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I second what silverado said. Trigger pullers come out and land..... Security jobs and not any good ones. It's on him as far as his internal drive. If he lives. eats, breathes infantry. Go active, get every school you can. If after the 4 he doesn't like it? No harm no foul, can still pick a new path, or transfer jobs if he likes being in. If one contract and done, go do contract work and make big bucks. Do NOT sign anything unless everything is in the contract. It's comparison shopping at this point. I also joined to deploy as odd as it sounds to some. My grandfather was in Korea, uncles in VIetnam. I grew up playing combat games galore, looked up to the warriors of the past and had that drive to do something more. I don't regret it at all, I was just misled as far as opportunities when I came back. I sunk into a dark hole because I couldn't land a decent job worth a damn.
You hit the nail on the head, Job opportunities on the outside
In the AF you get the opportunity to apply and graduate these AFSC's. With a very high wash out rate, if you wash out, you end up in whatever job the AF needs. I don't remember anyone going to a 'promised' job after washing out. In the scenario posed here I think the OP is asking the right questions.

Best of luck to your son @PennyPincher.
As a Training Manager I can tell you it takes an an act of Congress. I did see one only because it was written into his contract.
 

Picton

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In the AF you get the opportunity to apply and graduate these AFSC's. With a very high wash out rate, if you wash out, you end up in whatever job the AF needs. I don't remember anyone going to a 'promised' job after washing out. In the scenario posed here I think the OP is asking the right questions.

Best of luck to your son @PennyPincher.
This, hence my “pipeline” comment above. Sign up for FAC and you’re up a creek if you fail any of the training. Go 13F and, even if you get hurt and have to recycle AIT, you’re still at 13F school, headed for a 13F billet someplace in the Army.

I should add I’m biased; I was a 13F and then, later, an infantryman, and 13F was a WAAAAY more interesting and important job, in context. And post #5 is important; nobody wants to go be a light fighter but then get routed into 11M.
 
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PennyPincher

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I work for the DON so my views are skewed.

NCO's were well sought-after as supervisors in production plants in private industry. Didn't matter the MOS just that you had a few years of leadership.

If your son wants an absolutely transferrable job when he transitions AND do something that actually has current need go into cyber - either defense or war fighting. It's not as sexy as carrying arms into battle but taking out a power grid or C&C net is pretty damn effective.
That is what I suggested. Of course, that kind of generated an "automatic no."
 

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That is what I suggested. Of course, that kind of generated an "automatic no."
Didn't think the answer would be any different
What he doesn't get is that if it wasn't for the Cyber geeks, the grunts he so admires would be isolated from critical support in minutes.

But the Cyber guys don't get to talk about their jobs well done over a beer with buddies. Nor do tales of a cyber strike wow the panties off the ladies... (Yeah I know he's your boy but boys are boys)
 

PennyPincher

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Didn't think the answer would be any different
What he doesn't get is that if it wasn't for the Cyber geeks, the grunts he so admires would be isolated from critical support in minutes.

But the Cyber guys don't get to talk about their jobs well done over a beer with buddies. Nor do tales of a cyber strike wow the panties off the ladies... (Yeah I know he's your boy but boys are boys)
He's an adult. I get it. And he is handsome. I don't think he has much trouble in that category. [rofl]
 
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My marine buddy once said the difference is that if you want to crawl up the beach and kill the enemy with your bare hands or a knife, you join the Marines. If not, just join a different branch with all the other pussies. Don't know if the mental makeup of personnel in the different branches really is like that or not. My impression from him is that Marines are tougher.

No idea if that is important him vs. a career etc.

Either way he goes, sounds like he is a good kid.
 

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Deployment can be tricky, you either combat arms or you are support. Self explanatory. Trigger happy? Well, either Marines or 11B Army will do it.

Tell him to join the guard as the benefits are good. If he likes the 11B route and wants to do more hardcore shit then have him try out for SF out of the 20th group in Chicopee. I have seen people go through there without understanding that is a long commitment the SF route.

If he likes computers and making $100k plus after his first contract then Army’s Cyber Warfare will give him all the certs that civilians pay thousands of dollars to attain. He will gain a TS clearance and three letter agencies/front companies recruiters will flood his inbox on clearance jobs.
 
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I think it's great he wants to serve with that said I'd pass on both branches. As a military retiree I served four years Navy and sixteen years Air Force. I think there are far more opportunities and time to obtain one's goal in the Air Force, remember there is no need for tanks, snipers and infantry in civilian life. As a second choice I'd consider the Coast Guard, my daughter served meet her husband who retired and I have a grandson station at the Chatham station who's home almost everyday. In the end good luck to them.
Chatham was my first duty station! Still have some friends there, know some of the Auxiliariasts well. Was trying to go back there into the open Chief billet to twilight, but they must have fleeted someone up, because it suddenly closed.
 
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You hit the nail on the head, Job opportunities on the outside

As a Training Manager I can tell you it takes an an act of Congress. I did see one only because it was written into his contract.
I’ve never been in combat arms, but I’ve been a career Lifeboatman and been a Training Petty Officer and a Surfman Trainer for Many years, so if he’s looking into USCG, I can probably help. I have a kid graduating AF boot camp next week, so I can pick his brain a bit, too, or just ask him to create an account here and give it firsthand.

Amazing the resources that show up on NES when someone asks, isn’t it?
 

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The CEO of my last company was an Army Ranger. Some of the best leaders come from combat arms MOS's. Most of my friends who served have pretty squared away civilian jobs making good money. There are a few who don't but it's simply how much opportunity you create for yourself when you leave the military.
 

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That is what I suggested. Of course, that kind of generated an "automatic no."
My buddy in the Army did cyber security. They sent him to all the cool schools, he got certified in everything with a ton of real world experience. He got out of the Army as an E5 and owns his own consulting firm making a shit ton of money. I'm happy for him, he's a very hard worker, but the Army set him up nice with years of training in an industry that changes a lot.
 

Rob Boudrie

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My cousin joined the USMC about 40 years ago to become a mechanic. He was promised a mechanic job but did not want to offend his friend, the nice recruiter, by asking for a written guarantee. He completed basic and got his order to be a cook.

My father called the recruiter who of course denied making any such promise. My father had a few more conversations each ending with him asking "Who is your CO and how do I contact him?". Finally he was told something like "The USMC honors its word, we will investigate, and if a promise was made it will be honored".

Shortly before graduation he was summoned to a colonel's office and pressured to say no such promise was made. He followed all military protocols in how he answered, but did not modify his story or crack under the intimidation. Shortly thereafter he received new orders to report to mechanic school, did his enlistment, and was honorably discharged, did plumbing for a few decades, and retired.
 
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My buddy in the Army did cyber security. They sent him to all the cool schools, he got certified in everything with a ton of real world experience. He got out of the Army as an E5 and owns his own consulting firm making a shit ton of money. I'm happy for him, he's a very hard worker, but the Army set him up nice with years of training in an industry that changes a lot.
That's encouraging - my kid wanted to do aircraft maintenance, the (AF) recruiter said he could get him shipped much sooner if he wanted to do cybersecurity, and he wisely jumped at the opportunity. Graduates basic next week then off to tech school. Probably do better even if he gets out after 6 than I will at over 20! Really cool to pass the torch, though. I'm really happy about that.
 
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I was Marine infantry and I am now army aviation (in the process, I leave for flight school in March). I'd be happy to talk to him. I have biases towards both services for different things they offer. Anyone telling me they are thinking infantry I'd push towards the Marine Corps UNLESS they are looking to go Ranger or SF. The Marine Corps absolutely benefits from being smaller in terms of how they "run" the infantry. It's a tight ship. The Marine Corps infantry is the cult you want to be in as a grunt. There are great army infantry units out there, especially when you talk about Airborne, and then on into the SOCOM world with Rangers and SF. That said, if we are being honest, I've heard complaints even from Soldiers about how some army infantry units are run. This is not to say the Marine Corps doesn't have bad apples, bad units, or institutional problems, but given it is 20% the size of the army they seem to be better about policing it up.

Also, respectfully, screw the advice telling him to get a job with sKilLs ThAt TrAnSfEr. Whether he is in for 4 years or a lifetime he will leave with a free ride to college where he will actually get paid to go. Also, the Guard has a mega-assload of technical jobs they will happily train a former Marine to do if he wants free technical training (trust me, the Guard is sending me to learn how to fly blackhawks). I wanted to be infantry, I loved my time in the infantry, and I think every Soldier/Marine benefits from having spent time in combat arms. Talking him out of it for "life skills" does him a disservice if that is what he wants to do.

Now that said, if he wanted to do a technical job I'd say steer clear of the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps is a cult, it's harder on you in terms of the level of "militarism," creative bullshit, etc. There are "happier" ways to spend 4 years doing a technical job than with the politics and attitude that permeates the Marine Corps. Which is essentially you earn everything and are worth nothing, and your compensation is that "you should be happy we let you be here." It's a cult, a f***ing awesome warrior cult. But that carries the good and bad of being cult.

I was a reservist with one deployment, so take that all for what it's worth. If he's looking to do the part-time thing, it's tough. The Marine Corps reserves ran a tight ship, but they can't hold a candle to the benefits the Mass Guard specifically provides. You need to weigh those two things carefully. I had every confidence in my Marine reserve infantry unit before we deployed. I was never guard infantry, but I know some great combat leaders in the Guard as well. You sign on the dotted line for the Mass Guard, your entire education is free from that moment on, and you don't even have to tap your GI bill. Mass colleges waive 130 credits of education for membership in the MA guard. Also, the Guard will board guys from any MOS for aviation. We have combat arms guys, aircrew members, intel people, etc, who all drop packets to fly. There are also simply more jobs in the Guard than the Marine Corps reserves. Also, as was previously mentioned, we have a special forces group that runs annual screeners.
 
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Picton

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I loved my time in the Guard.

It was another era, true, and another state. But the Guard leaders I served with were the most technically and tactically proficient guys I ever knew in the army, including the 82d, and they’d served together for years. The camaraderie was unmatched, but then we were a small FO detachment with our own ethos.

I was sad, later, when I went to the Real Army and heard nothing but scorn heaped on the Guard, always from guys who’d never been in it.
 

PennyPincher

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FYI, we are all in TX. TX offers some of the very best benefits to TX residents who enlist and then live here after - education benefits for the vet and family members, special rates on home and land loans, etc.

He is not going to enlist "part time" in the National Guard etc. I'm not against it. I did 8 years there (in ME and MA) and his dad did 3 years active and then 7 years in NG in MA (that's where we met). But no, he wants active duty.

Thanks for all the suggestions and different perspectives.
 

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Combat arms isn't just infantry. Combat engineer is out in front and offers a lot of skills that have civilian analogs. Medic is another option.
Deployment can mean several things. Deployment to a combat zone is increasingly unlikely due to the draw downs. I suspect US will continue to draw down because they need to fund rebuilding the Navy and Air Force. Training deployments are more likely and they're boring.
Read the armytimes and marinecorpstimes. Both online and free. They will give you an idea of what units are currently deploying and what MOS's have the best promotion potential.
 
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FYI, we are all in TX. TX offers some of the very best benefits to TX residents who enlist and then live here after - education benefits for the vet and family members, special rates on home and land loans, etc.

He is not going to enlist "part time" in the National Guard etc. I'm not against it. I did 8 years there (in ME and MA) and his dad did 3 years active and then 7 years in NG in MA (that's where we met). But no, he wants active duty.

Thanks for all the suggestions and different perspectives.
Does TX extend those benefits to all veterans? Are there special benefits for TXNG a la MA NG? We do have an insane deal in this state where you sign the dotted line and you go to UMass for free. I totally get not wanting to do it part time. Sometimes I'm surprised I went reserves out of high school, but it ended up working out.

I was going to say be sure to advise him of all the downs as well as the ups that come with being in the military, especially starting as a private, who will make private mistakes, but I imagine you and his father have that under control. One of the biggest killers of peoples' experience in the military seems to start at the beginning. I have seen how jaded a young private can get, especially as they make mistakes, and face the occasional toxic leadership. It's a pity that when we are 18 we sometimes lose sight of the longview and the big picture.
 

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When I was 17 all I wanted to do was jump out of planes and kill people.

So I enlisted 11B, they wanted me to do something different, but I wanted to kill people.

That feeling lasted about 6 months.

I was qualified as a LEO or security when I got out.

Unless he wants to do that, he should consider what kind of MOS translates well into the real world and get paid to learn.

Unfortunately nobody was there to impart this wisdom upon me at 17 when all I wanted to do was jump into a foreign lands and kill people with no remorse, then go to a bar and get drunk and get laid.
 

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Does he want to be a Paratrooper?

He should be able to enlist directly in the 82nd ABN and possibly a Ranger BN. Don’t think direct enlistment for Special Forces is an option.

if he wants to operate independently or in small teams, that’s the way to go. If he isn’t as strong an athlete, then Army or Marine Infantry is a better fit.

I’ll throw in another option that may also have an enlistment bonus: Cavalry Scout. Believe the USMC has a similar role, Light Armored Reconnaissance. ASVAB requirements are probably higher for Scouts than Infantry.
 

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FYI, we are all in TX. TX offers some of the very best benefits to TX residents who enlist and then live here after - education benefits for the vet and family members, special rates on home and land loans, etc.

He is not going to enlist "part time" in the National Guard etc. I'm not against it. I did 8 years there (in ME and MA) and his dad did 3 years active and then 7 years in NG in MA (that's where we met). But no, he wants active duty.

Thanks for all the suggestions and different perspectives.
We are all just throwing out our opinions here. We all want what is best for him. Read them all, show him the thread, and hopefully it will help him make a decision. He can't go wrong with either branch. I have served with some of the best guys on the planet in both the Marines and the Army. I am lucky enough to have served in both branches. While I do love my brothers in the Army, my Devil Dogs will always be my home. [cheers] Marines and Soldiers will both tell you, the military is what YOU make of it.
 

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The conventional wisdom is that being a much smaller force, it is harder to make rank in the USMC. I scored very high on my ASVAB and was guaranteed rank when I enlisted, graduated boot as Honor Recruit so was given rank right away when I went to AIT.
If your son has any interest in law enforcement or becoming a firefighter, Infantry Marines have a leg up. Mass State Police average salary is $145k. I know you are in Texas, but figured I would throw that out there.
I have a buddy that served 5 years as an 03 active duty. Got on Mass State Police at 23 but also stayed in USMC reserves. Next year he will retire with 30 years in and a full pension at 53, as well as his military pension. Set for life... at 53. He did deploy a couple of times as a Reservist and says if he had it all to do over again, he would have gone Coast Guard reserve.
Whatever he decides, I wish him the very best. I am so very glad to hear that he is doing well and God Bless you and your husband for being the good parents he needed.
Semper Fi
 

bigben111435

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The Marines is like a small social club compared to the army being a big social club.
Marines are more likely to see and work with men they went to boot camp with.
ALL Marines either go to SOI or ITB.
The fleet is much smaller. Significantly smaller.
Less room for promotion. However,
More chance to lead with a lower rank.
Also Marines still employ Vietnam era equipment.
So many more differences.
If he wants an adventure he will get it but,
if he is thinking about opportunities post military, do not join either branch.
Go AF reserve and go to college.
 
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Does he want to be a Paratrooper?

He should be able to enlist directly in the 82nd ABN and possibly a Ranger BN. Don’t think direct enlistment for Special Forces is an option.

if he wants to operate independently or in small teams, that’s the way to go. If he isn’t as strong an athlete, then Army or Marine Infantry is a better fit.

I’ll throw in another option that may also have an enlistment bonus: Cavalry Scout. Believe the USMC has a similar role, Light Armored Reconnaissance. ASVAB requirements are probably higher for Scouts than Infantry.
18x is the SF enlistment option. All it Guarantees you is a shot at SFAS. something like 90% of overall applicants don’t make it their first time around, I have to imagine that number is even higher for kids off the street. Likewise, while they do offer “ranger” contracts, again all it guarantees is a shot at RIP. Again, super high attrition rate.

I think the airborne contracts are more or less a guaranteed path to airborne as they have a pretty high pass rate for jump school and no “selection” process to join the unit. Not saying he shouldn’t try for one of these units, but if he’s not an athlete and Eagle Scout, used to working on a team and and natural at land navigation, he stands very little chance at making SF off the street. Of course every 18 year old who takes the contract just knows they will pass and they won’t quit. Reality is different.

Marine Infantry is solid, and there are opportunities to screen for recon, STA, etc. A big overall difference in my observation is the USMC is better at developing small unit leaders and NCOs, but I deal mainly with non-combat arms soldiers in the army. It is probably realistically the infantry, in both branches, that developes leadership the best. Both branches push a model of low level decision making now. The USMC still has the best marksmanship game going, I haven’t met anyone even in the army that disagrees.


The Marines is like a small social club compared to the army being a big social club.
Marines are more likely to see and work with men they went to boot camp with.
ALL Marines either go to SOI or ITB.
The fleet is much smaller. Significantly smaller.
Less room for promotion. However,
More chance to lead with a lower rank.
Also Marines still employ Vietnam era equipment.
So many more differences.
If he wants an adventure he will get it but,
if he is thinking about opportunities post military, do not join either branch.
Go AF reserve and go to college.
The first part of that is true. It is a small Marine Corps, and promotions are slower. The Marine Corps, however, is getting showered with new equipment. The only time we had old stuff was Boot Camp. New weapons, optics, vehicles, comm gear, etc. The USMC also has the most cutting edge aircraft now with the V-22, F-35B, and CH-53Ks coming online. New amphibious assault vehicles are also being rolled out.

You are also dead wrong about opportunities post military. Military service universally is a resume booster. Your job on the military matters much less than that you served honorably. No matter how you serve, you leave with a paid education. You actually get enough money to live off of from the BAH you draw while in school. While I was in grad school, that was over $3000 a month. Considering my wife is also a vet and was/is also in grad school, that money tax free was not too shabby.
 
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PennyPincher

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Does TX extend those benefits to all veterans? Are there special benefits for TXNG a la MA NG? We do have an insane deal in this state where you sign the dotted line and you go to UMass for free. I totally get not wanting to do it part time. Sometimes I'm surprised I went reserves out of high school, but it ended up working out.

I was going to say be sure to advise him of all the downs as well as the ups that come with being in the military, especially starting as a private, who will make private mistakes, but I imagine you and his father have that under control. One of the biggest killers of peoples' experience in the military seems to start at the beginning. I have seen how jaded a young private can get, especially as they make mistakes, and face the occasional toxic leadership. It's a pity that when we are 18 we sometimes lose sight of the longview and the big picture.
Some of the benefits are for ALL veterans regardless of where you enlisted - specifically the loan benefits - as long as you qualify for veteran's status. My husband was active for 3 years - he gets veteran status. I was never active duty and never deployed so I do NOT receive veteran status for certain things - like government jobs or TX loans. I do have my VA loan status.
The education benefits - some may extend to all veterans but the very best (extending to spouse and children of vets) are reserved for people who were TX residents when they enlisted and who return to TX to use those benefits..
 

PennyPincher

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When I was 17 all I wanted to do was jump out of planes and kill people.

So I enlisted 11B, they wanted me to do something different, but I wanted to kill people.

That feeling lasted about 6 months.

I was qualified as a LEO or security when I got out.

Unless he wants to do that, he should consider what kind of MOS translates well into the real world and get paid to learn.

Unfortunately nobody was there to impart this wisdom upon me at 17 when all I wanted to do was jump into a foreign lands and kill people with no remorse, then go to a bar and get drunk and get laid.
Well, he's 21, soon to be 22 so he has a little more real world experience than you or I or his dad did when we enlisted. But yeah, he's still very young so sometimes "talking sense" has no effect. He's very strong willed.
 
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