Am I Insane


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sumpnz
August 22, 2005, 10:37 PM
Middy's thread (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=152784) is kind of on the same line as something I've been thinking on for a while now. Only real difference is I'm contemplating either Marine or Navy Reserves. Maybe an Intel slot. Here's the thing though - I'm 28, married with 1 kid and plans for probably 2 more. I've already got a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, a really good job as a Structural Analyst at a major defense contractor (read making pretty good money). They're working on a background investigation to upgrade my clearance right now. So, at a minimum I'd be going for a commisioned rank (at this point I just don't see myself putting up with being enlisted). Also, between a vacation to New Zealand, and trying for our next kid it'll probably be 2007 (and hence I'd be 29/30) before I'd be in a position to even sign the papers.

All through middle and high school all I wanted to do was fly jets for the Navy. Then, between a general attitude change while an exchange student in New Zealand, and having to get glasses I pretty much abandoned the idea of the military. Now I kinda regret it in some ways.

So, as the thread title says, am I nuts? I'm sure my wife would object rather strongly - mostly becuase I would be away from home for both initial training and then for drills and, of course, possible deployment.

[/ramble]

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sumpnz
August 22, 2005, 11:42 PM
I should probably add that I also have scoliosis and my knees have been injured several times in my teens. Throw in a couple concussions and I'm not even 100% sure they'd take me. But if they would be willing to take me, am I nuts to even want to do it?

DT Guy
August 22, 2005, 11:48 PM
You have a lot to offer your country.

Whether it would be a wise decision for you and your family is something only you can answer. But insane? Absolutely not. I'd have re-enlisted after 9/11 if they'd have let a guy with two back surgeries back into a tank.


Protecting those you love is very fulfilling, at any age and stage of your life.


Larry

mnrivrat
August 23, 2005, 04:17 AM
Nothing wrong with wanting adventure - nothing wrong with wanting to serve your country .

In your case however , my answer is YES you are insane. You have a responsibility to your family that you took on when you got married and had a child . If you wanted the military experience you should have done that first.

IMHO

Moonclip
August 23, 2005, 04:52 AM
Only you can decide if it is the right thing for you to do but I'd say give it a shot. Not only single men should be in the service anyways. I always hated in jobs or in military when married and/or people with children got preferential treatment. Why is my life/time worth less? Having a family is a choice.

If I were to have died I might had wanted to start a family also although I do understand I wouldn't be actually leaving children behind and I'm sure my family would be saddened by my death, at least some of them!

Hacker15E
August 23, 2005, 06:30 AM
So, as the thread title says, am I nuts? I'm sure my wife would object rather strongly - mostly becuase I would be away from home for both initial training and then for drills and, of course, possible deployment.

I'm all for 'duty to your country' (10 years active duty USAF, OEF and OIF combat vet), but think about your 'duty to your family,' too.

Remember, it's not just you who joins the military, it's your family also.

When I got married, I had all ready committed to being in the USAF, and she knew up front that I wanted to fly jets and what our married life would be like as a result. For you, you're taking your family, who is used to the current life you've given them, and changing the circumstances significantly. If your wife is 'strongly' objecting, then you need to think about exactly what your priorities in life are (family, country, or self?). On the other hand, if your wife is saying 'go for it', then I would DEFINITELY go for it!

My Squadron Commander used to remind us that our priorities in life should be "God, Family, Country." Only on certain occasions should we alter those priorities to "God, Country, Family", and the day we first flew into harm's way was one of those days. There are only certain days when my duty to country overpowered my duty to my family. How about you?

Len
August 23, 2005, 07:27 AM
My background before my comment. Military, six years [with a four year gap between being "invited" in 1970, and re-upping in 78...combat experience, two tours. Also, interestingly enough, a nephew in aerospace engineering.]

I second the idea that it's a good thing to want to serve your country. And, although I knew a lot of married senior NCO's and officers, it is true that your family joins, works and suffers every bit as much as you would.

I understand that medical requirements may have been eased due to the need, but I believe your back and knees may squash your chances.

Final thought...my nephew asked me the same question a couple of years ago...and the comment I made then was this...I'd rather have him using his brains, talent and education building the stuff that defended our country. It's not as adventurous, but it is maximizing what you can do for the US.

TarpleyG
August 23, 2005, 08:10 AM
You know the old saying "Unit, Corps, God, Country" right? Well, your 'unit' now is your family and they take precedence. Hey, don't feel bad, I was contemplating re-upping shortly after 9/11 but my wife said no way and we don't even have kids.

Greg

1911 guy
August 23, 2005, 08:48 AM
There is nothing wrong with wanting to serve, but you are not in a good position to do so right now. I was contemplating reenlisting after 9/11 but decided against it due to the one major issue you have: a wife and family who don't support it 110%. I was single before, a family changes things.

hillbilly
August 23, 2005, 08:55 AM
Only you know what's best for you.

hillbilly

HankB
August 23, 2005, 08:58 AM
If you join up, there's no guarantee you'll get the Intel posting or something to use your technical degree in, even if these billets are promised in writing. You may find out - after you're in - that the military has determined that your structural engineering background makes you uniquely qualified to defuse IEDs in Iraq.

Be careful . . .

middy
August 23, 2005, 09:37 AM
Only if your wife supports it 100%, like Hacker15E said, she will also be joining the military.

I would have signed up years ago if I hadn't been married to a woman who wouldn't stand for it. In retrospect, of course, I should have gone ahead and done it. :D

sumpnz
August 23, 2005, 12:42 PM
Just to clarify - I have not talked to my wife about this. I was assuming that she would object (which I still think is likely), but it's also possible she'd be supportive on some level.I understand that medical requirements may have been eased due to the need, but I believe your back and knees may squash your chances. Where would I go to find out for sure. If that is the case it makes the rest a moot point. In general I know not to believe too much of what a recruiter tells you, so I'd like to some kind of documentation of the medical disqualifiers.

I figured the response would be something like it has been so far. Keep 'em comin' - I'm still on the fence so to speak.

BTW - Part of my thinking on this is that a guy I worked with at Raytheon in Tucson joined the Navy Reserves. He was 33ish, married with 3 or 4 kids and at least for him it was great experience.

Fly320s
August 23, 2005, 01:32 PM
Well, I don't think that you're nuts. I do think that you have about a 0% chance of becoming a Navy pilot.

All of the military forces have an age cut-off for flying. I think it is around 28 years old for the Navy. Look into that first, before continuing.

If you would like to do something else, more power to you. But many MOS's have age limits, especially for commisioned officers. The Navy wants to get their money's worth out of your service. After all, they just spent big bucks training you.

After all that, if you still want to join, don't do it.

As others have said your family comes first now. Unless you wife is 100% behind you, forget it. You'll be gone more than you'll be home. Do you want to miss all that time with your wife and children?

If you still have a desire to fly, go do it. Go get your private pilot's license at your local airport. It's a lot of fun. Maybe more fun than flying military jets. (I never flew in the military, so I can't compare) I know that flying small aircraft on your own schedule, anwering only to yourself, is more fun than flying the big commercial jets. Military and commercial flying are highly regulated. Yeah, it's fun to a point, but my job is not exciting or exhilirating. Good thing for the customers. :what: :D

johnnymenudo
August 23, 2005, 02:01 PM
You are already serving your country in a very significant way. You are probably doing more good behind the scenes than you realize. Don't let the love of adventure cloud your judgement. The war stories are not worth it.

JM

Azrael256
August 23, 2005, 02:27 PM
You are already serving your country in a very significant way. I agree wholeheartedly on this one. While I don't equate punching rivets into B-17s with flying them over Germany, both jobs provide an absolutely vital service to our country. If you weren't building whatever it is your contractor makes for the men in the field, how many of them would suffer for a lack of good weapons and equipment? Add that up, and if you can reckon that you've kept one man alive through your hard work, then you're doing your duty and doing it well.

Remember, there were ten (right?) men on that B-17, and the quality of one important part can make the difference between a mission ending with a few beers at the O-club and ten flags being shipped home.

Working Man
August 23, 2005, 03:05 PM
I agree with johnnymenudo, sounds like you are already serving.

If your wife is not onboard with it I would have to vote against it,
she married you... not the military. If you were already enlisted that
would have been different, she would have known what she was getting
into.

In the end the choice is yours.

Just my 2 cents.

sumpnz
August 23, 2005, 03:08 PM
The flying bit was what I wanted to do back in HS. I'm well aware that is long since gone as an option. I've got the whole private pilots license thing on my list of things to do before I die, but that is on the back burner until I'm done having kids and they're all school age.Don't let the love of adventure cloud your judgement. The war stories are not worth it. I'm under no illusions as to what would be involved. I'm not intending to go Infantry or special forces or anything like that. I know my limitations, and special forces would wash me out on day 1. Infantry is for younger guys still full of piss and vinager, and I've drained all that off. It's part of the reason why I mentioned maybe trying for an Intel slot or something along those lines. Being a scout sniper might be cool in some ways, but like I said, I know my limitations and that would not be a job that I would excel at.

The company I work for makes satallites. The project I'm on right now is part of the missile defense system. I won't say any more about that.

Fly320s - How do you like the Scairbus?

Harry Paget Flashman
August 23, 2005, 07:11 PM
sumpnz. I applaud you for even thinking about it. The military is not everybody's cup of tea but it's a good life and you're in the company of good people. At age 29 or 30 it would be a greater challenge physically but at that age, all things being equal I'd bet the service would prefer the maturity and clarity of thinking that comes with age and experience. You'd get a warm welcome.

If you decide to stay pretty much a full time civilian you can still serve in the Reserves/Guard, Officer or Enlisted(which ain't so bad).

White Horseradish
August 23, 2005, 07:40 PM
I've thought about this as well.

I am about to turn 30 and I am fairly confident I could get in physical shape for it. At this point I am also smart enough to know that eating is the only reason to open your mouth in the army. The main thing that is stopping me is that it would be a drastic pay cut and I am not sure my family could live on that.

sumpnz
August 23, 2005, 08:05 PM
The main thing that is stopping me is that it would be a drastic pay cut and I am not sure my family could live on that. Well, I looked up my company's policy, and they'll pay the difference between any military pay and my normal salary for up to 60 months cumulative active duty/annual drill time.

For clarity, I am only thinking about the Reserves or National Guard, not full time active duty.

Hacker15E
August 23, 2005, 08:35 PM
Go get your private pilot's license at your local airport. It's a lot of fun. Maybe more fun than flying military jets.
NOT EVEN CLOSE!

I would trade hundreds of hours of General Aviation flying for just one hour in a fighter. They can't even be compared.

Jesse308
August 23, 2005, 08:39 PM
For clarity, I am only thinking about the Reserves or National Guard, not full time active duty.

Yeah, but you still have a very good chance of going to Iraq. If I was in your situation I would not join with a family and plus you already have a good job with a defense contractor so you are already surviving your country.

sumpnz
August 23, 2005, 11:47 PM
Yeah, but you still have a very good chance of going to Iraq. I know that. One would have to be living in a cave for the last 15 years to not understand that. That is a large part of why I don't think my wife would be jumping up and down in excitement if I told her I was signing up.I would trade hundreds of hours of General Aviation flying for just one hour in a fighter. They can't even be compared. Never flown in a fighter, though I have always wanted to. I have flown many times in light GA aircraft. I would love to have the time to get my pilot's license, but it's just not in the cards right now. I chose engineering rather than the flight program in college becuase I knew being a bus driver at 35k feet would drive me nuts, even though I really love flying.

MikeIsaj
August 24, 2005, 09:19 AM
I think you should be happy where you are, a good citizen with a meaningful career and a plan to raise a family. Forget about the military service for several reasons. First the scoliosis is going to disqualify you if the knees don't. Second, it's a young mans business, continuing that level of performance at 28 is a chore. Starting at 28 is very difficult. Active or reserve service is irrelevent now. Do you pay any attention to the news. Your attitude appears to be off also. I get the idea that you think you will apply for a specific position and have complete control over your service. You join the service to serve, not be served. You don't pick and choose the job. If you are activated do you think you have a decision to make? Your choices are go to Iraq, or go to Leavenworth.

If you really wanted to serve you would have volunteered four years ago. Forget about it.

P.S. I know that sounds harsh and probably is. My intent isn't to ridicule you but, to give a reality check. After 11 years as a Marine, I think I know what it takes. You appear to be looking at military service for what it can do for you. That is not the attitude needed for a successful tour of duty. It's no shame, military service is a harsh, spartan way of life that is not for everyone. As others have said, you are already making a serious contribution to our nations defense. Be proud of your contribution. Working in Az. on satellite design may not seem sexy but, the grunt on the ground depending on his GPS, or intel, or just an accurate weather report will appreciate your effort.

Derek Zeanah
August 24, 2005, 09:27 AM
You decided to have children. Now you've got 'em.

That's your first priority. Going the military route means Daddy might die in a combat zone, Daddy won't be there as much as anyone in th family would like, Daddy won't be bringing home nearly as much pay, and Daddy's job might require the kids to move and change schools frequently.

Ask around about the home life people in the service are exposed to. It's a different world, and one you might not choose to raise a family in.

sumpnz
August 24, 2005, 11:58 AM
MikeIsaj - I appreciate your comments, but part of the problem of Internet forums is that a lot can be missed becuase we don't talk face to face. I get the idea that you think you will apply for a specific position and have complete control over your service. You join the service to serve, not be served. Not what I intended to say at all. While I would like one position over some others I fully understand that the services put you where they think they need you, not where you think they need you.

As an aside, my dad was enlisted '68-'71. It was either enlist or be drafted, and by enlisting he knew he'd have at least some say in his what his job was - IOW something other than infantry. Between that and being friends with the company clerk he managed to stay in MD the whole time and never had to go to Vietnam. Though, as he likes to say, not once was MD successfully invaded while he was there.
You appear to be looking at military service for what it can do for you. Again, not what I inteded to put across. I have an education (and if I want more my company will pay for it) and a good career (I'm not looking at the military as a way to advance my career, if anything the time it would take would probably hinder it more than anything). I'm thinking about what I can give back, not what I can get.

CAS700850
August 24, 2005, 01:13 PM
I'm former Army. After 9/11, I heard the call of duty loudly. Very loudly. Loud enough I called up some old friends to inquire about putting the uniform back on. At the time I'd been married 3 years, had a 16 month old at home, and a secnd on the way. At that point, they told me that as a layer in his early 30's, I'd end up at a desk somehwere pushing papers, reviewing contracts, or handling courts martial. No chance of anything other than a lawyer job. At the same time, they recognized that as a prosecutor, I was actually serving my country by protecting the homefront, just in a different way.

You need to make your own decision, but realize that signing up may result in you're assignment to a job very similar to what you are doing now, but for a lot less pay, and with uniform requirements.

Fly320s
August 24, 2005, 10:09 PM
Sumpnz: Fly320s - How do you like the Scairbus?
Sure beats working for a living.

My flying skills have gone to heck, but I can type 60 words a minute one-handed. :neener:

sumpnz
August 24, 2005, 10:25 PM
Fly320s - Let me know the next time you have an overnight in Phx. There's a pretty good brew-pub not tooo far from the airport.

dolanp
August 24, 2005, 10:33 PM
Every citizen who holds a job and follows the law is already serving their country. Your desire to join is admirable, and I can relate to it, but when your in basic, then more training, then your in Iraq, you haven't seen your family in months and your marriage starts to fall apart and that job is in jeopardy.... that's just masochism! ;)

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