United States Service academies

The United States Service academies, also known as the United States Military Academies, are federal academies for the undergraduate education and training of commissioned officers for the United States armed forces.

United States service academies

There are five U.S. Service academies:

Nature of the service academies

Service academies can be used to refer to all of the academies collectively. In popular use, however, this term is more often used for the three academies (Army, Navy, and Air Force) that fall under the Department of Defense and the Coast Guard Academy (which is part of the Department of Homeland Security), since these are the only four Academies whose students are on Active Duty in the Armed Forces of the United States from the day they enter the Academy, subject to the Uniformed Code of Military Justice and eligible for all privileges and benefits of being members of an Armed Service.

The United States Coast Guard, and therefore the Coast Guard Academy, is a United States military service under the Department of Homeland Security but in time of war it can be placed as a service in the Department of the Navy.

The Merchant Marine Academy is under the United States Maritime Administration, a part of the Department of Transportation, although every student at the Merchant Marine Academy is appointed as a Midshipman, Merchant Marine Reserve, U.S. Navy Reserve, and has a requirement to serve eight years in the military reserve, maintain a license as an officer in the merchant marine of the United States for at least six years, and serve the foreign and domestic commerce and national defense of the United States for at least five years.

At times, or in certain discussion groups, the Academies can be collectively referred to as "The Five Pointed Star."

Duty commitments

Students at four Service academies (not including Merchant Marine Academy) incur a minimum five year active duty commitment and if in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard have an additional three year reserve commitment. Kings Point graduates also have an eight year total obligation, but, although voluntarily entered by some, active duty is not required. The United States Marine Corps, a service under the Department of the Navy, does not have an academy of its own but instead commissions officers from Annapolis and Kings Point. If an Air Force cadet receives a pilot slot, they incur a 10 year commitment. Midshipmen who go on to become Naval Aviators in the Navy and Marine Corps owe 8 years from the time of earning their wings (the end of flight training) and seven for those who become Naval Flight Officers. However, one should note, this commitment is independent of commissioning source; it also applies for NROTC graduates and OCS graduates who go on to become Naval Aviators or Naval Flight Officers.

Congressional nominations

Applicants to all service academies, except the United States Coast Guard Academy, are required to obtain a nomination to the school. Nominations may be made by Senators, Congressmen, and the President and Vice President (The United States Merchant Marine Academy only accepts nominations from Senators and Congressmen). Applicants to the Coast Guard Academy compete in a direct nation-wide competitive process that has no by-state quotas.


Students at West Point, Air Force and Coast Guard are Cadets, while students at Annapolis and Kings Point are Midshipmen. While students at the academies, all Cadets and Midshipmen receive free room and board and pay no tuition. Students at all of the academies except Kings Point also receive a small pay stipend.

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

The United States federal government also runs the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, a post-graduate institution for the training of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals for the military and uniformed services.

Preparatory Schools

These schools provide for strengthening of academic potential of candidates to each of the above-described United States service academies. Admission is restricted to those students who have applied to an academy, failed initially to qualify either academically or physically but who have demonstrated an ability to qualify during the initial admission selection process:

*United States Coast Guard Academy (CGA Scholars Program)
* If selected for the scholarship the students and will attend either New Mexico Military Institute (located in Roswell, NM), Marion Military Institute (located in Marion, AL), or NAPS for a 10 month preparatory program.
*United States Merchant Marine Academy (Prep School)
* If selected the student attends either New Mexico Military Institute or NAPS for a 10 month preparatory program.

See also

  • Reserve Officer Training Programs


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