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Getting your commission: The condensed version

etnuclearsailor

STA 21 Nuclear OC
I don't know if this will be more appreciated here than it was on the site I wrote it for, but here it is. It is essentially a short breakdown of the various paths available to people in various stages of life and education.

All of the paths here point towards an unrestricted line commission (Pilot, Naval Flight Officer, Surface Warfare, Submarines, and Special Warfare). If anyone shows interest, I will post more information about getting commissions into the other officer communities.

Paths to a Navy commission:
Starting point: High School
Choices: US Naval Academy or Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps

Starting point: College Sophomore
Choices: Bachelor Degree Completion Program, two year NROTC scholarship

Starting Point: College Senior or graduate
Choices: Officer Candidate School

Starting Point: Enlisted Sailor
Choices: USNA (<23 years old), NROTC scholarship (you will be discharged from active duty to participate), Seaman to Admiral 21


USNA: A four year military academy where active duty Midshipmen earn a bachelors degree while participating in an intense regimental training program. For civilians, a nomination from a Congressman is required to apply, and entry is extremely competitive. For currently enlisted sailors, applications are solicited for nomination from the SECNAV each year. There are 100 seats reserved each year at the Naval Academy for active duty Sailors and Marines.
Upon graduation, Midshipmen are commissioned as either Ensigns in the Navy or Second Lieutenants in the USMC.

NROTC: A program by which Midshipmen are trained part time while they attend civilian colleges and universities. Each semester, Midshipmen take at least one Naval Science course, participate in a leadership lab at least once a week, and PT at least once a week. Different NROTC units have different schedules. There are several ways to participate in the NROTC, but they can be summed into two categories: Scholarship and College Program. Scholarships come in 4, 3, and 2 year versions. 4 year scholarships are awarded to high school seniors prior to beginning. 3 year scholarships can be won by college program freshmen. 2 year scholarships are rare, and are usually granted to exceptional candidates who are already in their sophomore year and have not yet started NROTC. Even if no scholarship is granted, college program midshipmen can compete for a stipend through advanced standing after their sophomore year.
Upon completion of NROTC, Midshipmen are commissioned as either Ensigns in the Navy or Second Lieutenants in the USMC.

Officer Candidate School: A 12 week intensive training program where college graduates are trained to be Naval officers. Officer Candidates are trained by USMC Drill Instructors, Navy Recruit Division Commanders, and Naval Officers. OC's are expected to learn in 12 weeks what Midshipmen learn in four years. Upon graduation, Officer Candidates are commissioned as Ensigns in the Navy.

Bachelor Degree Completion Program: A program where college students can earn pay as active duty E3's (E6 for nuclear power candidates) for up to two years while completing their bachelors degree. Upon graduation, BDCP participants go to OCS.

STA 21: Out of all of the programs listed, STA 21 is the only one that is only available to Active Duty Sailors. It is an extremely competitive program. The program allows active duty Sailors to maintain pay, allowances and benefits while attending a civilian college and participating in NROTC. In addition, a scholarship good for up to $10,000 a year (to be paid directly to the school) is given. A selection board is held annually. Many of the selected sailors are sent to BOOST (Broadened Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training) prior to NSI, where they spend either three or six months in college prep learning math, science and English. All Sailors selected for STA 21 attend the Naval Science Institute at Officer Training Command, Newport, where they are designated Officer Candidates and spend the next two months learning navigation, basic naval engineering, weapons, naval history, as well as physical training. After NSI, Officer Candidates report to their assigned NROTC unit at a civilian college where they spend up to 36 months completing a bachelors degree. Once the degree is completed, the OCs are commissioned as Ensigns in the Navy.

One thing I do not recommend is enlisting with the intention of going to STA 21 or OCS. If you are a college grad, you should certainly apply straight to OCS. If you are not a college graduate, look into all of the available commissioning programs before you decide to enlist. Enlisted program recruiters are not very interested in your goals, and going to one with the intention of becoming an officer nearly always results in an enlistment. If you want to join as an officer, you should talk to an Officer Selection Officer (OSO). OSOs are not found in storefront recruiting offices, and enlisted recruiters will rarely refer you. In the links below you can find information regarding OSOs.

Officer Career Planner
US Naval Academy
NROTC website
Officer Training Command Pensacola (Officer Candidate School)
Seaman to Admiral 21 website
 

usnphoenix

Remove before flight
pilot
Along with USNA and ROTC you can get a commission through USMMA. You will need a congressional Nomination because it is a federal service academy. I'm not sure how it works on the enlisted sailor and marine side of things but I know there are a few midshipman who came to USMMA as priors. It is a four year program, with one year being spent at sea on container and supply ships. All midshipmen participate in the regiment and will earn a Bachelors degree in Marine Engineering ( Marine Engineering, Marine Engineering and Shipyard Management or Marine Engineering Systems) or Marine Transportation (Marine Transportation, Maritime Operations and Technology, or Logistics and Inter-modal Transportation) as well as a USCG 3rd Assistant Engineer or 3rd Mate License after graduation. Graduates can choose to go active duty in any branch of service or work in the Maritime industry for five years and serve 8 years in the Naval Reserve.

www.usmma.edu for more information.
 

Kycntryboy

Registered User
pilot
etnuclearsailor said:
Bachelor Degree Completion Program: A program where college students can earn pay as active duty E3's (E6 for nuclear power candidates) for up to two years while completing their bachelors degree. Upon graduation, BDCP participants go to OCS.
some small edits...
Can be up to three years of graduation depending on degree... but you can only apply to BDCP if you are more than one year outside of graduation. (Have to apply straight to OCS if you are within a year of said graduation)
 

xmid

Registered User
pilot
Contributor
A small edit... You can STILL apply for USNA all the way through college, and even post graduation if you are under 23. We had a guy that had a bachelors from Duke that went to USNA. There are quite a few guys that spend a year or two at a civilian school.
 

BigRed389

Registered User
None
xmid said:
A small edit... You can STILL apply for USNA all the way through college, and even post graduation if you are under 23. We had a guy that had a bachelors from Duke that went to USNA. There are quite a few guys that spend a year or two at a civilian school.
:eek:
Got any details?

Did he use the fact he had a degree to take it easy academically or did he work a second bachelor's courtesy of Uncle Sam?
 

xmid

Registered User
pilot
Contributor
He DOR'ed about 2 days after he got there. He decided he wasn't willing to go through USNA to check a block he already had. He said that he planned on applying for OCS, but I don't know how that went for him.

As far as using previously taken classes to "take it easy" at the academy, it may or may not make it a little easier for you. The academy does not allow transfer credits. They will however allow you to take their tests to try to test out of certain classes. We had a kid in my company that had taken calc I, calc II, and calc III at Penn State. He only tested out of calc one and decided to take it anyway hopefully to make his first semester easier. He later told me he regretted it, because it was still hard on him. On the other hand we had a guy out of high school that tested out of calc I, II, two semesters of spanish, american gov, and english I. Its really different for each individual. If you get a chance to test out of a class I would recommend taking it. Some classes are going to be hard no matter how many times you've taken them. If you advance yourself through testing out of classes, they will probably try to get you to go in to one of their graduate degree programs. The academy is a kick in the nuts for everyone, but many many graduates will tell you its worth it (probably not any current plebes:))
 

xmid

Registered User
pilot
Contributor
I'd agree. It would be very hard to find the motivation to stick with the program if you already had a bachelors, as this guy found out. However, going to USNA after a year or two at another college is something that those who originally wanted USNA in high school should consider. Essentially you are taking the year that many mids spend at NAPS or a foundation school only you are doing it at a normal college. If you don't get in, or you decide to leave USNA you still have a years worth of credits. Something that I really wish I'd had.
 

BigRed389

Registered User
None
Yeah, I was just curious if he was going "hardcore" with an actual, reasoned out plan for a second degree free of charge or if he was doing it for the hell of it.

I mean if I decided I wanted another 4 years at a bachelor's program, I could probably go for an engineering TRIPLE major...just wondering if he had had other nonsensical ideas like that when he signed up. It just doesn't make any sense when you could probably pick up a Masters and maybe even put some time into a PhD while applying for OCS the whole while.
 

xmid

Registered User
pilot
Contributor
You could do that. If you came in with say an EE degree you could go ahead and get 2 more engineering degrees. USNA also has programs where you attend school at Georgetown, UMD, or other local schools to get your masters during your 4th year. Like I said though it is hard enough for guys without a degree to gut out all the crap you have to deal with. They used to say that if you were going to USNA for a free education you wouldn't last very long, and from what I saw this was pretty true. You had better WANT to be at USNA if you go down this road.
 

Thisguy

Pain-in-the-dick
Yeah...who wants to go to USNA and be treated like crap after you already have a bachelors? That's what OCS is for :)
 
Don't forget NUPOC:

"Two and a half years prior to college graduation, future Nuclear Power Officers can enter the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program (NUPOC). This program offers you a monthly stipend from $2,600 to over $4,100 per month for up to 30 months depending on location, a $15,000 selection bonus, and an additional $2,000 bonus upon completing nuclear propulsion training."

Bascially you get pay and medical coverage and collect BAS/BAH, whilst you complete your degree. Just did a little brief in BOLTC last week on all commissioning options. Found this one unique and tempting for all the "Smarty Pants" out there.

-jai5w4
 
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