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Hillbiehle

Son is considering Air Force / Navy

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My step-son arrived home last evening and advised that he has been speaking with a military recruiter and wants to join the Air Force or Navy. He is finishing his junior year in high school and is looking to us to offer guidance. I have never been in the military and would like to hear input or suggestions. I want him to make an informed decision when deciding what branch or occupation to aim towards. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

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What branch he should join will partially (IMO) depend on what he might want to do long term as a career. There are some specific jobs in each branch. Maybe you could get a list of possible jobs offered in the Navy and Air Force. Then maybe you could go through those jobs and based on his personality/skills/etc...help him narrow it down to what he might enjoy doing. Then look at that list and see what each job will offer him to transfer into should he not stay in the military long-term. Hopefully this will give him a list of jobs he would enjoy.

Best of luck helping him decide.

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I was in the Air Force, and you WILL grow up and that is a good thing. Like said pick a job your interested in. It can be used if you get out. Some people go in and stay for 20-30 years and will see the world during that time. Funny thing I was stationed in Duluth back during the Vietnam war, and we had a few lifers come through on their last tour and after spending time all over the world they retired in Duluth and they were not from this state. He would be able to take his military carrer and apply it to civilian practice. The military will give you good training.

Also remind him of the military motto, "HURRY UP AND WAIT". It will happen a lot the first year or so.

G.C.

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I was not in the air force or navy....I was in the army....,but I can tell you it is NOT what most people expect. Hogans Heros is NOT accurate at ALL grin The best thing would be for him to talk to someone he knows ,that has experience there....not a recruiter. Definitely will help him grow up, and learn to TAKE orders ....both have value later in life . Research what is available and how his strengths match up will be HUGE.

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My advice would be to tell him to put any decisions off until mid-way through his senior year, and mom and dad should support him all the way one way or the other.

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I agree. We are waiting now and plan to also visit colleges over the next year etc. However, I feel that he will most likely choose the military route. I am unsure if his high school grades would qualify him for ROTC. I would assume that as a minor, he can not sign any paperwork behind our back.. correct? Thanks for all the replys.

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I have never been in the military, but many in my family have. My dad was in the Air Force, both grandfathers in the Army etc...They all had positive experiences.

More recently, another relative was approaching his HS graduation, not quite knowing what he wanted to do. He ended up joining the Navy, thinking that he'd see the world and gain valuable experience/education in the process. He did his initial stint and ended up re-enlisting and is now a recruiter for the Navy.

In talking with him, it's not for everyone. But, many people "find themselves" during the process and end up having a great experience. You get out of it what you put into it. Like others have said, look for the right fit and support him all the way.

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While he has plenty of time to make a decision seeing he's a junior, the very first thing he has to do is take the ASVAB and take the physical and then learn what jobs he is qualified for and which jobs are/will be open. He can surely want to get into the Navys nuclear power program, but if he isn't qualified then he just isn't qualified.

Once he knows what he's qualified for the decision process will be narrowed down and easier.

Naturally I'm a bit biased as I served a 10 year stint in the Navy with the last 3 years being a boot camp DI. Yes, he will learn a lot about himself and travel the world and see a great many things.

So, to recap, find out what he's even eligible for and go from there.

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Boilerguy, Ah you were a DI. Did you enjoy that, as I had a rookie DI as an assistant to the lead DI which was on his last flight. Boy what a difference between the 2 people. We always wanted to get that rookie DI as he thought he was GOD.

All in all a very good experience and I am glad I did go through it, and it got a lot better after Boot Camp and tech school.

G.C.

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I was in the Air Force for 4 years and think it was a great experience. I did not go right out of high school, but wish I had. It's a great way to get a college education if nothing else. If he does decide to join one of the two, just make sure he signs up for the GI bill. It's a great deal. Also, I would reccomend he goes to school while in so if he does decide to separate, he'll have an education as well as the military experience. It's a steady job and as long as you don't do anything stupid, you'll be able to stay as long as you want. The pay isn't good at first, but increases quite a bit over the first few years. If you have any more questions, I'll be glad to help and answer them. Like Gary said, he'll have a lot of "Hurry up and Wait."

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I agree with boilerguy. You will want to take the ASVAB to see what you qualify for. He could do that now. My recruiter was able to give me the test right at his office.

I was in the Navy's Nuclear Power program in the early 90's. Very tough school. I think we lost about 50% of the class I started with as they couldn't meet the grade requirements. Great learning experience.

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Hillbiehle, I can't offer hands-on perspective. But you're hearing from some excellent advisers so far.

My father was a Navy communications officer aboard carriers, and there was a time period I seriously considered military service. It is a great regret in my life that I did not join. I'd have gone enlisted Navy for my love of ships and water, and for a tradition that stretches back many centuries and includes millions of sailors. But I also love to fly, and as a journalist in eastern North Dakota, I covered many Air Force stories and was up in tankers and on the bases many times.

That being said, the fact that your step-son is giving serious thought to serving our country in the military, regardless of his choice of branch, is to be praised. I think most here feel the same way, and you should relay our regards to him. We own our freedoms partly because of your step-son and people like him, who sacrifice themselves to be the big stick that allows America to talk softly. smilesmile

I second the notion that a fella his age hadn't ought to buy in too strongly to what any recruiter says and should listen to the folks who served in other capacities. Recruiters are salespeople, and you can't really trust sales patter.

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I will also agree with boilerguy, test and see what he is qualified for and what is open. I served 11 years in the Air Force and enjoyed every minute of it. I think its a great start for young men and women, expecialy if they don't know what they want to do at that age. He'll grow up real quick and learn alot in a short time. If he does decide to enlist make sure he takes advantage of any and all education opportunities while he is an and after he gets out.

My son wanted to join the service when he graduated but was unable to being blind in one eye. He would have enjoyed it I'm sure.

My personal feeling is everyone should due time in the military or civil service after high school. We would see a big change in society if this were so.

Just support him in any decision he makes.

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My personal feeling is everyone should due time in the military or civil service after high school. We would see a big change in society if this were so.

Agree 100 percent. It wouldn't fly in America, because some see that kind of requirement as fascist, but I still agree. Well said.

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I was in the army for 3 years and don't regret it. I really think it is great experience for young people to serve in the military. My feeling is that we as a country send too many 18 year olds off to college that really are not ready for it yet from a maturity standpoint and they really don't know what they want to do in life yet. It just ends up being a waste of time and money.

I knew people who were in the Air Force and what they said about it, was that outside of wearing the uniform it was kind of like a regular job. If I had to do it over again I would have looked into the Coast Guard. I would think you would be in the US and near water.

About a year ago PBS had a miniseries documentery called - Carrier. I thought it gave good insight into life onboard an aircraft carrier. Some of the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you go to the PBS HSOforum and search for the show "Carrier" you can watch episodes of the show.

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USMC here and I think every one could use some miltary. I'm not biased, I loved it. Thats 30 plus years later. Great time to get something for the rest of your life!!!

Mike

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I retired from the Air Force after 25 years and loved it. Now I drive the new recruits to the processing center in Minneapolis. The best thing for him, would be to deciede what he wants to do and them see which branch has that job. Tell him not to make the mistake of just taking any job, get one that will serve him on the outside as well.

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Remind him not to be in too much of a hurry to make his mind up. I remember those recruiters my junior year, they try to push you pretty hard if I remember correctly.

Also, if this is something his is interested in he has time (as a junior) to make a real push for the Academy. It is a great deal. Free college at a top school, military experience, and high employability upon completion. I had a friend who went to the Academy and had a great time and got a top notch education in the meantime.

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I think the military is great for some people and not so great for others.I was in the national guard(currently IRR). One word of advise, if you know someone who is prior service have them go with to the recruiter. recruiters will tell you just about anything you want to here to get you to sign. Also, its wise to pick a job that you can use as a civilian. I was a 13F.(forward observer). I really didnt think about using the job to my benefit in civilian life.

TravP

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I did 30 years in the Air Force and do not regret a day of it. However, I the idea of it being like a regular job is the furthest thing from the truth and I don't care what speciality it is. I would recommend a stint to any young man who is not really sure of what they want to do with thier lives. It certainly gives a person expierence, maturity, exposure to responsibilty and independence. In my day, so to speak, if one didn't have a potential exemption/deferment from the draft enlistment was an option prior to getting your "Greeting's" letter on your 18 birthday. Many of us enlisted at 17. A pension at 47 wasn't bad and left the door open to explore another career.

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Hillbiehle -

I just finished up a tour of duty in Iraq and I am now stationed at Ft Campbell, KY. I went the Army ROTC route and it is a pretty good route, both professionally and financially.

In regards to ROTC, I did not have the best grades.... but I did play a lot of sports and was involved in other activities during high school. The key to getting a ROTC scholarship is making contact with the actual ROTC Commander/Cadre early in his senior year. While I was visiting colleges early in my senior year, I would stop by the ROTC building and introduce myself. Sure enough, these Commanders were offering me 4-year ROTC scholarships left and right. I was outright offered scholarships at 3 different colleges without even submitting an ROTC application.

In regards to recruiters - do not trust them. They get paid commission on every civilian they recruit and they will tell them anything to get them to sign up. I was about to enlist at one time and the recruiters told me a lot of [PoorWordUsage]. Now that I am older and have been in the army for a few years, I now realize how full of beans those recruiters were. It is no different with the Air Force or Navy recruiters. Make sure to take the time to think through, research, and get an outside opinion(from a current or retired service member) before your son makes any choices and signs the contract.

Anyways, I could go on and on about the military. If you or your son has any questions, feel free to e-mail me at chris_hooah@yahoo.com.

Overall I believe the military is a good experience.

However, my biggest complaint about the Army is that they station me in places that don't have good walleye fishing.

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Boilerguy, Ah you were a DI. Did you enjoy that

It had it's moments both good and bad. If you think as a recruit you spent long hours awake try being a DI for a stint and you will know what real commitment is. Molding young minds was cool, dealing with young mindsets was not so cool. In the end, however, it was rewarding. I put 12 companies, of normally 80 recruits, through boot camp. That's a whole lot of people who, to this day, remember my name....for good or bad.

By the way, the chain of command goes from God, to Jesus, to your DI, and after that it doesn't matter. grin

Back on topic. There's nothing "Normal" about a stetch in the military. Also, I disagree with the Discovery channel shows you see about military life weather it be Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or National Guard. Too much happens in the day/week/month/year for them to put on TV.

My military stretch was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Only God knows what kind of dirt ball I would have become witout it. As it turns out, I'm only semi-dirt ball now!!!!

Concerning recruiters.....They have a job to do. I'm not going to say they don't lie because I'm sure some (very few) will tell a fib to make the quota. I heard it a lot, "My recruiter lied to me." Actually, for the most part, they didn't lie to you. They told you what you wanted to hear. HUGE difference.

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Thank you all very much for the advise. The information provided will help my wife and I assist our son in making and educated decision. Although it may be many months away, I will keep you posted on the outcome. Thanks again, I really appreciate.

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I was in the army for 3 years and don't regret it. I really think it is great experience for young people to serve in the military. My feeling is that we as a country send too many 18 year olds off to college that really are not ready for it yet from a maturity standpoint and they really don't know what they want to do in life yet. It just ends up being a waste of time and money.

I don't want to get into an argument, but I personally think that people need to consider that we might send too many 18 year olds off into the military.

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