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zack111
19 February 2007, 10:05
To whom it may concern,
I recently received an appointment to the Naval Academy at Annapolis Maryland. After that I hope to go Special Warfare if possible, but between here and there I have to make it through the academy first. I just wanted to see if you guys had any tips for me. I work out pretty regularly with, and without, weights. I run cross country and track, and I participated in wrestling until this past year. I am in the top 5-10 percent of my class and I am an Eagle Scout. What should I do to prepare for this experience? What should I expect out of Plebe summer? I have read quite a bit on the Academy and everything, but it is hard to find people with first hand experience. I have ordered a book on Plebe year, and hopefully that will answer some of my questions as well.

Thanks a ton,
Zack

RAT
19 February 2007, 10:16
Just doing everything they tell you to do as best you can. There is no way to get ready for what you are going to go through.

Good luck and keep us posted.

RAT OUT!!!

ex
19 February 2007, 10:25
Congratulations on your appointment! Best of luck to you. :)

CPTAUSRET
19 February 2007, 10:30
Give it all you got! I turned down USMAPS, probably a very dumb decision, at leas my wife thinks so!

Longrifle
19 February 2007, 11:06
Congrats on the appointment! I am impressed by your ability to spell correctly and write intelligently.:cool:

What RAT said: There is no way to get ready for what you are going to go through, but keep in mind the fact that you are not the first to experience what's about to happen. Others have gone through the same thing, and so can you. It's all in the mind.

100% and then some, ever day. Keep us posted.

low country
19 February 2007, 11:09
Graduated from The Citadel, so here are a few suggestions,
1) Realize noone will care who you are/were at your old school. You are now a plebe like all your other classmates.

2) Learn to become the "grey man" and do not draw unwanted attention to yourself.

3) Help your classmates. A tight bond will help when it becomes your turn for every crap detail that comes up. (These details usually rotate:D)

4) Practice keeping quiet even when being yelled out. Do not talk back or even have facial/body language that says you disagree with the program. The upperclassmen can smell rebellion a mile away.

5) Do not complain. Simply cowboy up and drive on.

6) The only person who can make you quit is you.

7) Learn to shine shoes/brass/clean your room etc.... Unfortunately at leat in my experience academics often takes a back seat to the "military" side the first year so do not get depressed if you do not pull a stellar GPA first semester. Excess demerits can get you booted out.

8) Learn and live the Honor Code. Not just at school, but in the real world as well.

9) Lastly, it will be unlike anything you have ever experienced. You will just have to "see it to beleive it."

If you know your goals, realize this is one small step in accomplishing them.

Best of luck to you!

CPTAUSRET
19 February 2007, 11:17
Graduated from The Citadel, so here are a few suggestions,
1) Realize noone will care who you are/were at your old school. You are now a plebe like all your other classmates.

2) Learn to become the "grey man" and do not draw unwanted attention to yourself.

3) Help your classmates. A tight bond will help when it becomes your turn for every crap detail that comes up. (These details usually rotate:D)

4) Practice keeping quiet even when being yelled out. Do not talk back or even have facial/body language that says you disagree with the program. The upperclassmen can smell rebellion a mile away.

5) Do not complain. Simply cowboy up and drive on.

6) The only person who can make you quit is you.

7) Learn to shine shoes/brass/clean your room etc.... Unfortunately at leat in my experience academics often takes a back seat to the "military" side the first year so do not get depressed if you do not pull a stellar GPA first semester. Excess demerits can get you booted out.

8) Learn and live the Honor Code. Not just at school, but in the real world as well.

9) Lastly, it will be unlike anything you have ever experienced. You will just have to "see it to beleive it."

If you know your goals, realize this is one small step in accomplishing them.

Best of luck to you!



This could be a sticky, good fucking advice!

FnF209
19 February 2007, 12:26
Congrats on the appointment. Remember it is an honor to be a leader, and regardless of what you finally do, be genuine. Keep your eye on the prize, head in the game, and LIVE THE DREAM don't dream about living it.

Prioritization, focus and choices will play out - if you really want to do it you will, no matter the odds.

The Corporate Guy
19 February 2007, 12:45
I am impressed by your ability to spell correctly and write intelligently.:cool:

What RAT said: There is no way to get ready for what you are going to go through, but keep in mind the fact that you are not the first to experience what's about to happen. Others have gone through the same thing, and so can you. It's all in the mind.

I'm sorry...it just looks funny to have a comment about spelling correctly and a reference to RAT in the same post. :D

Typhoon
19 February 2007, 13:03
'm sorry...it just looks funny to have a comment about spelling correctly and a reference to RAT in the same post.
Hehehehehehehehehehe!!! :D Boy does it ever...

Congratulations on your appointment, Zack. Please keep us posted of your progress whenever you get the opportunity.

Pay close attention to all the advice above. I believe it is the best you will ever hear anywhere. Except for RAT's spelling.

Cass
19 February 2007, 13:08
.... probably a very dumb decision, at leas my wife thinks so!

Hahaha. That's why we have them. :D

Frog
19 February 2007, 19:01
A first rate FREE education does not come easy. Earn it everyday. Then ask about the Teams in your Jr year. Have a second choice.

Dutch8654
19 February 2007, 19:36
Graduated from The Citadel

Is it me or do they all look like kids to you? I must be getting old. I see them PTng all the time...at least for now as I am getting ready to get "closer to my home" (the Gulfstream).

zack111
19 February 2007, 20:04
Thanks a ton for all of the tips guys. I went down this past weekend to meet with Elizabeth Dole, but because of matters in the Senate (the news has covered everything) she wasn't able to make it. I start June 27th with a form of Basic Training called BCT (Basic Cadet Training). That's a 7-8 week indoctrination program and from there on out you're a midshipman in the United States Navy. I'm starting scuba diving lessons this Friday night at a local pool, and over Spring break I'm going to try and take sailing. The way I look at it any little bit can help. Thanks again for all the info and encouragement, and I'll do my best to keep all of you up to date on everything.

Zack

low country
19 February 2007, 20:18
I still at times think I am 18, but the body quickly lets me know. I look at them and think the same thing, no way I looked that young.

Is it me or do they all look like kids to you? I must be getting old. I see them PTng all the time...at least for now as I am getting ready to get "closer to my home" (the Gulfstream).

RAT
19 February 2007, 20:28
A first rate FREE education does not come easy. Earn it everyday. Then ask about the Teams in your Jr year. Have a second choice.

Or go to the Marines and be on the "A" team :D

RAT OUT!!!

Culvermilitary06
19 February 2007, 20:39
I'm a plebe right now at West Point. Two peices of advice:

1) Don't just read what people are posting on this thread, but adhere to it. These guys know what's up.

2) Roll with the punches. It sucks at times, but FIDO.

Best of luck ya fucking squidie. Its a long way away, but see you at Army/Navy.

Mac

Mottbomb
19 February 2007, 21:54
I'm a Senior at West Point, it's not USNA but very similar in many ways.

I was cadre for our CBT (Cadet Basic Training) this summer as well.

Here's my 2 cents.

1) BCT may seem tough while you are there, but keep the big picture in mind; it's not that bad and many people have completed it before you. Keep what you are doing in perspective. Use it as motivation to keep going, "This ain't so bad, it could be a lot worse..."

2) Being the “grey man” is usually a good idea, it will help you get through. I see being the “grey man” as giving everything you got every day and trying to live the life of a “Quiet Professional.” “Grey Man” is not holding back and finishing in the middle of the pack. Always push yourself 100%, if your cadre decides to hold you to a higher standard because you constantly perform well, so what? That’s just extra training and development. On that note, do keep quiet. Do what you are told, volunteer to help when needed. You are not Superman or Super Cadet, do not try to be him. Blend in unless performing above the standard. (Note: I am not trying to step on anyone’s toes or anyone’s advice, I’m just trying to explain what I see the “grey man” as to someone who has yet to transfer to Academy/Military life).
*Edit: I just read two great posts in the lounge from people who are BTDT. http://www.socnetcentral.com/vb/showpost.php?p=845773&postcount=24 and http://www.socnetcentral.com/vb/showpost.php?p=845792&postcount=28

3) Make sure this is what you want. If, all of a sudden, you decide you want to quit after the first week, month, year, whatever, remember that you took a spot someone else could have occupied.

4) If you would like to speak to a Midshipmen currently at Navy, PM me.

Culvermilitary06
19 February 2007, 22:45
+1 to what the wise upperclassman said. I had a few troubles with the grey man concept. Lt. Mott was more than happy to set me straight.

If you need anything on being a plebe, shoot me a PM.

low country
20 February 2007, 00:08
2) Being the “grey man” is usually a good idea, it will help you get through. I see being the “grey man” as giving everything you got every day and trying to live the life of a “Quiet Professional.” “Grey Man” is not holding back and finishing in the middle of the pack. Always push yourself 100%, if your cadre decides to hold you to a higher standard because you constantly perform well, so what? That’s just extra training and development. On that note, do keep quiet. Do what you are told, volunteer to help when needed. You are not Superman or Super Cadet, do not try to be him. Blend in unless performing above the standard. (Note: I am not trying to step on anyone’s toes or anyone’s advice, I’m just trying to explain what I see the “grey man” as to someone who has yet to transfer to Academy/Military life).
*Edit: I just read two great posts in the lounge from people who are BTDT. http://www.socnetcentral.com/vb/showpost.php?p=845773&postcount=24 and http://www.socnetcentral.com/vb/showpost.php?p=845792&postcount=28


Good comments on "the grey man" Stand out by your performance, not your mouth. Let your actions speak for you and you will be noticed in a positive manner. Quietly excel whether it be PT, drill, FTX etc...

Good luck!

EODDVR
20 February 2007, 07:44
I'm surprised to hear it is called, "Basic Cadet Training"..especially since the Naval Academy is filled with midshipmen, not cadets. Someone probably got a NAM coming up with that one.

After your PLEBE SUMMER, look out for SEAL PT. It is offered at least once a week and sometimes more for those who are interested in NSW and Special Operations. The sessions are lead by the local Frog and EOD officers. I did it when I was a mid and one of the mids I sponsor participates in it now. It is a good way to prepare for the career field and to demonstrate serious interest and commitment toward it. This is especially important since selection includes an interview with those same officers. It is much easier for them to select a 3.0 gpa mid who has been PT-ing with them at 0500 every Wednessday, no matter the weather, for four years than some mid with a 4.0 who they have never seen before.

Good luck.

Gunpoint
20 February 2007, 14:20
Graduated from The Citadel, so here are a few suggestions,
1) Realize noone will care who you are/were at your old school. You are now a plebe like all your other classmates.

2) Learn to become the "grey man" and do not draw unwanted attention to yourself.

3) Help your classmates. A tight bond will help when it becomes your turn for every crap detail that comes up. (These details usually rotate:D)

4) Practice keeping quiet even when being yelled out. Do not talk back or even have facial/body language that says you disagree with the program. The upperclassmen can smell rebellion a mile away.

5) Do not complain. Simply cowboy up and drive on.

6) The only person who can make you quit is you.

7) Learn to shine shoes/brass/clean your room etc.... Unfortunately at leat in my experience academics often takes a back seat to the "military" side the first year so do not get depressed if you do not pull a stellar GPA first semester. Excess demerits can get you booted out.

8) Learn and live the Honor Code. Not just at school, but in the real world as well.

9) Lastly, it will be unlike anything you have ever experienced. You will just have to "see it to beleive it."

If you know your goals, realize this is one small step in accomplishing them.

Best of luck to you!

Just a quick shout out to my Citadel brother...the dirty little stepchild of the Big Boy Service Academies...and still all balls when we were there!!

diplomat
20 February 2007, 21:49
might be different, but here at USAFA i always found it beneficial to become involved in a non-academic activity...be that trying out for a team or w/e

HighDragLowSpeed
21 February 2007, 08:12
I attended the Naval Academy through graduation week of youngster year (two years). Later, I went through Army SFQC as an enlisted man. My humble advice for what it is worth:

- Go Step By Step. Focus on getting through plebe summer and plebe year first. Little things can make a difference in your plebe experience. Not taking things like chow calls seriously can make you the non-gray man very quickly. The ability to memorize lots of details with almost a glance and spew them back quickly will serve you well in later endeavors.

- Study a language. The focus of language study at the academy is to be conversational and not just to identify key words. You'll also have 4 years to get really fluent...even in the difficult languages.

- Seek out the prior enlisted SPECWAR guys if you think that is the community that you want to join. Likely your class will have one or two - ask the NAPS guys, they'll know.

- Someone mentioned "have a second choice" earlier in the comments. Remember, that service selection is done in order by your class rank and there are a fixed number of slots for each community (SEALs, Surface Warfare, Nukes, Navy Air, Marine Air, USMC, etc.) You'll only be select your community (or in the case of surface warfare guys, your ship) from what's left when you are called. Think of it as an early application of "no place like first place" and study accordingly.

- I doubt that I would have made it through my later Army SF training had I not boxed while at the academy. In my case, I learned more about myself by choosing boxing as my required sport than just about any other physical task at the academy. Boxing is not the easy path. You'll not only learn how to find the means to win while completely exhausted but also how to be successfully academically despite the previous afternoon's uppercut to the ribs. Besides, boxing never gets cancelled due to weather like sailing.

- Lots of things will seem like complete BS especially as you memorize the majority of your Reef Points book and just about everything that John Paul Jones ever said. But, as I grow older, it's easy to recognize the importance of what one learns from Reef Points. Almost every line of the "Laws of the Navy" has in some way been validated over time in my own life or by watching other careers

One key passage:
"As naught may outrun the destroyer
so it is with the law and its grip,
for the strength of the ship is the service,
and the strength of the service, the ship."

- Hopefully they still hand out copies of "Message To Garcia" on the first day. Look it up on Google. Be the man that can carry the message to Garcia.

- Unrelated but funny story: while going through Army basic training after the Naval Academy, they asked me if I knew the mission of the Marine Corps during some hip pocket training about the other services. Without thinking, I replied with "the mission of the Marine Corps is to provide Marine air and ground units of combined arms for service with the fleet as landing forces in the conduct of amphibious assault operations...." All the way through the end of the mission...by rote memorization.and as fast as I could say it. People were staring at me like I had three heads and nine nostrils.

- Last bit of advice: If You Go, Graduate. As a result of having attended, I have friends that are astronauts, CEOs of publically traded companies, and commanders of squadrons/ships/etc. But I am still not really a part of the grand fraternity simply because I didnt graduate.

Hopefully, this helps in some small way...

Gunpoint
22 February 2007, 12:34
Good post, HDLS. Sounds like you've been pretty damn successful yourself - plus, astronauts and CEOs seem to be getting in a shit pot of problems these days.

VelociMorte
22 February 2007, 13:05
My $0.02: In any military training environment, you will encounter what will seem to you at the time like complete and utter bullshit. Whether it be scrubbing pissers with a toothbrush, folding your clothes to millimeter tolerances, or shining your shoes to a mirror finish, just remember that there is a point to all of it. It is much cheaper to gauge your ability to follow instructions to the letter with a t-shirt and a pair of shoes, than it is with an Aircraft Carrier and 5000 lives.

zack111
26 February 2007, 21:41
Thanks again guys. I also applied to the Air Force Academy and have four nominations there. Here is a letter that my Blue and Gold Officer sent me. Bob Norris wrote the letter to an aspiring pilot (you never know) and Owen McLean sent it to me. Don't worry, I'm Naval all the way, but I just thought it had some good advice.

In response to a letter from an aspiring fighter pilot on which military academy to attend, Bob replied with the following:

22 December 2005

Young Man,

Congratulations on your selection to both the Naval and Air Force Academies. Your goal of becoming a fighter pilot is impressive and a fine way to serve your country. As you requested, I’d be happy to share some insight into which service would be the best choice. Each service has a distinctly different culture. You need to ask ourself “Which one am I more likely to thrive in?”

USAF Snapshot
The USAF is exceptionally well organized and well run. Their training programs are terrific. All pilots are groomed to meet high standards for knowledge and professionalism. Their aircraft are top-notch and extremely well maintained. Their facilities are excellent. Their enlisted personnel are the brightest and the best trained. The USAF is homogenous and macro. No matter where you go, you’ll know what to expect, what is expected of you, and you’ll be given the training & tools you need to meet those expectations. You will never be put in a situation over your head. Over a 20-year career, you will be home for most important family events. Your Mom would want you to be an Air Force pilot…so would your wife. Your Dad would want your sister to marry one.

Navy Snapshot
Aviators are part of the Navy, but so are Black Shoes (surface warfare) and Bubble Heads (submariners). Furthermore, the Navy is split into two distinctly different Fleets (West and East Coast). The Navy is heterogeneous and micro. Your squadron is your home; it may be great, average, or awful. A squadron can go from one extreme to the other before you know it. You will spend months preparing for cruise and months on cruise. The quality of the aircraft varies directly with the availability of parts. Senior Navy enlisted are salt of the earth; you’ll be proud if you earn their respect. Junior enlisted vary from terrific to the troubled kid the judge made join the service. You will be given the opportunity to lead these people during your career; you will be humbled and get your hands dirty. The quality of your training will vary and sometimes you will be over your head. You will miss many important family events. There will be long stretches of tedious duty aboard ship. You will fly in very bad weather and/or at night and you will be scared many times. You will fly with legends in the Navy and they will kick your ass until you become a lethal force. And some days - when the scheduling Gods have smiled upon you - your jet will catapult into a glorious morning over a far-away sea and you will be drop-jawed that someone would pay you to do it.

The hottest girl in the bar wants to meet the Naval Aviator. That bar is in Singapore.

Bottom line, son, if you gotta ask…pack warm & good luck in Colorado.

Banzai

P.S.: Air Force pilots wear scarves and iron their flight suits.

P.S.S. And oh yes, the Army pilot program, don’t even think about it unless you got a pair bigger than basketballs. Those guys are completely crazy.

Frog
26 February 2007, 22:22
The hottest girl in the bar wants to meet the Naval Aviator. That bar is in Singapore.


And 75% of those "hot" girls in Singapore are men!

zack111
27 February 2007, 18:22
HaHa, I'll try and steer clear of the dudes!

Choose
27 February 2007, 20:47
Whats the military regulations on doing it with trannies? Is it considered "homosexual?"

SunWho
27 February 2007, 21:22
Whats the military regulations on doing it with trannies? Is it considered "homosexual?"

:eek:

Thats just nasty. I can't belive you asked that. Of course that is being a fag.

xmid
20 March 2007, 20:23
I've been lurking around these forum's trying to learn a few things and this may be the first topic that I actually might have some experience in. One of the biggest keys to plebe summer and plebe year I thought was to maintain your sense of humor. I'm not saying to bust out laughing in the P'ways, but at night when the day is done be able to have a good laugh at the rediculousness of the days events. I can say with honesty plebe summer was one of my favorite parts of my academy experience.

Matchanu
21 March 2007, 08:42
Since this thread has nothing to do with NSW, I'm moving it here.

McNamara
21 March 2007, 09:05
Congratulations, Zack. Class of '03 here. Everyone's already given you plenty of good advice, but I wanted to add a few things.

HighDragLowSpeed, the selection process has changed since you were there. Now it is no longer based on class rank - midshipmen go before a board composed of several officers from different communities who review the record and ask some pointed questions. I had a friend who was near the bottom of the class in overall rank, but he managed to impress the board and got the last pilot slot. He's got his wings and is on his way to a successful career.

The competition for SEAL slots is crazy. Out of about 45-50 top-notch applicants, they select 15-16 (recently raised to about 20). And those guys who didn't get selected still had high grades and excellent PT scores.

Like EODDVR suggested, start PT'ing with the SPECWAR and SPECOPS officers and chiefs when possible.

I would also suggest picking a major that you think you will like. Don't worry about what you think will be useful in the civvy world - do something that interests you. You'll be happier and work harder to get good grades. Honestly, selection may come down to grades since all of you competing for SPECWAR billets will be in top shape.

Considering the competition, it would be wise as Frog said to have fallback choices. Here's the tough part. If you're set on SEALs, you can put SWO as your second choice; after earning your warfare pin, you can apply for a lateral transfer and go to BUD/S. One of my friends recently did this. EOD is a good choice too. Or, if you want to get into a combat job no matter what, look into the Marines. I have two very good friends who changed their minds late Junior year from SPECWAR to Marine Ground and they have each done a couple of infantry PL tours in Iraq. They love their jobs!

All that is a few years down the road, so maybe I'm just throwing out too much unnecessary info. Listen to what the others have said regarding Plebe Summer. Best of luck to you, I think you will find USNA to be a very rewarding and challenging experience. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.

RangerHONEZ
21 March 2007, 11:54
My brother graduated the academy head of his class in 02. Decided to go with aviation( good thing he wouldn't have done well with the specops). A few little things I learned from him during plebe year. Learn a lot of jokes you are going to have to tell at least at each meal. And they better be funny or you will be telling a shit ton more than usual. You better have a good memorie and start memorizing everything you are going to have to eat for the whole day because there you are going to have to tell an upper classman every day the full menu.

Don't pull stupid shit a lot of my brothers buddies got busted for having cars and apartments and wearing civilian clothes if you want to stay on the good side of the professors don't get caught.

have fun. if you want to get some for sure dos and donts let me know I will talk to my bro and maybe give you his email. he is underway and has a little bit of time on his hands to help a young fella.

Miguel
28 March 2007, 16:10
Since your rolling with a "Dole" appointment.... Make "North Carolina" proud!

I have never been a part of the USNA experience ( Except a 93 CORTAMID OP), but I have been under the leadership of a few Marine Officers that took that path.

I will say the three "Ring Knockers" I dealt with were some competitive Mo'Fo's, so be ready for that aspect, but they never lost sight of the fact that they were only as good as the Marines and Corpsmen they led.

I would actually do anything in the world for one of them, who made me the only SSgt Platoon Commander in the whole BN, instead of bringing in a guy from Regt.

Bottom line, get through the Academy with honor and putting forth efort everyday, and then when you get into the Fleet, put what your learned and couple it with experience and learning from your NCO's and LPO's (Which ever route you take) and be a freaking LEADER.

But right now, your long term goal is to graduate as a Naval Academy Grad and your short term goal is getting through the summer!

macurbach
29 August 2007, 15:52
Zack,

Class of '87 and Corps. Read the posts here and follow the advice. Don't sweat the physical stuff at the Academy, sounds like you can hack that. Do everything you can to better yourself professionally. Join the Airborne and Scuba clubs. Keep up with the academics, if you can't keep a decent GPA, it doesn't matter how buff you are...

Purple36
29 August 2007, 19:27
Join the Annapolis Fish and Game range. There are a couple other cadets there. They have IDPA if you want to get into situational shooting.

EODDVR
30 August 2007, 21:45
All Hands,

Zach left Annapolis for greener pastures during Plebe Summer. I met he and his family the night before Indoctrination Day and gave him the classic pep talk and advice. He also had sound counsel from a 07 grad who he knew through his church and was still onboard U.S.N.A. as a sailing instructor.

Said ENS, Zack's Dad, and I gave him all the appropriate advice as he was considering resignation. In the end he still decided that U.S.N.A. was not for him.

I wish Zach well. I do think he is a great kid and will do well in future endeavors.

leopardprey
31 August 2007, 07:33
That is too bad. Remember reading his post several months ago.

Curious, if you care to elaborate, his reasons for dropping out?

Where is he off to now? A civilian University?

EODDVR
31 August 2007, 17:15
I know it sounds simple, but I got the feeling that he simply realized that the Navy was not for him. This did surprise me because he seemed well informed.

I do not know the specifics of where he went. I think to a U in his home state.

Remington Raider
5 October 2010, 22:02
I discovered this thread while searching for 'A Message from Garcia". The lack of traffic after the come to Jesus moment is all good. I am gonna go out on a limb and say that whatever path he took, it was meant for him.