Army vs. Navy: Academia’s Civil War

When it comes to preserving integrity in America’s military, we immediately turn to two institutions: The United States Military Academy (Army) in West Point, NY, and The United States Naval Academy (Navy) in Annapolis, MD. Students here are among the best, brightest, and most physically intense in the nation, as participation in competitive sports is required and applications are void unless accompanied by a personal recommendation from Congress. But where should the average genius who benches two-fifty take his or her formidable skill set?

It’s Army vs. Navy, folks. By the end of this article, I guarantee someone will be waving a white flag. Check out the accompanying infographic and get stoked for the showdown with this course on finding motivation through tradition: stories, lessons and a new philosophy from an Army infantry veteran and entrepreneur.

NavyVsArmy

Love And War

I was hoping to kick off this battle with some light statistical analysis, but as far as arithmetic is concerned, these schools were cloned from the same DNA (indeed):

  • It costs exactly $0 to attend either institution (in exchange, potentially, for your life).
  • Student populations differ by an eerie 1.2%. Army, with 5,492 students, has just 56 more than Navy.
  • The student-faculty ratios are indiscernible: 7:1 for the Military and 8:1 for the Navy.
  • Acceptance rates? Both are under 9% (harsh numbers, my friends; gain an advantage with this five-star college admission success course).
  • Both schools are public, coed colleges operating on semester schedules.

I searched long and hard to find a weakness in one of these fortresses, but even the percentage of students who have cars on campus is similar: 20% for Army and 24% for Navy.

While the discrepancy is still small, this comes down to the most evenly balanced student body. Naturally, males dominate both schools, but the Naval Academy is slightly friendlier to women (21% to Army’s 16%). Those five little percentage points make all the difference in the world, both for romance and the general sanity of both genders.

Advantage: Navy

City Midshipmen, Country Cadets

Just to clarify, a Navy student is called a Midshipman, regardless of gender, and Army students are Cadets. So what we have here is a classic case of city mouse, country mouse.

Navy’s campus, located in downtown Annapolis, MD, amounts to a total of 338 acres. That’s a sizeable chunk of cityscape, much of it boasting waterfront views of the Chesapeake Bay.

But have you ever seen Army’s geographical dominion? Do yourself a favor and Google image search “West Point campus.” As you’ll see, it might as well be on Lake Geneva, Switzerland. It is 16,080 acres of pure Hudson River Valley paradise. Anyone who gives two nukes about living in a beautiful location would be insane to pledge their allegiance anywhere else.

Advantage: Army

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Easy On The Trigger

If I were to attend one of these fine institutions, it would not be so that I could prepare myself for battle. Don’t get me wrong: in a time when it’s fashionable to hate America, I love it more than ever. But academia is the only way I, for one, can truly serve my country.

Most people prefer small classes, which makes me favor Army’s 92.5% of courses with fewer than 20 students. In comparison, Navy’s having cramps back at mile-marker 64.9%. If these were grades, Army gets an A- and Navy failed so magnificently I don’t know whether to give them a D or an F.

Both schools’ best programs are in engineering, but overall the Naval academy ranks 12th in the nation for liberal arts colleges, ahead of such renowned institutions as Vassar, Washington and Lee, Harvey Mudd, Bucknell, Bard and, yes, Army (although Army is close behind at #17).

But, having a soft spot for language, I have to give the nod to Army, which features strong English, Linguistics and Foreign Language departments (bring your own language skills up to speed with this college writing essentials course). When combined with small classes, this makes any not-as-free-as-you-think education irresistible.

Advantage: Army

Army-Navy Game

Army must be a bunch of nerds (or writers like myself), because they are miserable at football. When you look at the overall record of the Army-Navy football game, you might think, “Oh, if Army just wins every year for the next decade, they’ll be even.” But Navy’s 58-49-7 series advantage goes much, much deeper.

Navy holds the longest winning streak (12 years), the largest margin of victory (51-0) and they won the highest scoring game (58-12). And Navy absolutely dominated the most recent meeting in 2013, winning 34-7. Oh, and, uh, that 12 game winning streak? It’s happening right now. Navy hasn’t lost to Army since 2001, when Beyonce was just a part of  Destiny’s Child and boy bands like N’Sync still topped the charts. Holy. Shipmen

Advantage: Navy

Military Technology 

This competition is coming down to the wire, so there’s really only one thing to do: bust out some secret military technology, revive the most famous alumni from each academy, and fight to the death.

Navy looks intimidating with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, U.S. Senator John McCain, modern pioneer Alan Shepard (first Yankee in space), tough-guy Charles Bolden (NASA Administrator who, among countless other patriotic duties, logged more than 6,000 hours for the Air Force, the equivalent of three years at a full-time job in a war plane), and Ross Perot.

But Army’s alumni could probably defeat a small, peaceful country by themselves. For starters, they claim former U.S President’s Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ulysses S. Grant (both Generals of the Army), Douglas MacArthur (another General of the Army), class-act Robert E. Lee, and former CIA Director David Petraeus, and AOL co-founder Jim Kimsey.

But let’s be real: this was over before it began.

Advantage: Army

The White Flag

With my Appalachian upbringing, my love of language, my deep respect for Robert E. Lee, and my tendency to cherish whatever is oldest and most classic, I really thought I was going to end up a Cadet. But a population of 84% males isolated on 25 square miles of frigid New York earth isn’t as appealing as I thought it would be (avoid similar mistakes with this how-to-choose-a-college course). Being in the military, you need as much diversity as you can get. Plus, it’s good to experience urban life at least once while you’re young, so for me, the Navy takes the victory. Like most things in life, this comes down to personal preference. Which military school is your pick?