Every year, more than a thousand new junior officers enter the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, earning their commissioning through the U.S. Naval Academy. In rare cases, the academy will endorse a midshipman to inter-commission to another military service.
Ensign Anna Wade was afforded the opportunity to commission as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard.
Originally enlisting in 2009, Wade served two years as a mass communication specialist before receiving acceptance to the academy. While on deployment on the USS Bulkeley (DDG-84) in 2011 Wade had her first experience working with the Coast Guard, an experience that stuck with her throughout her time at USNA.
“There was a USCG detachment that had spent some time on the ship,” said Wade. “I was able to see how they interacted with Sailors and performed law enforcement capabilities during anti-piracy operations. I was specifically intrigued about their mission set.”
After a year at Naval Academy Preparatory School, Wade began her Plebe (freshman) year at USNA. Focused on becoming a U.S. Navy officer, Wade concentrated her efforts towards her academic and leadership qualities. The performance and impression left by the USCG detachment was pushed aside, but kept recurring, said Wade.
“When I came to USNA, I didn’t think the Coast Guard was an option, but I was still really intrigued by it,” said Wade.
It wasn’t until her 2nd Class (junior) summer, that Wade was able to take a closer look into the operation tempo and day-to-day lives of Coast Guard service members.
“I was visiting friends and family in Sitka, Alaska, and there was a Coast Guard base close to where I was staying,” said Wade. “I was able to spend a lot of time with personnel and really observe their mission set, and I loved the pace of everything. From maintaining fisheries, environmental support, search and rescue and maritime security, I just loved what they did, and how they did it every day.”
Wades’ inter-commissioning process required approval through the chain of command at USNA and ultimately from the chief of naval operations. Her application was reviewed by the Coast Guard, accepted and approved through its chain of command and the Secretary of Homeland Security. The process required dedication and serious commitment, said Bonner.
“The last inter-commissioning we had for the Coast Guard from USNA was about four years ago,” said Bonner. “I get a few people a year that approach me for information about USNA’s inter-commissioning process, but most of the time they shy away because it is fairly intense and highly selective. It says a lot about Wade.”
“I feel like the dynamic experiences of being enlisted and my training and leadership development here at USNA have helped prepare me for this new experience,” said Wade. “I’m not sure what the next few years are going to bring, but I know I’ll be in the right place and my heart is already in the right place.”