The Academy Insider Your Guide to The United States Naval Academy

#016 - Coast Guard Academy Exchange with Matt Meltzer '17 USN

November 05, 2019 GRANT VERMEER / MATT MELTZER '17 USN Season 1 Episode 16
The Academy Insider Your Guide to The United States Naval Academy
#016 - Coast Guard Academy Exchange with Matt Meltzer '17 USN
Show Notes Transcript

Service Academy Exchange Opportunities at the USNA

I'm joined by Matt Meltzer who is a class of 17 graduate from the United States Naval Academy and currently serves as a Surface Warfare Officer in the United States Navy. Matt is from New York City and was a political science major at the academy and in currently stationed in Hawaii.

Matt was a guest on one of our most popular episodes regarding The Daily Life of a Plebe.

In this episode, Matt takes us through the opportunities for USNA Midshipmen to spend a semester at the other service academies.  He shares how one applies, the interview process and once selected the logistics involved in spending a semester at another academy.

Matt spent the first semester of his 2/c year at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. 

He shares experiences of how Midshipmen are familiarized with a new academy environment, classes, athletics and compares and contrasts some of the cultural differences between the two institutions.

He even shares a great story of the pranks that you can fall victim to as a Midshipman at another service academy.

It's an informative and casual episode. It provides a sneak-peek into the Coast Guard Academy and the opportunity a Midshipman has to study at another military academy.

Be sure to review and subscribe to The Academy Insider with Grant Vermeer podcast on Apple Podcasts or where you listen to podcasts.

Follow the Academy Insider on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Links Mentioned in the Episode:

MIDS System

Service Academy Exchange Program at USNA

Life of a Plebe Podcast Episode with Matt Meltzer - Acad

The mission of Academy Insider is to guide, serve, and support Midshipmen, future Midshipmen, and their families.

Grant Vermeer your host is the person who started it all. He is the founder of Academy Insider and the host of The Academy Insider podcast and the USNA Property Network Podcast. He was a recruited athlete which brought him to Annapolis where he was a four year member of the varsity basketball team. He was a cyber operations major and commissioned into the Cryptologic Warfare Community. He was stationed at Fort Meade and supported the Subsurface Direct Support mission.

He separated from the Navy in 2023 and now owns The Vermeer Group, a boutique residential real estate company that specializes in serving the United States Naval Academy community PCSing to California & Texas.

We are here to be your guide through the USNA experience.

Connect with Grant on Linkedin
Academy Insider Website
Academy Insider Facebook Page

If you are interested in sponsoring the podcast, have an idea, question or topic you would like to see covered, reach out: podcast@academyinsider.com.

Speaker 1:

This is your host Grant Vermeer Naval Academy class of 2017 and I'm your Academy insider. It's my goal to be your guide through the Naval Academy experience by sharing my stories and providing you insight information into the life of a Midshipman.

Speaker 2:

[inaudible]

Speaker 1:

Academy insider is in no way officially affiliated with the United States Naval Academy. All of the content on Academy insider is my own and does not reflect the views of the United States Naval Academy, the United States Navy, nor the department of defense. When one of your episodes turns out to be one of the most popular episodes on Academy insider by far, you have no choice but to bring them back on as a guest. So today I'm bringing him back on Matt Meltzer, who's a class of 17 graduate from the Academy and during plebe summer was the regimental XO. While I was the regimental commander, a really good friend of mine. I absolutely love him. And if you haven't caught our first podcast episode together, I highly recommend you go back and check out the podcast episode we did where we talk all about the day to day life of a plebe and what a single day within a midshipman's life looks like from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed. Super awesome. But today we talk all about the service Academy exchange program. So for those of you who don't know, even if you go to the Naval Academy, you have the opportunity to spend a semester at either the air force Academy, the military Academy at West point or the coast guard Academy. So Matt went to the coast guard Academy on a semester exchange, knows all about the program. So he's gracious enough to come onto the show and talk all about the service Academy exchange program. I think it's a super awesome opportunity to take advantage of and one that not a lot of people know about. So I think this is a super fun episode where he shares a ton of insight into the application process, what goes into it. And then life actually had another service Academy. So this is a must listen to episode. I hope you guys enjoy it and take care and have fun. All right. Hey Matt, thank you so much for coming back on and welcome back to the Academy insider podcast.

Speaker 3:

All right, thanks so much for having me grant. I'm happy to be back on the show.

Speaker 1:

Oh awesome. And if you don't mind just reminding the audience a little bit, if they didn't catch your first episode where we talked about the day of a plea like day to day life of a plebe and we'll post a link to that podcast episode in the show notes. But for those that haven't listened to that episode, if you don't mind just reminding them a little bit about who you are, your background, how you got to the Academy, and then a little bit about yourself as a midshipman.

Speaker 3:

Sure. So my name is Matt Meltzer. I'm originally from New York city at the Academy. I was a member of 23rd company. I was a political science major and I had some of the bills that I held during my time there. I was the regimental XO for police summer under Grant's leadership and then during the academic year I also served as the 23rd company commander. And the topic of today's chat, while I was there, I also was persuaded in the service Academy exchange program to the coast guard Academy.

Speaker 1:

Awesome. And yes, just to reiterate

Speaker 3:

that that is going to be focused today's episode talking about the service exchange program. So just to kick this off, Matt, if you don't mind, do you mind just telling everyone a little bit about what the program is, how it works, who can apply for it and kind of what schools are involved in this, so who can apply and where can they go? Sure. So the service Academy exchange program is a way for midshipmen and cadets from the various service academies to do a one semester exchange to another service Academy kind of gives a those Mitchem and cadets the opportunity to learn about the other academies as well as those who are at those academies to learn about the other services from those who are participating in the exchange. So a really kind of a lot of benefit to go around the, the program takes place during the fall of the second class year. So a midshipman who are interested can apply during kind of late in their third class year for considerations to be set up to go the following semester. And midshipman at the Naval Academy have the opportunity to exchange exchanges to West point to the air force Academy as well as to the coast guard Academy, which is where I went.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. And so you went to the coast guard Academy. Was the coast guard Academy your first choice, was that what you were interested in going to vice the other service academies?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, absolutely. It was for me. But you tend to kind of see is that people attempt to exchange a cervix tech academies based on what they tend to serve select later on. So for those who want to go aviation, a lot of them want to go to the air force Academy. For those who want to go Marine Corp, a lot of them want to go to West point. For me with my desire to be a surface warfare officer, while I was at the Academy coast guard Academy seemed like a natural fit. Another C service to kind of learn that, learn how they do things, I'll learn how their operations go and it was a, it was a good fit for me. So yes, it was my first choice.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. And was the coast guard Academy somewhere that you were looking at when you were a high school student? Like were you interested in potentially attending the coast guard Academy and did you apply to the coast guard Academy? Did that play a factor at all and trying to decide where you wanted to do this semester exchange?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it absolutely, it absolutely did play a role. I actually in high school I did apply to the coast guard Academy and I was actually wait-listed. I wasn't accepted. So I kinda, I get to say that this was my opportunity to get back with me again,

Speaker 1:

uh, and get there anyway. So it worked out really well. Absolutely. And how did you get interested in this, uh, this opportunity out all in the first place? One, how did you know it existed? And two, what kind of went through your mind where you're like, yes, I actually do want to do an entire semester at a different service Academy.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I would say for me it was during my plea, even youngster years when I saw the exchangers from other academies come to the Naval Academy. I had one from the air force Academy was in my company during my plebe year. And uh, I kind of learned about the program from them. I thought it was a really great opportunity to kind of branch out a little bit, get outside the walls of Annapolis and go do something else for a little bit. And it was really cool. It just seemed like a really cool opportunity and uh, and so I just decided to pursue it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. And then when you kind of did decide like, Hey, I actually want to do this, this is something that I'm interested in, how did you actually go about starting that process to begin applying for this program?

Speaker 3:

Sure. So the application process is actually relatively simple. It midshipman who are interested in actually apply through the mid system mids is the Mitchem and information database system. It's a, it's the same database. It's used for all sorts of different things at the Naval Academy. So assuming you're interested in applying for service, scummy exchange, they, they fill out the application on there. There's a brief statement of interest as well as a bunch of biographical information that you input. And then from there they go through the selection process. Absolutely. And does that such a process, does it include an in person interview at all or is it solely done through the mid system? It does included an interview. So basically from those who apply via mids, the, uh, the director of the program will go through those applications and select a certain number of people to proceed in the interview process. The interview consists of both the officer who runs the program as well as midshipman, who have previously participated in the service Kennedy exchange program, who, uh, who interview all of the applicants and then decide who ultimately gets to go. So that was really cool. That was actually something that as a, uh, once I returned for my exchange, I got to interview the next two rounds of midshipman who were applying for the program. Absolutely. And when you were sitting in that position as someone who is now on the other side, uh, interviewing younger midshipman, what were things that you were specifically interested in hearing or looking for when it came to trying to determine who we were gonna send as good representatives from the Naval Academy? Yeah, so the standards that we were looking for was who is going to represent the Naval Academy the best. You know, as when you're sat in an exchange, you're a representative, not just of your Academy, but really your entire service to those that you're interacting with. So we wanted those who are going to have a leave a positive impression on those that they interacted with those who are going for the right reasons. You know, maybe for them it wasn't just an opportunity to be closer to home or something like that, but, but it was really an opportunity to learn from these experiences. So those are kind the, the answers that we looking for, for people who are interviewing and a, and there are a number of very, very good games. Yeah, absolutely. And when you were going through the interview process now kind of back to you as a, as a youngster at the Academy, how was that interview process for you? How was that in person interview and were there any specific memories that you have that kind of stick with you from your process of getting interviewed? Uh, as a youngster? Yeah. So I do remember being very nervous for the board, kind of going in there, being asked all sorts of questions and you know, I don't remember maybe the specifics of those questions, but I do remember trying to leave an impact on the board that, that I was there for the right reason, that my, my desire was to learn about how the coast guard conducts operations and how the coast guard Academy is different from the Naval Academy. And then to bring those lessons back to the Naval Academy and to be able to share those with them, share those lessons with those in my company so that it wouldn't just be an experience about me, but it was something that I can bring back to the Naval Academy. Yeah, absolutely. And I think that's super important and I'm glad you kind of point that out. And it kind of leads to my next question, which is that when you're applying for this program, are you applying for the program at large or did you specifically know like I want to go to the coast guard Academy? So I'm applying specifically for the coast guard Academy. So the program is very flexible in that respect. There are many who applied and said, yes, I'd like to go to any of the three schools and maybe here's the priority, you know, coast guard Academy first, then West point, then air force. But then also you have the opportunity to say I'm just applying to go to this particular school and I only in it and if it's not the school and I don't want to participate in program. So it's actually relatively flexible and those who are applying can do either work.

Speaker 1:

Very interesting. Okay. I appreciate you saying that. And so all of this originally is done in the mid system and I'm going to take this time to kind of to self promote here. So I'm going to post a link in the show notes to a Facebook live video I did with Kim DOE, who's also a class of 17 graduate where we talk all about the mid system. So if you're, if you're sitting here listening to this today and you're like, I have no idea what they're talking about, what the heck is mids? Make sure to go into the show notes and check out that video cause we spend like an entire 30 to 45 minutes explaining what ms is and I think it'll help you understand a lot. But to kind of switch back to the topic that we're talking about now and thank you so much for the information that you've provided already, when do you find out whether or not you have been selected to attend another service Academy?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so the, if I remember correctly, the application process began in mid to late February and then kind of the interviews took place in March and I remember being notified early in the month of April that I had been selected. Okay. There is a little bit of delay after the board because the, the selection list goes up to the commandant and midshipman to get approved. And then once you select an early April, there's kind of a quick turnaround. You have to schedule all your classes, you have to do all sorts of things to get your travel booked and all of that. So a it is relatively late in the second semester of your extra year that you get notified and it's a pretty quick adjustment to get ready for the semester at the other service Academy.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. And that was gonna. You kind of mentioned some things that were going to be in my follow on here is once you are selected, are there any specific trainings or classes or briefs that you have to attend that are very specific to the program or very specific to the Academy that you're going to?

Speaker 3:

So not exactly. There isn't really any particular classes that you have to take to prepare, let's say at the Naval Academy to prepare to go. However you do have to attend an early signing for the two for seven commitment. Okay. So that normally that takes place when second class returned from their summer since you're already going to be away and another show scat to me, you have to do it before you leave. So there was a special two for seven signing ceremony for those who are anticipating the service got an exchange. Other than that there's a few meetings that you do with the program coordinators to make sure everything's set up, but it's pretty straight forward.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. And do you mind taking a quick 30 seconds to explain what two for seven is for anyone who may not know?

Speaker 3:

Absolutely. So the first few years of the Naval Academy are basically free. You can, uh, you can walk away at any time without having to reimburse the government at all. After your first two years of you choose to stay for the beginning of your third year, you have to sign a two per seven, which basically commits to you to the remaining two years of the Naval Academy followed by a, your five-year service commitment. And if you were to drop out after that point, then you're, you're obligated to reimburse the government. So the two for seven is you're signing your commitment stating that you understand that the financial commitment that you're making and you're basically committing to your service.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. So you do that early signing of the two for seven. And then at that point, is your summer training schedule adjusted or in any way, shape or form to maybe accommodate an early or late start date for the respective service Academy that you're going to?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, absolutely. So because the Naval Academy is actually relatively unique in that we started a little bit later than most of the other service academies do. So what I had to do for my, this is my second class summer, I had to shift my training to take place in the first and second blocks of the summer and therefore I had my leave schedule for the third block of the summer. However, that leave ended up being shortened because I had to report to the coast guard Academy a little bit earlier than then than I would have normally at the Naval Academy. That being said, because the semester started earlier, it also ended a little bit earlier and so what I ended up having was a longer holiday leave period. I ended up with almost a full month of time. I'll allow the end of the fall semester in the beginning of the spring semester back the Naval Femi. So it ended up paying off just one.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. And on the front end, the back in there. So before you're on leave and before you check into the coast guard Academy, did you have to show back up at the Naval Academy and then basically transport I guess, whatever, whatever you want to call it. Did you go straight from leave to the coast guard or did you have to go back to USA before making your way into the coast guard Academy?

Speaker 3:

So, so in my case I went straight from where I was on leave, which was home in New York city and I drove straight up to new London. Uh, with all my stuff to go to the coast guard Academy. I could've gone back to the Naval Academy if I desire to, to, if I wanted to leave my stuff there over the summer. But instead I took everything with that I needed with me home to in New York. And then from there drove up to new London with all of that travel by the way, was funded. A Navy pays for you to get to the other Academy, whether it be plane tickets or just mileage for your car. And it also pays you per diem while you're traveling. So in accordance with standard regulations for the travel in the Navy, you get a, your, your travel funded way. Cool. Sweet. And then when you, so you show up, now you have to go to the art Academy first day you're random midshipman amongst bunch of cadets over there, the coast guard Academy. What was that introduction like? Kind of w how'd you find out? What? I don't know how they do it at the coast guard academies now you're going to have to, to educate us. Well how'd you find that? Like what company you were living in, like what classes you're going to, all the academic buildings. Like how much of a transition process was there for you or was it just like you get dumped in the fire and it's try and figure it out? Yeah. So it's actually kind of kind of special and unique to the coast guard Academy is that when we arrive, rather than going straight into the academic year, they actually have us come one week early and we spend that week underway on more of the coast guards training ship, the coast guard cutter, Eagle ice. And they're actually using that ship as part of the fourth class. They call it swamp summer, the swamp summer indoctrination process. So they bring us on board with the swabs and with the second class leadership there and we get to kind of get an experience on the coat cutter Eagle. That was a really, really cool experience for me. I really enjoyed it and that was kind of our precursor to our, to our semester. And then after that we were brought back to the coast guard Academy and uh, and that's when we found out, know our company, what company we were in. I've met my roommate there, got our kind of uh, academic schedule finalized and everything like, and then from there who's going through the normal pre semester introduction period that the rest of the coast guard Academy cadets went through as well.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. And so now do you mind telling us a little bit, again, you're a midshipman and a brand new environment, one of the few, how many other midshipmen were there with you?

Speaker 3:

So the year I went we only had three Naval Academy. It should've been on exchange to the coast guard Academy. The Naval Academy usually send seven to each to West point and to the air force Academy, but only three to the coast guard Academy.

Speaker 1:

Okay. And that makes sense because at the coast guard Academy it's a much smaller school than the others if I'm correct.

Speaker 3:

That is correct, yeah. So when the bile, the Naval Academy has about 4,500 students and a, I believe West point and air force are relatively similar cause your Academy is much smaller. I believe the total amount is a around 700 or 800 cadets at the coast guard Academy. So much, much smaller school environment.

Speaker 1:

Sweet. And so what was your role then as an exchange midshipman that you have any leadership billets or kind of roles or responsibilities for their, or were you just kind of along for the ride? How do they integrate you into the cadets?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so I was very much given the same level of responsibility as the other second class cadets were given. So I was putting in a division at the Naval company. We call them squads in the coast guard Academy. They call them divisions. So I was putting in a division where I was charged with leading some of the third class in fourth class. And the, the first thing that I told them when I, when I showed up was I wanted them to treat you just like they would a coast guard Academy second class. I wanted to get that genuine leadership experience. And one thing that the exchange program sets you up very well for is that you get introduced to a new new environment and you're expected to lead right off the bat. That's very similar to what happens with us as Naval officers when we commissioned and when we go to our first ships or first commands or introduced a brand new environment and we're told to leave starting from day one. So it was a really good experience from that perspective.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. And so just to clarify, when you're there, even though you're a midshipmen, are you still required to attend all, like the mandatory events that the cadets have and integrate into all of the different aspects of cadet life?

Speaker 3:

Yes, absolutely. So as far as mandatory events, when it was exactly the same for us, as for anybody else, we were expected to go to all of the same events. And then for all sorts of optional, you know, student activities type events, we were strongly encouraged to participate. So I did all sorts of things. Uh, one of the highlights of my time there was, I actually went on a, on a trip to Washington D C that was run by the Institute for leadership at the coast guard Academy. We went to was a Emeril fat. Alan was a kind of ran the program and uh, escorted us around around DC and we visited the Pentagon, we visited the executive office building Capitol Hill. So we have to kinda, it was incredible experience and uh, and it was one that was a available to cadets and then as an exchange midshipman that it was available to me as well.

Speaker 1:

Awesome. That's so cool. Yeah, I mean what a super fun event and kind of now just transitioning to a little bit of bigger picture

Speaker 3:

here with the first thing being like, how would you compare your experience in new London to Annapolis? And I, I literally mean at this point just kind of the geographical locations of being in new England versus being in Maryland. Yeah. So you learned it in Annapolis or I would say very, very different cities. New London is a small, well Annapolis is not a big city in itself. New London is definitely smaller city than in Annapolis. And a, and one thing it was a little unfortunate was that new London's further from campus, uh, from the coast guard Academy campus that Annapolis is, you know, in Indianapolis we walk up the Naval Academy Gates are right there in the middle of downtown Annapolis. Yeah. New London. Not quite the same. You can walk, but it's a very long walk or it's more likely that you'd be driving. But that being said, uh, the general Connecticut area is very, very nice. There's lots of neat things to do around, around the area there. I took trips while I was there up to Newport, Rhode Island. I drove home to new to New York on various occasions. So lots of, lots of different opportunities, you know, in the general area. Yeah, absolutely. And then a little bit more focus now on life actually inside the Gates compared to the Naval Academy. How was that experience? Was it more strict or lenient? Uh, was there any difference in lifestyle or culture that was significant and noticeable to you? Yeah, so people are often very surprised when I tell them that the coastguard Academy was actually more strict than what I was used to at the Naval Academy. You know, they, they often expect that to not be the case. I don't know if it has to do with the, with just a smaller student body size or what it is, but, but it was definitely a, a, a more strict standard. Things like uniform and room inspections were more frequent. The rules were, I would say more enforced to a greater extent than they were at the Naval Academy. So that was one thing that definitely a very surprised me, but it was all something I really liked about being there. The standards were very high. The cadets knew that and they, uh, and they all held each other to account to those standards. Yeah, absolutely. And were that, were there any things that were extremely similar? Like, now I guys like I want to get into a little bit of just comparing and contrasting the Naval Academy to the coast guard Academy and the culture and the lifestyle there. Yeah, the, uh, things that were similar, I'd say the academic program very similar. The constructs of the, of the companies and how they, how they kind of work the structures within them in the leadership responsibilities held by Mitchem and cadets. That was also very similar as something that, uh, I was very used to, I would say, and did not at all deal feel, uh, out of, out of place there. Yeah, absolutely. And so we just finished up as we're recording this, we just finished up air force week in army weeks coming up and we know that the cadets there at the Naval Academy are often subject to a lot of pranks, especially during those weeks. And my question for you is, as a midshipman at the coast guard Academy, were you, I wouldn't use the word target, but were you potentially the subject of some pranks or just kind of some fun directed in your direction? So the short answer is yes. Now, luckily at the coast guard Academy there is, you know, we don't because the coastguards V3 schooled the coast, maybe doesn't play coast guard. So there is no Navy coast guard week. However, there are exchangers at the coast guard Academy from air force and from Westland. Okay. So a, so specifically one prank was uh, during air force Navy week, some of the air force exchange cadets, uh, came into my room and stole all of my uniforms, leaving me, leaving me only a T shirt with the route with the words go air force sick Navy written on it. And a, a very small pair of swim trunks had to wear to class the next day. So that was, uh, you have to wear them to class. I did have to wear them. And the, uh, some of the, uh, I think the instructors pretty much immediately knew what was going on, but I definitely got some interesting looks throughout the day. Uh, that's pretty great.

Speaker 1:

Sweet. Uh, that's a, that's a great story. Thanks for be willing to just share that. Um, and you also brought up an interesting point that I wanted to touch on. The fact that the coast guard Academy is division three school when it comes to NCA athletics. With that being a D three school compared to the Naval Academy, it's just D one school with a football program that's broken the top 25 on a couple of occasions. Did you see any difference in the dynamic between their varsity athletes and Arps? First, the Naval Academy, Farsi athletes and Arps since they're a school that like doesn't play on national TV every Saturday. Like how is that dynamic compared to

Speaker 3:

to Annapolis? Yeah, it's certainly very different. One thing that's really interesting is that because it's such a smaller school but yet has a similar, not quite the same number of teams as enabled company, but a similar number of teams, the Naval Academy, the percentage of students who actually participate in varsity sports is much higher advocates for Academy. I would say my memory serves me correctly. It was almost more than half of students that were, that were participating in varsity athletics. So they were actually made up the majority. And so there was a a intramural athletics program, but it was definitely smaller than the one that we have in the Naval Academy. And the, the football games were not mandatory. Like they weren't the Naval camp. There were one or two. So the, the big rivalry that coast guard has is against the merchant Marine Academy. So while I was there, we all drove down to the merchant Marine Academy and that was a required event for everybody. And I think there may have been one other mandatory game, but other than that, you know, students do choose to get whether or not they want to go to their football games and then otherwise have that time off on the weekends. Definitely a different, a different environment than we had at the Naval Academy.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. Interesting. Okay. Sweet. And so you go there, you're going through and now you're approaching the end of your time at the coast guard Academy. What did you leave with an appreciation for? What did you think was something that the coast guard Academy did extremely well and you felt that other service academies could probably better themselves if they kind of followed in that model?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I think I would have to go back to something I mentioned earlier and that was that high level of discipline. The Academy held the cadets to a very high standard of personal discipline, military bearing, those sort of things. And uh, and the cadets held themselves to those standards as well. More so than then. Sometimes unfortunately they see it, the Naval Academy. So they did that really well. And, and that was something that I kind of tried to bring back with me in the leadership positions that I held miles at the Naval Academy.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And can confirm having been by regimen X XO during plebe summer high standards was definitely his number one thing and did a phenomenal job upholding those standards. So a shout out to you, you made my life extremely easy because I really had to do nothing cause you are awesome. So that's great. And I'm glad the coast guard Academy helped out in that. So thank you to everyone out there in new London, Connecticut. And then kind of with that now on the, on the kind of the flip side, was there anything after that experience that you felt that the Naval Academy did really well and you didn't really appreciate it or notice it until you spent a semester away from the Naval Academy?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, absolutely. I there, I'd say there were a few things and largely having to do with the Naval Academy's size, that kind of advantages that come along with that. And so number one, the athletic program, the opportunity to watch a, you know, a[inaudible] program compete at the top levels is really awesome. And it's, it's a special experience that I really miss now that I've got graduated. Also just the plethora of student activities and also the different academic opportunities that exist at the Naval Academy just by nature of being a larger school that the Academy really gets those things. And then lastly, I would just say the, the being in downtown Annapolis, you really, you can't be fat. They will come in and definitely, definitely has the uh, you know, wins the compared to all for all the other service academies. Naval can be definitely used in the best location for sure.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I would a hundred percent agree with that. Annapolis it PS like when you're at the Academy, Annapolis is still pretty great and then once you graduate you realize that like Annapolis is like really great. Absolutely a phenomenal place. So I love that. And now after you finished your semester at the Academy, you kind of saw the pros and cons, uh, and you balance the compare and contrast your time between the two. Was there any piece of you that considered trying to then cross commission after graduating from the Naval Academy?

Speaker 3:

For me personally, no. And you know, at that point in my time at the Naval Academy, I was very, very happy with the path that I was on towards becoming surface warfare officer in the Navy. And I really felt like it was the right path for me. And so, uh, it was a really great experience. I learned a lot about how the coast guard conducts their operations. And in my current job out here in Hawaii, we have a lot, a lot of coast guard assets and we interact with them out here quite a bit. So it was a very, very useful experience for me. But I came back very happy with my decision to go to the Naval Academy and to pursue my commission in the Navy.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely love that. And just so if anyone confused with the term that I use cross commission, so it is possible to commission into another service so you can go to the Naval Academy and then hypothetically commissioned into the coast guard or commission into the air force or commission into the army that those are possible options. A far less air, I guess, far more far more infrequent. But it is absolutely a possibility. So, so kind of my, my last question for you now is, um, because you went to the coast guard Academy and you said it had very similar, you know, academic life, silence, scheduling, all that stuff. The semester exchange puts you behind at all in either an academic or a military matrix at the Naval Academy or did you take the same amount of credits and it was just a super smooth and easy transition back in after that?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so I took exactly the same number of credits and uh, and the transfer was very, very easy. There's actually a a, the name will come as a table of course equivalence between the Naval Academy and all of the other service academies that they exchange do. So taking the classes that you're supposed to take and comparing them to what's available. The coast guard Academy is a very, very simple process. In a few cases. I did have to move some things around to some courses that I was gonna wait until the first class year to take. I ended up pulling them forward and taking them at the coast guard Academy. Some classes that I maybe would have taken during my second Lester got pushed in my first class year, things like that. And then, uh, another thing was the second class swim a class. I had to wait until my first class year to take that, but that wasn't a big deal because I ended up taking a PE elective while I was in the coast guard Academy. So everything worked out just fine. I didn't fall behind at all. I was still remained right on track progression. W what PE did you take at coast guard? I actually took a scuba diving class. Yup. And I got certified. The only downside of that out of it I did, I got my[inaudible] everything downside to that is that scuba diving in October in new England. Real cold is very, very cold. So they provided you know, wetsuits and all that. But it was a, it was not, it wasn't like, you know, scuba diving in the Caribbean or anything like that. Let's just say that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, fair enough. Fair enough. But, but still way cool. Uh, so that's awesome. For those listening, I didn't take a scuba diving as my PE elective, but I did take golf and I got, you know, that's a, that's a super sweet one too. You get a double period where you just get free golf lessons and get to go play a couple holes or go to the driving range grant. I don't know if you remember, but we said we were first year. We were actually in the same goal we were. Oh yeah. Oh I do remember. Uh, unfortunately you think that uh, that you probably did a little better than I did in that class. I don't know about that. What if I did? It's only gone extremely downhill from that point cause I try to golf a couple of weeks ago and I was just like, I had to stop. I was getting so mad. I was like, I hate golf. I hate being bad at things and I am so bad at this. All right, Matt, thank you so much for taking the time to come on here. And if, if you don't mind just leaving a last piece of advice or for someone who may be interested in this program, whether they're still in high school or maybe it's a mom or dad listening of someone who's currently a plebe or a youngster and they may be interested in the program, what kind of thoughts or advice would you give them? What information would you share with them when they're trying to consider whether or not they want to participate in this semester exchange program?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I would tell them absolutely. Go for it. It's a fantastic program. It's a great way to learn about the different services and it'll, it'll leave a lesson, it'll change you in a way, and it'll allow you to learn things that you'll use throughout the rest of your military career. There are friends that I made at the coastguard Academy that I'm still friends with today that I still sometimes run into today here in Honolulu. And it was a really, really great experience. And, and I, uh, I'm very, very happy that I pursued that. It's a little nerve wracking, you know, it's a little different than normal. It's a little, you know, feels like a little bit of a risk, but it's one that's absolutely worth it.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. Well, Matt, thank you so much again for comment back onto the Academy insider given your time to us again and sharing this information when a ton of people want to know more about it. So I really appreciate you taking the time to do this.

Speaker 3:

My pleasure and thanks for having me.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. And for everyone listening, uh, I'm 100% going to blackmail Matt until he gives up the picture of him in the air force shirt and the small swim trunks. Uh, so stand by for that. Not exactly. Uh, that's unfortunate. Uh, well then I'll draw, I'll draw a hand, a hand drawn sketch and we'll get it posted. Anyway, it'll be a good time. Uh, but in all seriousness, I hope you guys enjoyed the episode. Thanks so much for listening and I hope you all have a great day. Thank you all so much for listening to the podcast and I hope you learned a little bit about the surface Academy exchange program through our conversation with Matt today. Please leave me a review on iTunes and be sure to subscribe to the Academy insider podcast. If you want to learn more about the Naval Academy or the midshipman experience, make sure to go check out my webpage, www.academyetcetera.com or my Facebook page Academy insider, or have articles, videos, and a bunch of content all about the Naval Academy experience. All links discussed in the show are listed in the show notes, and again, I'm grant from mere your Academy inside[inaudible]. Thank you for letting me be your guide to the United States Naval Academy.