Thread moved to the Armory.
Thread moved to the Armory.
While it seems like a few here are on the negative side of things, I'm not deterred. I'm educating myself on the different benefits and possibilities of each branch. Right now, I'm leaning towards the Navy. I have a friend who is a Master of Arms in the Navy and he says he loves it. I'm in college right now for Criminal Justice, but every local department wants experienced officers. No room for a 21 year old kid with good grades. So I want to get my experience in the military.
This is all the POV of experience in the Marine Corps:
There are reserve Reconnaissance, and Force Reconnaissance Marines as well. But anyway....
I really did not like the reserves. If you are looking for a skill, you won't get much time training in it. You have many annual training requirements that are not MOS-related that have to be completed in addition to training. Expect to spend as much, if not more, time in addressing administrative matters, medical, and annual required training. As with most things, this varies in degree by command.
Also, any serious skilled-job the military typically hires out to civilians. Having an MOS title from a branch of service is no guarantee a civilian job will later accept that as an equivalency of their standard. There is information sources in the military that give guidance to military experience and its civilian, or educational, equivalency.
An additional reason I did not like the reserves was the balance between civilian and military life. They always seem to impede on each other in a negative way. Like was mentioned earlier, reservists get used up a good bit , however, this varies greatly by MOS. If I had to do things over again, I would do a quick 4x4 enlistment in active duty and make a decision whether or not to re-up at that time. Instead, I've been in the Reserves for a little over 10 years and have deployed, or mobilized, five times....all but one of the pumps were direct attachments to an active duty unit. So if you think about it, you could be a scantly-trained non-commisioned officer (NCO), on your first deployment working as an augment to an active duty unit...expected to perform equally with them. As a reservist, your ability to lead will be more based on how your parents raised you than what you learn on drill weekends. But it all varies. Keep in mind you really never know what your going to exactly be experiencing until its already happened.
MP: Your job could entail things like running convoy escort or manning the gate to a major military facility. If you do well in school, or get recommended later, you could eventually become a dog handler. Just like their real world counterpart....there are a healthy portion of people who do not much care for military police.
Firefighter: I've known some Crash Fire Rescue guys attached to an Air Wing support unit. Their job was basically reacting to crashes and such. Most of them were a bit odd, but in a good way. They generally seemed clannish, and stuck to themselves in their little corner of the base. Seemed kind of interesting, and you likely would learn some skill.
**I would never be a firefighter on a ship** but that's me....I would never voluntarily do anything on ship other than a Float as a Marine....or maybe the ship's captain.
Oh yeah, in the reserves you generally don't pick what you want to do.....where you live picks what you want to do. As with most things in the military, there are waivers to this....but its no guarantee.
Most Marines would tell you they wished they joined the Air Force....but given the opportunity, most wouldn't. I hope you understand what I'm trying to say with that statement...I don't know if I could explain it further. They have great facilities, and quality of life...but the US Air Force is just barely a military experience.
It was mentioned about doing things fun and exciting. The military generally has a knack for making the coolest-sounding **** in the world be super-gay in execution. Although, depending on MOS and unit, there is a good chance you will get some experiences the vast majority of the world is not privy to.
Right now we need Emergency Ordinance Disposal and medics. Pretty much the best medic schools are run by the Army....as they generally have the best schools for everything. However, those 'great' schools are pretty much attended by every branch of service. So for example, a Navy Medic wishing to become a Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman will go to the Army's 18D advanced medic course...among other things.
Regardless, I would personally recommend joining a combat MOS, or a unit that directly supports a combat MOS. My first five years were as a mechanic, and they were terribly unsatisfying and I couldn't wait to get out. I didn't hate my decision to join, and enjoyed my time to some degree, but it instilled in me no sense of desire to continue after my initial contract. Since I changed MOS's in 2006/2007 I've been on four of my five pumps, and am considering finishing my 20 years. I also have a lucrative civilian job that directly relates to my military experiences.
Its nice to steal what you can from an experience with the US military; whether its certain experiences or resume builders, friends, a nice little chest of ribbons, etc. But when considering things like grunt vs "skilled" - MOS, realize that the purpose of the military is to support its infantry and other combat units. When joining the military you are joining to serve others, not yourself. If you go in with the expectations that your unit, or command, are going to acquiesce to the plans you have in your head you will likely not do well. Not saying you shouldn't look out for yourself and get what you can out of it...but going in with the mindset of service over self will help you not go crazy as much.
Anyway, military life is a huge experience outside of anything you can compare it to. Asking questions on a web forum is a nice idea, but really won't give you solid guidance. Experiences are way too variable...then add opinions to the matter and it gets even less reliable. I know my opinions are skewed from my experiences. I would caution to be careful when considering the advice of people newly into the military or those with little scope of experience. They tend to have tunnel vision; whether good or bad. This is basically why I recommend doing a short active duty contract. Four years is a blink of the eye and will give you a good taste of military life and whether or not you want to continue with it.
Good luck, bro.
I'm not military of any sort, but I am a firefighter and paramedic, and if you go the military medic route you'll get kickass training and an EMT-B cert out of it, but you won't be able to do IVs, IOs or anything like that in the civilian world. There may be a military program that will get you a paramedic cert, but all of the reserve medics I've worked with have been EMT-Bs (with the exception of one corpsman who was already a paramedic when he joined).
Kickass, man. The first couple of classes will be bullshit (legal and ethical considerations, how not to get HIV/Hep C/whatever), but the class gets progressively more fun as it goes on. Doing your rides is when things become unbelievably fun, as you get to get your gloves bloody and see all sorts of insanity and stupidity first hand.
daishi gave some good pointers and pretty accurate remarks. I can confirm that MOS/NEC is tied to your regional units with any reserve affiliation. (I was a recruiter) Regardless, first you have to qualify. ASVAB, physical and background check. All of the services use the same one, so passing is passing. Once you are qualified and a vacancy exists, you need to make a decision. Simple as that. You could qualify for your dream job, but it simply may not be available in your area.
It all comes down to your goals. If you want to have fun I would lean toward a combat arms MOS. Infantry tends to train MOS related skills more because it is easier logistically. I am currently a welder in a support unit and typically we don't do any MOS related training except at annual training. The welding training I got was basic at best. Other guys that went to 8 week courses at vo-tech schools got more in depth training than I did, even though I went to a 13 week TRADOC school. You might also want to look into the national guard; some guard units are better funded. In the reserves, our last qualification was cancelled because they couldn't get the funding for ammo. When I was in the guard we never had that problem.
You also will need to consider what employers will think. Although there are "laws" in place to protect your employment rights they are rarely enforced. I have come home to no job after a deployment and there are so many loopholes in the law that employers can easily make up an excuse as to why you are no longer employed there. In other words, you havre to PROVE that your dismissal was related to your miliary career. Also the job I have does not pay me to attend weekend training, and the bulk of my work hours are on weekends. I lose out on about 24 hours of my weekly pay every time I attend drill, and the 300 or so dollars I get as an E5 for a MUTA 5 doesn't come close to making up what I lose.
Just some things to consider.
My additional comment to what has already been said is that if you have a choice between National Guard and Reserves, take the Guard. Because of the way states have their fingers in Guard money, and states have members in Congress, the Guard gets preferential treatment in defense budgets, deployments, etc. As far as benefits go, many states offer additional education and other benefits to Guard members that they do not offer to the Reserves in their state.
I'm in the same boat. Combination of being a green card holder and partial color blindness kinda killed all the useful skill/badass jobs for me. Desk pusher job here I come.