Military: Anyone in it? Out of it? Opinions?

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Trackrunner220

Military: Anyone in it? Out of it? Opinions?

Post by Trackrunner220 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:41 pm

I am thinking of joining and am trying to gather all the first hand accounts I can, any branch is appreciative.

ATimmins
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Re: Military: Anyone in it? Out of it? Opinions?

Post by ATimmins » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:02 am

There is no repayment plans for officers.  But the money they make would compensate the enlisted bonus very quickly though.
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TexNav
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Re: Military: Anyone in it? Out of it? Opinions?

Post by TexNav » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:02 pm

You just asked a question which when I see posed; I can't help but give my view on.

If you make that choice to join, I don't think you will ever regret it. If you have your bachelors, unless there is a specific reason (as I did with a bachelors) that you want to go in enlisted, then work for an officer spot. After a number of years of putting it off for personal family reasons I enlisted in the Navy Reserves in 2006, just 1 month shy of turning 30. I got the "rate" (or MOS, job, etc) which I wanted, and also the most highly mobilized rate in the Navy; so I wasn't joining just to put in a weekend a month. And truthfully I was joining to eventually transfer to a program which actually was closed off to Reservists.

I was called up in the fall of 2008 and last year served 9 months in Afghanistan. It was easily perhaps the greatest experience of my life. If you serve you will carry a pride which few others will ever have.

The environment I worked in was a joint environment with all of our US branches except for the Coast Guard. My overall observation was that in so far as how they treat each other amongst their ranks it went from the Air Force at the top, down to Navy, Marines, Army. (The Big Army was especially terrible when it came to treatment of their enlisted). The Corp I think it goes without saying though has the greatest esprit de corp and camaraderie, hands down.

As far as boot camp and the respective difficulty, from most to least, in terms of difficulty (it is my opinion only formed from talking with others and my own experience) you are looking at USMC, Army, Navy, Air Force. I can tell you from my experience that Navy  boot camp was a miserable joke. I got so out of shape and put on about 8 lbs….of fat ! I kid you not. I almost couldn’t believe that some kids came in and actually lost weight!!!…that is just a barometer of how poor of condition some kids come in.  The Navy boot camp basically just hits you with a lot of sleep deprivation and since so many months are down right cold in Great Lakes, Il…the recruit crud/sickness hits everyone. But in boot camp the “Intensive Training” was actually something I looked forward too and enjoyed the exercise when it did come. The problem was that I held a position in our division and the IT was not hard, my division commanders actually eventually just excluded me from it to get other work done. I’ve followed a lot of your posts and at least from a running standpoint you’ll be fine. At age 30 I won all of our divisions timed runs (and as an equivalent timing, when I got back into shape after boot camp my timed run for a 1.5 mile run was only about 8:36 on sub-par training, and still fairly sleep deprived…. Point is…I know you’re faster). And let me add that I’m not saying any of this to impress you (I have friends who are SEAL, SF, Pararescue, so I am definitely humbled), but to impress upon you that you possess the tools that you need at your age with a degree and your running.

I’ll chime in more later, gotta get back to work. When I got back from Afgh I kind of waffled on whether or not to put on an Afghan Campaign sticker on my truck. Mainly because you always know that someone else had worst conditions and sacrificed more. But then I got to thinking about some numbers. Let’s say that there are approx 2 million active and reserve military members, out of the 330 million people in the US. Basically that means that of the total population the military makes up 0.6 % . Then from there…how many will ever say that they have served in a war zone, and it is safe to say that the numbers decrease even further. The sticker now proudly resides on my rear windshield. I am also working through a couple of injury related issues and will likely be going active duty once I am back to normal (which was my plan even before I was called up).

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Re: Military: Anyone in it? Out of it? Opinions?

Post by ATimmins » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:06 pm

Just make sure you know what you are getting into.  The pay, benefits, and experience is 2nd to none, and in today's economy, simply can not be beat.  But there is no reset button, it is a commitment that you must take seriously.  A lot of people join the reserves first, realize they like it, and then activate.  Maybe that is a route you would be interested in?
Forced into running and loving every minute
1.5 Mile:
First = 13:38
Current = 7:10
Powered by Powerbar - www.powerbar.com
Dressed for Success in Brooks - www.brooksrunning.com
Running log - http://www.logarun.com/calendars/atimmins/
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Trackrunner220

Re: Military: Anyone in it? Out of it? Opinions?

Post by Trackrunner220 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:48 pm

From talking with Atimmins through text and and now what Texnav has posted, these two views def are swaying me into the military, its just which branch do I choose...

AIr force: More of a laid back (in retrospect to the marines or the army) but can still get what I want out of the military (training for my resume in a govt job...unless I fall in love with being in the air force).

Navy: See the world, but get stuck on a boat for a majority of time (How does one run, if they are a boat? Or do they have a gym you are forced to hide away in?) Navy also gives a decent tuition repayment and the recruiter i talked to on the phone yesterday said three fields they are looking for are, intel, health and engineering...and I want to go in for intel

Army: If you go reserves you get to select which section of the army you go in (so i can choose the intel) but i was told any other branch including army enlisted you can not choose...plus a good tutition assitance and up to 20,000 sign on

Marines: The physical shape, the brotherhood, the title of being one of the best fighters in the US and world. Not much money and more of a risk to being sent into the warzone right away.

So i need to determine if I want to go in and get more money (army, navy), get the best physical training (marines), get in, do what I need to do, and leave 4 years later (just to make enough to get some debt paid off while getting valuable training)...

Please if anyone else has experience do post...Timmins and tex both enlightened me and am looking for all points of view

Trackrunner220

Re: Military: Anyone in it? Out of it? Opinions?

Post by Trackrunner220 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:49 pm

Also at first I was thinking reserves, but if I go in to be an officer I might as well go the enlisted route and get everything paid for...

a kid i talked to the other day told me his recruiter swayed him away from the reserves by saying

"You deliver pizzas right now, do you really want to go thru all this training..just to go back to delivering pizzas?"

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Re: Military: Anyone in it? Out of it? Opinions?

Post by ATimmins » Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:19 pm

if you can go officer, go officer.  The pay and the long term benefits out weigh whatever small repayment you may get.  Also, if you are not looking to stay in long term, the commissioning will look good on when applying for a government civilian job.  As for fitness, if the only reason you are looking to go marines is fitness, dont.  You can get fit in any branch, but what the army and marines deal with day in and day out is not worth trying to get some school loans paid off.  By the way things sound, you should probably look into the Navy.  That takes alot for me to say, being active duty air force, but it seems they have all the perks you want.
Forced into running and loving every minute
1.5 Mile:
First = 13:38
Current = 7:10
Powered by Powerbar - www.powerbar.com
Dressed for Success in Brooks - www.brooksrunning.com
Running log - http://www.logarun.com/calendars/atimmins/
Running Blog - http://www.powerbar.com/blog/atimmins.aspx

Trackrunner220

Re: Military: Anyone in it? Out of it? Opinions?

Post by Trackrunner220 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:23 pm

The navy is the one sticking out on top...marines is on the bottom. The air force and army are battling out between the army and its up to 20,000 sign on bonus and 65,000 tuition assiatnce (up to) and the air force with its more laxed schedule but same benefits long term. I guess also my life is safer in the air force as well.

I am def. going the offer route to get the extra money, and the navy is loking good but the whole being on a boat thing does not appeal as much

Timmins where have you been around the world? Maybe that could help me if you have been to decent countries or do you mostly stay in the US? Have you been over in the middle east yet?

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Re: Military: Anyone in it? Out of it? Opinions?

Post by ATimmins » Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:41 pm

The airforce will take you were you want, you just need to pay your dues first.  I wanted california, and here i am.  I fortunatly got a job that is not one that deploys, but it is very rare to find one.  Most my friends that have the same job as me have been to the middle east.  A lot of my other friends pay there dues state side then put in for overseas and got it.  A lot of it depends on the career field.  Most people want to see the world, so they apply for it, so when people for me just keep one station on there dream sheet, they stay there.

I think becuase your main reason for joining is to pay off loans, the navy may be your best bet.  They have a 3 year rotation cycle, so they see alot of the world, and boat tours are just like deployments to us, unless you get on a sub (dont get on a sub...)  Go talk to a Navy recruiter then ask to talk to someone that is not a recruiter (they always have recruits that come back on vacation, talk to them, they will tell you the truth)
Forced into running and loving every minute
1.5 Mile:
First = 13:38
Current = 7:10
Powered by Powerbar - www.powerbar.com
Dressed for Success in Brooks - www.brooksrunning.com
Running log - http://www.logarun.com/calendars/atimmins/
Running Blog - http://www.powerbar.com/blog/atimmins.aspx

Trackrunner220

Re: Military: Anyone in it? Out of it? Opinions?

Post by Trackrunner220 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:49 pm

What do you mean 3 year rotation cycle?

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Re: Military: Anyone in it? Out of it? Opinions?

Post by TexNav » Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:34 pm

I believe he is talking about 3 year deployments to different commands.

True, during your time on a boat, you will be limited to treadmill running. That is the part where I have lucked out having been a Reservist...given the jobs the USNR is filling...I was in a "boots on ground" job.

I think the Air Force is great from those I worked with. It is funny to see how the other branches don't get it that an Air Force E-6, or a Navy E-7 are given waaaaay much more responsibility and respect. Sadly from what I saw of the regular Army is that in the enlisted side...unless you were E-9 you were still close to dirt. But AT is right, officer is the route to go.

Also, I'll be honest that I've not once heard of anyone going into the Navy and not having a say in what your specialty will be. Unless it is different on the O side of the house. But at least from the Reserve Officers, as well as my fellow enlisted, all knew what they were getting job-wise, and made sure of it before signing on. Not that the recruiters will try to tell you otherwise. For instance, when I told the detailer at my local MEPS what I wanted as my rate, it was hilarious as he tried to sell me on other options. "Whoa, whoa, whoa" were his exact words when I told him what I wanted. When I reminded him I was 30 years old, have a bachelors, and scored the highest ASVAB out of the group I was with that day, and that I didn't have to be there...he quickly changed his tune. You hold the cards. And another thing to keep in mind is that even though they may not have any slots available for the job you want at the particular time you want to leave…just tell them you will and can wait to ship to OCS when there is an opening available. If a person truly believes they have something to offer, make sure it is in a field which you want to work in. Like any other civilian job you will be much happier and more productive doing something you like….especially when you are on 12 hour shifts.

Also, as far as the AF being “lax”…. Keep in mind that though they might be a little more laid back, the O’s I worked with as a majority were pretty hard chargers. One particular female Tech Sgt. I worked with spent 12-14 hours/7 days per week coordinating theatre-wide unmanned air assets; also while taking 3 online college courses, and working out in her “down time” which was usually at 5a.m. in the morning. This is also a part of the military for stretches of time.

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Re: Military: Anyone in it? Out of it? Opinions?

Post by ATimmins » Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:49 pm

by 3 year rotation i mean about every 3 years they move bases.  They get alot more travel in then Air Force.  Air force doesnt really invest alot of time into you until your pass your 4 year mark.  Meaning you probably won't get orders until you are a e4/e5 and have attained a 5 level (basically smart enough in your career to work without supervision)  All my buddies got orders to there bases right around this time (one went to germany, other went to hawaii, and then the one in germany just got a follow on to england)

In the air force rank is what you make it.  E5s have a lot of control/responsibility in day to day operations, they are the babysitters of the airmen.  E6 starts running shifts and making middle managment decisions.  I know a lot of guys that have been in for 8 years and still havent made e5, where as there are people who make e6 in less than 8.  Our testing system is yearly, you basically compete against your peers.

The Air Force has paid dearly for its more "relaxed" nature over the years and is trying to get things back on track. Now our fitness system is incredibility strict, making rank is becoming more challenging becuase they are drawing down our size, and they are not afraid to administratively punish.  I think the Air Force is finally getting back on level ground.
Forced into running and loving every minute
1.5 Mile:
First = 13:38
Current = 7:10
Powered by Powerbar - www.powerbar.com
Dressed for Success in Brooks - www.brooksrunning.com
Running log - http://www.logarun.com/calendars/atimmins/
Running Blog - http://www.powerbar.com/blog/atimmins.aspx

Trackrunner220

Re: Military: Anyone in it? Out of it? Opinions?

Post by Trackrunner220 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:33 pm

Tex i like howyou said the cards are in your hands...If they truly want/need someone to fill a role they will either find a spot or work with you to make sure when you sign up both sides win.

AT: Once again thank you for claryfing the Air Force a little bit more...to be honest I was narrowed down to the army/navy before i talked to you, and now air force is starting to grow on me. Does the air force have the 2000 dollar option if you recruit someone?just incase I can get a friend to come with me

Trackrunner220

Re: Military: Anyone in it? Out of it? Opinions?

Post by Trackrunner220 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:38 pm

Just as a comparison did you guys ever think of like Special forces/seals or any of the other creme de la creme occupations or no anyone and their experience? this info is really helping me out

Trackrunner220

Re: Military: Anyone in it? Out of it? Opinions?

Post by Trackrunner220 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:38 pm

I talked to the recruiters down by me a few weeks ago, Im going to talk to the recruiters up at school in a couple weeks. Get diferent perspectives

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