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Rockboy
11-21-2006, 17:42
I have been thinking about enlisting in the military. I am 33 years old with a college education.

I am tired of my career choice and while I make decent money there is absolutely no enjoyment for me. One of my biggest regrets is not serving my country. If I had it to do over, I would have gone into the military after high school or joined ROTC in college.

From what I can find currently I am eligible for Navy OCS or to enlist in the Army. Because of my age all other branches and OCS are out.

Does anyone know someone who joined the military later in life and how did it work out for them?

I know it will be a lot of hard work and I need to lose some weight before I can even enlist, but it seems that defending our country is a good way to spend your day, nights and weekends.

Also, any opinions on the National Guard?

gsr
11-21-2006, 23:00
I got back in the National Guard when I was your age. Just remember that most of your superiors will be younger than you, and your peers will be much younger than you. If you can cope with that, then you will be fine. Our country needs as many mature and educated people serving as possible.

USDefender
12-05-2006, 11:45
Being an Army vet, I'm naturally partial to Army. However, faced with your choice (Army ENLISTMENT vs. Navy OCS) I definitely recommend Navy.

It was one thing to be 'young, dumb, and full of cumb' as an enlisted soldier. But now? If I had to be a 'mature-aged' soldier, surrounded by Y,D,FOCs? I just don't think so...

A lot of the officers you will encounter will definitely be younger than you, however, they'll at least be more mature than many of the non-educated, young soldiers you'll have to live & work with in the Army.

If I had to work with a bunch of guys who were just like me when I was in, I think I'd lose my mind... Then again, if your 'parenting skills' are up to par, you may do well as 'the old man' of the platoon... :supergrin:

Sam White
12-05-2006, 19:05
You are still young enough to get into Army National Guard OCS with an age waiver, or try for a direct commission in the Army Reserve. Once you've got an officer slot in the Guard/Reserves, you can apply for Regular Army later or try for an AGR position.

If you hurry, you may also still be able to get a spot as an officer in the Air National Guard- the cutoff is 35.

Right now, it's all up to you what branch you want and whether you want to be enlisted or officer. You have options now, so think carefully.

That said, Air Guard and Navy (active or reserve) commissions are pretty competive and you have to take what you can get (not to say you don't have a good resume). The Army will give you lots more options, especially with the Guard or Reserve. You have to decide what's most important: service v. gold bar.

As for age, well, it's up to YOU how much of an issue or nonissue it turns out to be. If you know what you want, you'll make it.

Currahee
12-06-2006, 06:34
I had a soldier who was 35. He was posted to headquarters, which is what will probably happen to you because of your age and education level if you enlist. The top brass like having the smarter, more mature enlisted as their drivers and aides.

He wanted to go back down to the line (rifle company) and we finally got him back there. But he quickly found that it was too hard on his body physically, so he became the CO's driver. He was KIA 5 Dec 2004.

The Army is great, but you have to decide what you are really looking for. I believe that you are too old for OCS, although that may have changed.

Do not join the National Guard. From what I saw, they take needless casualties because of lack of training and unit cohesion.

You should post more specifically what kind of experience you are looking for in the military.

nothing
12-06-2006, 07:12
Originally posted by Currahee
Do not join the National Guard. From what I saw, they take needless casualties because of lack of training and unit cohesion.


:upeyes:

Currahee
12-06-2006, 07:27
I don't mean to offend. I am just giving my opinion based on personal experience.

We were relieved by TF 1-110 IN, 2BCT, 28th ID (the PA NATL GRD). The platoon that we did our left/right drives with was OK, but on the whole I thought that their unit had a "cowboy" attitude. Some of them were so incompetent it was scary.

We took their BC and CSM out on a patrol with us. They had an LT who COULD NOT figure out how to load his weapon!!! We ended up getting in an ambush on the patrol and most of their guys had no idea what to do. Most of them faced away from the contact side of the ambush.

As a unit, they took much heavier casaulties than us over the course of their tour.

Maybe they were not representative of other National Guard units. I am just telling you what I saw. I know we are all proud of units and organizations and don't like to hear criticism. Believe me no offense is intended, but I would tell a friend who is thinking of joining up to stay away from the Natl Grd.

nothing
12-06-2006, 08:02
Everyone is ate up when they first get into theater to some degree. When 4th ID came to releave us they were not allowed to leave the wire for 2 weeks after the election because it was too dangerous(some 2 star made that decision). Then they only got one day of left seat and one day of right seat. Two platoons ignored everything we told them. They drove brads on canal roads, dismounted patrols on MSR's, literally on the road peering into IED holes. I even had one LT (prior E7) tell me he did not need to make the IA or IP's search ANY vehicle because he had joes for that. They even left the wire with CSW in amber status.

The other platoon lead by a cherry LT asked us every question under the sun. He had us show him how we search vehicles and agreed it was best left to the IA/IP when at all possible. He actually listened and while he still made some basic mistakes I have no doubt he listened to what was said in AAR's.

It really comes down to leadership or lack of leadership and it's the same in both National Guard and AD. Personally if I go back I honestly hope I get to go with the same guys.

Currahee
12-06-2006, 08:12
I totally agree that all units are cherry when they first get there. I shudder to think how stupid we were (and I was) initially. And some things it took us WAY longer to figure out than it should have. The unit we relieved didn't even bother to help train us. They just said "here you go, we're out of here". So we didn't want to do that to the guys relieving us. However, we were frustrated because they just didn't listen to us! (Sounds like a similiar experience to what you had).

I agree that I saw regular Army units that didn't listen to common sense either. Our sister Battalion was all f---d up all year long. They took twice the casualties we did (200!!!).

We were attached to the Marines, and from what I saw the Marine reservists were BETTER than the regular Marines. They were more free thinking and less "robot".

I had bad experiences with the National Guard guys in basic training, so I think that colored my view. They were all POSs who didn't take training seriously and told me that they joined for "free money" and were never going to Iraq. I laughed my ass off when 2 years later I saw one of them - he was the gunner on the truck driving me to my C130 ride home!

You're right leadership is the key. A dumbass commander costs lives with their Haji loving ideas. I would still tell someone to join the regular Army as opposed to the National Guard though ;)

nothing
12-06-2006, 08:23
We were attached to the Marines also. I will give them this, they did everything they could to teach us what they learned during our TOA. Aside from that the only Marines I really worked with were the ANGLICO teams and a couple of K9 handlers. I think they really let their "hair" down being around the Army so much. I wonder if they had a hard time adjusting to the Marines again when they went home. :supergrin:

Currahee
12-06-2006, 08:35
So you must have been in Al Anbar province. When and where were you there?

We were on FOB Manhattan (which was right across Rt Michigan from TQ airbase) from Aug 04-05. We patrolled from the edge of Fallujah to the Ramadi arches. We almost never made contact on the Fallujah side, but the Ramadi side of Route Michigan was HELL. If you know where Combat Outpost was, it was about 2 klicks away from the western edge of our AO.

We had an Air Force doghandler once, some Navy CI and SEAL people as well. I loved working with the Marine reservists, they provided our CA and some CI teams. They were the coolest guys, really laid back and informed. I still keep in touch with a few of them.

nothing
12-06-2006, 11:24
We were in the Babil province although the BCT did have a few people in Al Anbar. I was at FOB Kalsu and FOB Iskandariyah. FOB Kalsu is on Rt Tampa just south of Muhammadiyah and Iskandariyah. FOB Iskandariyah was on the edge of Iskandariyah, Musayyib and Jerf as Sakhr (Rt San Juan terminates here).

Aeroscoper
12-11-2006, 11:03
Originally posted by Currahee
I had a soldier who was 35. He was posted to headquarters, which is what will probably happen to you because of your age and education level if you enlist. The top brass like having the smarter, more mature enlisted as their drivers and aides.

He wanted to go back down to the line (rifle company) and we finally got him back there. But he quickly found that it was too hard on his body physically, so he became the CO's driver. He was KIA 5 Dec 2004.

The Army is great, but you have to decide what you are really looking for. I believe that you are too old for OCS, although that may have changed.

Do not join the National Guard. From what I saw, they take needless casualties because of lack of training and unit cohesion.

You should post more specifically what kind of experience you are looking for in the military.

I"m in a similar situation, cept I"m 34...about to enlist next month...more for country than stripes, but I know if I'm being driven crazy buy all the immature knuckle heads around me I won't be able to serve the way I would want to.

I was assured that I wouldn't be placed in a position as you described with the 35 y/o, that securing my MOS in my contract would prevent such a thing...last thing I want to do is to drive brass around all day. Is it possible for me to avoid this scenario?

And I'm hoping to enlist, then apply for OCS, your thoughts?

Thanks, this is a big decision, any help is much appreciated.

Currahee
12-11-2006, 16:28
Honestly there is no avoiding being annoyed by your immature peers. Because of rank you won't really be able to hang out with the NCOs and officers that are your maturity level if you enlist. Once you make E5 (which takes at least 2 years) it will get better on that front.

What branch are you joining and what MOS are you considering? The Army contains a lot of different "worlds". Being a joe in the Infantry is very different than being a private in S2.

Rest assured that if you are trying to avoid paperwork and want a kick ass job... you will be assigned to headquarters!!!

Getting into OCS from your unit will take at least a year. But for that being up at HQ will really help you. Knowing the right people means everything in the Army and having a officer with some rank pushing your OCS packet through makes a world of difference. Getting what you want in the Army is all about knowing the right people and being able to do your job well.

If you are serious about enlisting, the best advice I can give you is research what job you want and then don't take no for an answer. If it's not in your contract you WON'T get it, I promise you that. The Army really needs people so be stubborn about what you want and your recruiter will get it for you (as long as it's actually possible). Don't believe any stories about "you'll be able to do that once you join up" etc. These are all bullsh--. If you have any veteran friends have one of them go to the recruiter's office with you and listen in. They probably won't bother BSing you if they know there is someone there that can call them on it.

Good luck and feel free to keep posting questions, I'd be glad to answer any that I can.

Aeroscoper
12-11-2006, 20:12
Originally posted by Currahee
Honestly there is no avoiding being annoyed by your immature peers. Because of rank you won't really be able to hang out with the NCOs and officers that are your maturity level if you enlist. Once you make E5 (which takes at least 2 years) it will get better on that front.

What branch are you joining and what MOS are you considering? The Army contains a lot of different "worlds". Being a joe in the Infantry is very different than being a private in S2.

Rest assured that if you are trying to avoid paperwork and want a kick ass job... you will be assigned to headquarters!!!

Getting into OCS from your unit will take at least a year. But for that being up at HQ will really help you. Knowing the right people means everything in the Army and having a officer with some rank pushing your OCS packet through makes a world of difference. Getting what you want in the Army is all about knowing the right people and being able to do your job well.

If you are serious about enlisting, the best advice I can give you is research what job you want and then don't take no for an answer. If it's not in your contract you WON'T get it, I promise you that. The Army really needs people so be stubborn about what you want and your recruiter will get it for you (as long as it's actually possible). Don't believe any stories about "you'll be able to do that once you join up" etc. These are all bullsh--. If you have any veteran friends have one of them go to the recruiter's office with you and listen in. They probably won't bother BSing you if they know there is someone there that can call them on it.

Good luck and feel free to keep posting questions, I'd be glad to answer any that I can.

Thanks Curahee! By the way, I grew up in Ellicott City, MD, are you in Ft. Meade?

I started a new thread with more info.

http://glocktalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=627316

I apologize to the OP for jumping in like this. I hope we can both find some good information to help we old folk out some :)