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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this topic but here it goes..

My daughter is considering joining the National Guard and I am not sure of my feelings on this. She is a senior in high school and will be turning 18 soon. She has also been in the JROTC program for the past 4 years and currently holds 2 of the top five positions in the program. I have little experience in dealing with the military. Of course my main concern is her safety. Another concern is her not liking it and wanting out but being stuck until her service date expires. One of her reasons for wanting to do this is for the extra $ for college and I am not convinced that her reasons for enlisting are the right reasons. She has enough savings and scholarships to attend college already but wants to attend a more expensive school of her choosing. While I couldn't be more proud of her for taking great strides toward her future, I am also very nervous about her path choice. Anyone have experience or advice on how I can help her make a more informed decision?
 

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I would just support her decision. There are plenty of young men and women out there that have no sense of direction when the graduate from high school. And to be blunt the job market sucks right now. It is hard enough for experienced adults to get jobs, can you imagine being fresh out of high school and trying to gain employment.

Here are some positives to look at:
1. She has 4 yrs of ROTC behind her which can get her higher pay upon joining.
2. She will be earning money, while being able to attend some college classes.
3. The maturity and discipline she will learn will carry on through out her life.
4. She will gain some form of job skills while earning that money.
5. Upon completion of her service, she will have a GI Bill that will keep her from obtaining student loan debt.
6. Her health insurance will be beyond compare.
7. She has a chance to travel the world.

The negative:
1. She might be deployed to a war.
2. If she doesn't like it, she has to stay.
3. If she messes up she ends up with a dishonorable discharge.

I am a firm believer that the benifits outway the negatives. So please give her a hug from me and tell her thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Underwater! I am very pro military but on the other hand, I can't stand politicians. It just worries me sick at the thought of her being deployed. We are speaking to the recruiter again this evening. Maybe he can give me more insight. One of my worries is to do this, she will have to delay college one semester to get in her basic/AIT training. This doesn't sit well with me. She has looked forward to going off to college for many years and I never saw this in her plan, until recently. She rarely even keeps up with current events going on in the rest of the world and I would feel much better if she had paid attention to them. She has the typical teenage " I'm immortal" mentality. UHH! I just wish she had pulled her head out of the reality crap on MTV and took notice of the actual happenings around her, sooner. She's a good kid, so very smart in many ways. It's tough just letting them make decisions when they don't have a clue about life yet!
 

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That is true, but they have to leave the nest sometime. And what better way then with rules and regulations, rather than some college where that party and lose track of the true purpose that they are there.

Many freshman at college drop out their first year or fail to make the proper grades. A lot of that has to due with immaturity and new found freedom. One year is not going to hurt her. In fact it more than likely help her in the end. Remember the discipline part.

On another note....is your daughter street wise or more book wise?
 

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Obama's plan is to shrink the Armed Forces manpower by at least 15% over the next several years. The NG is going to be called upon to fill in some of those gaps. Your particular circumstances depend largely on what field of expertise they plunk you in. In Iraq and Afghanistan a very large number of casualties were in the ranks of the non combat non front line rifle toting grunts. Truck drivers, logistics and support which is where they put the women, were hit fairly hard. On the other hand, non front line support roles have a much higher probability to be deployed anywhere not just in hot zones. Like disaster relief, backstopping other Federal agencies and so on.
 

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I would be so proud of my kids if they told us they wanted to join the military. Yes, she could be deployed, and that is a difficult time. The worry while they are gone never goes away, my husband spent a year in Iraq and my nephew just spent a year in Afghanistan. I do have to say the the pride I feel when someone stops my husband on the street to thank him for his service is like nothing else in this world. I am so proud of all that he has accomplished and the person the Army made him. I do agree that the benefits outweigh the negatives by a lot.
 

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My son is in the NG. He has the kind of position where his risk of being in combat is minimized. He has a thinking kind of job. When I was in the service I was a medic, then in command/control as an officer. The benefits in terms of health care for veterans and education are phenomenal, plus a lot of jobs are more accessible to veterans due to their service and specific training and experience. My son will also graduate with no school debt, he goes to a school that costs about 55K a year. He uses the NG/military benefits and pay on top of the scholarships the school offers and his Pell grant. After he graduates college he can be an officer or a warrant officer, because he has enlisted time under his belt, his pay will be higher, the pay charts if you look at them for former-enlisted officers have an E at the end of them. This is how it was for me, as a new 2lt I was making more than my captain. I joined young and when I was finished with the military I still had enough time left to pick up in graduate school and I didn't feel like I missed my youth. I did have a scholarship that was active duty, for my BS, that is, I was enlisted, officer trainee for 3 years and my job was to attend university, this was a competitive scholarship available only to active duty members. Anyway, there are a lot of benefits.

With any job, you can be dealing with danger. Just driving to work every day is a risk. And you can't know that the people working alongside you aren't addicts or felons. In the military, sure there are more risks, but the population you hang with tends to be a bit safer. I can't remember how many safety briefings I went to...there were way too many.

Please remember that in the military, there are positions in the medical field, as well as in payroll/accounting, personnel/human resources, air traffic control, logistics, supply (not a great field in my opinion...), training/teaching, computer programming, foreign language/intel, photography, cartography, communications, electronics repair, maintenance, reporting/writing/documentation, dining services, and administrative functions in support of officers/commanders. Your daughter should take the ASVAB and if she scores high which she likely will, she would have a choice of jobs. Before choosing, she could get in touch with some people who hold these jobs, and consider the work schedules and likely assignments. There are also some nice postings at embassies, and not all of them in those countries that are unstable. It's not all about combat. Many military functions are in support of avoiding combat, for everyone.
 

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I would be so proud of my kids if they told us they wanted to join the military. Yes, she could be deployed, and that is a difficult time. The worry while they are gone never goes away, my husband spent a year in Iraq and my nephew just spent a year in Afghanistan. I do have to say the the pride I feel when someone stops my husband on the street to thank him for his service is like nothing else in this world. I am so proud of all that he has accomplished and the person the Army made him. I do agree that the benefits outweigh the negatives by a lot.
THANK YOU for being a warrior's wife. I know that it is a hard path to follow!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Underwater- she is booksmart. She has some survival skills if left to her own devices but as far as street smarts/reading her surroundings she is nearly clueless. If I had to put percentages on them, I'd say 85% booksmart 10% survival skills and 5% street smarts. She is highly competitive in all areas and does pretty good in competition with the guys. She has won several medals in rifle competitions and can out shoot many of the boys. She does give 100% in whatever she is taking on. :smthumbup: I just don't want her making such a long commitment without having all the facts first. She has asked if her Dad and I would sign for her to join at 17....That's a NO! I told her I wouldn't sign for any live changes decisions but is pretty much out of the question now as she will be 18 in 2 weeks.
 

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The military sounds like a perfect place for her then. I was book smart and barely any street smarts. College away from home kicked my butt. I had no clue how to balance partying/work/school. I am much better with a set schedule which the military creates. It sounds like the issue is out of your hands now. Please, Please just let her know that you support her. I often hear of soldiers leaving for bootcamp without parental approval. Do Not let her be one of them.

By the way, my parents signed for my sister to go air force at 17. They would not sign for army or marines like she wanted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
She has taken the ASVAB and has good scores. As far as college she wants to teach english as a second language. She also plans to do ROTC while in college and if I have the correct information, she could do this can come out as an officer.???
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Oh underwater, I support my daughter in whatever she decides...no doubts there. She has made many good choices thus far, I just worry. If she had just a little more experience in life, I probably wouldn't have even had the need to post. Don't get me wrong, I would be there for her no matter what. I just need all the facts in writing, the recruiter talks alot and makes it hard to take it all in. Which leaves me with many questions.
 

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She has taken the ASVAB and has good scores. As far as college she wants to teach english as a second language. She also plans to do ROTC while in college and if I have the correct information, she could do this can come out as an officer.???
Yes. If you have a college degree, and are in the enlisted ranks, you can APPLY within your NG unit for an officer slot or a warrant officer slot. It needs to be available or you need to be able to transfer to a unit that has such a position available. Plus you need to be qualified for the training, physically and education level/degree. You also usually have the choice to transfer to active duty. Here is where research pays off. You can join a unit that has a history of a certain function and location during wartime. Some of these locations are stateside, some are not. If she scored high on her ASVAB, the likelihood of getting one of these positions, if she is astute enough to look for one, is much higher. In this case, street smarts aren't so necessary. The lifestyle is very protected and rudimentary.

I would advise getting the paperwork before she signs and having someone who knows about this stuff, and whom you trust, look it over.

As far as having street smarts, she can get them in the military. The nice thing with the military is that you can change duty stations or units, and that people are tending to come and go quite often. So if you make a mistake and get a reputation or whatever in one location, you can go on to the next location and save some face.

On the other hand, if you end up with a good reputation, you'll have the commanders more than happy to work with you on whatever transfer you want to get away from your alcoholic boss that you end up taking to get his truck from where he left it, full of beer cans, every Sunday morning. This is the same boss that will cut you some slack and give you a schedule that allows you to study for your college classes while manning the phones, or whatever, while everyone else is eating lunch at the club.

The military is not just one position, as many people think it will be, when you first lock in. Once you get on base or in a unit, you will become known for what you excel in, and can do work outside of your usual job, the issues only arise when you want a transfer or a promotion and you need to certify your training. This is referred to as a cross-train, your unit can approve such training if there is a need for that job to be filled and you have an aptitude, and you can be let go from your current position/replaced easily or it becomes redundant.

The thing to do is to choose an initial career field that has a broad spectrum of training and duties, so that you can be flexible as the need arises. Or choose one thing that you absolutely love and do that and that only. But if you want to be an officer, make sure that your job will translate into being higher up on the chain of command. For instance, if you're an EMT, you'd need a medical degree to move up to the officer ranks in your unit/career field. Whereas if you're a truck mechanic and become an officer, knowing how to repair trucks if you're in charge of a transportation unit, will earn you a lot of points as a leader.

If your daughter wants to teach English as a second language, she should look into becoming a linguist/translator, and whatever second language she has now, she should become as proficient in it as possible. My son speaks French fluently, as well as Mandarin Chinese. I speak both those languages as well as Spanish. But you can pick up Spanish easily in the military, just from hanging with friends.
 

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My 2 cents and background…I enlisted (8 years) in the Army NG at 18. I was deployed to SA for Desert Storm for 7 months. I always wanted to serve, plus I knew I would get zero $$$ help from my family for college. It was a good life decision for me. I got my BS with zero debt, and my military experience has been a great help in my career, and in life.

Of course my main concern is her safety. Another concern is her not liking it and wanting out but being stuck until her service date expires.
Legit concerns. I enlisted when the Cold War ended, so I thought my chance of going to war was pretty slim. Wrong. And yes, 8 years is a long time, and several in my NG unit wanted out…and tried to get kicked out.

She has enough savings and scholarships to attend college already but wants to attend a more expensive school of her choosing.
Sounds more like the big driver is that she wants to serve. Hats off to her for that.

6. Her health insurance will be beyond compare.
7. She has a chance to travel the world
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Not so much in the NG. You only have health ins while you’re on duty, which is only one weekend/month and 2 weeks every summer. Travel…it depends. Other than my deployment, we never went more than a few hours away from home.

…but on the other hand, I can't stand politicians. It just worries me sick at the thought of her being deployed.
No matter what the world looks like on the day she enlists, all could quickly change. The NG is going to continue to be heavily used due to cuts in active duty soldiers. I would say that you can count on at least one deployment during her 8 year enlistment.

One of my worries is to do this, she will have to delay college one semester to get in her basic/AIT training.
I lost a semester due to basic/AIT. Really no big deal. She sounds really mature/responsible, so she can easily make that up. She could also possibly earn a few college credits with AIT training. You did well. Many college kids lose more than one semester getting drunk all day.

Truck drivers, logistics and support which is where they put the women, were hit fairly hard.
Guys are telling me that unlike most other wars, there is no safe “rear” in Afghanistan. No matter what your job is, if you’re there, you’re taking incoming fire. But...she can choose jobs that would make it less likely for her to be in danger.

I told her I wouldn't sign for any live changes decisions but is pretty much out of the question now as she will be 18 in 2 weeks.
My mom told me no and “refused” to allow me to enlist. I just drove myself over at 18 and signed up. You can’t stop her if she wants this. It would be good if she could speak with several people who are currently in the NG, especially if they are in the unit she will be in.

Hit me up here, or PM me if you have more questions.
 

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Thank you guys for chiming in!!! I have only outside experience when it comes to military. I think she needed to hear it from people that have walked in her daughter's soon to be shoes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks to all who posted. I will try to update after the meeting tonight.

Thunderstruck, I'm not trying to stop her from enlisting. I just did not want to sign for her to join at 17. If she signs for herself I will support her 100%. I see it as this, if i sign and she hates it she could blame me later in life. If she decides on her own, that's something she can be proud of. I'm sure I will have plenty more questions, so thanks for the offer to help with those.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Went to meet with the recruiter tonight. It all went pretty well. He will schedule her in for a physical on the 21st of this month. I didn't expect for things to move this quickly but it is just a physical right??? Nothing in stone as of yet. One thing that did concern me is he stated that he really needs to enlist females because hasn't had any as of lately. I don't want him to use my daughter just to fill his quota. While I understand he has a job to do, my intrests don't lie there. Also he gave her a list of possible MOS' that she qualified for and are currently available. But if those positions are filled before she signs, will she then have to choose from others that are available on her sign date?
 
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