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Military Service

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by kimrose, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. kimrose

    kimrose Well-Known Member

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    We are thinking of possibly allowing our son to join the military in a couple of years, to pursue his dream in Meteorology. *Special thanks go out to Saltwater and Cythim for helping me see another side of the military in a thread the other night. Been working overtime on research ever since.

    I always thought that if you are serving active duty, you have to go over seas and fight in the event of war. Now I am realizing that not Everyone fights. That there are, in fact, many behind the scenes jobs that never see battle or bloodshed. I am very intrigued by this, as I know that the only way he could get a BS in his field would be through an avenue that didn't cost us $100k or more. The Military would pay 100% of his tuition. How can you argue with that?? Unless, of course, it's not true....

    My questions to you are, have you ever served in the Military, what was your Branch, and what was your experience like? Would you recommend the youngens today go in, or stay out? Also, how long were you AD, how far did you go in rank (ie, did you stop at Enlisted or pursue Officer).

    Do they really pay 100% tuition, and what is the catch?

    I know it's a lot to ask, but I just really am trying to get as much true life experience information as I can. I know they sell a great story on their official websites, but I need the truth about the different branches and what my son might really be getting into. I know some of you are Veterans, and if you could help a concerned mom out, I'd sure appreciate it. Thanks.
  2. Sam I Am

    Sam I Am Unfriendly and Aloof!

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    Most of my family were in the Navy (on Dad's side) and Army (mom's side) and yes they do (can) pay 100% of your tuition.

    I've got to be 100% honest with you. The absolute best advise I can give you is this:

    It shouldn't be *your* decision if and what branch your son subscribes too. While he will always be your son, he will also be his own man. Give him all the information he needs and let him make his own choices. Let him make his own educated decision. Sometimes making the wrong decision is better than making right one. You learn more from mistakes than from correct decisions.

    Metallica wrote a song called Dyers Eve. (link to lyrics) It's an awesome song and describes exactly what I'm talking about.

    Good luck!
  3. Cythim

    Cythim Benched

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    Hi Kim,

    I've already shared some of my experience with you but I'll try to answer some of your questions.

    The Air Force does pay 100% tuition up to a certain amount each year. According to military.com the limits are $250 per credit hour and $4500 per year. This equates to about 2 classes per semester and 6 classes (18 credit hours) per year. If he wants to take more classes each year he can still use the GI Bill once it becomes available to him. You can also check out the officer route, see if he can get an ROTC scholarship or get into the Academy. The Air National Guard could be a good way to go as well, though each state has different benefits and I'm not sure if or where they might have weather jobs.

    Keep in mind that his training is worth a certain number of credits, though only certain schools will accept them. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is closely tied with the Air Force (they offer classes on every Air Force base around the world), they offer a meteorology degree, and will probably accept all of the training credits.

    For deploying, yes everyone will be slotted into a rotation but Air Force rotations are only 3 or 4 months long. I never ended up going to Iraq in my 6 years but my friends who did were always on a secure installation and did not face life threatening risks. Everyone is also expected to complete one short-tour, which means spending a year in a place like South Korea.

    As I said, I was in for 6 years and made E-5 after 5.5 years. The earliest I could have made E-5 was probably about 4 years in. On average it takes about 4.5 years to make E-5 but each career field is a little different.
  4. Cythim

    Cythim Benched

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    My Mom made the decision for my brother that he could not join the military (he wanted to go Navy). He ended up turning into a burnout and marrying a girl she hates. She regrets making that decision for him.
  5. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    advise and guide but make it clear in the end it will be his decision.

    Too many parents try and make the decision for their kids and all too often that end up badly. Resentment and then blaming the parents if things go wrong.

    Air Force is always the best ways to go if you want to avoid combat. Only pilots and crew members are on the sharp end of the stick.

    And the Air Force values meteorologists above all other services; its not even close. If that is what he wants there is no other SMART way to go really.

    And one thing to remember; in a lot of cases what school you go to does not matter that much. The Cachet for going to prestigious schools is NOT often worth the extra money and loans you have to pay off.

    So going to Embry-Riddle will in the end cost a lot less and the degree will be worth as much as one you can get just about every where else.
  6. kapolani

    kapolani Well-Known Member

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    I joined the Navy when I was 20.

    I was living at home, bumming around with no real direction.

    Best decision I ever made.

    I used to coach youth soccer at the high school level. I always told the kids to stay in school and go to college. I also told them that if you weren't ready for college the military offered many opportunities for someone with no direction.

    The military taught me discipline. It also encouraged me to work hard.

    I went to college after the Navy and used the GI Bill. Life couldn't be better for me and my family right now. Great paying job with long term stability.

    If I had my way military service would be mandatory - 2 year commitment at age 18.

    I wouldn't hesitate to recommend military service to anyone who showed interest.
  7. Yeagermeister

    Yeagermeister Active Member

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    I was in the Army from 87 to 91. I went in because of the GI Bill. I'm sure it's probably changed since then but basically I got x amount of money a month depending on the number of hours I took.

    As for my experience it had it's good times and bad times just like anything else. I am glad I did it because I probably wouldn't have gone to college otherwise.

    I would recommend joining the military and have done so with my nephews.
  8. kimrose

    kimrose Well-Known Member

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    Wow. That's a lot of positives from you guys that have been there and done that. Yes, I know it has to be his decision. There is nothing worse than a parent that forces their kid to do what the kid does not want to, ie family tradition, status, finances, whatever.

    Surprisingly, he is very open to discussing it. I actually thought he would be opposed to it, after all the military talks we have had in the past, with this war thing going on right now and all. He did ask me, though, why I have changed my mind on my stance, and I told him about our conversation on here the other night, then with looking into it more in depth, I realized that I was wrong. He is cool with that. :)

    He said he would be interested in the Air Force, and that he would like to learn how to fly. It is something for him to build on in his future. I know that you have to have top scores in the ASVAB and AFQT, plus at least a Bachelor's degree. And, that would mean possibly flying into enemy territory and I wouldn't sleep most nights, lol. He has always loved aviation, I guess most boys have.

    But weather is his thing. If he could make the grades in Math and Electronics, he would have it made, because he knows so much about the field already. It's really one of the only things he likes to talk about. Too bad only the NavyReserves fly over the hurricanes, that would be the ultimate dream for him. But it is almost NO pay, because the Reserves is less than part-time. It's not really a career.
  9. Jammer

    Jammer Retired Air Force Guy Zone Supporter

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    I retired out of the Air Force in '05 after 23 years. I deployed all over the world as a large part of my time was spent in Special Ops. I wasn't a Special Ops guy myself, but I maintained the the electronic warfare/countermeasures stuff on the aircraft. I went all over the world doing 2-3 month deployments and I did a year's tour in South Korea and 4 years in England. Even though I went all over the world I never was in a combat area. That's the great thing about the Air Force; we send the Airplanes to the war while we stay back. :) I know you don't want to hear that, but the flyers are the ones who get in harm's way for the most part.

    Even though I got great training in a field I like (electronics) I would chose something that wasn't in the "maintenance" field. Air Force is about flying planes and that comes before all else, so when a plane is broke and it's scheduled to fly we have to get it up in the air no matter what. It was difficult getting my education because of the deployments I had to do. I would enroll in a class and a month later I would get deployed somewhere. I was able to do it but it took longer than I liked. I'm sure it's a much easier road to travel now since you can take classes online.

    The Military is great at paying for your education. When I was in the AF they paid 75% of tuition while on active duty, but that changed all the time. Sometimes it was 100%. Not sure what it is now. There are a lot of benefits most people don't think about besides the pay. Do some research and you'll be amazed at some of the benefits.

    My dad wanted me to join the Air Force out of high school. I wasn't ready for college and I really wasn't ready for the military. I didn't get ready for the AF until I was about 21 years old. If I went in any earlier I would not have lasted. I had a great work ethic, but I also enjoyed things that weren't approved of by the military. As I said, I retired a few years ago and to everyone's surprise I don't miss it at all even though it really was a great way of life.
  10. Zaxor

    Zaxor Virtus Mille Scuta

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    Army here..did 3 wars/conflicts...

    my knees are shot, I can't hear worth a crap and my lungs are ate up with chemicals which forced me into a complete retirement, buried more friends than I have alive...drank alot, got in trouble a lot and in general had a great time.. hadn't those war/conflicts been in the way I would have said I was having the time of my life. Traveling, meeting and dating pretty girls from all around the world...formed a little band... played a little music...did everything I ever wanted to do and more..hangglide, skydive, scuba dive, drive a race car, horse and camel...get chased out of Italy from a mad Papa (he didn't think I was doing his daughter right and he was right)ski the alps (except I don't ski long story) fell a sleep on a train wind up in Chech... when it was still behind the iron curtain (man almost caused an international incident) mooning the russian guards by the check points...watched a drunk friend pee on the electric fence lucky it didn't kill him but it was so funny i was laughing till I cried... great, great times.
  11. Garland powerplay

    Garland powerplay Active Member

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    I received an honorable discharge in Army. People who go in the military for an educaton or career are going for the wrong reasons IMO. Its a great step in life and experience. My drill Sargent made it clear your not here to go to school your here to be a soldier...

    The G.I. bill that I had was after you paid for and passed a class they would reimburse a few months later. People I know did better w/ financial aid and other ways.
  12. kimrose

    kimrose Well-Known Member

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    You, sir, have lived a hell of a life.:clap2:
    I want that for my son, too.
  13. Cythim

    Cythim Benched

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    The Post 9-11 GI Bill will pay eligible individuals:

    Your full tuition & fees directly to the school for all public school in-state students. For those attending private or foreign schools tuition & fees are capped at $17,500 per academic year.

    A monthly housing allowance (MHA) based on the Basic Allowance for Housing for an E-5 with dependents at the location of the school.

    An annual books & supplies stipend of $1,000 paid proportionately based on enrollment.

    http://www.gibill.va.gov/benefits/post_911_gibill/index.html

    I've been using the old GI Bill system and it works just fine. I have worked a deal with the school where I pay them as soon as the VA pays me, which is on a monthly basis.
  14. Cythim

    Cythim Benched

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    There has also been discussion of making the GI Bill transferable to dependents. If your son is able to complete school during his enlistment he could transfer his GI bill to one of his kids or his spouse.
  15. Garland powerplay

    Garland powerplay Active Member

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    Wow didnt have those benefits pre 9-11. My son and friends are in early teens and want to go to West Point. That seems like the best option for someone joining.
  16. kimrose

    kimrose Well-Known Member

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    Yea, I read about that, too. If that sticks, what a great opportunity for the kids of these guys. So that's how it works with the GI Bill, but how does it work when you are actually still in the Service? Working toward your degree while serving?

    I guess a recruiter could answer some of these questions, but I've seen them hanging around my son's school, and even in the stores trying to recruit people off the street, and quite frankly, I don't trust them. They look like vultures to me. Their eyes are hungry and willing to be dishonest. (which really is another reason I was against him enlisting) I want my son to be fully informed before he talks to one, so they can't lie to him.:mad:
  17. kimrose

    kimrose Well-Known Member

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    We, incl. my son, were thinking more along the lines of an AF job "as" a career, moving up through the ranks with education and experience, just like a civilian career~only much more fulfilling. If he so chooses, and if that's even possible. Not sure about that either, can you stay in or do you have to come out and wait to get called back?? Everything I read online talks about preparing you for life AFTER the Service, but what if you want to stay in?:confused:
  18. Garland powerplay

    Garland powerplay Active Member

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    Its a running joke on what the recruiter will tell you. When you sign the dotted line thats it so be 100% thats what you want to do and make the decision without someone maiking it for you . You cant go in half hearted.
  19. Cythim

    Cythim Benched

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    While you are in it has to be an approved degree program and the Air Force will pay the school up front. There is an education office on base that helps with all the paperwork and often serves as the school house. If he wants to be an officer he should try for an ROTC scholarship, they are not hard to get if you start early. The following schools in Texas have approved meteorology programs that can be completed on a ROTC scholarship:

    Lubbock Christian University
    St Mary San Antonio TX
    Trinity University San Antonio TX
    University Of The Incarnate Word College San Antonio TX
    Texas A&m University College Station TX
    University Of Texas - San Antonio
    Texas Christian University Fort Worth TX
  20. kimrose

    kimrose Well-Known Member

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    Have you heard of Air Force Community College?? I read that it is one that can be used right on base at the education center. They call it the largest community college in the world, because I think you access through portals right there. That could be an avenue, as long as he's "in", anyway. Some people living on base are working on their Master's through this college portal, or so the AF website says, and that's really neat.

    And man, those bases are incredible! If it's really as nice as they show, I want to live on one!!:D

    We have so much to learn still. And so much to prepare for if he wants to do it, which right now, he is leaning towards as a viable future. I'm glad we're starting now. Maybe by the time he's a senior in two years, we will have enough info for him to make an informed decision.:p:

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