Author Topic: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.  (Read 720 times)

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Offline Kattelox

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Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« on: June 06, 2018, 06:35:17 PM »
For a long list of personal reasons, which I'll gladly share if anyone is curious although it's nothing terribly interesting, I'm strongly considering finally enlisting in the military this year, after ProgPower is over (never been, so once I've gone, I can check that off at least for 2018 and get the 'fun' out of the way). I am 27 years old, single, live on my own, and basically have nothing weighing me down other than guilt about making my parents worry about me.

I'm strongly considering enlisting in the Navy. People are also suggesting I try the Air Force. I'm good with computers, I am not good with tools or my hands, although in the military I imagine I will get good at both regardless. I am under no illusions that the military is a 'job' or some kind of panacea for personal predicaments. It is the military, you are another warm body for The Machine, maaan, and that's that. One of my best buds was a Marine (or is? you're a Marine for life even if you're out right? I don't understand the fraternization of the branches), so I've heard a shitload of fuck about the Marines on his end.

Recently my mom went into the ER and I was confronted once again with the ugly question: "What will you do when your parents inevitably move on? Will you be ready?" and the answer is a big, fat NO. Not at all. Not one bit. But I also want a chance to see the world. I want to serve my country, just like my late uncle and late grandfathers. I want to have skills that will help me the rest of my life, which I'll be brutally honest and admit I probably don't have.

I'm curious about your experiences. Are you in now? Have you served before? When did you serve, what was it like, what branch were you in? How has your military experience helped you in the real world and how did it shape you for the years to come?

I'm deadly serious, if I decide to pull the trigger, I'm going to drop the bomb on my parents (my mom has been drilling it into my head that I need to do what is best for ME and ONLY me), and I'm going to do it after ProgPower in September. Strongly leaning towards the Navy. Possibly Marines, possibly Air Force. Not the army. I am a loner and don't immediately click with people, but I am comfortable being on my own, so being in a strange new environment with new people will either be incredibly taxing on my brain or I'll just roll with it and be bored as hell while cleaning a toilet. I don't know. Help me out.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2018, 07:13:38 PM »
Two things I can impart to you. Good with computers plus joining the USAF equals a pretty good chance of sitting in a trailer in Nevada launching missiles at strangers 7200 miles away. I would assume you've considered whether or not you're comfortable killing somebody, we will be in a state of war for your entire life, after all. You might not have considered it within the context of it not being an imminent life or death situation, though. The guy driving the Toyota pickup across the desert isn't fixing to shoot you. How good are your compartmentalization skills?

Second is that two of my primary male influences growing up were marines. Neither would have wanted me to enlist, albeit for different reasons. Pertinent here is the rationale from my grandfather, who served from 1941-~1970. He simply thought I was capable of doing much better. His take was that the marines were great for people with nothing better to do and no prospects. There is another rationale, which is to use it as a means to an end. The GI bill for example. But I'd consider it a very steep price to pay, unless you fit into the former category.

And a third thing came to me while I was typing this. Get on Netflix and watch Stripes while keeping in mind that you're nowhere near as exceptional as Bill Murray.
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Offline Kattelox

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Re: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2018, 07:32:44 AM »
Two things I can impart to you. Good with computers plus joining the USAF equals a pretty good chance of sitting in a trailer in Nevada launching missiles at strangers 7200 miles away. I would assume you've considered whether or not you're comfortable killing somebody, we will be in a state of war for your entire life, after all. You might not have considered it within the context of it not being an imminent life or death situation, though. The guy driving the Toyota pickup across the desert isn't fixing to shoot you. How good are your compartmentalization skills?

Second is that two of my primary male influences growing up were marines. Neither would have wanted me to enlist, albeit for different reasons. Pertinent here is the rationale from my grandfather, who served from 1941-~1970. He simply thought I was capable of doing much better. His take was that the marines were great for people with nothing better to do and no prospects. There is another rationale, which is to use it as a means to an end. The GI bill for example. But I'd consider it a very steep price to pay, unless you fit into the former category.

And a third thing came to me while I was typing this. Get on Netflix and watch Stripes while keeping in mind that you're nowhere near as exceptional as Bill Murray.

This is a very big thing for me, honestly. If I serve, I will have benefits. I will have school paid for. It is the gateway to opening my life and offering opportunity I did not have before. I would be giving up a rather cushy, normal American life for it, but as it is right now I'm always behind on my bills or just barely scraping by, and it's not fun anymore living the 'starving artist' role for lack of a better term and wondering if I can buy food next week or not. On top of that I'll learn life skills in the military, have a guaranteed (if small) paycheck and a place to sleep the whole time. I'm also aware not everybody deploys or sees combat - I have a marine friend who never left his base on the east coast and just drove trucks all day.

Shit or get off the pot, as the saying goes, and I gotta figure something out because every year my age goes up one digit is another knock against me. Why hire a 27 year old with no experience when they could hire a younger person fresh out of college? I do not want to be in my 30s with nothing to show for it. At least in the military I will have a chance to experience the world outside of my shitty Illinois town having job lock in a business I do not even like.
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Offline Stadler

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Re: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2018, 07:46:23 AM »
Big fan of the military - as a resource; not in the "Stand for the flag, you commie asshole"/Trumpian sort of way - and while I am not at all a "regret" guy, if there was one regret, it would be not signing the papers when I could have to join the Army National Guard when I was in Georgia.  I procrastinated, waffling between being in the Engineering Corps. (undergrad I'm a civil engineer) or in the JAG office, and I ultimately missed the age window.   (Even then I was an old fogey).   

With the utmost respect - sincerely - to el Barto and his family members, the four branches are not interchangeable.  Whereas my experience jibes with what he said, there are other things to consider.   A friend of mine was in the Navy, and put his considerable brain power towards the nuclear capabilities in that branch, and now he's out, as an expert in nuclear propulsion systems, he's a well-regarded, and reasonably highly paid employee for an international power transportation firm (one that was recently bought by GE).   To some degree, you will be pigeon-holed by what your capabilities are - the military will train you, but if you're good at math, they are likely going to ask you to do some math and not retrain you to be a communications expert - but those capabilities can often be applied in many different directions.   

The hardest part, it seems to me, is the first six months.  They're going to test your desire to be there, and your desire to be a part of the team.  From that, though, it's a relative meritocracy (there's always bullshit wherever you go, but it seems like it's either lesser, or more easily surmounted, depending on your point of view) and as much as anywhere, if you're good at what you do, the people "above you" will want you on their team. 

The one piece of advice?  You know how on Chris Hansen's crime shows or The Shield they show the cops lying to the perp to get them to talk?    Those cops could be recruitment officers.   Maybe not OUTRIGHT lies, but they will sell you with whatever you want to hear.  You want to be an intelligence officer? They will flood you with stories about being an intelligence officer in Paris, and Munich... and they won't actually be too forthcoming that 1 out of every 1,000 recruits actually become intelligence officers, and of that number, 99% get stationed in the Yongsan Garrison in South Korea (not true, but I'm making a point).   Ask a lot of questions, and talk to people to sort of balance out what you might hear from the recruitment officers.  Again, it won't be outright lies, but you may not get a complete picture. 

I will say this, though, and I recognize that my experience isn't exactly the same as everyone else, but:  of the people very close to me that went in, every one of them came out a better person, in the sense of being more disciplined, focused, and motivated.   When I met my stepson, he was basically working as an auto mechanic for $12/hr, 40 hours a week, and drinking and vaping the rest of his time away.   He met a girl that basically said "I'd be on you like fur on a weasel if you weren't a slack", and so he signed up for the Army Nat'l Guard.   Two, three years later, he's working at the local base full-time (quasi-civilian job) servicing helicopters, making almost four times the salary, with full benefits, he's got a beautiful kid, shopping for an engagement ring, fixing and flipping cars on the side... he doesn't have enough hours in the day to do what he wants to do.    Now, most of this was HIM, not the Army, but the Army was a sort of catalyst to bust him out of that mindset of "I'm too dumb for college, I don't know anybody, I'm going to be stuck doing half-assed oil changes for old ladies that don't know the first thing about taking care of their cars for the rest of my life... might as well be half lit while I'm doing it..."  Similar story for my ex-wife; as much as I don't like her, fair is fair.  Being in the AF gave her the tools to be a more successful person.

Online cramx3

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Re: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2018, 07:58:08 AM »
I don't have any experience to share, but I know you are much more marketable to a company if you are former military with good status.  I feel like a lot of jobs I've worked at would prefer to hire vets.  My first job out of college at a big bank and was working with lots of former Air Force guys who always talked positively about their experiences.

I don't think I could survive boot camp, but if you could and think this route is good for your future, then go for it.

On the other hand, my little sister's husband is former Army and was dishonorably discharged and because of that has a lot of issues with getting a job.  So it goes both ways.

Offline bosk1

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Re: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2018, 08:17:59 AM »
USMC here.  I will add a few things to what has been said above (none that I really disagree with). 

1.  The first half of Full Metal Jacket is actually a VERY accurate representation of what boot camp is actually like.  Watch it through that lens.  And one thing to keep in mind and keep in perspective: watch for the angle of it being a place where they will break you down and remake you (in a way that I would say is neither positive nor negative--it just is), and by the end, you will be able to do things physically and mentally that you did not believe you were capable of.

2.  No matter what they tell you, recruiters are NOT your friends.  Do your research and fact-checking outside of the recruiter's office and do not take anything they tell you at face value. 

3.  Related to the above, whatever it is that you want to get out of the experience, whether it is to start off stationed in a certain place, to have a certain job, educational benefits, etc., MAKE SURE IT IS IN WRITING BEFORE YOU SIGN. 

4.  All G.I. bills are not created equal.  The benefits are different in each branch.  Back when I gave my service ('88-'92), the Marine Corps had the worst.  Find out ahead of time what the benefits are and whether they suit your needs.  You will also probably be told that you can easily do college WHILE YOU ARE IN for free.  While this is true in theory, I know VERY few in practice who were able to make it work, whether because of scheduling (having a job where you couldn't go to classes on a regular basis), classes for your particular major or classes you want not being offered, or whatever. 

5.  Consider perhaps going ROTC so that they pay for your college BEFORE you go in, and you go in as an officer rather than enlisted.  You are smarter than the average enlisted person.  Perhaps a lot smarter.  Believe it or not, that can make things harder for you as an enlisted person.  As an officer, it's different.  There is definitely a gentrification/stratification between officer and enlisted, and there are a lot of benefits of being on the officer side of that.  You also have higher pay.  And you have more privileges and freedom, including a bit more freedom to be a free thinker.  Your age is also a factor.  27 is not old.  But it IS old to be going into the military to START your military career.  Think about it--most people go in at 18.  The vast majority of people who are in that are your age are halfway to retirement and WAY ahead of you in terms of rank.  Those factors are mitigated somewhat if you are officer rather than enlisted.  And while it would put off your actual active duty service for another few years while you finish school, ROTC should also put you on a faster promotion track because of all the experience and perks you get as a cadet.  Give this some serious thought.

I will add to this later if I think of other stuff.  Feel free to PM me as well.
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Offline Kattelox

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Re: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2018, 08:46:53 AM »
Man, thanks a lot, guys. It's a big help.

It's the idea of big change that has me excited (I've never left this garbage town and I'm SICK TO DEATH of it, and of Illinois) and the promise of benefits. Any benefits. And skills I can learn in life. Really, this should be a no brainer for me: cut this hair off (I've had it for 15 years, I've had my fun with it), sign up, and fucking go already! My marine buddy last night was trying to persuade me to pursue OCS. That sounds appealing. I dunno. Everybody I know who has gone into the military has come out a better person, with benefits, and guaranteed pay for school. It sounds like a slam dunk if you can put up with the bullshit of military life, and as a loner, someone who doesn't party or get into trouble, I shouldn't have any problem with it (other than, you know, shakedowns of living spaces, being screamed at by multiple sergeants all the time, etc.). Honestly? Being raised in a house of comedy and laughter, having three sergeants screaming at me at the top of their lungs only scares me because I would probably crack a smile or just start laughing and then get the shit kicked out of me.

If my parents weren't around this would be an open and shut case for me, but I know exactly how much they'll worry and try to persuade me not to go.
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Offline bosk1

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Re: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2018, 09:04:47 AM »
My marine buddy last night was trying to persuade me to pursue OCS. That sounds appealing.

Yes.  See my point #5 above.
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Offline bosk1

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Re: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2018, 11:06:32 AM »
Another note on recruiters.  If something is important to you, like a guaranteed particular job, or education benefits, or whatever, treat it like a negotiation.  If something is important to you, don't hesitate to tell them it is a deal breaker if they can't do it.  Get their best offer, and get it in writing, and if they tell you they can't or won't put it in writing, walk.  Once you have what they are offering in writing, go talk to a recruiter for another branch, even if it is a branch you might not think you are interested in, and see if they can do better.  You might, for example, have predetermined that, say, the Army isn't the branch for you, and you are dead set on Navy.  But it might be that the Navy can't offer you what you are looking for, but the Army unexpectedly is able to put some very attractive things on the table.  Maybe some of those things are things you hadn't thought of.  And maybe, once they do, you take that back to the Navy and say, "Well, Army was able to offer X and Y, what you can you do?" and Navy comes back with something better.  You never know.  It's not a bad thing to shop around, even if the individual recruiters you talk to may try to discourage you from doing that.
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Online Destiny Of Chaos

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Re: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2018, 11:35:45 AM »
I did the Navy for four years. Never saw a ship or sub. Did cryptology at a shore command. I leveraged that into a pretty amazing career within the Department of Defense.

Which ever branch you join, look into a job that provides a Top Secret Security clearance. That opens an incredible amount of doors and keeps them open.

With ProgPower being a ways away, you have plenty of time to do your homework on the pros and cons of the various branches, and what they have to offer you. However, I wouldn't wait to go to the recruiter's office. I had to wait 8 months between signing up and boot camp based on the job that I wanted. The timetable will vary depending on a number of factors.

Bosk had the best piece of advice. The recruiter is not your buddy. I mean, some are great, and most are good people, but they have quotas to fill.

Best of luck and keep us posted. 

Offline Kattelox

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Re: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2018, 12:41:26 PM »
I think I'm gonna talk to a recruiter shortly, if only to get more information. I'd rather be in the military than sitting here spinning my wheels being poor and unable to do anything in life except work, twiddle my thumbs at home and wait to make another late payment on my bills. This ain't no life...

EDIT: Told my mom this evening (didn't plan on it) and surprisingly she is 100% supportive, when all other times she was very nervous when I'd bring it up. That's extremely reassuring.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2018, 06:35:34 PM by Kattoelox »
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Offline El Barto

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Re: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2018, 06:51:39 PM »
Man, thanks a lot, guys. It's a big help.

It's the idea of big change that has me excited (I've never left this garbage town and I'm SICK TO DEATH of it, and of Illinois) and the promise of benefits. Any benefits. And skills I can learn in life. Really, this should be a no brainer for me: cut this hair off (I've had it for 15 years, I've had my fun with it), sign up, and fucking go already! My marine buddy last night was trying to persuade me to pursue OCS. That sounds appealing. I dunno. Everybody I know who has gone into the military has come out a better person, with benefits, and guaranteed pay for school. It sounds like a slam dunk if you can put up with the bullshit of military life, and as a loner, someone who doesn't party or get into trouble, I shouldn't have any problem with it (other than, you know, shakedowns of living spaces, being screamed at by multiple sergeants all the time, etc.). Honestly? Being raised in a house of comedy and laughter, having three sergeants screaming at me at the top of their lungs only scares me because I would probably crack a smile or just start laughing and then get the shit kicked out of me.

If my parents weren't around this would be an open and shut case for me, but I know exactly how much they'll worry and try to persuade me not to go.
It's funny you mention laughing at the screaming and yelling. This mysteriously showed up in my recommended videos a few days ago and really cracked me up. Sgt. Mays here is yelling at the top of his lungs, presumably trying to be intimidating, while he's literally explaining why you have no reason whatsoever to fear him. He's Sgt. Hartman reading the human resources manual on reporting abuses. If he really wanted to be intimidating he would deliver the "I'm not allowed to hurt you in any way" spiel with his eyes a little cocked and in Liberace's voice. That would really spook me. This just seems silly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ns2FkZNTC0

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Offline Kattelox

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Re: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2018, 08:32:17 PM »
I really think I'm going to do this. I keep thinking about it more and more and the pros are really outweighing the cons. It's frightening but it's a challenge and I'm actually getting excited at the idea the more I think about the long-term benefits of everything that I can get out of serving. I know it's going to suck, and I'm going to dread it and regret it at points, but it's time to take life by the hojos and really do something with it for a change  :metal

Going to see a recruiter very soon.
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Online Destiny Of Chaos

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Re: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2018, 07:59:31 AM »
I really think I'm going to do this. I keep thinking about it more and more and the pros are really outweighing the cons. It's frightening but it's a challenge and I'm actually getting excited at the idea the more I think about the long-term benefits of everything that I can get out of serving. I know it's going to suck, and I'm going to dread it and regret it at points, but it's time to take life by the hojos and really do something with it for a change  :metal

Going to see a recruiter very soon.

Outstanding! Keep us posted.

Offline Kattelox

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Re: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2018, 08:28:36 AM »
I really think I'm going to do this. I keep thinking about it more and more and the pros are really outweighing the cons. It's frightening but it's a challenge and I'm actually getting excited at the idea the more I think about the long-term benefits of everything that I can get out of serving. I know it's going to suck, and I'm going to dread it and regret it at points, but it's time to take life by the hojos and really do something with it for a change  :metal

Going to see a recruiter very soon.

Outstanding! Keep us posted.

Thanks DoC. The pay has been appealing to me too. Much more 'me money' with free housing, food, health care, and paid school? I don't know if I'll have the mental energy or even time to juggle school while serving but if I can, that's even better, and everything else alone is enough to make me psyched about joining. Serving country, getting into great shape, meeting tons of new people, learning all sorts of new things, it's basically a new lease on life. Although, I don't know what kind of job I even want. Something to do with computers is as far as I've gotten. I have a lot of research to do in that department.

My town has a history with air force (the AF base here has been shut down for 25 years and unfortunately the town has gone downhill ever since), so I've been considering that. The navy, however... something about the sea really appeals to me. Although, my neighbor from high school, who is one year older than me, was in the air force and spent 5 years in Alaska. It always sounded awesome to me, and he never had to see combat or do anything like that, yet he has the whole military experience, benefits, and is now living large back here in Illinois in a nice quiet town. I want that for me.

Man I'm getting pumped just talking about it. The only thing that scares me is leaving my family behind, and my lifelong friends forgetting about me. One's married and trying to have kids; one was a marine and is expecting a second kid by year's end; the other is surely going to get married in the next couple of years. I don't want to miss that wedding and I'm scared of something happening to my parents in the meantime, but I'll grit and bear it.
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Offline Stadler

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Re: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2018, 08:34:44 AM »
KTLX, I can't speak to a lot of your concerns, simply because I haven't served, and I'm smart enough to know that one person's experience may not be another's.   But I will relate this:  you've shared some things about "being a better man", and with respect to my son, his time in the military has served one purpose:  it's helped him "shed" the hangers-on and bad influences.  His true friends are and will be there for him, and if anything, they seem to respect him more and look up to him more.   The others?  The ones he's lost?   Not missed even one little bit.  They were the ones that were there because it was a never-ending party, and when the party did finally end, they ditched.   

Offline Kattelox

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Re: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2018, 08:37:58 AM »
KTLX, I can't speak to a lot of your concerns, simply because I haven't served, and I'm smart enough to know that one person's experience may not be another's.   But I will relate this:  you've shared some things about "being a better man", and with respect to my son, his time in the military has served one purpose:  it's helped him "shed" the hangers-on and bad influences.  His true friends are and will be there for him, and if anything, they seem to respect him more and look up to him more.   The others?  The ones he's lost?   Not missed even one little bit.  They were the ones that were there because it was a never-ending party, and when the party did finally end, they ditched.

I'm taking some comfort in that. My true best friend, the one who's probably getting married in a couple years - he'll always be there. He's even said he isn't leaving the area because of his family and me, and I know whenever I come home, he'll be there willing to hang out and have some beers and smokes and catch up like I never left. Related to the base shutting down here, most of the other people I know are drug users, working entry level, bare minimum jobs - nothing inherently wrong with that but it makes me feel like such a loser and like my life has already reached its endgame being stuck in this town around people like that. Serving is going to be the chance to shake all of those "hangers-on" and change course for a better life.
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Offline Stadler

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Re: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2018, 08:53:34 AM »
Having gone through something similar to this in the mid-90's, I know for me it helped to not look at it as "winners" and "losers"; if their life goal is what they're doing, so be it.  I know for me it was simply deciding "I wanted something different" and being observant enough to realize that "I couldn't get what I wanted where I was and who I was with".  I didn't join the military, but I just upped and moved to Atlanta, and it changed my life.  Not immediately, but it set me on a path that ultimately led to a better outcome than what I was doing. 

Offline bosk1

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Re: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2018, 09:12:00 AM »
A final note relating to my point about negotiating for what you want AND making sure it is in writing that you will get it (once you leave to go off to the MEPS center and boot camp, you get whatever they tell you you get if it isn't in writing in your contract)...

Two things stuck out to me:  (1) you want to do "something with computers"; and (2) you aren't sure where you want to get stationed.  As to the first point, when you go in and talk to the recruiter, if they offer you something that sounds good, DON'T SIGN RIGHT THERE ON THE SPOT, NO MATTER HOW GOOD IT SOUNDS.  Politely thank them and tell them you want to think about it and do some research.  Then...go think about it and do some research.  Make sure it is what you want.  And even if you are confident it is, once you are researching something specific, it might lead you to discover something else you want even more that you wouldn't have known existed.  But, again, once you sign, it is generally too late to change.  Just DON'T sign without going home and doing your due diligence.  Even if they tell you it is the last spot for that kind of job and it might fill if you walk out, you could always wait for another opening and sign at that point.  Before you sign, you have ALL the negotiating power.  After you sign, you have none.  It isn't that you lose SOME of your bargaining power.  You lose it ALL.  So don't sign until you have done your own research and taken care of YOU. 

As to the second point about your duty station, I'm not sure whether there is anything you can get guaranteed about that.  They generally don't guarantee location, and it is sort of luck of the draw.  But then again, it sort of isn't, and this ties back to point #1.  Some jobs are more likely than not to get stationed in certain places and not in others.  This is part of your research.  If they will not guarantee you a duty station you want, but they can guarantee you a job that you have learned is only stationed at certain bases that you would like to be at, it helps your chances of getting there.  Again, go home and do your research before signing.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 11:04:43 AM by bosk1 »
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« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2018, 10:55:49 AM »
This is a great thread!

My 16yo son recently announced that his post-high school plan is to join the Air Force.  This came as a great relief to both my wife and me because it's really the first inkling of him having a concept of a plan for life after high school.  My kid is smart but not at all academic, and he doesn't want to go to college just for the sake of going (and incurring loans and what not), and he apparently did a significant amount of research on his own before telling my wife about this.  My wife has a friend who is an Air Force veteran (I want to say about 15 years of service, but I'm sure I've got the number wrong), and the three of them went to lunch a couple weeks to talk about my son's plans.  She apparently harped big time on what Bosk has been saying about dealing with the recruiters, and she has offered to accompany my son when the time comes to talk with a recruiter (and she told my son not to tell the recruiter that she's a veteran until SHE decides that time has come).  It's been comforting to see that common theme echoed several times in this thread.

Obviously, things could change over the next couple years, but I'm excited that he has a plan.
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Re: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2018, 12:27:14 PM »
I really think I'm going to do this. I keep thinking about it more and more and the pros are really outweighing the cons. It's frightening but it's a challenge and I'm actually getting excited at the idea the more I think about the long-term benefits of everything that I can get out of serving. I know it's going to suck, and I'm going to dread it and regret it at points, but it's time to take life by the hojos and really do something with it for a change  :metal

Going to see a recruiter very soon.

Outstanding! Keep us posted.

... and paid school? I don't know if I'll have the mental energy or even time to juggle school while serving but if I can, that's even better,

Keep in mind the Post 9/11 GI Bill can be used upwards to a decade after you separate/retire. I got out in 2007 and did not start using mine until 2011. The best part is that if you are taking a certain number of credits, they pay you BAH (basic allowance for housing) based on where you go to school, which in my case was an extra 2 grand a month of tax free money.

Research up.... the benefits that you (and your potential future family) are afforded in exchange for your service are amazing. 

Offline Kattelox

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« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2018, 12:54:48 PM »
I really think I'm going to do this. I keep thinking about it more and more and the pros are really outweighing the cons. It's frightening but it's a challenge and I'm actually getting excited at the idea the more I think about the long-term benefits of everything that I can get out of serving. I know it's going to suck, and I'm going to dread it and regret it at points, but it's time to take life by the hojos and really do something with it for a change  :metal

Going to see a recruiter very soon.

Outstanding! Keep us posted.

... and paid school? I don't know if I'll have the mental energy or even time to juggle school while serving but if I can, that's even better,

Keep in mind the Post 9/11 GI Bill can be used upwards to a decade after you separate/retire. I got out in 2007 and did not start using mine until 2011. The best part is that if you are taking a certain number of credits, they pay you BAH (basic allowance for housing) based on where you go to school, which in my case was an extra 2 grand a month of tax free money.

Research up.... the benefits that you (and your potential future family) are afforded in exchange for your service are amazing.

Basic allowance for housing? Isn't housing free if you're living in the barracks? So that's basically free money they're handing over?

The benefits sound better and better the more I look into it. I wish I wasn't so chickenshit, now, and joined directly after high school.
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« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2018, 02:02:05 PM »
5.  Consider perhaps going ROTC so that they pay for your college BEFORE you go in, and you go in as an officer rather than enlisted.  You are smarter than the average enlisted person.  Perhaps a lot smarter.  Believe it or not, that can make things harder for you as an enlisted person.  As an officer, it's different.  There is definitely a gentrification/stratification between officer and enlisted, and there are a lot of benefits of being on the officer side of that.  You also have higher pay.  And you have more privileges and freedom, including a bit more freedom to be a free thinker.  Your age is also a factor.  27 is not old.  But it IS old to be going into the military to START your military career.  Think about it--most people go in at 18.  The vast majority of people who are in that are your age are halfway to retirement and WAY ahead of you in terms of rank.  Those factors are mitigated somewhat if you are officer rather than enlisted.  And while it would put off your actual active duty service for another few years while you finish school, ROTC should also put you on a faster promotion track because of all the experience and perks you get as a cadet.  Give this some serious thought.

I will add to this later if I think of other stuff.  Feel free to PM me as well.

My brother has gone this route. He also enlisted old - 27 as well. I think overall he has found the experience worthwhile but as other said, recruiters lie, and the benefits have not been all that was promised. I can't speak to much personally but happy to bounce any specific questions you have off my brother as he's currently deployed but likes to IM fairly frequently.

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« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2018, 02:19:54 PM »
I could ask the recruiter whether or not I'm qualified to go OCS right? To be honest I don't really think I have a problem with simply passing that and enlisting as a total noob. My degree is worthless as I don't even want to pursue the kind of career it's useful for and it's only a 2 year anyway so I likely have no business going OCS anyway. Honestly I don't want to do reserves either. I want to get in and do shit and get the most out of it. My philosophy is if I'm going to get in with the military, I want to go full in. I want a job, I want skills, I want to see the world and do something and hopefully not be stuck on the shore my entire time serving. I'm already bracing for the bullshit that is boot camp and looking into what kinds of jobs I can do.

Maybe the military won't be as bad as I hear people say it is, because as nervous as I am about it, if I want to be there, hopefully that will make it just a little more bearable. Besides, you get out of life what you put in... I'll never get those great benefits for later in life if I don't put in the work beforehand. And even if they aren't all they're cracked up to be, I see literally no way out of this one horse town if I don't take it. Honestly I'm more worried about how ugly I'll look without my beard and hair. Bald heads look good if you don't have a lumpy head and I haven't had short hair since I was 12 or 13 so I don't even know  :lol
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« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2018, 02:41:30 PM »
The two-year degree will not qualify you for OCS.  But if you sign up for ROTC, you go right to school and are a cadet (so you belong to the military, but aren't active duty yet), and then when you graduate, you go straight to OCS and come out as an officer, which has MUCH better benefits than if you go in now as an enlisted person.
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« Reply #25 on: June 13, 2018, 02:45:21 PM »
The two-year degree will not qualify you for OCS.  But if you sign up for ROTC, you go right to school and are a cadet (so you belong to the military, but aren't active duty yet), and then when you graduate, you go straight to OCS and come out as an officer, which has MUCH better benefits than if you go in now as an enlisted person.

Stupid question but when you say that are you saying that I'd be going right to college/university like normal and THEN straight to the military, or I'm going to a military type school as a cadet and then going to OCS? I'm still trying to figure out how all this works  :lol
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« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2018, 03:00:35 PM »
The two-year degree will not qualify you for OCS.  But if you sign up for ROTC, you go right to school and are a cadet (so you belong to the military, but aren't active duty yet), and then when you graduate, you go straight to OCS and come out as an officer, which has MUCH better benefits than if you go in now as an enlisted person.

Stupid question but when you say that are you saying that I'd be going right to college/university like normal and THEN straight to the military, or I'm going to a military type school as a cadet and then going to OCS? I'm still trying to figure out how all this works  :lol

You would go straight to college.  But you would still see the recruiter NOW and get enrolled in the ROTC program now.  You get to go to whatever school you want, basically.  But you are committed to the military, and participate in military drills and exercises, and they pay for your school.  Once you graduate, you then go to OCS.

https://www.bestcolleges.com/resources/rotc-programs/

So if your goal is to get out of town NOW, you just enroll in a college somewhere else in the ROTC program.  They pay for it.  You graduate and go to OCS.  Then you come out as an officer, get higher pay, get treated more professionally, and get lots of other benefits that officers get that enlisted personnel do not.  If I had it to do over, I would have done that rather than go enlisted myself.
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« Reply #27 on: June 13, 2018, 03:27:05 PM »
Ah, damn. That's super tempting. But I don't exactly want to go to school beforehand either since I don't know what I want to study... ahhh hell. Something to think about. Thanks a lot, bosk.
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« Reply #28 on: June 13, 2018, 03:37:35 PM »
Yeah, but you can still be an officer no matter what your degree (pretty much).  And you could always go back to school later and get a different degree if you wanted to.  Just sayin'.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: Have you served in the US military? I want your stories.
« Reply #29 on: June 13, 2018, 03:40:50 PM »
The two-year degree will not qualify you for OCS.  But if you sign up for ROTC, you go right to school and are a cadet (so you belong to the military, but aren't active duty yet), and then when you graduate, you go straight to OCS and come out as an officer, which has MUCH better benefits than if you go in now as an enlisted person.

Stupid question but when you say that are you saying that I'd be going right to college/university like normal and THEN straight to the military, or I'm going to a military type school as a cadet and then going to OCS? I'm still trying to figure out how all this works  :lol

You would go straight to college.  But you would still see the recruiter NOW and get enrolled in the ROTC program now.  You get to go to whatever school you want, basically.  But you are committed to the military, and participate in military drills and exercises, and they pay for your school.  Once you graduate, you then go to OCS.

https://www.bestcolleges.com/resources/rotc-programs/

So if your goal is to get out of town NOW, you just enroll in a college somewhere else in the ROTC program.  They pay for it.  You graduate and go to OCS.  Then you come out as an officer, get higher pay, get treated more professionally, and get lots of other benefits that officers get that enlisted personnel do not.  If I had it to do over, I would have done that rather than go enlisted myself.
I assume there are some requirements to be able to go this route. Otherwise, why wouldn't everybody?

Also, if you go to OCS without already having been enlisted, do you still go through what we normal people call bootcamp?
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« Reply #30 on: June 13, 2018, 03:49:43 PM »
I assume there are some requirements to be able to go this route. Otherwise, why wouldn't everybody? 

Because...the military recruits heavily from Kentucky and Arkansas?  :dunno:

Also, if you go to OCS without already having been enlisted, do you still go through what we normal people call bootcamp?

Nope.  OCS is a more genteel form of boot camp. 
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« Reply #31 on: June 13, 2018, 03:51:02 PM »
Yeah, but you can still be an officer no matter what your degree (pretty much).  And you could always go back to school later and get a different degree if you wanted to.  Just sayin'.

Ah. Good point, although I've already got one degree that I don't want, so I'd like to avoid that academic fatigue. But, very good to know and I'll be thinking about it a lot.
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Offline bosk1

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« Reply #32 on: June 13, 2018, 03:59:48 PM »
Forgive me if I'm stating the obvious, but the major difference between going enlisted vs. officer is:  As an enlisted person, you are an entry-level, rank and file grunt.  Yes, you work your way up through the ranks and eventually obtain junior leadership positions.  But you are the laborer and the "boots on the ground."  As an officer, you are trained from day 1 to be a leader.  And that leadership training is valuable and transferable in the outside world.  I mean, a lot of what you get as an enlisted person is valuable and transferable as well.  But not in the same way.  Think of it as starting with a company in the mail room and having to work your way up every single step, or starting as a junior executive and being trained for that position.  Nothing wrong with either path.  But they are truly very different paths with different long-term benefits.  I don't think you would have any regrets going the officer route.  You might later have regrets about going the enlisted route.  So I would give it some very careful thought and research.  And I'm not really trying to persuade you as much as just educate you on the difference and why I think one is a better option for some people.
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« Reply #33 on: June 13, 2018, 04:04:58 PM »
My only big reservation about that is that I'm not a leader. I'm very much a type B type of dude. Leadership isn't my strong suit for a variety of reasons. I like to do my job and do it well, but as far as leading... that's a totally different ballgame. But who knows...
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« Reply #34 on: June 13, 2018, 04:11:40 PM »
Well, let me try a different approach then.  Officers typically put their carts in the corral.  Enlisted do not.
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