I'm seeking some input from whoever here might be able to help.
Let me preface this by saying this is simply an honest request seeking info. I'm not looking for snide comments or holier than thou post-crappers, not that I expect to run into any in this forum.
Over the last couple years I've been thinking about joining a reserve unit to serve a little. When I was younger and getting out of HS & college in the mid to late 80's, I didn't have any personal reason to join up nor family members who even mentioned it, so it wasn't anything I had the drive to do. Since I hit about 30 or so (9 years ago) I've thought about it on and off. Bringing me to where I'm at now. I've seen some recent stories about the military, I believe it was Army, increasing max age limit for new recruits, etc.
I'm 39, with a 4 yr. college degree, and have been a police officer for 10 years, always working patrol and Field Training now. What if any, would be my options to volunteer to serve the military in some capacity. I'm thinking more toward the reserve units, in order to maintain my career and job here. My employer has been making up the difference in paychecks for several other coworkers/reservists who've been activated over the past few years.
If I had to choose a branch I'd probably lean toward Marines or Army. What would be typical or possible avenues for me to consider? If I did join up, how would things work timewise - I imagine boot camp at first - how long & how soon after joining? What would I go in for - enlisted or officer (i.e. does the college degree or job experience help or hurt things)? Any specific training or specialty I should pursue?
Then what happens after that, are new reservists being activated immediately or are you sent home after boot and back to your career, then just wait and do your 1 weekend/month? What's the total time commitment in years for reserve duty? Are there any sort of benefits for the position - medical, retirement, etc?
I know there's a lot of questions but I really don't have someone to answer them unless I try to corner one of my coworkers who I barely ever see. I've checked out some of the recruiting websites but am just fishing for basic answers and advice from some of you guys who might be experienced in such things and maybe give me some guidance based on my situation.
I really don't know what to expect should I get to the point where I commit to it. I'm hoping I'd get some personal satisfaction out of serving, compared to the feeling that I have now where I'm kind of saying I know I'm capable of it, so why aren't I doing it?
Another honest question, maybe my most important - am I too old to even consider it, should I just serve my community as I already am and leave it at that?
Again, I'm only seeking replies if you can give me some advice or answer some of the questions I have. I don't feel like getting into any opinionated arguments, I can find enough of those in GD
Thanks in advance.
The Army would be easiest. The Marines don't have many good reserve options in many places. First find out what kind of units you have within range of you and what MOS they have. What job do you want to do? intell, combat arms, MP, SF?
With the reserves you should be able to arrange your enlistment so you can go to basic/AIT at a certian time. It will take 4 months or so total time. You will then return to your unit and you will be activated with them, not as an individual with some other unit. So when you are checking on MOS in your area find out when they were last activated and when they are scheduled to rotate again.
The reserves have a "try one" program of a one year enlistment, but you have an inactive commitment after that, so if you go inactive and they decide they need you they can call you to active duty.
Guys that go inactive have found themselves activated more then those in units in many cases.
There is a retirement at 58 based on good years.
I personally don't believe anyone should become an officer from off the street, especially in the reserves. A few years as enlisted will build good grounding, with a degree you can get a direct commison in the guard, but you may be too old (waivers are available for anyhting if they like you)
But truthfully being a little guy is not that bad of a gig, just running your MG or commanding your vehicle/fire team is very rewarding and relatively stress free.
Being a cop and in the reserves is a very good gig. Maybe 25% of my unit are cops or firemen.
I have about 15-16 good years active, guard, and reserve with ranger batt and sf. I can't answer every question but I can probably answer most.
Don't go to the grave with regret.
Here is some interesting info of which I found out from some Drill Sgt’s while I am at Benning.
The Army offered this current cycles privates or newly enlisted soldiers a $5k bonus to due start their enlistment 4 months earlier. Meaning they were expected to report in October.
They are so short – according to the Drills that it has yet to be decided if there will even be a class next cycle. This should be their busiest time of the year – summer cycles.
As to your options and desires – that is going for you to decided. Many people join for many different reasons – look at Pat Tillman for example. And I will leave it at that.
The only way for you to get some good answers on your options is to – sadly – talk to a recruiter and dig through the song and dance. I say sadly because there is usually much deception involved into getting those that want to join to sign the dotted line.
There is nothing wrong with joining – and at a younger age the better – yet at an older age mindsets become more difficult to mold and is harder to stay mentally flexible during certain times. If you are looking for a change of pace – consider it – if you are looking for the possibility of combat – consider it – if you are looking for the possibility to hunt the predator called Man – consider it. If you want on weekend a month and two weeks a year, well then wait a while because the situations are getting dicey.
Look at me – I was called back as 11B (Infantry). As of recently – being called back as 11B was unheard of.
The best to you.
You can also talk to the retention NCO at the unit you want to go to. This may help you aviod a lot of recruiter issues.
The reserves and guard have two different qualifications for enlistment. The USAR raised it's maximum age to 39 a few months ago, so if you're interested you will need to move fast to make it in under the age limit. The guard age limit is that you have to be able to put in 20 years by the time you reach retirement age. Mandatory retirement for the military used to be 59, but it may have been changed.
With a 4 year degree you would go in as an E-4 and could make E-5 in a year. With 10 years on the job I would look into a comissioning program. Life is easier as an officer, espically as you get older. Believe it or not, the Army is looking for people just like you. If you join a specific unit you probably won't get mobilized unless the unit gets called up, but if you join the reserves as an IRR augmentee you could get mobilized right out of AIT. No pun intended but see your local recruiter for more information.
All reserve componet enlistments are for 8 years. 6 are active drilling, the last 2 can b IRR or drilling.
Your options are limited by 1: How far you are willing to drive for drill and 2: What units can be found in that distance. I drive about 2 hours
You will deploy. Don't kid yourself in that regard. You may not even deploy in the MOS you enlist for, based on the needs of the Army you may find yourself reclassed in a new MOS that a deploying unit was short. Maybe within a few months, it may take a few years, but you will go.
Look hard at what is available, and choose a job that you think you would enjoy. If you want to consider going the officer route, the Guard in every state offers OCS options, and the USAR has a direct commisioning program for applicants with good backgrounds, no OCS or ROTC but you will have to have some time enlisted first. Most cops I know don't like being MP's also, they like a change.
You get a retirement if you serve 20 years, there is a dental program, and they are working on medical. You also get Commisary and PX privleges, worldwide space-available travel on military aircraft, etc.
Go for it. Some of the best soldiers I have over here now are 5-10 years older than me and joined for the same reasons you state here.
If you have any questions feel free to ask away.