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Discussion: Orienteering at the Naval Academy

in: Orienteering; General

Apr 7, 2020 3:14 PM # 
Hello everyone, my name is Nathan. A little bit about me, I'm from San Antonio, Texas and I've competed with my school's JROTC orienteering team the past 4 years. My school's Orienteering team is completely student run (we've never had a coach), so everything we have been taught has mostly been passed down from the previous captain's. The captain, me for this year, coaches and trains the team, and we attempt to attend as many competitions in our area as our schedule and budget allows. Anyways, I've recently received offers of appointment to West Point and the Naval Academy, and I'm conflicted about where I want to attend. Part of my issue is that USNA does not currently have an Orienteering team. After talking with current midshipmen, I feel like convincing USNA to create an Orienteering team is plausible, but I have no clue how the competitions, training, or coaching are on a collegiate level, compared to what I am used to. In Texas, from what I've seen at NTOA and AOC meets I've gone to, there is no competition on the collegiate level. The only competition on the collegiate level I've witnessed personally is at the Junior Nationals competition with West Point's team being one of the only team I've noticed attending regularly. I also do not know anything about West Point's orienteering does competitions, training, or coaching, and there is nothing on their website about any of that information. Does anyone have any advice or information on going about any of this?
Apr 7, 2020 3:30 PM # 
Nathan, send me an email (on my account). I can provide some insights.
Apr 7, 2020 3:51 PM # 
Sent an email
Apr 7, 2020 4:47 PM # 
If you've weighed all the factors outside of orienteering and it's pretty much a coin toss, so therefore it comes down to orienteering, then it's not a choice at all. West Point will be about a million times better.

I am sure Jordan will make that point as well, in more elaborate detail.
Apr 7, 2020 4:48 PM # 
Hi Nathan! QOC (Quantico) is the local club for the Naval Academy. There is one old map in Annapolis that I know of. The closest local events are a county away (MD counties are nowhere near as big as Texas's though, I'm sure!). You could indeed start a USNA o' team, and there are people in the area who could likely help you--including a NJROTC coach who lives relatively nearby--but I suspect it would take more time & energy than it's worth. :-( (There was a small team there years ago when a Lithuanian orienteer was at USNA. It likely died when he graduated.)
Jordan will surely give you excellent info on USMAOC. If it were me, I'd go to West Point. Though I do love Annapolis ...
Best of luck, and congrats on your offers to both academies! That's very impressive. I look forward to seeing you in the eastern forests.
Apr 7, 2020 5:25 PM # 
Nathan, send me an email as well, I'm the de-facto lead for Navy orienteering, and there's a small number of current Midshipmen with orienteering experience at USNA. Go Navy, Beat Army! (That's for Jordan and Tori, when she sees this thread ;) )
Apr 7, 2020 5:35 PM # 
The counties of Texas are bigger, but not that much bigger, the average size is only about twice as big as the average country in Maryland. (Texas has a lot of counties!)
Apr 7, 2020 5:38 PM # 
In my humble opinion only if you have your appointment to the Naval Academy secured and you want to do something really great in orienteering and for orienteering then go to the Naval Academy, talk to other cadets who have NJROTC orienteering experience, get a student group going and convince the brass to form a team and give you a budget. Well, you'll have to earn the budget.
But competitive orienteering is such a natural activity that all potential officers should be doing. It is not just land navigation, it is not just map reading. Orienteering is quick decision making and problem solving over and over again each competition.
When I told that to a National Guard sergeant once he shot back, "that's what we need: officers who can make decisions."
And congratulations on your double appointment.
But the most important thing I think is to make the choice based on what you think is best for YOUR future.
Apr 7, 2020 7:46 PM # 
Beat Navy, Ginger. :-)

Nathan, you have great choices. Whichever one you select, there are a bunch of current and former service members who orienteer and will be delighted to support you along the way. We pretty much all know each other, so if one of us doesn’t have what you need, we’ll probably know who to ask. Glad you reached out.

And best wishes for whatever that first year brings!
Apr 7, 2020 9:10 PM # 
Nathan, I know a recent USNA grad who had come from NJROTC orienteering and was very eager to get a team going there. I could put you in touch with him if you want to know more about how that went.
Apr 8, 2020 4:19 AM # 
I think this is the 1st time I've ever seen someone choosing their college based mainly on the orienteering scene, lol. Had I known about orienteering when I was in college I probably would have done the same.

It would be a great thing if Naval Academy could develop a team. Perhaps it would pressure Air Force Academy into doing the same. If you need any support from afar don't hesitate to get in touch. I'm one of the military orienteers that stands ready to assist! Of course if you wind up going to West Point its a strong program w/ many local venues and meets.

I would advise thinking through what exactly you want to do in the military and letting that help you decide which way to go.

Ginger, Jordan, Tori: Air Force - Above All :D
Apr 8, 2020 5:34 AM # 
Having visited both campuses I'd love to put my real views on this up here, but I won't. As I've told all my players for the last 23 years. Pick your education not your sport. Unless your going to be a professional (which you won't be, because you've chosen education) pick your future. Remember, The Army and Navy are polar opposites. It's only the few (there's a pun there) that enjoy both. If it's really a difficult decision then JLaughlin will help with that. He knows.
Apr 8, 2020 5:48 AM # 
Ginger and smittyo- I've sent you both emails about your what you both said.

Vector- Sorry if it came across that I was choosing my college based on orienteering lol. It is just a small part in my decision on where I want go. My main focus so far has been about where I have the best chance at branching Aviation and flying helicopters afterwards from either academy (it's what I want to do in the military). Both academies seem to be great options for that, so now I'm trying to determine where I will be more successful. I'm also looking at all of the other options of branches, and which ones currently appeal to me (things could easily change in 3-4 years), from each academy, in the case that I'm not selected or able to fly.

Thank you everyone for the advice and information! I really appreciate it
Apr 8, 2020 7:48 AM # 
Not sure how it works in the US but ironically helicopter piloting where I come from has a better chance in either the navy or army than the air force.

Also you'll never learn to orienteer in the navy. There aren't any trees in the ocean!

You also won't learn how to orienteer in the Aus army. You will learn how to draw up a nav data sheet, how to pace count, what to do when (not if) you get lost and some strange thing called mils rather than bearings. Weirdos.
Apr 8, 2020 10:32 AM # 
Mils are a bearing -
Apr 8, 2020 10:43 AM # 
Yes I know what they are and how/why they're calculated (for interest we use 6400) but it still throws me changing from one to the other for my different navigation activities.
Apr 8, 2020 2:13 PM # 
N.Staver- Awesome. Aviation is a tremendous career, never regretted it. Stay healthy, always have a backup career in case some medical quirk pops up (good to see you're already thinking of contingencies), but Army and Navy both provide excellent opportunities in the rotor world. As a fixed wing pilot my hat's off to you for wanting to fly rotors. Its a complicated handful of machinery! Good luck on the pursuit!
Apr 8, 2020 2:25 PM # 
I have nothing helpful to offer here (if someone wants to beat the air into submission instead of flying, that's their prerogative) but I selfishly would like to see a team at Annapolis to give West Point a run for their money. And maybe help prod USAFA to get a team, too.
Apr 8, 2020 5:44 PM # 
I see a lot of orienteering activity in the NJROTC groups around the country. I don't know how many of the NJROTC members end up going to Annapolis, but I would think there would be some interest there.
Apr 8, 2020 6:07 PM # 
It would appear that there is an untold story hiding behind the comment made by smittyo above.
Apr 8, 2020 7:38 PM # 
fossil>> If I recall correctly, he was very eager and got a strong contingent of Midshipment out to a number of QOC events, including a dual Army-Navy event. But I think the enthusiasm and support waned over time, and the team slowly disappeared... But I am sure others can fill in more details.
Apr 8, 2020 8:03 PM # 
A known ancient Chinese cursing is 'May you live in an interesting time', meaning the time of quick and dramatic changes. An advice based on common wisdom may not have the same value during those times (like today).
Army or Navy? Consider something practical, say living on a Farm, being self-sufficient, milking cows, learning auto-mechanic stuff, practical medicine, etc.
Apr 9, 2020 7:03 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
I decided well before high school (Gymnas in Norway) that I would attend NTH / NTHI in Trondheim because that was by far the best orienteering group at a very good engineering university. :-)
Apr 9, 2020 9:57 AM # 
West Point has by far the best orienteering program of any university in the Americas, but it probably would not rank very high among universities in Norway.
Apr 9, 2020 3:12 PM # 
My impression of the recent Navy orienteering push was that school and campus requirements, and maybe just upper-level bureaucracy, were a big drag on outside event participation.
Apr 9, 2020 7:12 PM # 
Rule #1: Every time someone goes to ask school authorities about forming an orienteering team or starting any other type of activity we know the answer may be yes or it may be no.
However if you never ask then for sure the answer is going to be no.
Rule #2: When asking make it as easy as possible for them to say yes.
Rule #3: Know the answers to their questions before they ask.
Apr 9, 2020 7:18 PM # 
Rule #0: Understand the situation.
Apr 9, 2020 9:07 PM # 
Rule #0 + and then move on - good

Rule #0 as in accept the way things are - bull crap.
Apr 10, 2020 9:00 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
"Reasonable people accept things the way they are. Therefore, all progress is made by unreasonable people."

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