The Moment is Here: Service Assignments

Service Assignments are this Thursday for Firsties! I thought I would share a brief excerpt from from my book, A USNA Mom’s Journal. This is about Service Assignments from the Firstie Year / Commissioning Chapter:

“When the Fall semester arrives, Firsties make their service selections at the very beginning of Firstie year. Firsties will rank their choices in order of preference from #1 being their top choice, thru #6 their least desired, and they submit their service selections electronically… Some communities, like Marines, will not consider anyone that does not rank them as first choice and have earned a recommendation after successfully completing Leatherneck. Last year that was changed slightly to accommodate Mids that had SpecOps as their first choice, etc. Subs are also particular and will recruit their preferred candidates early, usually at the end of 2/C year. Aviation has special requirements of their own and so it goes!

In November of Firstie year – this Thursday! – Firsties will get their “Big Navy” Service Assignments. They will usually gather in their Company wardrooms for Service Assignment where they will find out what community they have been assigned to for their service. Live streaming of service assignments was halted a year or two ago, but do check company pages for pictures. My former Mids were both Company PAOs at a given point during their 2/C year and were in charge of taking pictures.

It is so nerve-racking and exciting waiting to hear what community our kids and their friends are assigned to. This is the moment they have been working so hard toward and waiting for during the past four years! As each name is called and their assignment announced, they are given a certificate that states their service community and they will shake the hand of the their Company Officer and/or SEL (Senior Enlisted Leader). All Mids are sitting at the edge of their seats and the excitement is palpable…At the end of the day, they all celebrate together. You can see the expressions of relief and although some Mids may not be awarded their first choice, they will encourage and support each other in amazing ways. I saw this first hand with out oldest’s company. Our son texted us to let us know he had received his first choice. We were so excited for him – very exciting! He also let us know that some of his friends had not received their first choice, and as glad as he was, he also shared their disappointment and was there to support them however he could.

With all of the celebration, it can be easy to overlook the disappointment. Typically 90% + of Firsties will get their first choice assignment, and most will be ecstatic. For our Second Mid (Class of 2020), approx. 85% of Firsties got their #1 choice. However, their class is one of the smallest to commission in awhile (under 1,000 Firsties commissioned).

As with all things at USNA, the main purpose of Service Assignment is to fulfill the needs of Big Navy, and in some cases, there will be great disappointment as some Mids do not receive their desired community assignment. This happened to a friend of our Firstie who had requested Pilot but received NFO instead. Another had requested SEALs but did not get it. It took some time for them to get used to the idea, but in the end, they tried to find the silver lining. It is so great to see how they support each other, no matter what. We can witness the fruits of Plebe Summer and the past four years as we see the tangible evidence of the bonding that has taken place and how closely knit they are.

From our experience with 4th Company and 28th Companies, on the eve after Service Assignment, the Plebes plan a very special evening of good-natured fun. I remembered that a mere three years prior, as a Plebe, our son was in charge of coordinating activities for Service Assignment night… Each company does their own thing, but they are all so creative and have so much fun. I am nt sure what will be allowed with the current situation, but watch for pictures and videos on your Mid’s company page.

This is one of the many firsts and lasts as Firsties prepare to commission and begin their career as Naval or Marine Officers. We can be so proud of their hard work, of their camaraderie, of overcoming adversity, of their hard work and dedication, and so many memories over the past four years. Enjoy the moment, celebrate, be there for each other. Hang on – the ride is just beginning! Those that have walked before you are here for you. GO NAVY!!”

(Excerpt from A USNA Mom’s Journal, Copyright 2019. Copying is expressly prohibited without the prior consent from the author.)

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