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Question for all you Vets out there and anyone who feels like contributing.

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

So here's the deal. I have less than one year left in service in the US Army. Right now, my plans include getting out and going to a University full time using my GI bill, while remaining a guardsman in the Arizona National Guard. However, I'm not sure this is the best decision- the Army has great benefits, it gives me a reason to be fit, it's a (mostly) steady paycheck, and there's a certain sense of pride that you get from being in service.

 

Currently, however, this job does not seem to be something I want to do forever. Being a young Sergeant (I'm 20), I've come up through the ranks and seen the difference in duties and responsibilities between soldiers and leaders. I have only one deployment and I do not feel satisfied with my job in Garrison life.  I feel, unfortunately, that I came in too young. I fear that I only want to get out because I see my friends partying and going to college and getting what seem to be "real jobs" at Supreme Courts and hospitals- and I feel stuck. I feel distant from family and friends, and I feel I am neglecting the friends, no, brothers I have up here.

 

My question to all you veterans is- Why did you get out? Do you regret it? What do you feel would have happened if you stayed in?

 

I'm coming up on my reenlistment window and this is a big decision for me to make. Any comments/criticism is welcomed.

post #2 of 4
Go to school stay in the guard. I would personally just do a 1 yr extension and take it from there. The days of the big bonused are over anyway, so I dont think an extension would be bad. Go to school, at 20, you are sill very young. And that GI Bill BAH can serve as your drinking/party money icon_gu_b_slayer[1].gif

As to you being concerned about the difference in suty between enlisted and NCO, you will do just fine. Use it as what it is, an excellent life lesson in managing people. As you get older, your responsibilities will increase anyway, wether you like it or not. I am still in, so I cant weigh in on a decision to stay in or get out.
post #3 of 4

I was 4yrs regular Army.  I got out because my enlistment was up... and well at 21 I didn't see myself wanting to go through the day to day routine of Army life.  Being told where to be, what time and what to wear just wasn't my deal anymore.  Around my 1st year I know I was out at the end of my 4 years so I planned accordingly.  Saved as much as I could, made sure I had no debt and I even saved lots of leave to get out 90 days early.  Great experience, but I couldn't say that I absolutely loved it.  On a positive note, I did go to college right after and had all my schooling covered under the GI Bill.  My employer when I got out also covered around $5K a year towards my degree.
 

post #4 of 4
I did nearly 4 years in the Marine Corps and got out a few months early to finish up college (I had just about two years of full-time left for undergrad). I considered joining the National Guard or Marine Corps Reserve to get a bit more help for college (this was before the GI Bill was as good as it is now) but two of my uncles talked me out of it, warning me that the reserves and Guard are the first to be deployed and life would be nowhere near as nice as it was on active duty. The reserve and the Guard just do not have the budget or the career-minded personnel that the active duty segments of the branches do... which is really saying something. That, combined with the more frequent deployment schedules can make life hell. I'm glad I listened to my uncles. A few months after I got out, 9-11 happened and the Guard unit I would have likely joined was one of the first deployed and seems to have been deployed constantly since then.

However, fate got me anyway as I was recalled while I was on IRR 2 years from the day after I got out. However, I sort of lucked out and was given a great assignment working at the School of Infantry for 2 years with a lot of time of in some great weather. When my extra 2 years of activation in the IRR was done, I couldn't really decide what to do. I was done with college and was looking into going back on full active duty in the Marine or at some commissioning programs. Ultimately though I got out and went back to school to finish a second degree and then start graduate school.

I was still friends with many of my high school friends and they all already had good jobs and seemed way ahead of me. Now (8 years later) things seemed to have evened back out and I am no longer jealous of them having been "ahead" of me in their careers. I am relatively successful and I am married to a beautiful woman and we have the greatest little girl in the world. I am more than comfortable financially and have a nice house in a desirable neighborhood. Had I stayed in the Marine Corps, I would have never met my wife, and even if I had gone the officer route, I would probably be living in some shitty military town. However, I do still occasionally miss the Marine Corps. For some folks there is just something nice about the structure and routine of the military.

In the end, I don't regret getting out. Had I stayed in, I would have likely gone the officer route and would maybe be a captain by now (or very close to it). However, I probably would have had multiple deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, and I would serve my country but I do like being home and safe too.

At 20 you are still pretty young and with a year left on your enlistment you have time to consider your options. Maybe it might be worth it to look in to an ROTC program or something similar (I'm not sure what commissioning programs the Army has) so you could go college and earn your degree but still have that structure that it sounds like you appreciate.
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