USAFA vs. USNA

CC_Candidate

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I was accepted to the Air Force Academy this past week upon receiving my waiver. I'm still holding out for the Naval Academy (my original first choice). Now that I have the AFA Appointment in my hands, I have sat back on the fence again. Here's my story...

My ultimate goal is to become a military intelligence officer. Both services offer excellent opportunities in the area, but, correct me if I'm wrong, I believe the Air Force Academy has a more direct path to that career. Also, I would much rather fly planes than drive a ship. Then again, I really wanted to be a Navy Seal to begin with, so the planes vs. ships is a different topic.

Do the Navy Seals and Air Force Special Ops offer the same experience? Clandestine mission, down and dirty sort of thing? What are the chance of special ops assignments at both academies? Should I weigh my decision heavily on what I would do if I don't get the special ops?

I'm sure there are numerous similarities between each academy, but I have never looked at the Air Force as closely as the Navy. Should more technology savvy people attend the Air Force Academy over the Navy? It's been a long road and if the Air Force fits me just as well as the Navy, I'd love to accept my appointment and begin my preparations immediately.

Thank you for all the advice!
 

SemperExcelsius

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CC_Candidate said:
drive a ship
In the famous words of Captain Jack Sparrow, ""Commandeer." We're going to commandeer that ship. Nautical term."

Couldn't resist :) Apologies

But I think that the AF Spec Ops are very very similiar to the Navy seals. They are perhaps not as well known but they still do similar missions, but I'm not entirely sure, as I have never compared them side by side.
 

af2012

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The biggest thing should be what you want to do after one of the Academys. If you don't get into special ops, what would be your back up job? Air Force Special Ops and Navy Seals are pretty much the same thing but they will be completing different missions. Like, Navy will be dealing more with water things, and Air Force will be doing other things. It all depends on what you like and want. For me personally, I don't like water, so I'm going Air Force. Also, there is a lot of prep that has to be done for the Acadmeys after acceptance. I've been accepted to USAFA for about 2 months but I've been working my butt off to get everything done...and with only 3 months left, I honestly am starting to feel a bit stressed with all of it (But that's because there are a lot of personal family issues that have to be delt with).

In the end, I would say accept the USAFA appointment and then accept the USNA appointment. You can later decline one of the appointments, but you will then be able to start all the paperwork and stuff that has to get done ahead of time.
 

LineInTheSand

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Negative. You cannot accept two appointments. You can sit on them for awhile, but you cannot accept both.


Commandeer would be to take the ship over, however you can drive a ship....hense "ship drivers".
 

Just_A_Mom

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I was accepted to the Air Force Academy this past week upon receiving my waiver. I'm still holding out for the Naval Academy (my original first choice). Now that I have the AFA Appointment in my hands, I have sat back on the fence again.

You may go ahead and accept your USAFA Appointment. IF you receive an appointment to USNA then you make your decision.
Either you decline the USNA appointment and go AFA or you then turn down the USAFA appointment and accept the appointment to USNA.

You have until May 1st to accept your USAFA appointment. So it's up to you if you wait a while or sit on it for a while. There is always the possibility that you won't hear from USNA by May 1. Some appointments come late.
 

molloy09

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:confused:Though I am not in this situation, I am just curious as to what would happen. If, like this candidate, you were accepted to AFA and accepted because the Navy appointment did not come until after May 1. If Navy was really where you wanted to be could you back out of the AFA and accept Navy's offer? This must have happened before...just wondering what the outcome would be.
 

Luigi59

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:confused:Though I am not in this situation, I am just curious as to what would happen. If, like this candidate, you were accepted to AFA and accepted because the Navy appointment did not come until after May 1. If Navy was really where you wanted to be could you back out of the AFA and accept Navy's offer?

Yes, you can. It happens every year.
 

Just_A_Mom

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yes - again - just as my post says. Luigi is right - happens every year.

When you accept the new offer back out of the original offer right away. They will offer the appointment to another worthy candidate.
 

Luigi59

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yes - again - just as my post says. Luigi is right - happens every year.

When you accept the new offer back out of the original offer right away. They will offer the appointment to another worthy candidate.


Yep.

This is however, different from having two appointments in hand and accepting both of them.

That situation would be unethical, which is what I think LITS was referring to.
 

molloy09

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Thanks for answering! :cool: I understand that accepting two appointments would be very unethical. I just wasn't sure if you could back out of an appointment after you have accepted (to attend another service academy). In addition, I think it would only be fair to do this if the second appointment came after the May 1 deadline.
 

CC_Candidate

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After thinking over it, I believe I will be accepting the Air Force Academy. I will be holding out until I get a tour of the campus though. Unfortunately, I've never seen the Air Force Academy. I've been on the base, but never seen the school. Should I wait until I visit, or will my impression of the Naval Academy facilities be similar to what I will find at the Air Force?
 

af2012

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I would suggest going to orientation...just so you can see everything and get the feel of it. I've been to the Academy twice...once my sophomore year for a tour, then for the Summer Seminar. One person in my Summer Seminar element liked Navy facilities better than Air Force. But she was also from back East and she had a hard time getting adjusted to the altitude. A huge difference between USNA and USAFA will be academics. During Summer Seminar, my element leader told us about when he did the "study abroad" program. He went to USNA for a semester. He said all the classes were a piece of cake, he would go to class completely wasted from all-night drinking parties and would still ace the class. I don't know how hard of classes he was taking though. But from what I hear, not just from him, but also from my congressmen and senators, USAFA academics is typically harder than any other service academy's. I'm not necessarily saying that is correct...that is just what I've been told.
 

CC_Candidate

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I think that is what I'll do. I'm gonna start telling people, "I'm going to the Air Force Academy." Unless something REALLY bugs me about the Academy, I'm 99% sure I will go there. Everyone has told that it is a wonderful campus.
 

LineInTheSand

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"He said all the classes were a piece of cake, he would go to class completely wasted from all-night drinking parties and would still ace the class. I don't know how hard of classes he was taking though. "


Is this the exchange program? First semester of his junior year.

I'm hoping this was not a brag sesson about underage drinking that he let you in on. Alcohol, not the ally of many careers, especially naval ones. I'm also guess that the midshipman did not follow quite the same liberty schedule as the zoomie.
 

Poyner

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Just chiming in on the intel part of the question. BOTH academies will have almost identical routes to intel BUT remember you will be in the collection end of the intel cycle until you hit Senior Captian(Leutenant for navy...spelling!)/Major(Lt. Commander). Then, you can apply for FAO(I don't know if the navy has another term for this) and you can apply for that from any career field.

As far as special forces go. The Air Force has Spec-Op's(Special Operations) and the main ones for officers are;

TACP(Working on the ground alongside Army units[usually in extremly dangerous situations] giving close air support)

Combat Controller(Again, working with Army acting as a front line[AND I MEAN FRONT] air traffic controller)

Combat Weather(Same as Combat Controller but with weather)

Pararescue(name says it all)

All the other AFSOC jobs(gunner, sere, and my personal favorite Direct Suppot Operator....DIZZO!) are enlisted career fields.
 

USNA69

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I don't know anything at all about the AF career paths. However, a USNA grad will be required to go unrestricted line. After his first tour, depending upon the needs of the Navy, he may be allowed to transfer to intelligence. From the USNA catalog:
All physically qualified graduates are commissioned into the unrestricted line of the Navy or Marine Corps. Most midshipmen who graduate but are physically ineligible to serve in the unrestricted line are commissioned in a restricted line or staff corps specialty such as Intelligence, Supply Corps or Civil Engineer Corps.
 

Pima

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Unless something has changed recently TACP's are enlisted.

Typically an ALO is in charge of the TACP. They belong to a det., that is attached to an Army base.
To become an ALO, you will need to be a flyer. Most ALO's come from the fighter community since you are calling in air-strikes.
There are multiple ALO assignments, you can go anywhere for Ft.Bragg to Korea(dreaded remote)

For the Ft. Bragg assignment it is the only one they cannot force you to take since you will jump out of perfectly good airplanes. Ft. Bragg guys are deployed alot!

ALO stands for Air Liasion Officer...do not confuse it with the ALO you have come to know for admissions purposes, totally different creature.
 

USNA69

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Unless something has changed recently TACP's are enlisted.

Since Navy FAC(A)s are being utilized during IA as Army augmentees, I know enough about this organization to be dangerous.

The TACP is a unit composed of both officers, ALOs, and enlisted, ETACs.

Acronyms:
FAC(A): Forward Air Controller (Airborne) Also, plain FAC which is what the Navy and the USMC call an ALO.
IA: Individual Augmentation. See JAM's post on Off Topic.
ALO: Air Liaison Officer. What the AF calls a FAC.
ETAC: Enlisted Terminal Attack Controller. An Enlisted AF version of the ALO. The Navy and USMC has no equivilant.
TACP: Tactical Air Control Party. An AF Unit comprised of ALOs and ETACs which, from the ground, the “terminal” end, control aircraft in support of ground units.
 
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Bullet

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Slight corrections to all on the ALO / TACP career field (not that I want to drag this OP any further off vector, but I can provide some current information due to my experience as an ALO, my time as the Dep Commander for ALL AF TACPs in OIF, and my extensive CAS knowledge from flying the Strike Eagle):

- Current doctrine (JPUB 9-03, if my memory serves) dictates that ALL ground controllers MUST be current and qualified graduates of the Joint Ground Control School at Nellis, where they will receive the designation: "Joint Terminal Attack Controller" or JTAC. Anyone else controlling the coordination of fires in CAS situations does so under "emergency CAS" situations (pilot / WSO take sole responsibility for weapons effects). Emer CAS is only conducted under DIRE circunmstances. Al services have signed up to get their ground controllers certified underr this program. Thus, JTAC is a "joint service" is a designation, although the different services have different organizations for ground controllers.

- 69 is correct, TACPs have both ALOs (rated officers serving as Liaisons with the Army, usually on the commander's direct staff to coordinate fire requests), JTACs (usually NCOs qualified to control CAS), and junior enlisted in the ROMAD field (radio operator), who will eventually upgrade to JTAC as they gain expereince and rank. ALOs are also JTAC qualified, and quite a few are on the front lines controlling strikes today.

Just a minor correction. Now back to JAM's question: Why just AF or Navy Intel? The Army Intel career field is also outstanding.
 
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