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Questions on joining the military

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  • Questions on joining the military

    OK folks, time to sound out!

    I have a student who is thinking about joining the military.
    He is trying to decide
    a) what to join (army, navy, airforce, marines)
    b) what kind of jobs there are and how much choice do YOU get to pick it
    c) what is basic training like, etc..
    d) how long you join up for
    e) how much you get paid
    f) can your girlfriend move with you if you get transfered (I told him no, only his wife - unless she moves on her own to follow)
    g) how much $$$ do you get for college - how does that work
    h) he was also interested in trying for the Army (or whoever) basketball team. How does that work? (I thought it was through the academy) Do any of those players ever go NBA? :)
    "Sympathy means a lot, coming from Kulmar. I didn't think it was possible.
    Good luck getting rid of your disease. If you're infected, though, stay away--I can't afford to be a zombie right now.
    " Ednos


  • #2
    Follow up questions
    i) While in the army, can you work on a college degree (law degree is what he actually mentioned)
    j) any info on difference between joining army straight and going ROTC (college)
    k) when in basic training, how can one get to officer training school? ( I remember my dad did that)
    "Sympathy means a lot, coming from Kulmar. I didn't think it was possible.
    Good luck getting rid of your disease. If you're infected, though, stay away--I can't afford to be a zombie right now.
    " Ednos



    • #3
      Have a look at the ROTC programs and see if they are eligible for a scholarship or they can look at joining the National Guard or Reserves and still be in ROTC. Each branch has its own requirements and since I'm Army, I'll only talk abut Army. I teach AROTC full time. Here are some links for all the services. The federal OCS program has been suspended so you must go to an academy, ROTC or direct commission to get a a federal commission. It can be a very complicated process with lots of options. I would start with your local ROTC program at the nearest college.


      • #4
        I'll leave the techinical questions to the guys with more recent experience as it's been 10 years since I got out, but maybe I can offer some advice. First off, you can talk to as many recruiters as you want, no obligation. But be careful! Tell your student to ask lots of questions, and go to different stations to get broader answers. Find someone in the service doing what they want to do and ask them the same questions. Yes, Recruiters will embelish the truth to meet their quotas. I only worked for a recruiter for a couple weeks, but I saw enough to know you need to take what they say with a grain of salt, or more.

        There are BIG differences between the services. It's pretty much common sense to see which ones are more difficult as far as boot camp and life in the service. Does your student want to fight the war on terror, or sit in an air conditioned space working on computers?

        Not to get in a discussion about which is harder, etc. but ranking boot camp and lifestyle from most different to civilian life (ie. difficult) to more civil IMHO:

        Coast Guard

        Pay in the service is just simply sustenance. As a low ranking enlisted you will not be able to qualify for a car loan or buy a house, etc. for many years. BUT, and a big BUT that I didn't appreciate while I was there is that food, housing, medical, etc. are free. (And there are differences between the services as far as food goes too, try the reverse ranking above.)

        There is every job imaginable in the service. When I went in (enlisted) my scores were good enough that they offered me whatever job I wanted, however, they push the needs of the service. If I had it to do over I would spend more time researching and thinking about what I might want to do when I got out, because the service does provide great training. Until you raise your hand and swear in you can change your mind about your job in the service. Here there is a difference between the services as well. In the Navy you just do your job and that's it. In the Marines you are a rifleman first, then you have your job too. So, the Navy will guarantee you a certain type of job, whereas the Marines will not.

        As far as the GI Bill goes, It is a fantasitc benefit and every service person should take advantage of it. When I joined I gave them $1200 ($100/mo. the 1st year) and when I got out they gave me $12,000 at $400/mo. for the four years I was in college.

        The service is great about education. They had a college available (cheap) on every base I was stationed as well as the Aircraft Carrier! I took three college courses at sea, and they transferred to my University when I went for my degree.

        One more edit: There is a huge difference in life in the service between Officers and Enlisted. I can't emphasize this point enough. I had no interest in College after high school, mostly due to grades and motivation. If your student has the ability and interest, I highly recommend they go to college ROTC and not enlist. One example that sticks in my mind; on the Carrier enlisted men berthed 60-100 to a space all sharing one bathroom and stacked three high with coffin cots. You can imagine the noise and smell of such a situation. Officers were in four to a room with a bath, not bad. This treatment permiates EVERYTHING in the military; pay, parking, food, respect, opportunities. It is very much like real life but is so accentuated I think it is what prompted me to get out and get a degree as soon as possible.

        Sorry, don't know much about ROTC or OCS, but I'd be happy to talk about enlisted service in the Navy if your student wants to e-mail me.
        New to TG?


        • #5
          Originally posted by USN_Squid
          Sorry, don't know much about ROTC or OCS, but I'd be happy to talk about enlisted service in the Navy if your student wants to e-mail me.
          Likewise for me and the Marines... Feel free to give him/her my email address.

          I'll disagree about going to college and being an officer first, though. Before you can lead, you have to know how to follow, and a few weeks in some acadamy just doesn't cut it... I would recommend to anyone seeking to better themselves to enlist in the US Armed Forces. Any branch, depending on what interests you...

          Oh, and the pay chart can be found HERE. Housing rates (for married members) HERE.

          Just for general information, a person is usually an E3 after the first year. After that, promotion really depends on the individual's attitude and the branch of service, and even the MOS/rating.
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