the lantern wrote:
I was active duty myself in the past and I would say the military is good for some people. I liked it, but I couldn't see myself making a career out of it.
I have a friend who was in the Reserves in law school. He got orders to go to Afghanistan a few months ago and had to put law school on hold after first semester of 1L year. Now he is doing predeployment stuff, about to head halfway across the world to dodge bullets (he is an 0311, infantry rifleman in the Marines), and he will be postponing his law school for around 16-18 months. This could happen to you. If you're okay with that, then go ahead and do it. Realize, though, that the military does what it wants when it wants and it isn't about you. Most people will never understand what this feeling is like. Believe me, though, before you sign that dotted line you better be sure. Me and my friend heading to Afghanistan both LOVE the Corps, but man the guy has a young wife who is just getting out of graduate school and they are going to spend the first 14-18 months of their marriage apart, etc.
An acquaintance once told me that the Marine Corps is a young man's dream, and it definitely is. It is awesome when you don't have anyone to worry about and you just want to travel the world and do things that you will be able to tell great stories about.
Oh, and I would be extremely extremely hesitant to recommend anyone join for college money. You do not want to be dodging bullets in Iraq so that Uncle Sam will pay off your education. I spent a while on recruiting duty and I always turned away people who cared only about the college money. Do it because you want to do it regardless of the college money, or else you will hate it. I knew a bunch of people who didn't like it, but I also knew a bunch of people who loved it.
Oh yeah, and keep in mind the National Guard is units made up of a bunch of part time soldiers, so if you DO get orders to Iraq/Afghanistan, you're going to be going into firefights with Joe the postman and Tom the car mechanic by your side. National Guard units are sloppy as hell and most of them don't know what the fuck they're doing. So if you do go into combat, you are going with a bunch of dopes who play soldier once a month. I think I'd pass on that one.
That totally depends on your unit and branch of service.
Since transitioning from Active to Reserve, I've been pegged for deployment twice. Once, my entire unit was called up to augment an active unit in Afghanistan. I ran a request through my chain stating my school commitment and the financial consequences if I leave, (I'm completely dependent on fin aid and the GI Bill, meaning I'd have to repay what they had put out) it was approved through my chain and I stayed behind. Earlier this year, Big Navy cut me 12 mo orders to pull some lame customs duty in Kuwait, I called up my platoon commander, who called the company commander and so on. Pretty soon the orders were cancelled.
As long as you keep an open dialog, and your job isn't mission critical (most reserves aren't), and your chain aren't a bunch of lame one-uppers, you should be fine.
And yes, from my experience on active duty, most ANG and reservists are a bunch of soup sandwiches who are waaayyyy to gung-ho for their competency levels. Those who have been there know what I mean. It's like, "Seriously dude, you work in the supply warehouse. Why do you need two K-bars? No, you probably won't need a back up in case you have to throw one. (face palm)"