “Sometimes no matter how well you prepare, or how well you perform, you still end up as a sugar cookie. It’s just the way life is sometimes.”
     
  16. TRON1160

    TRON1160 New Member

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    I don't disagree with some of the "tough love" responses but I will clarify some things:

    I attempted to submit my written application for over a week prior to the due date. The system continually locked me out, would not allow log on, or was just outright inaccessible.
    The only reason it was that close to the deadline in the first place was because I was unsure of how the letters or recommendation worked, and seeing as how my teachers were doing me a favor by writing them in the first place, I wanted to be able to give them info on the process before I turned anything in. But from the same officer who I've talked about, when I asked for details on how the letters of recommended worked, and trying to schedule my officer interview EARLY: "You will be given further guidance once your application is complete." I can understand not scheduling the interview because it seems that is one of the last steps in the process but I don't see how it would have hurt to potentially say "your teachers will be contacted once your application is submitted" instead. This is again the type of vagueness that was consistent throughout our communication.

    And in terms of "never go outside of the system" I contacted this Officer first, simply to have as a witness because of the website's issues, to which he responded he could do nothing (which I understood, however I never requested he take action). Then I went about calling the "contact us" numbers and such on the website. I also reached out to my #1 school's NROTC coordinator because I was advised to keep an open dialogue with him, to which HE INVOLVED another region's officer because he happened to be in command of the technical things for the website. I believe I stayed as much in the system as I was able to given the situation, and regardless in the experience I have had in leadership roles going outside of the system can be a valid way of solving problems.

    I see not much short of posting the screenshots of our encounters, which I am obviously not willing to do for multiple reasons, will convince some people of my claims. So for those that offered solutions and suggestions, I appreciate them immensely, thank you. For those that offered criticisms thank you as well, and they'e been heeded, however after speaking to several people (including a retired Marine, an Air Force veteran, and a retired Navy CPO who was involved in NROTC for a time) and showing them the emails, they agree that it would be in my best interest to pursue this issue further, and that I had done my share to attempt to comply with what I was given.

    I have thought long and hard, gone back and read every interaction I have had with this Officer so far, and reflected on it. While I may have phrased some things poorly here, my statements are accurate. I don't believe it is "preferential treatment" to ask this issue be looked into further.
    And as for the people who simply recommended I "own up" or similar, I appreciate the sentiment, but I'll end with this:
    The reason I picked the Marine Corps rather than the other branches, and refused to switch over to the Navy Option was largely in part for their Leadership Traits. The most important of which to me personally is Justice. Accepting that "sometimes life is unfair" frankly is not an answer for me. Taking observation of situations that may be unfair, looking at them objectively, then working to make them right is a the core of what I believe. I understand I may not succeed in getting this reversed or solved, but I can't accept things as they stand now.
     
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  17. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    I don't think anyone here doubts the accuracy of your statements. I think the key point is you waited too long to submit it and didn't allow time for things to go wrong as they inevitably do. If you're not early, you're late. That's especially true in the Corps. You should have submitted weeks before the deadline if not months. Hope it turns out well for you though.
     
  18. Humey

    Humey Member

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    I have no idea what happened but I guess its not possible he had an issue with the NRotc officer because we all know that everyone that works for the government and military is a qualified reasonable individual with no biases. Which is no different from the civilian world where everyone plays fair and by the rules .Just saying
     
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  19. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    I agree with kinnem regarding that I think you started this way too late. Many of these kids started their applications last June.

    Personally I agree with the others, let it go and reapply next year.

    Ask yourself what do you actually expect if you jump over this officer's head, as you state, in the name of justice?
    If I am correct the last board is in a few weeks. They have what is called a drop date and the entire package needs to be complete by that date and in hand at HQ, which as kinnem stated was a few weeks ago. It appears you are missing 2 major elements, the PT and the interview. Even if you went up the chain I don't think your package would be completed by that board date, even if it was hand carried.

    These boards meet for several days and that is it, that is if they are like AFROTC. There is no make up board or waivers for the stragglers. Either your file is complete by that board date or it isn't, end of subject.
    ~ It is not like you are saying you were DQd for DoDMERB and fighting the waiver to activate the scholarship. In essence, what you are saying is you want a waiver for the scholarship board and have them hold one just for you.

    Sorry. but maybe it is just me, however, you seem to be teetering on being THAT GUY. Every fall kids come on here and ask how to be successful in ROTC, and typically the answer is do your best, volunteer for everything, and don't be THAT GUY.

    Leadership is also about learning from mistakes and correcting them for the future.
     
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  20. doireann

    doireann Member

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    In my opinion, and from what my son has done, it is so important to do things early rather than later. Leaving things until the last board, is just not going to fly. Between teachers recommendations, transcripts, etc, if you leave it until the last minute, things will of course go wrong. We are not a military family and so have no clue on how things work. But being prepared is always the best way to go.
    Lesson learned ; if you do choose to try again next year ; start as early as you possibly can. My son had his interview in the summer if I remember correctly. He had everything done by the time he returned to school. Not saying he is perfect, but those that show they are organized for such an important task go a long way.
    What did your parents say? Just wondering.