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

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Trackrunner220

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

Post by Trackrunner220 » Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:43 am

Of course I wouldnt expect them too, neither would I especially if I wanted to actually do it by the time I was done. I know what you mean about the burning passion, but I do have a passion to serve my country which isnt in the same thing as passion for the Marines.

Well thanks for your input AP! i have a meeting to get the ball rolling, next tuesday, and ill pester the recruiter with questions

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

Post by TexNav » Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:22 pm

Not sure how much this will help. I would just definitely make certain that you speak to both an active duty officer recruiter and a reserve officer recruiter. Just because they are both recruiters, it doesn't mean they are really well-versed in the respective recruiting pipelines. One of my best friends is a prime example:

At age 35 he went to an enlisted recruiter. He hadn't really put that much time into researching that there are specific Officer and Enlisted recruiters. Even at his age, and having 2 undergrad degrees and being in the process of going back and finishing degrees 3 and 4 with one of them being an Intelligence-studies based degree, he was told by the recruiter that nobody coming off of the street can become a reserve Intel officer. That is simply what the recruiter truly thought or at least knew, told him, and my friend took him at face value. After all, why would a recruiter not be well informed and giving that information to a guy with 2 degrees and professional experience!? My friend enlisted and later found out that it is not that "nobody" without prior Intel experience can come in off of the street as a reserve Intel officer, it is just extreeeemely difficult. The Navy Reserve is looking for Attorney's, business owners (such as a State Farm branch owner. Which would seem to interfere with deployments), college professors, etc. Part of this is due to the super high deployment rate of Navy Intel officer and enlisted. And on the Officer side, they want as much worldly experience from their O's since they will be sent overseas and put into leadership positions with high expectations and demands from the get-go. So, my friend enlisted, but after he had signed up he got the real scoop and unfortunately it was too late and they would not let him alter or change his contract (This was not at boot camp. He was under a program where you drill for 6 months, then go to a 2 week boot camp. So, it wasn't like he shipped off and then suddenly changed his mind). Let me also further clarify that I am not trying to portray this as one of those recruiting horror stories. Hell, I actually respect my recruiter for having admitted to me that he didn't know jack shit about what people in my Rate did within the Navy. But the above story and the candidate background they are looking for also supports what AP says about OCS slots being community specific.

Anyways, I might be rambling a little bit, but a Recruiter is just a gatekeeper, and unfortunately you will need to do your research. But either he wants to help you or not and they are basically there to help you submit your paperwork. They can't make you sign up for anything that you don't want to. Truthfully, I wouldn't pay any heed to what is said about how difficult slots are for Active vs Reserve. Apply for what you want. If you don't think your recruiter is following up with your packet/paperwork, etc. go to a different recruiter. I've also personally seen a friend who was a non-prior civilian, with a somewhat substandard GPA, told not to bother applying to be a SEAL Officer. He still submitted his packet and got picked up for a spot...talk about a selective field.

You wouldn't be off-base at all though if in fact you found a certain OCS spot open up on the Reserve side, and use it as a means of then getting in to the active duty side. However, depending on whether or not you receive a bonus, etc. there might be certain time requirements, etc., before the Reserves would release you to go to Active Duty side. If you are in a highly mobilized/deployed Reserve job, the Reserves might also not let you change until after they have mobilized you and essentially gotten their money's worth out of you as the Active and Reserve sides have their own manning quotas, deployment requirements, etc. Anwyays, I've seen these same lawyers, State Farm owners, professors, etc., so changed from their time being deployed overseas that they have put in to switch to the Active duty side.

I actually would suggest that you consider looking at the Air Force. I haven't seen you mention them but they have their hand in everything now just like the Navy, and there are lots of opportunities for so many various operating environments. Plus, they know how to take care of their people. Just my $0.02. Hope this helps a little. I might come back and clarify later but I'm a little hopped up on coffee right now !

Trackrunner220

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

Post by Trackrunner220 » Fri Dec 31, 2010 10:58 pm

Texnav are you in the airforce? I forget...

What is the process of becoming an officer in the airforce? i read that it is harder to become an officer, and that they might be downsizing a bit? Am I wrong? Do you know what kind of qualifications are needed? Or what the process is?

Right now I am waiitng for my dads cousin in law to get in touch with me, he is a retired ltnt colonel in the army and i am hoping he gives me a more inside scoop of what i should expect and ask.

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

Post by ap4305 » Sat Jan 01, 2011 12:35 am

[quote="Trackrunner220"]

What is the process of becoming an officer in the airforce? i read that it is harder to become an officer, and that they might be downsizing a bit? Am I wrong? Do you know what kind of qualifications are needed? Or what the process is?

Right now I am waiitng for my dads cousin in law to get in touch with me, he is a retired ltnt colonel in the army and i am hoping he gives me a more inside scoop of what i should expect and ask.
[/quote]

If you have a skill that the Air Force or any service needs, it doesn't really matter how hard it is to get in for the general population (Especially if you have any language/cultural skills).  Regarding reserve units, a lot will depend on what does a particular unit need.  For example, there are are reserve units in my area (there's a couple of major bases nearby) where junior officer billets are being staffed by senior enlisted, simply because they don't have enough O-1s and O-2s around to do those jobs.  If you find a place where you meet requirements where there is an actual need, it really doesn't matter what national acceptance rates are. 

To follow up on what Tex said, sometimes the most important thing is not so much figuring out what to ask, but instead who to ask.  This does require some additional burden on your part to have a relatively clear vision for your own path.  Do you want to fly?  Do you want to kick down doors and blow things up?  Do you lead troops?  Do you want to work at a desk?  Do you want to travel the world or do you want to be stateside?  Unfortunately, in the world of recruiting, you can't always expect someone to send you to the right place if you end up in front of a recruiter who is recruiting for something different than what you want or need.  They have their sales pitch to make, and as a physically fit college graduate who (I assume) has a clean record, you are a recruiter's dream.   

Nevertheless, although I can't speak as to every service, I do know that the Marine officer selection office staff are generally locked on.  It's a big deal to be selected for officer recruiting duty in the Marine Corps both for the OSO (usually a captain) and for his/her enlisted staff (usually two staff sgts.).  Because the Marine officer pipeline is very backed up right now, there will probably be a few recent OCS grads at the office working on temporary duty until their next stage of training who are a great resource for OCS related questions.   
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Re: Military: Anyone in it? Out of it? Opinions?

Post by TexNav » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:34 am

I'm in the Navy, but I have worked on deployment and on Reserve status in a joint environment and am around all branches (minus Coast Guard).

The reasons that I did mention the Air Force was just based upon some of those qualities which I have seen. The way that the Officers and Enlisted interact and the respect between the two divisions was admirable in that it was relaxed, and the enlisted were not looked down on, but even with a more relaxed atmosphere, the respect paid to the Officers by the enlisted was still practiced. It just seems like the Air Force's capabilities really melded in with all of the other branches. In a war setting you have the obvious, being the air assets. You have the AF handling the overwatch assets, which also means you have to be knowledgeable about the ground force activities. Then at an even more tactical level, you have Combat Controller's many times embed with the Army SF units, there to call in air assets for ordinance drops, cover fire, etc (and make no mistake, this is relied upon heavily in combat. The AF has saved the lives of soooo many of our high-speed operators it's not even funny). But I guess one shouldn't be surprised about all of this as the AF was originally the Army Air Corp.

I know I'm not a big help on the recruiting and pipeline info, just trying to spell out more from the aspect of what you might encounter as far as work experience, opportunities, etc. The recruiting end and things that might influence OCS slots, etc., really only you can do that legwork as AP mentioned. (You might check the military times...Air Force Times, Navy Times, etc. as they typically have monthly articles about advancement/promotion, quotas, career track info).

AP perhaps said it best. What specifically do you want to do in the military?  From someone who is 34, looking back, if you do in deed pursue something from the active duty side, 4-5 years is nothing as you are still very young (hell, I'm still young) You will come away with a lot in terms of experience, growth and pride. These are some of the intangibles that come with being in the service. But, to steal from Anthony Robbins, it's all about asking effective questions, and nailing down what you really want experience wise. What type of work environment, living areas (Air Force rules this one too as far as base installations go, at least from what I've seen), etc.

Finally though, unless you are wanting to pursue something in the Special Operations field, etc., I'd definitely say go Officer only; that part is really a no-brainer.

Trackrunner220

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

Post by Trackrunner220 » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:38 am

I really want to get experience out the military. Loan debt is secondary (granted I have a lot so its still a decision maker.) However if I do go, and have the chance of being sent over, I want to get the most out of the military such as maybe Army Rangers or something to that degree. When i go to the recruiters this week, I will see if someone in the AF has a couple minutes to answer some questions, but really I want Intel experience, but experience in general is important to me.

I am trying to leave no stone unturned in this little quest for a job of mine, and I thank everyone who has posted on this board for helping me out in anyway possible.  Ill keep you updated, and if anyone else has any input I am all ears. Thanks everyone!

Trackrunner220

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

Post by Trackrunner220 » Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:30 pm

I just got out of the recruiter and this is what seems to be decided:
I go in as enlsited so I can select what I want to study (go in as an E4)
After a year, I will be eligible for OCS

One of the only intel jobs available is a Intel: Electronic Warfare Signal Intelligence Recruit

Basically I go to jackson for 10 weeks, then to Montgomery California for 53 weeks.

So 14 months of training.
I get 65000 for my loans and an 8000 sign on bonus. I scored an 82 on my practice ASVAB which they said would equate to maybe a 93ish.

So that is where I am at. They were trying to process me all today and I had to slow them down and ask them for a night breather so I can think this over (on a full stomach).

I have to score a 105 on my Dlab to be qualified otherwise we have to start all over.

So I jsut got home after 4 hrs of talking and testing and all that...I just dont want to be rushed into something without talking to others, such as yourself.

So does this sound like a good deal? Any experience in this?

ANy of you military guys have any regrets? Do you think I am getting what I need?

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

Post by ap4305 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:29 am

[quote="Trackrunner220"]
I just got out of the recruiter and this is what seems to be decided:
I go in as enlsited so I can select what I want to study (go in as an E4)
After a year, I will be eligible for OCS
[/quote]

Unless enlisting to serve in the intelligence field  is your absolute dream path, I'd be wary of anything that requires someone else's discretion for you to secure a transfer to OCS, especially in the big fumbling bureaucracy that the Army sometimes is.  Now if you have a burning desire for a certain career path for which officer spots are few and far between (i.e. special operations), then do whatever you need to do to get a foot in the door.  If you ask most of the guys in those fields they'd tell you they'd pay the Army/Navy/AF to do those jobs....and if you look at the type of money they could earn as civilian contractors, they essentially are! 

Do you know anything about the field of Electronic Warfare Intel?  Have you met any soldiers familiar with the field?  If you don't get into OCS, can you see yourself spending four years doing that job?  Can you see yourself doing another job if you are augmented into another unit?  If you have a do-or-die attitude about the career field, then do whatever it takes to get in, but personally I think you are shortchanging yourself if you don't pursue the officer opportunities more completely.  Make someone tell you "No" with a letter; not with statistics that tell you your odds are long. 
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Bob Wildes

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

Post by Bob Wildes » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:24 am

[quote="ap4305"]
 

Only go to Marine OCS if you have a passionate burning desire to lead Marines more than anything else in your life.  It is one of the hardest paths to follow as an officer in our military.  Remember, recruiters are much different creatures than UMSC Drill Instructors, who certainly don't treat OCS as an internship.
[/quote]


That is very good advice.

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

Post by TexNav » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:21 am

If you are talking about going active duty into the Army as enlisted, pulling no punches... NO WAY IN HELL.

Big Navy is a little scary....Big Army is worse!  If that offends anyone that has served in the Army, then they are taking my comments too personal. But I have also served under an Army command during my time in the Navy.

It takes a good amount of discipline to finish college, and to be an athlete during college as well. You might be a civilian with no prior military experience, but you will sooooo far ahead of all of the other new enlisted folks coming in. Just as those fresh out of high school have their jr. enlisted time, you would have your time as a jr. officer and learning what you need to, to lead.

I would wait if in your shoes. Wait until you get exactly what you want from the very beginning. You might "qualify" to go OCS after a year in. But there is no way that once the Army has spent thousands of dollars and a year of training, to put you into a job for which they have a mandatory quota for, that you will be released once you are a year in. There is a saying in the military, we don’t practice democracy, we just enforce it.

Not all of the Army is bad though. I love the Warrant Officers, and the Army SF lives up to its billing and then some.

I urge you to take your time and get exactly what you want. If you believe this is though, enlisted, then you are best served pulling the trigger, or as Tom says, get the ball rolling.

If you do wait it out for OCS and down the road anything such as the SOF community did pique your interest in a few years, well, you’ll be an officer and have many more options open. Options too that could be to your benefit if you try for a SOF unit but don’t make it too

Trackrunner220

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

Post by Trackrunner220 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:18 am

I have a couple hours before I go in and decide. However, I like this idea, and I like how the training is a year. I do become a little bit more valuable in my field, and if I end up having to become a warrant officer then so be it. However I really hope things go well and I do get OCS down the road. The job I wanted to do was 35F i believe, Intelligence analyst, but 35w was one of the only open ones, and it is somehting I have considered prior to this.

But what if I join and do not get OCS out of the gate? I mean granted I will take the real ASVAB before I officially join, but do you think it would be easier to get OCS from the start as opposed to after my training?

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

Post by ap4305 » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:56 pm

[quote="Trackrunner220"]
but do you think it would be easier to get OCS from the start as opposed to after my training?
[/quote]

Yes.  Re-read what Tex wrote.  Delaying OCS is a good idea for people who need to work on physical fitness or leadership or need to prove that the military doesn't have to worry about something questionable in a candidate's past.  Doesn't sound like any of those apply to you.  Also remember that we're still in the middle of a war.  The big Army bureaucracy has other things to worry about than honoring unwritten promises by recruiters.

Also, since you have mentioned a desire to parlay military experience into a good civilian job, don't discount the importance of the leadership experience you would gain as a junior officer.  It is a lot easier to teach someone how to be a civilian intelligence analyst than it is to teach someone to be comfortable managing people under high levels of stress.
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Trackrunner220

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

Post by Trackrunner220 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:18 am

I go to processing on Monday/Tuesday. And I ship (if i pass the Dlab) on April 25.  So thats where this messageboard has led me. Thank you all! granted me girlfriend is not to thrilled but I think I am doing the best thing for me in getting experience and killing this debt

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

Post by ATimmins » Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:53 pm

"go in as an E4"  make sure that is in writing in your contract.  that is 1 rank higer then most give aways, but it is possible.  When you get into monterary give me a PM, i live about 2 hours north at Travis AFB.
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Trackrunner220

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

Post by Trackrunner220 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:29 pm

Yea E4 because of the degree. But my recruiter said if that is not in my contract I do not sign. He stressed that a lot.

But yeah Ill be at Monterey for 53 solid weeks, so ill let you know

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