National Guard and Law School

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GrcP8nter
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National Guard and Law School

Postby GrcP8nter » Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:04 pm

numbers: 3.62 177

I graduate in this December (3.62 is what I will have, if I applied in spetember it would be more like a 3.47). I live in western NY, plan to practice in western NY, and Cornell seems like the perfect law school for me. However because I would be applying in december I doubt that I will be able to rope in much of a scholarship. I am 22. I have been looking into the national guard, and am wondering if the fellow TLS'ers could offer their opinions on the idea.

If I sign up, the Guard will pay off my college debt (20Kish);
I would enlist for 3 years active duty before returning to reserve;
with enlistment bonuses I would earn around 100k (pre taxes);
and I would be able to apply to cornell in september allowing me to be eligible for the 105k scholarship;
while on reserve status I would make like 5k a year for drilling one weekend a month and 2 weeks a year (while at cornell);
I have also heard about the GI Bill / Montgomery Bill / Yellow Ribbon but am not sure whether they would apply.

I would then be entering law school at 25-26 and come out with no college or law school debt and in fact be up 60k or so.
Should I do it?
Last edited by GrcP8nter on Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Lawl Shcool
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby Lawl Shcool » Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:07 pm

Yes

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iShotFirst
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby iShotFirst » Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:08 pm

Looks like you have researched it pretty well as far as the benefits, but have you thought about the big cost- deployment? With two unending wars and maybe more to come, National Guard seems like a good way to get deployed. If that happens, I believe you are guaranteed to get back into your school with the scholarships you already had etc, but the Guard have been deploying for 12-15 month spells. Its generally not the best idea to go into the military just for the benefits.

GrcP8nter
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby GrcP8nter » Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:15 pm

I have always wanted to be part of the military, wanted to be a cop before I decided law is the interesting part, if that makes a difference.

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iShotFirst
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby iShotFirst » Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:21 pm

GrcP8nter wrote:I have always wanted to be part of the military, wanted to be a cop before I decided law is the interesting part, if that makes a difference.


Thats great, if you really know what you want then it sounds like a great benefit. And I'm sorry, I misread the active duty part above. If you are the type of person that can handle being in the military then there arent too many drawbacks to your plan. Especially getting rid of the undergrad debt, thats a pretty nice perk!

Texan09
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby Texan09 » Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:53 pm

GrcP8nter wrote:numbers: 3.62 177

I graduate in this December (3.62 is what I will have, if I applied in spetember it would be more like a 3.47). I live in western NY, plan to practice in western NY, and Cornell seems like the perfect law school for me. However because I would be applying in december I doubt that I will be able to rope in much of a scholarship. I am 22. I have been looking into the national guard, and am wondering if the fellow TLS'ers could offer their opinions on the idea.

If I sign up, the Guard will pay off my college debt (20Kish);
I would enlist for 3 years active duty before returning to reserve;
with enlistment bonuses I would earn around 100k (pre taxes);
and I would be able to apply to cornell in september allowing me to be eligible for the 105k scholarship;
while on reserve status I would make like 15k a year for drilling one weekend a month and 2 weeks a year (while at cornell);
I have also heard about the GI Bill / Montgomery Bill / Yellow Ribbon but am not sure whether they would apply.

I would then be entering law school at 25-26 and come out with no college or law school debt and in fact be up 60k or so.
Should I do it?


Not until you do more research. Are your numbers from a recruiter or personal research?

I'm assuming with a college degree you would enlist as an E4. I spent one year in Afghanistan (where you make way more than normal) and only earned around $35,000 after taxes (cause there are no taxes for combat zones). That's only because I literally had 0 bills. Considering the fact that you will not earn the extra benefits or tax exemption for the entire three years, it is very unlikely you will save 60k over three years. That would only be possible if you spent $0 and spent at least 12 months in a combat zone.

Also, who told you that you would earn 15k a year drilling. That is a huge lie. I was a guardsman. Again, assuming you are an E4, you would only earn around $200/month. That over 11 months, plus the $1000 you would earn over your 2 week annual tour is only $3200/year.

The 9/11 GI bill will cover living expenses and a large portion of your tuition. If you serve 3 years active duty you would be eligible for Yellow ribbon as well. The school doesn't have to approve the yellow ribbon funding, so do your research with the Cornell VA rep.

Long story short. DO NOT expect to come out with lots of money or to have your law school completely covered by government funds. I have many friends in the military and none of them have 60k in savings that was earned on military pay alone. Do way more research before you make an important decision like this. And DO NOT let your research source be a recruiter.... period. If you want links to resources let me know. FYI, I was a retention NCO during my time in Afghanistan.

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fugitivejammer
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby fugitivejammer » Sun Mar 21, 2010 10:57 pm

I agree with the poster above almost entirely. I also have been in the army for several years, and you need to be very conservative and prudent with your estimations and expectations. A recruiter is not the best place to build expectations at all, as noted earlier.

pay scale for reserve:
--LinkRemoved--

the new GI bill is substantial if you qualify, which you most likely will. I joined the reserve prior to attending college, then later enrolled in the ROTC program which pays full tuition. From everyone I've interacted with that has said "not only will everything be paid for, but i'll actually be making $xxx extra", including myself, this has never held true for one reason or another.

However, the benefits are still quite substantial, and will make the school experience much more enjoyable - just keep in mind the timeless adage: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is".

jitsrenzo
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby jitsrenzo » Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:13 pm

Just be wary of the huge commitment of the NG. I've heard it could be longer than the 1 weekend a month, 2 weeks a year that's advertised. It's also not something you can not show up for, even if you have to study for exams, do OCI/callbacks, or go to work during the summer. Saying "I can't come this weekend" will hurt you. Also, keep in mind you could be deployed in the middle of the semester, or called up in case of an emergency/natural disaster.

aristotle1776
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby aristotle1776 » Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:09 pm

You say you would enlist for 3 years active duty, but then have a NG obligation after? Did you go to an active duty recruiter or NG recruiter? It sounds like you just want the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) benefits and Post 9/11 GI Bill.

If this is the case, don't join the Nasty Girls - just go active on a 3 year contract (which is the minimum for the SLRP anyway). This also covers the 36-month requirement for 100% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill - Cornell being your preference, they are a very pro-Veteran institution and have a decent amount of yellow ribbon slots. You still get a bonus in some MOSs...which brings me to my next point. Why enlist when you can just enlist as an 09S (officer candidate) and then do the now-shortened 12-week Army OCS program and make essentially double what you would as an enlisted Soldier?

Becoming an officer makes your post-active obligation a little tricky, but still the same essentially as that of an enlisted man - you don't have to join the NG - just go to the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR). Yeah, you can get called up (as all these horror stories state) but the likelihood of that happening is very improbable (plus, those who were called up and did not report did not experience any adverse repercussions...hint, hint). Once on the IRR you are almost a free man, barring World War 3 or the invasion of Iran/North Korea. Either way, you are definitely free enough to pursue a legal education without having the same constant hassle on your mind of showing up for drill/annual training every month.

If you are in NYC, the Post 9/11 BAH rate (simply the BAH rate for an e-5 w/dependents in a given zip code) is almost 3k/month - just for attending school on a full-time basis - and that's right now, in three years the COLA adjustment will certainly raise this rate. Not to mention the 1k you get for books. I wouldn't be overly concerned with making money while in school if you have this benefit (the main reason you seem to want to remain on NG status after a 3 year term in active duty).

I did the SLRP and one thing they don't tell you is the amount of money they pay to your lenders is considered TAXABLE income. I had 65k in debt they took care of, split up over 3 payments of 21500 (roughly) per year, and the bastards taxed me on it...cost about 1300-1600 a year in tax liability. You have a much lesser amount so this apparent discrepancy in the law won't hit you as hard. Anyway, the military is always a great thing and is certainly a way of mitigating the high costs of law school...makes you feel bad for all these attorneys 100k in debt on jdunderground.

GrcP8nter
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby GrcP8nter » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:48 pm

Can you sign up for officer school on only a 3 year term of enlistment?

Texan09
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby Texan09 » Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:25 pm

GrcP8nter wrote:Can you sign up for officer school on only a 3 year term of enlistment?


Already answered in a PM, but for the sake of any future searches on this thread:

Yes the contract for an officer is an open 3 year contract. The contract does not start until completion of basic training and OCS though. Yes even as on officer you must attend basic training if you have no prior military experience. This will add ~5-6 months to the original 3 years.

More info:
--LinkRemoved--
Last edited by Texan09 on Wed Mar 24, 2010 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

scionb4
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby scionb4 » Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:30 pm

iShotFirst wrote:Looks like you have researched it pretty well as far as the benefits, but have you thought about the big cost- deployment? With two unending wars and maybe more to come, National Guard seems like a good way to get deployed. If that happens, I believe you are guaranteed to get back into your school with the scholarships you already had etc, but the Guard have been deploying for 12-15 month spells. Its generally not the best idea to go into the military just for the benefits.


JAG officers are only deployed into combat zones if they request it - at least that's what the website says.

aristotle1776
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby aristotle1776 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:49 pm

JAG officers are only deployed into combat zones if they request it - at least that's what the website says.


The fact of the matter is that if you join any service (aside from the Navy or Coast Guard) there is a very high chance you will deploy to some distant land, most likely in Southwest Asia. This is completely regardless of your job in the military (barring the medical corps).

OP,

Texan09 is correct, but this is also true of the enlisted side of the house. If you sign up for 3 years, that 3 year cycle begins once you are awarded a MOS (enlisted side) or complete branch training (officer side). For enlisted, basic training combined with MOS training can be as little as 16 weeks while branch training on the officer side is not less than 5 months in the best case.

In the Army, officer candidates attend basic combat training with enlisted personnel as an E-4 Specialist. Upon completion, they leave for OCS while the enlisted Soldiers head off to their AIT (MOS school). While in OCS you are paid as an E-5/Sergeant. OCS itself is 12 weeks plus follow-on training (OBC, etcetera).

What it comes down to, you should allocate 3 and 3/4 years of your life for a 3 year OCS contract. You will have your student loans paid off and 100% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill upon completing your first full-term of service. LSAT scores are good for 6 years and your GPA is only strengthened by your military service soft. Just some things to consider, I'm not a recruiter but I like those interested in serving to have the facts from someone who went through it all. Good luck.

sccjnthn
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby sccjnthn » Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:07 pm

I attended OCS for the Army immediately after college graduation if the the op has any specific questions he can pm me. The active duty portion is a significant time committment (3.5 years-including 1 year in the Desert) but in the end has provided me with free schooling at a T14 as well as some interesting stories. It has also enabled me to save about 60k (Officer pay starts around 45k and is up to 55-60 after 3 years-mostly in areas with low COL).

I don't mean to sound like a recruiter but for me the financial benefits have been great and the work I did overseas was fulfilling. Above all I would recommend not enlisting with the guard but instead going Active Duty. In both cases you will probablly deploy but with active duty you will have more benefits and not having to worry about finding a job once you return from overseas.

scionb4
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby scionb4 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:01 pm

sccjnthn wrote:I attended OCS for the Army immediately after college graduation if the the op has any specific questions he can pm me. The active duty portion is a significant time committment (3.5 years-including 1 year in the Desert) but in the end has provided me with free schooling at a T14 as well as some interesting stories. It has also enabled me to save about 60k (Officer pay starts around 45k and is up to 55-60 after 3 years-mostly in areas with low COL).

I don't mean to sound like a recruiter but for me the financial benefits have been great and the work I did overseas was fulfilling. Above all I would recommend not enlisting with the guard but instead going Active Duty. In both cases you will probablly deploy but with active duty you will have more benefits and not having to worry about finding a job once you return from overseas.


What about going into the Army Reserve after you graduate as a part time job while you have another full time job? It seems like the Army is the only branch that will allow you to do that, and I am very interested in it if that's the way it actually works if you choose to go reserve instead of active duty.

aristotle1776
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby aristotle1776 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:11 pm

I don't mean to sound like a recruiter but for me the financial benefits have been great and the work I did overseas was fulfilling. Above all I would recommend not enlisting with the guard but instead going Active Duty. In both cases you will probablly deploy but with active duty you will have more benefits and not having to worry about finding a job once you return from overseas.


+1000 to this poster this is exactly what I did also...with the caveat that I had 15 months in the desert - which thankfully they are not doing anymore. The general suggestion here is that if you are interested in making more money and utilizing the military for its benefits, go to OCS. In many cases, when you arrive at a unit as an E4 fresh out of AIT - many leaders (the good ones at least) will send you off to OCS anyway. The only thing that really stops a college grad from going this route is a significant medical condition or if they are physically out of shape.

As far as the reserve/job split after graduation...going this route you get no G.I. Bill (the G.I. bill requires 36 months of active federal service for the full benefit, you don't want the prorated crap...this takes a very long time to achieve in the Reserves) which means no free law school and a student loan repayment program that is not nearly as substantial as the active duty one. Every branch has some sort of reserve component where you can work a civilian job and must attend drill/annual training 1 weekend a month/two weeks a year. Deployments are just as likely for reserve components these days as active duty units in nearly any branch.

I think it is much easier simply to go active for the minimum contract - you'll get out as an O-3/Captain (barring PT failures or pissing in your battalion commander's Wheaties) and the ability to almost assure yourself T14 with your numbers.

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ihurtmyselftoday
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby ihurtmyselftoday » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:43 pm

9 Steps to a J.D. for F-R-E-E.

Step 1. Apply to Officer Training School for the Air Force for a 4 year commitment
Step 2. Select a base with a high housing allowance (non-taxable), i.e. L.A. Air Force Base @ $1760/month plus $223/month (again, tax-free!)
Step 3. Watch your salary increase 3.5%/year plus an additional time in service raise at the 2 and 3 year points. (i.e. enter at $2745/month plus Step 2 (tax-free) allowances; leave with $4289.10/ month plus Step 2.)
Step 4. In your 3rd year, get rid of your sweet L.A. apartment and sign up for a one year deployment.
Step 5. Make $75,000 during that year while you develop an outstanding work ethic, do something that actually matters, and get extremely ripped.
Step 6. Get into Cornell and out of the Air Force.
[strike]Step 7. Enjoy a debt free legal-education.[/strike]

Edit: Forgot about the G.I. Bill...

Step 7. Apply for the G.I. Bill, get $1,010.00/credit hr for tuition; $12,697.00 a term for fees; and $1,388/month for housing (sent straight to you!) for going to law school at Cornell.

Step 8. Enjoy a debt-free legal education.

Oh yeah, there should be 9 Steps.

Step 9. Pick up the tab for your law school buds when you go out for drinks. You'll have the money. They won't. :wink:

/thread.

aristotle1776
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby aristotle1776 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:55 pm

...I don't know if I agree with that approach (minus the part of going to the AF, the only branch of the military you can be in while feeling like you're not in the military - in a good way).

You can't choose where you are stationed, you can request, but you are placed according to the needs of the _____ (fill in Armed Service here).

You don't sign up for deployments, although, metaphorically speaking (refer to earlier posts) by signing up you are essentially signing up for a deployment.

You get the G.I. Bill (100% of the benefits) after 36 active months of service (not counting initial entry training). Refer to this website and set the rate to E5 and type in a given zip code:

http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/perdiem/bah.html

Your rate is the one with dependents for GI Bill purposes, the NYC zip code of 10001 is showing $ 2751.00/month. This goes directly to you, as well as 1k/year for books. Your tuition money (via the yellow ribbon program) goes straight to your school (the school is paying for a portion of it too), you never have possession of it. The previous poster is thinking of the older, now useless, Montgomery GI Bill.

And finally, ignore step 9. Your law school buds did not serve their country and did not live in a imminent danger/hostile fire area for the better part of a year...they were most likely picking up your girlfriend's tab while you were in a country where alcohol is banned. Drink and smile as they stress over their insurmountable law school debt!

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ihurtmyselftoday
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby ihurtmyselftoday » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:09 pm

aristotle1776 wrote: You can't choose where you are stationed, you can request, but you are placed according to the needs of the _____ (fill in Armed Service here).


You get to choose 10 bases. You have a pretty good chances of getting what you want.

aristotle1776 wrote: You don't sign up for deployments, although, metaphorically speaking (refer to earlier posts) by signing up you are essentially signing up for a deployment.


Incorrect. In the Air Force, all 1 year remote assignments are voluntary.

aristotle1776 wrote: You get the G.I. Bill (100% of the benefits) after 36 active months of service (not counting initial entry training). Refer to this website and set the rate to E5 and type in a given zip code:

http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/perdiem/bah.html

Your rate is the one with dependents for GI Bill purposes, the NYC zip code of 10001 is showing $ 2751.00/month. This goes directly to you, as well as 1k/year for books. Your tuition money (via the yellow ribbon program) goes straight to your school (the school is paying for a portion of it too), you never have possession of it. The previous poster is thinking of the older, now useless, Montgomery GI Bill.


I was refering to the Post 9/11 G.I bill. And while you your tuition goes to the school, the houising allowance goes to you as I mentioned in my post. Also, the Zip Code you would use is for Ithaca (where Cornell is located), not NYC. So the amount of $1388 is correct. For $2751 you would need to be at a school in that zip code.

aristotle1776 wrote: And finally, ignore step 9.


Be generous, afterall it was their taxes (and everyone elses) that paid for your law school.

Step 10. Do your own research rather than getting conflicting info on a forum. Sometime's people put out bad or out-dated numbers without knowing.

EDIT: Here is a website where you can do your own Post-9/11 G.I. bill calculations based on zip code and time in service eligibility.

http://gibill.va.gov/CH33Estimator/est.asp

aristotle1776
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby aristotle1776 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:24 pm

Touche on the GI Bill BAH rate for Cornell...as far as that other stuff goes, I've never heard of any of it (and I served with plenty of guys in the AF...while they were apparently doing their "voluntary" deployments to Iraq). If that assignment request system is anything like the Army, it is used for a secondary assignment in the case you re-up. In other words, it's more for a follow-on to an initial assignment. I was not AF but I'm sorry, what you mentioned sounds so far from the reality of the military it is very difficult to believe.

Also...ignoring Step 9 was a joke, something that military veterans do among each other...apologies if I rattled your cage. Did you serve? I don't mean to pry at your explanation here, but there is a big difference between what each service says on paper about serving and how it actually plays out.

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Consigliere
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby Consigliere » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:29 pm

Unless I am missing something, you would not have to wait until December to apply to law school. A lot of people apply while still in school and just send updated grades during the process. My numbers were 3.85/173 and Cornell was considering me for their $40k/year scholarship (I ended up turning them down before they awarded them). With your LSAT score you should be in pretty decent shape to get a scholly there.

That being said, there is a lot of great advice about the military in this forum. Im a 26 year old guardsman applying to law school myself. I feel like my experiences have made me a better person, as well as a better applicant and I wish you all the best going forward.

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ihurtmyselftoday
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby ihurtmyselftoday » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:40 pm

aristotle1776 wrote:Touche on the GI Bill BAH rate for Cornell...as far as that other stuff goes, I've never heard of any of it (and I served with plenty of guys in the AF...while they were apparently doing their "voluntary" deployments to Iraq). If that assignment request system is anything like the Army, it is used for a secondary assignment in the case you re-up. In other words, it's more for a follow-on to an initial assignment. I was not AF but I'm sorry, what you mentioned sounds so far from the reality of the military it is very difficult to believe.


Yes, there is a HUGE difference between how things work in the Army and how they work in the Air Force. I currently serve in the active-duty Air Force and as a Flight Commander, I know how personnel assignments work.

Bottom-line: I have never met anyone in the Air Force who has gone to Iraq or Afghanistan for a year without volunteering (although I do know people who have had to go to Korea for a year involuntary). I have personal knowledge of this because all of my deployments have been voluntary. Also there are several other (less hostile) places where you could volunteer and go for a year and get tax-free. Air Force deployments to combat-zones are typically 6-months (4 months occasionally, less for aircrew). Anything longer is strickly voluntary.

@OP: In the Army, you will experience much less flexibilty. This is because the Army is more critically manned than the Air Force and it is harder to find someone who will volunteer to be on the front-lines of a war.

@aristotle: Your willingness to put your self in harms way for our country is something to be quite proud of and I respect you greatly for what you do...

....even if you are a ground-pounder. :wink:

aristotle1776
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby aristotle1776 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:52 pm

ihurtmyselftoday,

Thanks for serving brother, I meant no disrespect in my post and thanks for clearing that up (to the OP and everyone else...made the mistake of assuming here, my bad).

Suspecting you may have not served, I left out the fact that the AF guys I served with were attached to my unit (Combat Controllers, TACP element...you know the deal). So I'm sure there was some different rules for them. I agree with ihurtmyselftoday insofar as the Army is not nearly as flexible as the AF....as stated in an above post, as a Army FSO my men and I envied the Airmen, their unkempt haircuts, and laid back demeanor!

To the OP, hopefully you gathered some good info from the post.

ihurtmyselftoday, the respect goes both ways and I'm sure you've put yourself in harms way without knowing it....on your deployment to Guam or some other warm, tropical place. Chair Force leads the way! :wink:

Good luck in the cycle brother!

GrcP8nter
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby GrcP8nter » Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:00 am

Obviously thank you to everyone who has put in their anecdotes toward making this decision, you have all made the decision easier. At the moment I am planning on doing OCS. What is this 1 year obligation to serve in a desert, do you mean somewhere in the middle east? And if you only have to serve one year there, did those of you who served then transfer to somewhere else. Thanks again!

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ihurtmyselftoday
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Re: National Guard and Law School

Postby ihurtmyselftoday » Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:50 am

GrcP8nter wrote:Obviously thank you to everyone who has put in their anecdotes toward making this decision, you have all made the decision easier. At the moment I am planning on doing OCS. What is this 1 year obligation to serve in a desert, do you mean somewhere in the middle east? And if you only have to serve one year there, did those of you who served then transfer to somewhere else. Thanks again!


In the Air Force, there is no requirement to do a year in the desert. Like I said, all one year tours are voluntary. Well...to the middle-east. There is a requirement to do a short-tour (1 year) during your career, but that is normally done in Korea. Which from personal experience, is awesome. But there are other places to spend that year like Guam, Turkey, or many other places.

Anyway, you wouldn't have to worry about that if you planned on getting out in 4 years. I know plenty of officers who've spent 4 years at the same location and only went on 2-6 month deployments. If you go active duty, you'll pretty much be guaranteed to deploy within 4 years. Probably twice depending on the career field you chose. But this is a good thing. It offers tax-free pay and great experience that will set you apart from probably 99% of other LS applications.

In January I returned from a 4 month trip at a pretty cushy desert locale where I made nearly $30K (let me break here to repeat that... $30,000 UN-TAXED IN FOUR MONTHS), did a high profile job where I directly influenced policy of an entire regional command as well as the FAA, and was able to submit 9 LS applications.

...granted I worked 12-16 hour every single day with only 3 days off the entire time. Totally worth it.

And I don't think I have to even mention (but I will) how much better that work experience is going to make me look than my peers when I start looking into firms.

If you want to be recession-proof, spend 4 years kicking ass as a military officer.




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