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Army at 34?

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

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  1. lee n. field

    lee n. field Member

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    Can be done.

    My best friend in college, and best man at my wedding, had a big time falling out with his girlfriend at age 35 (the thing that finally convinced him was her calling the cops on him), decided he needed a change of life and went into the army.

    He survived. They sent him to language school and taught him Russian (this was not long after the global monolithic communist menace finally started to crumble). After all that, they set him to fixing trucks.

    He also fell in among Jesuits, but that's another story.
     
  2. cowboybobb693

    cowboybobb693 Member

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    Middy. PM me.
    I'm the 1st Sgt of an Army Spec Ops unit (Reserves) we drill in San Antonio so if you are close I can arrange for a visit and you can see what military life can do for you. I'll give you straight answers without all of the recruiter B.S.
    Basic training is not a cake walk but you may find that the Drill Sgts will cut you a bit of slack BECAUSE of your age. Don't let some of the naysayers on the board talk you out of one of the GREATEST professions on the face of the earth. I have been in the military for the last 35 years and would not trade one minute of it.
     
  3. isp2605

    isp2605 Member

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    I spent 13.5 yrs enlisted (2 Army and 11.5 USAF and ANG) and then was commissioned at 34. OCS wasn't bad, just another basic training type course. Now that I'm retired I'm glad I left as a Major but there were many times while in that I wished I had stayed an E-6. I had a lot more fun enlisted. I actually got to make more decisions and lead more as an NCO than as a Lt, even tho I had been an NCO. The officer ranks are very "class sensitive", more so than senior NCOs and enlisted.
    Just because you might want to go to OCS (ROTC is in college as Hawkmoon described) it doesn't mean they'll take you in OCS. Just having a degree doesn't mean you'll be accepted. I commanded an NBC unit for 9 yrs. During that time I had in my unit enlisted people who were a doctor, lawyer, one with 2 MAs, 3 former teachers, and quite a few who had BA degrees. The doctor was in the NBC field because she wanted to do something other than medicine but she had a background in the biological side. The lawyer had been enlisted 173rd in VN but was too old for a commission and didn't want to JAG in the military. His background was heavy on the map plotting and chemical side. One of the teachers had taught high school physics so he understood the details of the nuke side.
    To be a ground pounder, as others have said, is a young man's game. When I retired after 26.5 yrs there was no way I could do the things and for as long as I did when I first joined and was a young stud just out of high school and playing football. Knees were gone, back had been broken in 2 places, an elbow messed up, along with the other aches and pains of getting older. But at 34 there are still a lot of jobs in the military that don't require the 18 yr old conditioning. Pick a field (MOS in the Army, AFSC in the USAF, don't recall what USN and USMC call theirs) that is something you're trained in or interested in. At 34 you have to have done something with your life that would correspond with a military field and which the military could use. A lot of the young kids going in the military haven't done anything in their lives but go to high school or party on daddy's money in college. They have no job training, no discipline, and no responsibilities. At 34 you've been out of high school 16-17 yrs. You've had jobs, responsibilities, and would have disciplined yourself to take care of your needs, work with others, set and accomplish goals. Don't sweat basic. It's a mind game. As another has said the DIs aren't there to wash you out. They're there to mold you into a team, to push you to realize you can do more than you think you can. For an 18 yr old that's a major step in their life. You probably already know it so are ahead of the game.
    The military isn't 100% all roses and ice cream tho. But no job is whether it's a civilian job or self employed. However, I wouldn't change anything with my career except to have stayed in longer. I've never wanted to be like so many others who, when they got older, say "I wish I would have done...." There's no reason for getting old and wishing for something that could have been but too timid to move for it. As the Nike ad says "Just Do It". You only get to come this way once. I got to do some interesting things, go to places I never would have seen, and play with toys most people only read about in magazines, and some toys you never read about.
    Go talk to a recruiter now. You might find a field that is right up your alley and where you can give something to your country and fellowman. And 50 years from now as you're sitting around the old folks home you won't be one of those saying "I wish I would have done...."
     
  4. joab

    joab Member

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    A combat MOS is not the only way to serve and neither is going regular army.

    I have regretted the day I got out since the day I got out
    I tried to get back in at around the same age as you are now, the run around from a recruiter I found out later was a known slacker pissed me off and I ended up getting the knee operation I was putting off instead.

    I'm trying to go back now but I can't even get the Natl Guard to call me back

    And by the way my father went through Ranger school, jungle training and SF training at ages older than you are now
     
  5. Legionnaire
    • Contributing Member

    Legionnaire Member

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    Son of a co-worker of mine is in Iraq at the moment with the Army Rangers. He went in at 33, I believe, wanting to do his bit. He was in pretty good shape, and really wanted to be in the special forces. Had to work hard, but is now on his second tour. It can be done.
     
  6. joab

    joab Member

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    Take cowboybob up on his offer before you make any decisions

    Thanks to this thread I just e-mailed the Fla Air Guard.
    They have Pest Control positions, imagine that.
     
  7. middy

    middy Member

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    I was thinking ROTC because I have an associates degree and I thought I might get some help finishing out the 3 semesters or so I would need for a BS.

    My associates is in computer programming and systems analysis, and besides my programming experience I have about 4 years in tech support, so I imagine there are a lot of technical jobs I could handle, but do LTs do jobs like that? Would they want me to major in something else? Do they even consider someone who's way past "college age"?
     
  8. middy

    middy Member

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    It's not that I want glory, or that I want to "kick ass", it's more that I want to help our boys that are already over there. I want to be there when some kid needs to be driven to a surgical unit, or when the troops need moral support, or someone to keep a cool head when the SHTF. I don't want to kill anyone, but I do want to protect our men and all innocent civilians, and sometimes killing is the best way to do that.

    I could probably best accomplish that in some other field than infantry at my age, though.
     
  9. Mikul

    Mikul Member

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    No one ever got something they wanted by looking it in the face and saying, "That looks too hard."
     
  10. cowboybobb693

    cowboybobb693 Member

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    Middy.
    With a degree the Army wll start you out (during basic training) as an E-4 The Air Force may also do that but you'll have to ask a recruiter.
    You will get a little more respect and a bit more money than the guys that are E-1's.
    Since you are in N. Texas there are plenty of Nat'l Guard as well as Reserve units in your area. Check into the Air Guard, they have units in the Garland area and are looking for folks with your type of education.
    Good luck and take it from one "old fart" You'll never regret your time in the servce, you will make friends that will last a lifetime, gain a new outlook on life and you just may surprise yourself as to what you can do in certain situations.
    Bobb
     
  11. Hobie

    Hobie Member

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    Retired after 27½ years service in various MOSs and status and glad of it. At 50, I'm too old to be a good infantryman. At 40 I was at the top of my game and could outrun some Rangers. Frankly, it all comes down to WILL. Yours, not theirs. They have the strength of institutional will and they will what they will. You can or can't, it is ALL up to you.

    BTW, one of my best junior NCOs was a fellow who had enlisted at age 34 years 11 months and 10 days. He graduated the Ranger course as a leg, Air Assault, and lots of other cool things. He's still in! So's his son, also a Ranger Grad (and Airborne). Talk about family pride.

    Hell, why not?
     
  12. justashooter

    justashooter member

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    i wanted to join corps engineers at 37 when the towers came down. the recuriter said i was too old. he was right. now all i get to do is f#&k younger chinese women.

    each of us has to find his calling in life, and enjoy it. find yours.
     
  13. middy

    middy Member

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    I'm going to go talk to a recruiter soon. I can't let this last opportunity go by without at least trying.

    Time to buy some running shoes and put up the chin-up bar.
     
  14. joab

    joab Member

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    Rejected. Even the Air Guard don't need us 43 year old farts
     
  15. chaim

    chaim Member

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    I wasn't in long, bad ankle, but I did go through basic so I can tell you what it was like there. When I was there in late 1989 and early 1990 there were several guys in their late 20s and early 30s (I'm not certain anymore if the oldest guy was 34, 35 or 36, but I think he was 36). The older guys, especially those in their 30s, were very well respected. Sure, they couldn't always keep up physically, but we recognized they had a lot to offer, and we certainly respected what they were trying to do. The drill sergeants certainly gave them hell, often using their age as the "weapon" to use against them, but they gave everyone hell and tried to find something to use against them. Even the drill sergeants seemed to have a lot of respect for them and probably did treat them a tad better than the rest of us. The hardest part is there is a lot of stupid BS in basic, and at 19 I recognized that. At 34 it will be glaring, and having some 22-27 year old kids in your face and treating you like you were a total idiot for a couple months can get frustrating (the physical gets easier as it gets harder because you will get in much better shape quickly, the stupidity is always there, but usually somewhat entertaining at least). On the age of drill sergeants, most of my drill sergeants were older and more mature, many if not most being Vietnam vets, but many were in their mid-20s as well.

    Now if you are out of shape I would advise against infantry especially, or any of the combat arms really. They are very physical, and unrelenting (many military jobs are nearly 9-5 type full-time jobs, the combat arms are no where near that and are really a way of life). If you want "action", EOD (explosive ordinance disposal) or MP (military police) would probably fit (there is action, but they aren't quite as physically demanding), and they would also probably appreciate the extra maturity that comes with age (both are pretty mentally demanding and require mature decision making). There are also plenty of desk jobs that contribute (if I would be to go back I'd probably go in as a mental health counselor- lots of PTSD and adjustment problems going on with many of the troops returning from Iraq). There are quite a few jobs to choose from: http://goarmy.com/JobCatList.do


    As for some of the restrictions due to your age:
    -No ROTC: The age limit to join Army ROTC is 26 and of course you have to be in a college program
    -You are at the age limit to enlist in the Active Army. The age limit is 34, if you go reserves it is 39 (not sure about the National Guard)
    -OCS (Officer Candidate School): I'm not sure on this one. According to the Army's recruitment website (goarmy.com) the limit is still 29 (you must get your commission by your 30th birthday). However I've been reading that the Army has, or is about to, raise the age to 42. You may want to ask a recruiter about this. You will need a BA or BS degree first however (Reserves and/or National Guard commissions are possible I believe at 60 credits if you are in a degree program for your BS/BA and will finish in a certain time frame).
    -OCS at the state level: Many states' National Guards have state level OCS in addition to officers training in the Army's OCS. Those states that have their own OCS (most do) sometimes have different age limits so you may be able to go through OCS this way.
    -You may wish to wait until you are done with school. If you plan on grad school for something like psychology, if you plan to become clergy, or if you plan on medical or law school, there are different commissioning programs for these kind of jobs and they have different age requirements. At least one of the commissioning routes for psychology allows a max. age of 43 and I'm not even sure if there is an age limit for chaplains anymore (I can't find a maximum age online anywhere), last time I saw one (years ago) it was 40-something.
    -Keep in mind that the Army has the most liberal age restrictions, so going to the Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, or Marines if you are too old for what you want won't work (they generally have lower age restrictions).
    -Most age restrictions are waivable, so if your recruiter says you are too old for the program you want, ask for him/her to pursue a waiver. If your recruiter won't go through the work, go to another recruiting office and get another opinion before you give up.


    If you enlist with an Associates degree you will go in as an E-3 (Private First Class) instead of as an E-1 (Private). With 30 credits you go in as E-2 (Private), at 60 you go in as an E-2 (Private), at 60 you go in as an E-3, and with a BA/BS degree you can enlist as an E-4 (Specialist). In each case this gives you a little more money, a tad more respect, and a slight leg up on someone coming in as an E-1 (it can take 1 1/2-5 years to make E-4, typically 2-3).

    You will probably want to quit smoking now. Your lung power will increase, and tobacco products are banned during Basic Training anyway (trust me, Basic Training is not a good time for niccotine withdrawal).

    Losing weight is a good idea. At least, do some working out so you are used to doing the pushups, situps and running. You don't need to be in perfect condition, basic will shape you up, and if you are in too bad shape there is the fitness training company (FTC) if they need to put you there (I assume they still have them, though the FTC is not someplace you want to be).

    Look into things carefully, but I would strongly encourage going in if you think you might want to. At 34 you are old enough to realize that a couple years really isn't a long time. Take a 2 or 3 year enlistment if you really aren't sure if you'd like it. Even 4 years goes by pretty quickly. Then, there is always the Reserves if the money (it doesn't pay well) or the time committment keeps you away from the Active Army, just keep in mind that you can/will be called up and the enlistments tend to be longer, 3-6 years and most are 6 years. The Reserves/National Guard drill once a month (2 1/2 days, usually Friday night through Sunday evening) then 2 weeks usually in the summer when not called to active duty so most of the time it isn't quite as much of a committment (you can still have your normal life most of the time). With the Reserves/Guard these days you may spend more active duty time than someone on a 2 or even 3 year Active Duty contract, but the time will be more spread out so you will be at home more, and your unit will be based at home when not deployed (i.e. unlike Active Duty, you won't be constantly moving).


    Miscellaneous links:
    www.goarmy.com (recruiting)
    http://www.usarec.army.mil/hq/apa/rc/apft.htm (Army fitness standards)
    http://www.usarec.army.mil/hq/apa/rc/weight.htm (Weight tables- be sure you aren't over the maximum weight limit)
    http://www.dod.mil/dfas/money/milpay/pay/paytable2005-rev1.pdf (PDF chart with military base pay rates, housing allowance, food allowance, reserve pay, family separation allowances, and other pay catagories)
     
  16. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Just commenting on something chaim said;

    In the sandbox, there is no such thing as a REMF. Just ask Jessica Lynch. In this type of warfare, every American over there, and all of us here, too, are targets. It would behoove you to get in the best shape you can before Basic; the physical will be the hard part at your age. You're old enough to find the mental games amusing, albeit frustrating also. Concentrate on their comedic value, and memorize these phrases: 'It don't mean a thing.' and 'FIDO: [Insert expletive here] it, drive on!' They will get you through Basic, and your military career. ;)
     
  17. middy

    middy Member

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    Awesome post Chaim, thanks.

    I think I'll be able to get in shape almost as well as the younger folks, I've never had any major problems with my health or any major injuries that bother me, and I don't have much blubber to work off.

    I really think I need this. I've taken life for granted for too long, been coasting for too many years. Banging out code at a desk certainly pays better, but it's not what I want to do for the rest of my life. The Army needs good, smart people who have a grasp of the ideals of Liberty. I hope I'm not the only one here who's considering this move. ;)
     
  18. stevelyn

    stevelyn Member

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    At 34, you're reaching the point where you're too old to hump a ruck and do all the other tasks of a grunt unless you're already in near olympic athlete condition. You don't heal from injury as fast nor do you recover from physical activity as quickly or completely as a younger person would.
    I went at 19 and got out at 27. I went through the DPS Academy at 30 and wondered sometimes what I was doing there. I can't imagine having to go through BT again at 42. Although I think the mental part for me would be a cakewalk now, my knees are no longer able to take the pounding that running PT everyday, road marches with overloaded rucks and obstacle courses would inflict on them.
    If you must look at the military at your age, check out the Air Farce or Coast Guard.
     
  19. middy

    middy Member

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    My dad quit smoking and started jogging when he was 30. At my age he ran his first marathon.
     
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