Within the Brigade certain midshipmen, usually First Class, hold one semester officer rank corresponding to their duties in the Brigade, Regiment, Battalion, Company, Platoon or Squad. All Firsties wear one star and one horizontal stripe on their sleeves and shoulder boards -- they are called midshipman ensigns. The following are the ranks and stripes for the more senior midshipmen officers:
Two Stripes: Midshipman Lieutenant Junior Grade
There are only two organized weekends for parents to meet and mingle during their student's four years at Annapolis. Other than Plebe Parents Weekend, this is the only time you can visit their Bancroft dorm rooms. Firstie Parents Weekend is held in September of their final year.
Here is a sample of the service selections available to graduating Firsties. Students put in for the service of their choice. They list their top 6 choices and one must be Surface Warfare. For those who do not desire SW, it's not unusual to see someone make 2 or 3 preferred choices and then put in choices which they would not get, i.e. Medical Corps, Spec. Warfare, etc., with SW at the bottom. USNA grants service selections based on student preference and class standing. The top student gets their first choice. The second ranked student will get their choice too. This continues until there are no more positions. They only grant as many positions in a particular field as they have available. As they proceed down the class ranking, students may be granted their second choice selection. Those further down the list may get their third choice as the other slots have already been taken by those with higher standing. The anchor - the lowest scoring graduate - gets whatever is left over.
Although midshipmen submit their community and service preferences, many of the service communities (particularly the highly selective ones like subs, aviation, EOD, Marines, and spec ops) require midshipmen to prepare a packet and that may include an interview. Additionally, some of the communities require additional "screeners" such as aptitude, physical, and medical tests. Finally, some of the communities (like medical) have a whole different process for application and acceptance.
Good grades are important, but OOM is not necessarily the defining element
in the final service selection. All of the branches are looking for the
right combination of academics, physical readiness, attitude, and potential.
You will see midshipmen fairly low on the OOM totum pole get one of the
more coveted spots and others that are fairly high not
Bottom line: The needs of the Navy.
Where the OOM comes into play is for training date/first assignment. Those at the top of the OOM in a particular community get first dibs at those.
It's actually a very complex process.
During Commissioning Week, it is appropriate to give a gift to your Mid's
Sponsors. Some suggestions are:
Dave Mears '75 USNA Ret.
Mollie Mears '03, USS HOWARD, San Diego
After being on the listserve for five years, I've acquired quite a bit of advice about Commissioning Week, not necessarily all mine, or right for everyone. So hopefully it will be useful to some.... I felt it was worth sharing!
1. Start making your arrangements immediately. We chose to stay in a hotel due to the distance (WA state) and length of stay, (longer than a week).
2. Have your mid preview houses after you have contacted "Annapolis Accomodations" or "Roomfinders".
3. If you choose a house, make sure you communicate with the owner
4. Bring a map of the area.
5. Arrive for all of the activities, but bring clothing and accessories for every kind of weather. Umbrella and sunscreen, hats, jackets... you name it, we needed it in one week!
6. Attend the Superintendent's Party. It is a lovely evening, delicious food and a chance to see the company officers and Department heads who have instructed our children at USNA.
7. Attend the Graduation Ball. It is a chance to see a formal occassion with the Mids dressed in their Mess Dress Uniforms. Be sure to wear your name tags, otherwise it is very difficult to know who others are. It's even best to plan a company get together. We met at the Ball and then later went to a party "out-in" town.
8. Bring cameras, but have someone else be responsible for photographing the family on Graduation Day. We were able to make a terrific DVD by video taping the entire ceremony ourselves.
9. Plan on a tremendous amount of traffic in and out of the Academy for all events. Sometimes it would have been better for us to have brought a change of clothes instead of trying to go back to the hotel, get dinner and turn around and get back to the academy in time for the evening activities. We often spent an hour in the car one way to our hotel, which was normally a 10-15 minute drive. Rush hour traffic combined with Academy traffic was horrific.
10. Plan a meeting the evening before graduation so that you can pass out the tickets. Everyone will need a ticket to get in. That way... if anyone is separated, they can get in on their own accord. The lines at graduation are long for security checks. Bring a smile to endure!
11. Be prepared to have only four people go inside for Graduation if it should rain. We were lucky and endured the rain outside, but all of the relatives were also able to be a part of it.
12. Walkie Talkies may even come in handy, but we used cell phones to locate relatives.
13. Plan to have lunch as soon as graduation is over. We had a lunch served in a room at the hotel. It would work best to do a group thing as the kids realize this is the last time they will actually be able to be together and they are rather melancholy.
14. Arrange a specific meeting place after the hats go in the air. Meeting "down on the field" is not specific enough. Stay for photos.
15. Make a copy of the schedules so that everyone has their own. Highlight the places that you intend to go. GO, whether everyone wants to or not! Let your mid know how special this is for you!
16. Along with the camera, be sure to take lots of film. The disposable cameras work great.
17. Plan to leave on two days after Graduation if you can. It gives you time to enjoy your graduation and relax as well as clean up after. However, in the hotel, it provided us a day to do some sightseeing. You can also show relatives the yard when it is empty and visit the Mid Store one last time.
18. Have an early dinner the night before graduation as everyone will want to be up bright and early for graduation. We left our hotel at 6:00AM and had no problems... other than rain. The mids have to sleep in Bancroft that evening, so they have to work out what to do with their bag of clothes on that last night.
19. Make sure your mid knows which families you want to meet up with and plan get togethers ahead of time.
20. Buy a large bouquet of flowers and leave a big thank you on the table when you leave.
After reading this, take what you need, but my most important advice
is, CONSULT YOUR MIDSHIPMAN SON OR DAUGHTER about what he or she wants
for Commissioning Week!
For information about the next move, check out Naval
Services FamilyLine, which is an information and referral organization
for all sea service familiesl. Check out the relocation tab on Lifelines...LOTS
of good info there about moving, setting up your electricity, phone,
etc. Of course, my first advice is to talk to the housing office where
you will be stationed...lots of folks with rentals post them at the
housing office, knowing they will have responsible tenants!