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Old 01-29-2009, 10:57 AM   #1
Emily Mattes
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Default Guidance on enlisting in the military

This is off-topic from most stuff on these boards, but I know a lot of military folks hang out here so I thought they could give me some guidance.

I've been thinking of enlisting for a while. However, I don't know anyone in the military, even second-hand, and don't have a clue about where to start research on my options, the different branches, and all of that--the only advice I've been given are "The recruiters will tell you anything so don't believe them." I'm thinking Marines, Navy, maybe Air Force, but those are just off the top of my head and not based on any knowledge of the workings of any particular branch.

So does anyone have any websites or guides for the prospective enlistee? What are my various options? How do you enter as an officer, and is it better to try that route?

Pertinent information: I don't have a bachelor's, got a perfect on the practice ASVAB on Military.com (but haven't taken the actual one, so it's probable that's not valid), and would probably want at least another six months of physical preparation before joining.
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:14 AM   #2
Joe Hart
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PM me. I went into the Marines as a Helo mech and then to ROTC to be an officer (USN). I can give you the scoop on enlisting, "O" stuff, USMC and USN.

There is some cool stuff to do out there now days.

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Old 01-29-2009, 11:16 AM   #3
Allen Yeh
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The answer to your question like any other on this site is "it depends"

Seriously though, what I mean by that is the basic questions of why?(do you want to join the military), what?(do you want to take away from the experience?) should come before the who?(should you join in the end...).

My little story:
I'm currently in the Army Reserves as a 2nd Lieutenant, Platoon Leader in my Military Police Company, I took my Oath of Office in October 2007. Previously I had enlisted into the Army Reserves after graduating college in 2003, I did it this way on purpose because at the time I believed I would be a more effectual officer had I served in the enlisted ranks for a while and making my decision from there.

I've always had a strong sense of patriotism even as a teenager but was convinced by my parents not to apply to West Point or the Annapolis for college. After 9/11 I had seriously contemplated dropping out of college to pursue the military but decided the military would be much better served with my graduating with my B.S. in Electrical Engineer than running off half cocked and deserting my education. I chose the Army because it seemed like the Navy and Air Force were giving me the run around when I started to inquire into things. I didn't really think about the Marines, no particular reason, just didn't.

At the time I just wanted to serve in the Reserves and didn't really go into the specialties as much as I should have. I chose military police because at the time it sounded exciting and it's wasn't want I did in everyday life as a civilian.

In retrospect:
I perhaps should have chosen a branch of service that could have better utilized my Electrical Engineering degree, don't get me wrong I love the MP Corp. but I don't have much desire to go into law enforcement on the civilian side.

I do think I made the right choice in enlisting first and becoming an officer from there. My friend who is a naval aviator couldn't understand my reasoning, but we have different jobs and roles in regards to our subordinates. I may be responsible for the lives of people in my platoon out in a sandbox or on a mountain, they have placed their lives in my (and my platoon sergeants) hands they are my responsibility.

For active duty you can enter as an officer via OCS or ROTC as far as I know, if you enter via the Army National Guard/Reserves there is another way but I'm not sure if it is still an option.

The overall ASVAB score is not as important as the scores that come out of your ASVAB which are different for each service. More info here:
"And for crying out loud. Don't go into the pain cave. I can't stress this enough. Your Totem Animal won't be in there to help you. You'll be on your own. The Pain Cave is for cowards.
Pain is your companion, don't go hide from it."
-Kelly Starrett
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:20 AM   #4
Kevin Perry
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regardless of what you might hear from people.. the military is not bad at all. Yes recruiters will say whatever to get you to sign up but thats because they have a mission and a goal to sign up X amount of people in X amount of time.

My advice is to research each branch, find what each branch has to offer that is of interest to you. What do you want to do in the military? There are a lot of jobs, what would you like to work with? do you want to work with technology, do you want to travel a lot, do you want to go active, reserve, or guard? Do you want to go for college money or do you want to serve? As an officer you would have a lot of responsibilities, get a bigger paycheck but need a college degree. Enlisted means you have to climb the ranks, deal with a lot of BS, and at the same time you will have a blast.

It's really about what you want to do. If you go to military.com and check out the forums over there you can get some good information as they have a recruiting section and forums for each branch, lots of good info there.

I think the best advice I can give is to just do what you want to do and make sure it is what you want. Research and find what interests you.
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:21 PM   #5
George Mounce
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If you have any questions about the Air Force, feel free to PM me. I've been working with enlisted folks for almost 9 years and can give you a good idea of the career paths they work in.
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:51 PM   #6
Emily Mattes
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Well, I've wanted to be in the military since I was little, mostly out of duty reasons and because honestly it seemed pretty cool. But I never knew anyone in the military, and friends and family were all pretty incredulous at my interest, so outside of making attempts to apply for service academies it wasn't something I strongly pursued. The call to service has persisted, though.

There's that, and then there's the benefits--travel, structure, self-improvement, money for school, whatever. But the biggest thing is the call to service. I'm not really sure what I want to do, as I'm not sure what's even available. I've thought about doing medic-type work yet don't have any sort of background beyond CPR certification. Is there a place that lists all the jobs?
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Old 01-29-2009, 09:46 PM   #7
Donald Lee
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I believe you will find a lot of what you're looking for on here:

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Old 01-29-2009, 10:09 PM   #8
Kevin Perry
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Ever thought about being a Navy Corpsman?
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Old 01-29-2009, 10:40 PM   #9
Brandon Oto
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My understanding is that if you end up in a medical role they retrain you anyway. So for instance a civilian paramedic who become a PJ would still have to go through their combat medic school just like everyone else. So if you aim yourself that way, lacking training/certification may not be a big deal (although lacking any experience might make actually getting accepted a challenge).
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:03 PM   #10
Cassidy Drake
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I was in for six years.

Air Force

Loved it

Hated it

helped end my marriage

missed the birth of my daughter

40k for college

VA benefits for life due to combat and migraines

Not for everyone

Consider who else in your life it will effect

If you want a combat role. Consider this. Killing someone will change you.

It helped with civilian jobs

Would I do it all over again? Honestly don't know
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