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Enlistment Advice Needed For Son

Posted on 12/26/2011 8:59:45 AM PST by PUGACHEV

I've been here ten years and this is my first post. I know many here have experience in the different services, but I have none. My son, who is 24, wants to enlist and make the military a career, but does not know which branch to enlist in. He has a high school diploma, no involvement with drugs, and no criminal record except, unfortunately, a DWI and several traffic related misdemeanors. He is intelligent, fit, athletic, and handsome. His interests are ice hockey, video games, and girls, in that order. He is a quiet person with a low arousal type personality who is very tough and self possesed. He is completely unflapable. He has good manners, no meanness in him, and makes friends easily. He has no particular work-related skills or aptitudes. His grandfather on his mother's side was in the British army from Dunkirk to the end of the war, so maybe there is some military talent lurking in his genes somewhere.

My son is looking to me for advice, and he will follow it. My questions are: (1) What branch would have him with the DWI on his record; (2) What branch would best suit his personality; and, if he had a choice, what speciality might be good for him. My first thought was the Navy, but I really don't know.

TOPICS: Chit/Chat; Military/Veterans
KEYWORDS: advice; enlistment; military
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A low key guy who likes to play video games would do well in the USAF- no one shooting at him (most times) and lots of jobs that require operating a console, ie satellites, drones, inventory tracking...

There is an armed forces aptitude test that could give him some insights If he likes ice hockey maybe he could volunteer for a base in the northern tier! Why not MInot?

61 posted on 12/26/2011 9:49:55 AM PST by silverleaf (common sense is not so common- voltaire)
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To: All

I fear the Corps has/will lose its edge given the continuing weakening at its top!

62 posted on 12/26/2011 9:50:19 AM PST by harpu ( "'s better to be hated for who you are than loved for someone you're not!")
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Air Force or Navy in that order.

63 posted on 12/26/2011 9:54:15 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.)
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Generally, the DWI and minor traffic infractions can be waived at the time of enlistment(provided that’s all the involvement with the law that there has been).

Each service has its own needs and culture dictated by the type of work they do. They all have a continuing need intelligent, trainable citizens to fill their ranks. Most offer enlistment guarantees (and sometimes bonuses) for certain highly technical occupational fields involving computers, electronics, etc.

Personally, I’d say that being set on having a career in the military (20 or more years of service) at the onset is a mistake. Life inside the services is very different from what is depicted on TV and the web. It is work that can be very boring, it is sometimes extremely dangerous (in predictable and unpredictable ways), and it is usually performed in distant locations under difficult conditions.

Instead, I recommend he focus on what each service is offering for the initial enlistment in terms of in-service training, enlistment bonuses, GI Bill education benefits, additional schooling, etc. He also needs to understand how a person progresses in the career path(s) he is interested in and what are the typical assignment patterns during an initial enlistment.

The general pattern for the initial 4 year enlistment is recruit training followed by occupational field formal training at a service school (up to 18 months for these first two in cases involving very technical fields); this is followed by the first enlistment duty station/unit. (Permanent change of station (PCS) transfers cost money so they only happen every two to three years.) And that’s about it for the first enlistment.

Sometime in year three to four, he would be up for a new assignment, so the unit career planner (basically the retention specialist) would look over his service record and be able to advise him on what options the service is prepared to offer him if: 1) the service wants to retain him, 2) his service record qualifies him for reenlistment, and 3) he wants to continue in the service.

Keep in mind that about 60-70% of all enlistees have had all the United States (fill-in the chosen service name) they want after just one enlistment and leave to pursue other opportunities.

64 posted on 12/26/2011 9:55:30 AM PST by Captain Rhino (“Si vis pacem, para bellum” - If you want peace, prepare for war.)
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Air Force or Navy or Marines in that order if he wants to get into a technical field. Army or Marines if he wants to be a grunt.

65 posted on 12/26/2011 9:56:41 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.)
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From the looks of most responses, it appears that most people are suggesting that he go Navy. In all candor, I am ex-Navy (aviation) and loved my training, shipmates and assignments, but hated the Navy.

If he doesn’t know what he wants to do, I would suggest that you have him log on to and monitor the traffic for all of the services for about 6 months before he makes a decision. I also noted that people only mentioned Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. He may also want to research the Coast Guard, as well. A lot of folks I know that were in the CG can’t recommend it highly enough.

Something else that you and your son should know: most jobs in the military today are technical in nature. There are relatively few “grunt” jobs left that involve digging in the dirt, although those who have done that mostly enjoyed it.

Before you son enlists, he will already have completed a battery of aptitude tests that will help whichever branch of service determine the type of job for which he is best suited.

Finally, beware of ANY recruiter that tries to tell your son that he is going to be a jet fighter pilot or anything else that logic suggests requires more than a HS diploma! Recruiters are like car salesmen and have a monthly quota they must meet and will tell your son anything he wants to hear as long as he signs on the dotted line. In the military, his written contract is the law and they will go strictly by that, NOT what the recruiter told him!! The only branch of the military of which I am aware that might (emphasis MIGHT!) allow him to fly (assuming he wants to and has the aptitude) is the Army and that would only be helicopters!

Last, but not least, tell your son thanks for wanting to enlist. His future brother and sister veterans appreciate his desire to serve and can’t wait to welcome him to one of the most exciting careers he could ever imagine!! As a serviceman, he will be challenged to do things he never thought possible and he will have responsiblities that no civilian employer would ever give him at his age. He’s gonna love it!!

66 posted on 12/26/2011 9:56:59 AM PST by DustyMoment (Congress - Another name for white collar criminals!!)
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If he goes navy, tell him to stay the hell off the flight deck... my hearing is shot and getting worse (what!!???!!)

67 posted on 12/26/2011 9:58:11 AM PST by joe fonebone (Project Gunwalker, this will make watergate look like the warm up band......)
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To: puppypusher

I am in agreement with you on this. It appears that Obama has a good chance of re-election, and his record with this military and treatment of its soldiers does not bode well for anyone thinking of enlisting in one of its services.

If it was my son, I’d look into finding a way to convincing the judge who convicted him (or presided over) on his DUI conviction to expunge the record with demonstrated atonement, etc. after some period of time. Meanwhile, I’d put him in a higher education venue. If the record can be minimized, then policework, other Federal or State service could be an option.

In this day and age, I’d cut my arm off before I allowed a child of mine to become subject to this Muslim appeasing despot.

68 posted on 12/26/2011 10:04:05 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: vajimbo

the DWI will prevent this. The classification clearances for this one are extremely high. They will do a thorough background check and then send in interviewers to talk to teachers , clergy, nebhors etc.

I was in the Navy from 84 to 90. Really loved it. Submarines are technical, intense, and deadly in more than one way.

I met my future wife a year before my reenlistment. I started checking on the survivability of marriages for young enlisted men and decided that I could not put my future wife through life as a military spouse. My mom was an army brat and it is a tough lifestyle for wives and children.

For a young single male the Navy is an outstanding outfit.They will administer the ASVAB (armed services vocational aptitude battery) to determine where your son lands in their world of vocations. Everything from personelman to nuclear field electronics technician, medical , and don’t forget the plethora airwing jobs.

He will be tested and given an extensive list of ratings(jobs) to choose from. If he tests out well enough their will be some six year obligations offered. Don’t be afraid of the 6 yo jobs. They are the creme of the crop if you don’t mind investing in your future. The extra time accounts for ALL of the added technical training one recieves because of the technical nature of these rates.

If you decide to go navy freepmail me and I will be glad to tell you what I know. I am not a recruiter but I came out of the navy and owe my livelyhood to that training. I am now in a midlevel supervisory position and in charge of hiring for a several million dollar a year operation. I invariably give a longer look at prior military, honorably discharged applications and I am not alone. Ask any employer and you will find that the things you learn in the service are universally applicable.

69 posted on 12/26/2011 10:11:31 AM PST by ping jockey (We have arrogant jerks for leaders and WE will pay the highest cost.)
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No one seems to have mentioned the Coast Guard. Mostly US duty stations, and if he’s over six feet tall he can walk ashore if the boat sinks.

70 posted on 12/26/2011 10:19:10 AM PST by Waverunner (I'd like to welcome our new overlords, say hello to my little friend)
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Coast Guard. He can make a BIG difference there.

71 posted on 12/26/2011 10:26:58 AM PST by GAB-1955 (I write books, serve my country, love my wife and daughter, and believe in the Resurrection.)
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To: Waverunner

Coast Guard is a lot like the Navy.. Slow on Promotions and unless you are in the “Aviation Wing” not a very rewarding career.

72 posted on 12/26/2011 10:28:13 AM PST by Old Retired Army Guy
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To: fightin kentuckian

Okay, you got me on the beer. I visited there as a child on a family vacation and the weather was miserable and the tiny hotel we stayed in was scary.

73 posted on 12/26/2011 10:28:38 AM PST by rabidralph
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Navy has best tech training and ex-Navy Techs are always in demand because of their top notch training and experience. Anything to do with aviation is best, but other technical fields good too.

He'll be reconsidering “career” during Boot Camp. Navy's is at Great Lakes, north of Chicago, maybe wait til Spring to sign up or enlist with delay going to Boot.

74 posted on 12/26/2011 10:29:54 AM PST by X-spurt
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To: JRandomFreeper

I’m with you. My focus was girls, cars and hunting.

75 posted on 12/26/2011 10:33:19 AM PST by X-spurt
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Everything else is a compromise.

76 posted on 12/26/2011 10:33:29 AM PST by CGalen
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A possible answer to the DUI question will be whether it was a felony DUI or a misdemeanor;

77 posted on 12/26/2011 10:38:30 AM PST by outofsalt ("If History teaches us anything it's that history rarely teaches us anything")
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To: Old Retired Army Guy

“Coast Guard is a lot like the Navy.. Slow on Promotions and unless you are in the “Aviation Wing” not a very rewarding career.”

The Coast Guard today, seems to me, like it is mostly, most of the time, about drug enforcement, like the DEA, except that you are on our shore on a boat most of the time. They also check ships logs, and do an occasional rescue once in a while, but even in rescues, only a couple of the Coast Guard men are usually actually personally doing the rescue work.

I would guess that stateside Coast Guard members are less shot at than any other military organization in the United States.

78 posted on 12/26/2011 10:42:07 AM PST by CGalen
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I’m a retired Army Colonel and serve as a Red Cross volunteer at our regional Military Entrance Processing (MEP) center. In the latter role I speak with dozens of new recruits each month. Without exception those who were given enlistment options for the “better” specialties had scored well on the ASVAB.

The ASVAB is comprised of subtests in the following areas:

- General Science (GS)
- Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)
- Word Knowledge (WK)
- Paragraph Comprehension (PC)
- Numerical Operations (NO)
- Coding Speed (CS)
- Auto and Shop Information (AS)
- Mathematics Knowledge (MK)
- Mechanical Comprehension (MC)
- Electronics Information (EI); and
- Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension (VE).

NOTE: The Numerical Operations (NO) and Coding Speed (CS) subtests are being phased out.

Regardless of the branch of service you ultimately select the key to having enlistment options is getting a good score on the ASVAB. You should not take this test cold. There are study guides available to help prepare for it and practice tests at the website (

I’m not sure about the DWI but don’t think it’s a disqualifier. All the services do a background check so it’s very important not to hide anything or knowingly misrepresent the truth. They will find out and then you might be disqualified.

79 posted on 12/26/2011 10:42:58 AM PST by O6ret (for)
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Not to throw a bunch of cold water on the (largely) pro-military discussion on this thread, but I would strongly recommend this young man to consider community college, or picking up some sort of trade on his own. Follow his interests. He could take some time to find out if there is anything productive that he likes to do and try to get better at that.

In the military, he could spend 2-4 years doing something he might have an aptitude for, but which he hates with a vengeance. At the end of his enlistment, he might know more about what he never wants to do again, but not necessarily have gained any ground on a career.

This is a big decision, and age 24 might be considered too old by some branches.

80 posted on 12/26/2011 10:43:28 AM PST by tpmintx (Problem: The people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who VOTE for a living.)
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