Looking for Advice re: my son wants to join the service

Discussion in 'Home Defense/Guns' started by Kris in MI, Dec 7, 2006.

  1. Kris in MI

    Kris in MI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I posted this on the countryside families board and someone suggested I might get great advice if I posted it here too.


    My 17yo ds will be graduating in June. He isn't sure if college is right for him (he is not a sit-down-and-study guy, he has always been a better learner if he can move around and get his hands into things). For almost two months now he has been looking into joining the service.

    He has been talking to the National Guard and has taken the asvab test (which he scored extremely well on. Always knew the boy was smart, his grades just don't reflect it). He thinks he wants to go ahead and enlist this winter so he can get started right away and go for basic training as soon as he graduates. Because he won't be 18 for almost an entire year yet, dh and I would have to give our permission for him to enlist. We just aren't quite sure. . .

    Not that I don't think the service would be good for him, I actually think it is probably just what he needs; he has always done better with structure and predictable schedules. Plus it would give him an income, training, and direction for future studies in college. He would see a direct real-life application in his studies/classes, and maybe he'd realize that living with us wasn't such a tough existence afterall!

    What we aren't sure about is which branch he should enlist in. The National Guard recruiter says 8 years, which to me is such a long time in a young life. In the next eight years ds most likely want to go to college, get married, start a family, etc and so much could happen during that time. Are the other branches of service still 3 years and then you are out (unless you re-enlist)? The NG recruiter is telling ds that it still boils down to an 8 year commitment no matter what branch you are in.

    Can anyone give me any advice/input on what the different branches require and what their benefits are?
     
  2. knight88

    knight88 Well-Known Member

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    After I enlisted in USAF @ age 17, I was blessed with a fine career as an Air Traffic Controller. Spent 23 years in the AF, most of it great! Retired then went civil service for another 17 years, same job different clothing. I feel that it treated me perfectly. Good training, benefits, living conditions and working with the finest people around. Oh yes the pay, not great at first but it sure has improved. I truly recommend it. feel free to pm if you like.. Good luck. Andy
     

  3. ninny

    ninny Well-Known Member

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    I think you've probably answered your own question..

    You know your son better than anyone on this board would and your own words "I think it is probably just what he needs," pretty much says it all...

    Check out all the different branches of the svcs. and see which most suits him...

    Good luck...


    .
     
  4. dagwood

    dagwood Well-Known Member

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    Kris in MI.........Take some time and go with your son to talk to the various Recruiters. :)

    And convey my thanks to your son for wanting to serve our Country. :) :)
     
  5. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    As of my involvement in the military a 6 year commitment was standard, this could have changed to an 8 year commitment, I am not sure about this. Normally a 2, 3, 4 year commitment of active duty was required with the rest in reserve. Check it out real well before commitment.

    Often a young person seems overwhelmed with the responsibilities of life that they choose the military as a hindside covering option. If they are not capable of doing their own covering this is the way to go, if there is a spark of self reliance, they may be making the wrong decision. It all lies within the individual.
     
  6. mbeaser

    mbeaser Active Member

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    I'm in the Navy, and it certainly isn't a bad deal. The Air Force treats their people the best, but they don't advance as quickly to higher paygrades. The 8 year commitment should be 4-5 years active and the rest of the years reserve for the regular service, not sure about the Guard. The Navy or Air Force will pull him away from home long term, where the Guard will, I believe, keep him close to home when he isn't deployed. Those deployments are the kicker, though. It can really interrupt any schooling he does get into. I've been in 11 years, but I do plan to leave the service when my current enlistment is up in 18 months (mostly because my 3rd child is just 2 weeks old and I don't want to leave the 3 of them any more).

    HTH,
    Missy
     
  7. posifour11

    posifour11 Well-Known Member

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    one word of advice i can give is to take someone with him that has been in the branch or at the very least someone thaty has been in the military. those recruiters will tell a 17yo anything he wants to hear...

    if i had joined when i was 17, i would be halfway to retirement now. imagine retiring at 37! ah, hindsight....

    good luck to you both in making the decision.
     
  8. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    I am Navy. 25+ years active and on pension today.

    The Navy pays far better, but the Air Force treats their people much better. the Navy tends to treat their folks like dirt.

    Also DO NOT let him go guard or reserves.

    4 years, 6 years, 8 years, whatever the contract includes; and when he is done should he decide that he wants to make it a career, and to stay in. He would have to stay in until he is 60, and then wait until he becomes eligible for SSA before he can get a pension.

    If he goes after, in 20 years he gets a pension.

    I have known many reservists. They still need a job, to support themselves. And after 20 years, of one weekend a month, two-weeks each year of training, they have no retirement. No medical, nothing, but another 20 years to go.

    IF he is really smart, can ace the ASVAB and really wants to go Navy; then go subs. He will earn $65k to $80k per year for most of his career, he will never again pay a penny of income tax for the rest of his life, and if he has any luck with his investments, he can easily become financially affluent. I collected apartment buildings most places that I was stationed, as my investment vehicle, and I did okay with them. But no where else in the military can you do all that.

    Otherwise, steer him towards the Air Force.

    good luck.

    :)
     
  9. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    I retired at 42.

    We bought our homestead with cash. I have sufficient income that I do not need to work. I am not holding a job, and I am not looking for one. [though I have been offered a few jobs].
     
  10. Kris in MI

    Kris in MI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thank you everyone, for your advice.

    ET1 SS, ds got a 97 on the ASVAB. The guard recruiter is falling all over him at the moment, telling him if he joins the ROTC he can complete four years of college without having to interrupt his schooling for duty. I hadn't thought about Navy, although now that you bring it up I do remember one of my classmates in high school doing well on the asvab and going into the navy to work on the nuclear subs.
     
  11. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    Your son can opt to go the officer route, if he wants to.

    From my observation, the career path for officers tends to be really difficult. Very competitive and very few manage to complete a career, as they are booted out if they do not cut the competition. You have three years to make advancement, and when compared fleet-wide only the top 20% will be advanced. After the third year, your contract is not renewed. So as a O-3 you need to be among the top 20%, or else you will be booted. and again as a O-4, and O-5, and, ...

    It is sometimes hard to make advancement among the enlisted, and sometimes it is easy. It changes. However, if a person works well, and stays out of trouble, nothing will stop you from getting your pension.

    I never made E-7, I was eligible for E-7 for 12 years of my career. But I never made it high enough on the pile to be selected. Either way, I got my pension. I always made it into the 'chiefs board', but whatever selection process they use behind closed doors, I simply never made the cut.

    Many folks do attend college while they are on active duty. I did. I took correspondence courses, and I attended campus coursework. I was able to complete enough college coursework, as far as getting my Masters degree.

    Officers get more money on the 'base pay' scale. But they do not get nearly as many of the extra pays or allowances. During most of my career, my base-pay normally ran about a third of my paycheck. Most pay for being a sub crewmember, is in the form of allowances and extra pays. and that is where our pay runs much higher than, the bulk of servicemembers who will only receive their base-pay.

    I have no real complaints about having been an enlisted man in the Navy. I earned good money. I was able to do a lot of college coursework. I did a lot of travel. I was able to purchase apartment buildings on our Navy income and build a nice investment portfolio. and I retired at 42.
     
  12. steader

    steader Unknown

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    Personally I'm ex-USAF but if my son was looking at joining the service I'd probably recommend the Coast Guard in today's uncertain world.
    http://www.uscg.mil/
     
  13. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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  14. lonelytree

    lonelytree Guest

    I am a 21 year retire USAF E-7. I would STRONGLY suggest the AF or Coast Guard. I also would steer him clear of any of the following jobs.... Bomb Squad, Flightline anything, fuels, transportation (unless he is a diesel mechanic), security or law enforcement. These people work longer hours and do not have the quality of life that people in the hospital or other areas do.

    If he wants time to get a higher education steer him away from these jobs.

    Think medical, power generation, non-destructive inspection.
     
  15. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    LOL,

    I spent three years attending a church, where another couple was also Navy. So us and them, kind of hung out a lot amongest that crowd. He [a HM] would go on about how rough his days were, and the things he had to do and whatnot. The whole time, I was so in shock that I held my tongue and just let him use me as an outlet for his frustration.

    But even after three years of listening to his job in the hospital, once I even went down to his clinic, put on a scrub and sat in on a clinical procedure.

    He had, what I consider the cheesiest job in the whole military. I was far too along in my career, there was no method by which I could have changed career fields at that point, but had I known back when I was 17, what I knew while listening to him. I would have gone into his career field.

    He spent eight months in Desert Storm, and came back with four medals for it. The entire time he spent inside of an A/C circus tent hospital. With the latest equipment to work with, with tons of civilian companies sending his unit toys [DVD players, stereos, movies, soda, beer, etc]. Surrounding that hospital tent was a company of marines the whole time, guarding the tent, out in the hot sand; but those HMs had it great. And he would go on for hours about all these stories of what him and the other HMs did during that eight months, goofing off in a A/C tent.

    I can't say what his NEC [job code] is here as it would offend folks, if you really want to know PM me. but trust me, he had the cheesiest / easiest job that 99% of guys would kill to have.

    Hospital Corpsmen have it made.

    :)