Service Academy Age Waiver

DasBoot

Ranger
Verified SOF
Joined
Apr 12, 2011
Messages
1,535
This might be good info for anyone looking into the academies who is currently AD or wants to enlist prior to applying. (I'm looking to see if this has been approved- will post more info when I find it)

Age waiver for military academies

BY JENN ROWELL
GANNETT.COM
JUNE 18, 2010

Kevin Rourke wanted to go to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point after high school, but instead decided it would be better to get combat experience with the Army early in his military career.

Now, it's going to take the passage of a new age waiver provision in national legislation before he can take that next step.

The Special Forces soldier from California became a Green Beret at 20 and went to Afghanistan. He returned to the U.S. as a staff sergeant and was ready to go to West Point, but Rourke missed the cutoff to apply. Applicants can be no older than 23 by July 1 of the year of admission to the nation's military academies. He is 23 now. Because the application process takes time, Rourke would have had to start the process while he was deployed.

Rourke, who currently is an instructor at Fort Rucker, called West Point to ask about an age waiver and was told no waiver had ever been successfully granted. He tried to apply anyway, but no legal process for an age waiver to the academies currently exists.

So he took his effort to U.S. Rep. Bobby Bright's office. In May, Bright's office added a provision to the House of Representative's version of the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act that would allow the military academies -- West Point, the Air Force Academy and the Naval Academy -- to grant age waivers.

The law would allow age waivers to applicants with exceptional records or military experience who would be 26 or younger in July of the year they would enter the academy. The provision also states that no more than five members of the military can be on an age waiver at each of the academies at any time.

The 2011 National Defense Authorization Act is also the legislation that includes military funding and raises for military members.

The bill has passed the House of Representatives and is now in the Senate. Bright voted against the bill because of a provision to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

The age waiver provision expires in 2015 under the version of the bill passed by the House. Staffers in Bright's office said the expiration date was included to allow the academies to test the age waiver provision and determine if it works and whether to extend it.

The age waiver would allow more experienced military members to attend the academies and for the schools to produce more qualified officers, Rourke said.

Rourke said other commissioning programs -- ROTC and officer training or candidate programs -- have higher age limits.

The Air Force Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base requires that trainees finish the program and be commissioned by 35. The Air Force ROTC program requires that cadets be commissioned by 35, with a waiver. Nurses can get age waivers up to 42.

The Army Officer Candidate School requires that candidates be commissioned by 42.

The Army ROTC program has different age limits based on traditional programs or those for enlisted soldiers. For cadets on scholarships, they must be younger than 31 on Dec. 31 of the year they commission, according to the Army's Cadet Command, which oversees the Army ROTC programs. For non-scholarship cadets, they have to be 35 or younger on the day they're commissioned. There are some age waivers available for older soldiers.

"We're getting combat veterans as officers now because people enlist, go to war and then come back to school," Rourke said. "Academies don't have that. The age limit is so low, the primary source is right out of high school. So they get high school kids, commission them and send them into combat with no experience. They're leading men who have been to combat."

http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=13154
 

Seajack

Alpaca Farmer
Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2010
Messages
137
Location
New Orleans
This is interesting. Do many people go to an academy after time as enlisted? Is it a "good idea" to have that gap between primary and secondary schooling?

The provision also states that no more than five members of the military can be on an age waiver at each of the academies at any time.
This doesn't make sense to me. Could someone who understands elaborate?
 

DasBoot

Ranger
Verified SOF
Joined
Apr 12, 2011
Messages
1,535
This is interesting. Do many people go to an academy after time as enlisted? Is it a "good idea" to have that gap between primary and secondary schooling?

The provision also states that no more than five members of the military can be on an age waiver at each of the academies at any time.
This doesn't make sense to me. Could someone who understands elaborate?

They don't want a ton of people doing this- it says they only want outstanding and unique experiences- the Soldier in the article is SF and has a combat deployment. Most of the prior enlisted probably aren't SF or SEALs or CCTs or any of the other really long SOF courses, so this would open up the Academies to guys (and gals) who have spent a lot of time to train. That's what I gathered. Also, there are statistics of how many cadets and midshipman are prior service. There are 37 prior service at Navy right now. http://www.usna.edu/Admissions/USNA 2014 Class Portrait.pdf
 

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
SOF Support
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
16,414
Location
Not Afghanistan
A prior enlisted soldier in the Army has other ways of going to school and picking up a degree via the Green to Gold program.

Speaking from experience, being prior enlisted does not make or guarantee that one will be a good officer. There are also plenty of officers who were never enlisted that I think are outstanding (some are on this board).

The conversion from E to O isn't as easy or automatic as it seems to outsiders, that I assure you.
 

DasBoot

Ranger
Verified SOF
Joined
Apr 12, 2011
Messages
1,535
A prior enlisted soldier in the Army has other ways of going to school and picking up a degree via the Green to Gold program.

Speaking from experience, being prior enlisted does not make or guarantee that one will be a good officer. There are also plenty of officers who were never enlisted that I think are outstanding (some are on this board).

The conversion from E to O isn't as easy or automatic as it seems to outsiders, that I assure you.

I think that shows in the number of prior enlisted attending- only 37. I was a little surprised honestly- not because I think it is easy.
 

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
SOF Support
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
16,414
Location
Not Afghanistan
I think that shows in the number of prior enlisted attending- only 37. I was a little surprised honestly- not because I think it is easy.

Not necessarily. A lot of factors come into play to be accepted into the service academies, but I do think there is some institutional bias against prior-enlisted taking a commission regardless of the route. For example, I used to informally track those accepeted into Air Force OTS (the list is published on af.mil and I had friends applying). It appeared that only a certain percentage, or maybe a narrow window, were prior enlisted airmen. The selection process to apply to OTS as an airman didn't make sense to me as an outsider and it seemed very political due to the chain of command endorsements required to even submit a packet. I know one guy, now a Capt., who had to change commands before his packet was approved and that was his third run at OTS. Also, some prior enlisted arrive at a point in their careers where it boils down to "Take a commission or pin on E-7" and for some they'll take E-7 and run because they don't want to start over. I can't blame them for that.

There's simply a LOT of factors at play into crossing over from stripes to bars.
 

DasBoot

Ranger
Verified SOF
Joined
Apr 12, 2011
Messages
1,535
Not necessarily. A lot of factors come into play to be accepted into the service academies, but I do think there is some institutional bias against prior-enlisted taking a commission regardless of the route. For example, I used to informally track those accepeted into Air Force OTS (the list is published on af.mil and I had friends applying). It appeared that only a certain percentage, or maybe a narrow window, were prior enlisted airmen. The selection process to apply to OTS as an airman didn't make sense to me as an outsider and it seemed very political due to the chain of command endorsements required to even submit a packet. I know one guy, now a Capt., who had to change commands before his packet was approved and that was his third run at OTS. Also, some prior enlisted arrive at a point in their careers where it boils down to "Take a commission or pin on E-7" and for some they'll take E-7 and run because they don't want to start over. I can't blame them for that.

There's simply a LOT of factors at play into crossing over from stripes to bars.

I understand. That's a shame that there seems to be a bias against prior service guys. My buddy is at USNA, and he said there are mostly sailors and Marines who were only in for 1-2 years and got in, and a lot of guys from the Navy's Nuclear school, and most of the SEALs, EOD, Recon and Infantry who would go to Navy in past days go to good civi schools and go back in, according to him. Of course, this is all word of mouth from a first year guy so it may be wrong.
 

0699

Verified Military
Joined
Jan 22, 2007
Messages
3,549
Location
NoVa
A prior enlisted soldier in the Army has other ways of going to school and picking up a degree via the Green to Gold program.

Speaking from experience, being prior enlisted does not make or guarantee that one will be a good officer. There are also plenty of officers who were never enlisted that I think are outstanding (some are on this board).

The conversion from E to O isn't as easy or automatic as it seems to outsiders, that I assure you.

Well said. When I was a young Marine I thought experience as an enlisted Marine automatically meant someone would be a good officer. But the older (and hopefully wiser) I got the more I realized that wasn't true. I saw a lot of mustangs that were IMO absolute failures as officers and I saw other mustangs that were great officers. I saw a lot of officers that had never been enlisted succeed and others that were failures. IME, one's service as an enlisted Marine had little to do with success as an officer.
 

DA SWO

SOWT
Verified SOF
Joined
Aug 18, 2007
Messages
9,686
Location
San Antonio Texas
My experience (from an AF POV).
prior enlisted were either outstanding or totally sucked, no in-between.
My favorite supervisor was a prior service guy, 2 years BTZ to Major. Biggest douchebag was a Prior Service Officer who was relieved and retired as a Captain.
Had a SSgt in NE who got commissioned and cold not make the transition. Hated the other Lt's (they were not as mature or worldly as this O) and was in trouble for fraternizing with the E's (who she was more comfortable with). Still in as a Capt, but I will be suprised to see that name on the O-4 list.
 

Marauder06

Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
11,191
Location
CONUS
....

Speaking from experience, being prior enlisted does not make or guarantee that one will be a good officer. There are also plenty of officers who were never enlisted that I think are outstanding (some are on this board).

The conversion from E to O isn't as easy or automatic as it seems to outsiders, that I assure you.

Yep; a lot of people assume that prior E time automatically makes a good O.

The problem is, there is no way of knowing if that individual was even a good Soldier before getting his or her commission. Some prior service who were very good NCOs flounder when their span of control exceeds arm's reach. Some officers who came up from the ranks can't leave that part of their lives behind, they want to try to be Joe's buddy still instead of being Joe's leader. And some enlisted personnel make the jump to the O ranks solely because the money is better. Let me assure you that a mercenary mentality does not lend itself well to making a good officer.

I have thought before that it might be good to have all officers come up through the ranks, but now I'm not so sure.
 

DasBoot

Ranger
Verified SOF
Joined
Apr 12, 2011
Messages
1,535
Just an update- this did go into effect. My USNA friend has an Enlisted Marine two rooms down who's 26.
 

DA SWO

SOWT
Verified SOF
Joined
Aug 18, 2007
Messages
9,686
Location
San Antonio Texas
Yep; a lot of people assume that prior E time automatically makes a good O.

The problem is, there is no way of knowing if that individual was even a good Soldier before getting his or her commission. Some prior service who were very good NCOs flounder when their span of control exceeds arm's reach. Some officers who came up from the ranks can't leave that part of their lives behind, they want to try to be Joe's buddy still instead of being Joe's leader. And some enlisted personnel make the jump to the O ranks solely because the money is better. Let me assure you that a mercenary mentality does not lend itself well to making a good officer.

I have thought before that it might be good to have all officers come up through the ranks, but now I'm not so sure.

Lot of Enlisted view promotions as a pay raise and not an increase in responsibility too.
My wife is dealing with a lot of Jr O's who think they are overpaid SSG's.
Sometimes I think the draft was a good idea.
 

racing_kitty

Sister Mary Hellfire
Verified Military
Joined
Aug 21, 2008
Messages
4,560
Location
SE of Disorder
Yep; a lot of people assume that prior E time automatically makes a good O.

The problem is, there is no way of knowing if that individual was even a good Soldier before getting his or her commission. Some prior service who were very good NCOs flounder when their span of control exceeds arm's reach. Some officers who came up from the ranks can't leave that part of their lives behind, they want to try to be Joe's buddy still instead of being Joe's leader. And some enlisted personnel make the jump to the O ranks solely because the money is better. Let me assure you that a mercenary mentality does not lend itself well to making a good officer.

I have thought before that it might be good to have all officers come up through the ranks, but now I'm not so sure.

Sadly, I've met quite a few POS's who crossed over from E to O. One was just a shitbag who really shouldn't have gotten his commission to start with. The others started out as either alright or outstanding, but went all to hell by the time they got the railroad tracks. In each case, it was letting that commission go to their head, and thought they were better than everyone else. Better than the other officers because they were prior enlisted, and better than the enlisted because they went to college and got their commission. My intention is not to imply that all Green-to-Gold types are like that. However, this kind of behavior occurs more often than it should, and lends itself to any kind of bias that exists against prior enlisted types seeking their commissions.
 

Swamp Honky

Verified Military
Joined
Nov 22, 2009
Messages
87
Location
NOVA
I saw a soldier I knew as an E7 take over my platoon as a fresh 01 and the guys hated him because he tried to run the platoon as PSG and PL at the same time.
I have been thinking about this a lot lately, because I am about to graduate college and am not sure if I want to transition back into active duty as an E6 from my reserve slot or become an officer. I am afraid of humping a desk, but ultimately I will go where I can find a challenge.
My former Battalion commander in the line was old as dirt and former enlisted. There is a book out chronicling his terrible leadership. However, I am sure my bad experiences are a minority.
 

Marauder06

Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
11,191
Location
CONUS
You could still spend a lot of time in the field as a company grade officer, depending what branch you get. As an infantry O1 I shared an office with my platoon sergeant and the squad leaders, barely had a desk, no Internet, and a phone I shared with the whole platoon. Worked out just fine.
 

0699

Verified Military
Joined
Jan 22, 2007
Messages
3,549
Location
NoVa
I saw a soldier I knew as an E7 take over my platoon as a fresh 01 and the guys hated him because he tried to run the platoon as PSG and PL at the same time.
I have been thinking about this a lot lately, because I am about to graduate college and am not sure if I want to transition back into active duty as an E6 from my reserve slot or become an officer. I am afraid of humping a desk, but ultimately I will go where I can find a challenge.
My former Battalion commander in the line was old as dirt and former enlisted. There is a book out chronicling his terrible leadership. However, I am sure my bad experiences are a minority.

I saw several junior mustangs enter fail mode because they couldn't seem to comprehend that they were now officers and their responsibilities are different from an NCO/SNCO.

Also saw one (wasn't mine :D) that was a very junior enlisted when he became an officer (E-3 or 4) and absolutely hated SNCOs. His men hated him back, so it all worked out for the best.
 
Top