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Army at 34?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by middy, Aug 22, 2005.

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  1. middy

    middy Member

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    Sorry about the off-topic post, but I value the opinions of THR members above most others on this topic.

    I'm turning 35 in about a month, and one of my biggest regrets in the last 5 years is that I never served. Having been recently divorced, I now have a chance to give the Army one last crack at me.

    I'm not overweight, but I'm fairly out of shape and have been smoking for about 16 years :uhoh:.

    I'd like to hear any advice from veterans, especially those who joined later in life, regarding whether I should go ROTC, whether I'll survive boot camp, how the older guys are accepted by the other soldiers, what I should do to prepare, etc.
     
  2. GregGry

    GregGry Member

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    Join the police force :p
     
  3. rabbit

    rabbit member

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    If you want to fight, I commend you but I would have to say you are too old. infantry combat is a young mans game. If you would settle for anything less than being behind a trigger you can "serve" your country better doing something else. You are still young enough to be a police officer. Not that I am fond of cops but someone has to do it and in a couple years you could go over there in the sandbox doing LE and really be in the thick of it. I did some interesting stuff in the military; very exciting and dangerous. But you pay for it and the price is high (incredibly boring, tedious, and frustrating most of the time- a tremendous waste of time). If I had it to do over again- I would not.
     
  4. Polishrifleman

    Polishrifleman Member

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    You are to set in your ways to try and deal with the service.

    That said, I commend you on the thought. Go to a recruiter and talk to them about it and what it means to you and what you want to get out of it. If it is about serving your country, know that you would do it in a heartbeat if you had to and feel good about it, vote, practice and preach your rights.
     
  5. MudPuppy

    MudPuppy Member

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    I don't think being a policeman is close enough to be a good substitute. Don't miss the opportunity to serve. Spend a few months preparing (although the first PT run was further on the way OUT, than I had ever run in my life...and still had to get back).

    The DI's are trained not to kill recruits in training and usually don't--we didn't lose anyone from my company, and only one guy that I know of in the whole battalion. (Heat stroke, iirc).

    Whatever you do, go Infantry. :evil:

    (Oh, I don't think anyone will care if you're older--only if you can't keep up, no matter what the age.)
     
  6. racenutz

    racenutz Member

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    I say go for it!

    I'm somewhat in the same situation. I'll be 32 when I go to basic.
     
  7. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Go for it, but I might suggest Navy....I did.... ;)
     
  8. pwolfman

    pwolfman Member

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    What ever you decide, do it quick.

    Once you turn 35, you can't go active duty army. You can still join the reserves until 39 though...

    pwolfman
     
  9. Derek Zeanah

    Derek Zeanah System Administrator Staff Member

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    Some mixed thoughts about playing infantry:

    1) It's a kid's game. Most go in at 17-18, buy in to the training (I don't know if you can legitimately call it "brain washing," but folks come out better disciplined then they go in, and there's something of a disconnect going on there -- my experience as a 20 year-old who was more educated and more resistant to it than most, but still refused to sleep in a sleeping bag or use anything other than the gear in my fanny pack when it was sleeting and 15^F in Germany because I thought it more worthwhile to train as I would actually perform if we had to deploy...), and play unthinking unquestioning soldiers for a few years.

    If you're enough of a "thinker" that you like to get into discussions of things like "rights" and "enumerated powers," and "justice," then there's a chance you'll stand out in the ranks. In a bad way. Take it from someone who used to rag on his platoon leader for his choice of major ("hey, sir: what's the integral of a natural log?") and push the limits in general ("Sniper Check, Sir!" when saluting) -- if you stand out they can make it hurt.

    2) It's a kid's game. Infantry work is painful, and IMHO the importance of the training we did was more to get you to adjust to "getting the job done" regardless of pain, more than it was to keep you in shape. Things like dropping to low-crawl (on your ear, than is) through a stream in the middle of a 6-mile run, and getting to squat on one knee for hours while waiting for orders on a night march, or 3-5 second rushes for a half mile, or playing "dead" op-for and falling on a fire-ant mound and not moving for 15 minutes while getting bit because it provided more realism (yep -- that was me).

    That stuff hurts, dude. And it hurt before I got back and knee problems (I'm your age, though I am overweight). When I think back to benning and doing fireman's carries up cardiac hill, then sprinting up it, then going up it doing leapfrog in the same 10 minutes...My God but that's not for old folks.

    3) You deal with a lot of stupidity. My 1st Sergeant took me aside when I was about to exit the Army, and told me about his experience getting out and reenlisting because he couldn't cut it in the civilian sector. There were a couple of folks in my unit that did the exact same thing. The advantage of the military, for some folks, is job security: polish your boots, press your BDUs, show up on-time, do what you're told, and take mail-order courses (read: copy off your roommate's courses) and you've got a 20-30 year career with good benefits.

    Even if you're completely incompetent -- in this case you get a degree of power you'd never see in the real world. Those of us with an understanding of the rules and a willingness to face the threatened level of punishment from a meat-head provided we got to tell our story could generally get an a-hole to back down. Most cowed and took whatever punishments were handed out.

    Just some random thoughts. It might be the perfect opportunity for you. But then, it might not...
     
  10. Chawbaccer

    Chawbaccer Member

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    Go for it man or kick your self next year for not giving it a try.
     
  11. scout26

    scout26 Member

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    Do it, Go Armor or Cav. (Ride, don't walk and M1 Abrams armor is a lot thicker then the issue "cotton armor" of DCU's, even with the vest.)
     
  12. jkswiss

    jkswiss Member

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    Yeah, do it quick. I think 34 is the cut off point for most branches of the service. I don't know how physically in shape you are, but the Army is probably no walk in the park. I joined the Navy when I was 17, and aside from sleep deprivation, it was a walk in the park(exagerrating a little). The physical aspect is not too bad, but you better be able to do 1.5miles in i think 14 minutes for your age bracket, and a decent number of sit ups and pushups. I hear they get 8 hours of sleep in boot camp now though.
    I had two older fellows in my boot camp division. I think the oldest guy was around 33. They had no problems. You will have to realize you'll be taking orders from people much younger than you. By the time I was 19 I was an E-5. Just picture yourself taking orders from a snot nosed teenager.
    That being said, its nice having a pay check every two weeks no matter what. Health benefits are excellent if you take advantage of them, so are the 100% tuition assistance while your on active duty. The G.I. Bill is the best and so is the $600 kicker.
    The military(the Navy at least) is hell on marriage. Your single now but think about later. I've seen many divorces during my 6 years in the Navy. Our boat had what we called the Rickover divorce lawyer. His card got passed around quite a bit. Food for thought.
     
  13. jeff-10

    jeff-10 Member

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    As someone who was a 11 Bravo from the ages18-21, I would say that I could never turn around and do it again at 30. The military is a young man's game. The stuff you have to put up with is ridiculous, both mentally and physically. A true adult cannot put up with people harrassing them constantly, atleast I couldn't anymore.

    Also you are entering the prime earning years of your life, unless you are financially secure now you may never be unless you start working on it. Work for the goverment just not in uniform. Join the Foreign Service or CIA if you want to work for the goverment overseas, the military just isn't something for a grown man who has already had a real job.
     
  14. AZgunstudent

    AZgunstudent Member

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    I was infantry in the late 80's-early 90's, did Airborne school, etc. I got out for eight years, then re-enlisted in the Guard in 2002, staying with the infantry MOS. I pass my PT tests and such, but it's still A LOT harder, even in the Guard, at 30+ than it was at 19. I got tired after three years and jumped at an open armorer's slot.

    I'll echo most of what Derek said, and also the comment about being outranked by someone ten years your junior. I do take issue with the people who say that infantry is the only way to serve. There are lots of military jobs that can be done better by a grown man with some life experience under his belt, than by a trigger yanker fresh out of high school.

    There's nothing dishonorable about being in supply, personnel, food service, vehicle maintenance or one of the other MOS's that are less glamorous than combat arms, but just as necessary. They say it takes ten support people to field one combat arms soldier -- not everyone needs to be (or can be) an "operator" or a "light fighter," but that doesn't mean you can't make a contribution.

    Do not enlist unless you want to see Iraq from the messy end. At the rate things are going, virtually everyone in the Army -- active, Reserve, and Guard -- will do at least a year or two in Iraq.
     
  15. middy

    middy Member

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    Thanks for the words, guys. I think you're right that I probably wouldn't take orders too well, and I get sore just sleeping on a floor anymore...

    What about ROTC? Has anyone here been commissioned straight away and not had to deal with too much Sgt. Jackass?

    As far as the Navy, well, it's funny but even though I'm a very good swimmer, the idea of being on a seafaring vessel kind of unnerves me. I guess it's just that I'm used to knowing I could swim to shore if I had to. Besides, I'm a big George Patton fan, it's Army or nothing. ;)
     
  16. Byron Quick

    Byron Quick Moderator In Memoriam

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    You're still going to put up with some of the same problems. Officers ten years your junior who outrank you, etc.

    A large part of it is attitude. I had a good many run-ins with sergeants...and for good reason, as I was frequently an ass. I didn't see too much harassment for the sheer sake of harassment. Maybe I was taking the heat off the rest:D

    If you do decide to go for a commission, please be sure that you are squared away as to attitude. Infractions that will result in at most an Article 15 for an enlisted man will get an officer court-martialed.

    Personally, I would never seek a commission for the sole reason of avoiding the authority of sergeants. I forget his name but I once witnessed a captain, who was a company commander, get into a urination contest with the battalion sergeant major. The captain not only lost but just about every sergeant major in the Army was just waiting for him to get in range from then on.
     
  17. Byron Quick

    Byron Quick Moderator In Memoriam

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    You're still going to put up with some of the same problems. Officers ten years your junior who outrank you, etc.

    A large part of it is attitude. I had a good many run-ins with sergeants...and for good reason, as I was frequently an ass. I didn't see too much harassment for the sheer sake of harassment. Maybe I was taking the heat off the rest:D

    If you do decide to go for a commission, please be sure that you are squared away as to attitude. Infractions that will result in at most an Article 15 for an enlisted man will get an officer court-martialed.

    Personally, I would never seek a commission for the sole reason of avoiding the authority of sergeants. I forget his name but I once witnessed a captain, who was a company commander, get into a urination contest with the battalion sergeant major. The captain not only lost but just about every sergeant major in the Army was just waiting for him to get in range from then on.

    A big George Patton fan shouldn't have much of a problem with Sgt. Jackass.
     
  18. Commissar Gribb

    Commissar Gribb Member

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    everything is geared down based on age.

    Same pay and benefits but you (in most cases) will get a semi-normal job like pumping jet fuel, maintaining aircraft/equipment, and a bunch of other army type jobs like civil engineering, military police, transportation, communications etc. geared more away from combat.

    If you do get deployed you'll most likely be doing the same job only with a different background.

    In short, less BS, less PT, less "pain". ;)

    Sure, the guy who fixes avionics systems on an F15 doesnt get a lot of glory but they're still important to the mission.
     
  19. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Member

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    ROTC? or OCS?

    ROTC is a program you participate in while going through college, and when you graduate you get a commission as an O1 along with your degree. If you are not in college now, you aren't going ROTC.

    I think you mean OCS. I have no idea what that's like now. When I enlisted, I still had to go through the same basic training and AIT as everyone else. After AIT would have been 6 months of more chicken **** at Fort Belvoir.

    I say "would have" because, at the tender age of 22, I was already too old to put up with the games they like to play with trainees. What you must realize is that Army training, like Army tech manuals, is geared to the lowest common denominator. Training was aimed at controlling the thugs and jerk-offs who found their way into uniform. It was NOT geared toward college graduates whose entire previous generation (father and ALL living uncles) had served in WW2, most as officers, and who didn't want to waste time polishing barracks floors with a toothbrush when I could be out learning to blow things up (I was going to be a combat engineer, you see).

    So I opeted out of OCS. Best move I ever made. As I moved around through several assignments and duty stations as an enlisted man, I encountered any number of OCS officers -- only one of whom did NOT deserve to be fragged, instantly if not sooner. ROTC officers were slightly better, but not much. West Pointers were generally okay as company grade, but somehow seemed to leave common sense behind once they made field grade.

    Best officers I encountered, bar none, were "mustangers" (former enlisted who became officers) and warrant officers.
     
  20. stolivar

    stolivar Member

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    don't do it.

    I was in the service for 8 years. I am 51 now and I would not have wanted to do it again at 35. It is a hard life without much respect. It is not as much glory as you think. At your age Bootcamp will be twice as hard on you then the kids. I was EOD and then a Medic. I was first drafted and then dumb enough to re-up.
    Still it got me my nice Post Office job for the last 24 years.


    steve
     
  21. Seven High

    Seven High Member

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    Enlistment age

    I read in a newspaper recently that the DoD wants to raise the age to enlist to 42. They are having problems getting people to enlist. Can you imagine putting in 20 years. :eek:
     
  22. dolanp

    dolanp Member

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    If service is your true motivation, have a look at the Texas State Guard. You won't get paid but you will still be able to be in uniform, train, and help others.
     
  23. entropy

    entropy Member

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    [Martin Sheen voice] I did it at 22 and it dang near killed me...[/Martin Sheen voice]

    Seriously, there were two recruits in my Basic platoon that were 34. One dropped 5 weeks in, the other was a guy who way one year short of a law degree, and joined to pay for that last year. He's probably a LTC in JAG now. He made it through Basic though, I gave him a lot of credit. Like me, the physical part of it was the hard part for him; we both laughed at the head games, him out of his 34 years of life experiences, me from living 22 years with a Dad who made Maj. Santini (The Great Santini ) look like a permissive father. ;)
     
  24. grimjaw

    grimjaw Member

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    There are other ways to serve your country. Maybe you'd rather serve your local community? I find that to be more personally rewarding, IMO, than the often frustrating life I witnessed in the military.

    I'm not a veteran. I tried to go Air Force at 25, but health reasons prevented me from getting in. This is probably a good thing, because after two hours at Memphis MEPS, I had already decided I wasn't going to do well taking orders from a moronic loudmouth with a third grade education. I do NOT take orders well. I ended up working for the Air Force/Army as a contractor at Pope AFB/Ft Bragg, and got to see alot of the life from the outside. There is no glory in being an Air Force plumber, even if you're the best one. It would not have been for me. I think with a better attitude, it would have been healthy for me to do a 4 year stint when I was young (18-20) man, but not at 25 or later, when I had other opportunities.

    If you went in at 34, you'd be in the minority for that rank, and surrounded by people of equal rank but far less experience and age than yourself.

    There are still opportunities for more to be physically active and be a contributor. I couldn't handle being a cop, so I'd suggest volunteer fireman.

    HTH, jmm
     
  25. tankertom

    tankertom Member

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    I went through basic training at age 27. It was doable but hard. If you want to serve I would say go for it. I am not sure I would recommend 11B but 19K worked for me.

    tt
     
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