First you've got to have a general idea of what you want to do. To me there was only one reason to join the military - to blow **** up and kill people. I didn't give a **** about advancement or what I could do with my knowledge after I got out. I wanted to be a door kicker and I'm glad I did it that way. They told me I could do anything I wanted based on my ASVAB. I chose Infantry. No fucking way would I go through boot camp, deployments and all that **** just to be a pencil pusher or grease monkey. I can do that at home.
However, the reality of it is that my leadership experience has paid off big time in my career even though I didn't expect it to and even though I didn't realize it early in my career. I know for a fact I wouldn't have gotten two out of three positions I've had without it. So don't let anyone tell you that you need to work on a nuclear sub to benefit later from your military experience.
So decide what you want to be, at least generally speaking. If you want to work in a support function, rule out combat arms. If you want to be in combat arms, rule out everything else. Then start narrowing it down. Honestly, there's nothing wrong with working in a support role. Just understand your military experience will be vastly different.
This is the part where I'm going to plug my beloved Corps. Oorah! If you want to be a trigger puller, my order of preference would be Marine Corps, Army, Navy, nothing.
The SEALs are badasses, but obviously it's extremely hard to make it there. If you fail, you could end up chipping paint for your entire enlistment. There's nothing wrong with the Army (Aren't Ready for Marines Yet). Seriously, lots of good options there if you want to rid the world of shitheads. Obviously Special Forces are an option, Rangers, regular infantry, etc.
Personally (and admittedly, I'm biased) I think the Marine Corps has the most options in the killing business. Your average infantry Marine does everything a Ranger does except jump out of airplanes. If you have an inkling and ability to be an elite badass, you have the Recon option. What if you fall somewhere in between? No sweat, if you're an A+ grunt but can't quite hack it in Recon, there are good opportunities as an infantryman to go to Scout Sniper School and get the best sniper training on the planet.
Plus, the Marine Corps has the best looking uniforms. You don't see Mila Kunis going on a date with a squid, do you? :)
As far as the recruiters go, they're fucking liars. Keep in mind that they have monthly quotas. Say their quota is two recruits per month. I did a month of recruiter's assistance back in the day and if they got more than two per month it didn't matter. If they turn up with one recruit the next month, they get a boot up their ass. So they like to stack them. If they get three who are ready to go in August, they'll push one to September and tell you August is full. 90% of the time, they're full of ****. If they play those games, tell them you're walking. They'll back off.
I have a friend who was 11B in the army. He came back from iraq, finished the last year of school he had left, and finished law school the same time as me. Got much better grades than me and now has a pretty good job.
Another veteran at my school is army special forces. Also got good grades. Finished law school a year ahead of me. Has job.
I feel like if you wanna do it the only time to do it is now, as people in mid-20's
As a former Navy nuke, I'd recommend staying far away from that program. When I was signed up (early 1992), the attrition rate was closer to 80%, anecdotally; found that out the hard way. Back then, they couldn't really promise you a rate (I thought I was going to be an ET, ended up an MM (actually, ended up a non-rate FR)), but they will do whatever they can to make you think it's a certainty. Remember, recruiters are future used-car salesmen.
I ended up striking QM after years in the hole wiping bilges. Hindsight, I would have picked IS. I loved my time in the Navy, though, would definitely do it again.
You're 70 credits in?
Dawg, just man up and finish that bachelors. Depending on what you're going to school for (engineering) you can get a DIRECT comission into the Navy. (that means no OCS)
But for reals though. Its fun and all being E-level, but you're so fucking close, and especially in the navy, its better being an officer.
I'm comissioniong as a Marine Officer in 2014 (or 2015) Because **** being a lance corporal.
oh yeah, shameless branch plug:
I absolutely love the Marine Corps, and everything it has done for me, and allowed me to do. The best friends I've ever had, best ***** i've ever gotten, and the best times of my life have been thanks to the Marine Corps. (Seriously, those blues could get a dead man laid)
That being said, you had better believe the Marine Corps has taken their fair share out of me, and I've skated by most of the fucking shitty stuff.
If you join the Marine Corps, don't join the fucking infantry. It sucks. YOu think its gonna rock, but it fucking blows. You can be a fucking pog and go MARSOC and be all secrety squirrel, without ever playing all the ****-**** games the Infantry brings you on a day to day basis. Also, be prepared to deal with the STUPIDEST mouthbreathers you've ever met, and remember you'll be assumed to be one of them unless you prove differently.
Get degree, become officer. A naval officer, don't be a ***** air force officer, and don't be a nasty hooah.
1) Give up on SEALs you are too old. You can't even go straight in you have to have an actual career then apply over and over again. At which point you will be even older and never get in.
2) Go to the ROTC office on your campus immediately. Do OCS in the summer and finish college on our dime. Boom you will magically be an office and have a college degree AND with your age you will likely progress faster than the early 20s officers with less maturity (complete speculation). Seriously I had a lot of options with the Navy and I fucked up by not going NROTC.
Thanks for all of the advice so far guys. Keep it coming, I'm learning a lot. I'm definitely seeing more and more benefit to ROTC.
We will discuss at drinky time.
Good Luck, my fren.
I also wanna throw this out there. School is but one reason I'm thinking of joining.. if I were to consider going a career path in the military, would that change your opinion or advice?
If you're going to be a lifer, I would definitely go the Officer route. Your quality of life will be better, you'll be treated with more respect and you'll make more money. It's one thing to slog it out as an enlisted man for four years. It's another thing to try to make a life that way.
Originally Posted by TaeBo_Master
In my opinion, the dumbest people in the military can be found in the staff NCO ranks. Officers have a decent life so you have some quality people that make it a career. The lower enlisted ranks are a mixed bag. But most enlisted men who aren't fucking idiots realize they can make a better life for themselves elsewhere and get the **** out after one enlistment. That leaves the dummies to advance through the enlisted ranks. Obviously, not a hard and fast rule. There are exceptions, but that was my observation.