boston wrote:Question for those that currently serve, how realistic would it be for me to be accepted as enlisted officer in the Navy and not as a JAG? Applying for JAG has made me realized how much I really want to serve. I am in my second semester of 2L so I would like to at least finish out the degree. I would be shooting for a June 2012 enlistment.
Thanks in advance for the advice
Not a currently serving officer, but I know I can address your question.
First, without trying to be pedantic, I want to make sure you have the lingo right so that you don't get burned by some recruiter when you ask for the wrong thing. Since you already have your degree, barring some sort of personal preference to be enlisted, you should be asking about "commissioning" as an officer (not "enlisting"). The services all need great enlisted personnel, and I had a few who worked for me who came in with degrees, but they had fathers or uncles who were Chief Petty Officers and wanted to "work for a living."
If you commission without getting JAG, you most likely will be assigned as an "Unrestricted Line Officer" and given the opportunity to request Aviation (your best choice of course
), Surface Line (ship drivers), Submarines (duh...) or SEALs (bad a$$ MFs who would have just laughed at me).
It is technically possible for you to lateral into JAG at a later date but, based on when I was in a couple of years ago, it is unlikely. Not only do you have to get accepted by JAG (JD in hand would help), but you have to get the permission of the community you'd be leaving and often they don't like spending $$$ for training you only to have you bail to another community. Ultimately, it will come down to needs of the Navy. By no means should you count on that as a viable career path.
The other thing you'll want to consider is the long-term impact of your decision to do a non-JD job following graduation. Sure you may stay 20+ years and retire out of the service, but your plan should also take into account that when you get to the end of your required service time you may want to rejoin the civilian world. Will a 4-5 year "break" dissuade future legal employers? As a 2L I probably won't be much help here, but I think conventional TLS wisdom would say that a break of that length wouldn't be good.
By all means-- if serving your country has become your passion, go for it. Just be sure you don't close any doors behind you on your way in.