I think you took that the wrong way. LITS was not trying to be demeaning about USMMA. If anything, those of us at or who graduated from USCGA understand USMMA better then anyone else. Both schools are the forgotten Service Academies with missions in fields that not many people understand or care to research about. I have great respect for those that choose the merchant mariner route and I can't say I've ever had a bad experience with a USMMA grad...USMMA midshipmen yes, graduates no. "I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that in many aspects (almost everything from navigation to shiphandling to engine work), USMMA grads could do a better job. So no, there isn't really anything to be ashamed of." Yes, with your vast amount of experience in completing your plebe year at USMMA, you must know everything. These are just come of the many aspects required to work as a Coast Guard officer onboard a ship. You can be the greatest ship driver in the world but at the end of the day, if you can't lead, it really doesn't matter. As a first tour Ensign, you're not expected to be an expert OOD or EOW, your first billet is legitimately listed on your evaluation as a "Training Billet." You're expected to keep your mouth shut, listen and learn. The operational side of our mission effects so much more then one person's ability to stand a watch. We don't simply drive from point A to point B. All that aside, I think we can keep this discussion civil without turning it into a pissing contest. Everyone chooses their path in life and no one is better then anyone else because of their choice.