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can we discuss the Marines?


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Had one of those heartfelt chats with Ds tonight. Among other things, he brought up the Marines. Can we discuss options for college with that? He's probably not academy material, but what about Nrotc? How difficult is acceptance/scholarships to those programs?

 

He hasn't brought up military since he was 7, could tell he's been pondering this and done some looking on his own. Not sure how much looking, and I like to give him some ideas on what the Marine option would look like for him.

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A friend of mine just got off active duty as a Marine. He starts Army ROTC this spring. He switched services because of the Marine age cutoff, which is tighter than other branches, and doesn't want anywhere near a ship again, so Navy ROTC was out. A certain percentage of Academy seats and ROTC scholarships are reserved to active duty servicemen, and the current GI bill is pretty awesome too.

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Terrific timing, EL. My son's good friend is home on break. He is a freshman in college with Marines and ROTC. I am ignorant, but know that G will be happy to answer questions. Let me see if he can write up something quick for you since he just went through the process.

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Here's an article on various educational opportunities through the Marines.

 

It is getting tougher to get into any branch of the Military these days, due to the economy. We know 3 young adults who worked hard academically and physically, did everything they could to be prepared and stand out -- and amazingly, did not make it into the Marines.

 

Also, frankly, I would discuss the realities of deployment into active and unstable areas. We know another four or five young 20s-somethings who did make it into the Marines (all enlisted -- none were officers), who have all been changed, some very dreadfully and negatively, by their deployment experiences in the Middle East, with 2 of the marriages falling apart as a result, and one young man who will never be realizing his future dreams. Sadly, there is little to no support for families and for re-integration and counseling when soldiers return home... It is very important to understand that this is a very real potential result of entering this occupation. Not trying to be scary or to dissuade anyone here. And of course, we know many others serving in various other branches of the Military for whom it has been a great career -- serving as AF mechanics, weather forecasters, code operators, etc. Marines and Army infantry seem to take the worst of it. :(

 

Related activities that could help DS get in -- or decide it's not for him afterall -- are Sea Cadets (Navy junior cadets -- offers special program opportunities, travel, & scholarships for ages 11-17), or Young Marines (ages 8 through high school). Both programs give you a taste of military discipline, leadership, and possibility of scholarships or entering at a higher rank.

 

Other tangential ideas:

Merchant Marine Academy

Border Patrol, DEA, Homeland Security (para-military types of occupations)

SMART scholarship

(a work-for-tuition program, in which the US Gov't pays for some or all of your tuition in specific STEM fields, and in return, you work as a civilian researcher in your area of education for several years for military-based companies)

 

 

BEST of luck as you and DS explore career and college options! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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Thanks all. I've stopped hyperventilating for the moment. We've discussed the harsh realities of enlistment before. Along with some of the other goals he's listed, he'd need to go in as an officer. I looked at NROTC and AFROTC at one school in our state last night. The school would be a good fit for him outside of the ROTC, so I'm adding them to the list for him to check out anyway. I'm not sure how serious he is, and he'll have to do  serious work on his own discipline to pursue this or any military branch. 

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Here's an article on various educational opportunities through the Marines.

 

It is getting tougher to get into any branch of the Military these days, due to the economy. We know 3 young adults who worked hard academically and physically, did everything they could to be prepared and stand out -- and amazingly, did not make it into the Marines.

 

Also, frankly, I would discuss the realities of deployment into active and unstable areas. We know another four or five young 20s-somethings who did make it into the Marines (all enlisted -- none were officers), who have all been changed, some very dreadfully and negatively, by their deployment experiences in the Middle East, with 2 of the marriages falling apart as a result, and one young man who will never be realizing his future dreams. Sadly, there is little to no support for families and for re-integration and counseling when soldiers return home... It is very important to understand that this is a very real potential result of entering this occupation. Not trying to be scary or to dissuade anyone here. And of course, we know many others serving in various other branches of the Military for whom it has been a great career -- serving as AF mechanics, weather forecasters, code operators, etc. Marines and Army infantry seem to take the worst of it. :(

 

Related activities that could help DS get in -- or decide it's not for him afterall -- are Sea Cadets (Navy junior cadets -- offers special program opportunities, travel, & scholarships for ages 11-17), or Young Marines (ages 8 through high school). Both programs give you a taste of military discipline, leadership, and possibility of scholarships or entering at a higher rank.

 

Other tangential ideas:

Merchant Marine Academy

Border Patrol, DEA, Homeland Security (para-military types of occupations)

SMART scholarship

(a work-for-tuition program, in which the US Gov't pays for some or all of your tuition in specific STEM fields, and in return, you work as a civilian researcher in your area of education for several years for military-based companies)

 

 

BEST of luck as you and DS explore career and college options! Warmest regards, Lori D.

:iagree:   I have family members who are in the Marines.  This is good advice.  The realities of enlistment should really be seen before signing up.  Meet local Marines who have been deployed and let them talk about their experiences (not just recruiters), etc.  I'm not saying he shouldn't do it, but this is very important. 

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:iagree: I have family members who are in the Marines. This is good advice. The realities of enlistment should really be seen before signing up. Meet local Marines who have been deployed and let them talk about their experiences (not just recruiters), etc. I'm not saying he shouldn't do it, but this is very important.

I think this is great advice. I would add that it's worth talking to several people. So much depends on the particulars of each person's specific experience. Service branch, specialty within the service, family status, deployment history, personalities of bosses etc.

 

Remember that you get one person's experience. So it's worth trying to get several.

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What about being in the Corp at a university like aTm.  I don't think that you HAVE to join the Marines when you graduate, but if you decide to then you would be an officer when you graduate.  My brother-in-law went that route and has enjoyed his military career.  His son is currently a freshman at aTm in the Corp and planning to follow in his father's footsteps.

 

There is a HUGE difference between officers and the regular Marine corp.  I would strongly suggest going the officer route.

 

There are many students at Texas A&M who are on ROTC scholarships.  Texas AM is considered one of the senior military colleges (schools with a historic corps of cadets). Others include the Citadel, VMI, Virginia Tech and Norwich.  In some cases (Citadel/VMI) all students are in the Corps and some are also on ROTC scholarships. In other cases (Texas AM, Va Tech) students who are on ROTC scholarship are in the Corps, but there are many other students with no military/Corps connection.

 

The situation for students in ROTC has shifted over the years. It used to be less competitive than service academies. Now I'd say that it is either about as competitive or in some cases more competitive. Navy ROTC has a more strict requirement to graduate technical majors.  Marine option students are students on a Marine specific Navy ROTC program.  You have to pick Navy or USMC when you apply.

 

It is possible to receive a 2 year or 3 year scholarship as a college student. However, these are VERY competitive and VERY scarce at the moment.  It's good to think of military commissioning programs as being closely related to the state of the economy and to military budgets/manpower goals.  When the economy is hopping and it is harder to get/retain personnel, then there are more scholarships, bonuses and pot sweeteners to people joining the military.  When the economy is in rougher condition or the military is trying to draw down, then there are fewer scholarships; because there is a greater supply of highly qualified applicants.

 

It is possible to be a member of an ROTC unit without being on scholarship. Even if a student does not get a 2 or 3 year scholarship, they can apply for advanced standing. If they are given advanced standing, they can continue with the unit past sophomore year and will be on track to get a contract for a commission upon graduation.

 

FWIW, the service is always able to tell people that they aren't being commissioned or that they will be commissioned 6 months or 12 months after graduation. Everything bows to the needs of the service.  (After Dec 7, 1941, the Naval Academy class of 1942 was graduated 6 months early to get a burst of ensigns out to the fleet.)

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I have no answers for you about marines etc since I am Canadian, but I was going to second the pp that mentioned having him join a cadet corps to get a taste of the lifestyle and training.  Cadets has been a huge boon for my kids, leadership, discipline, training etc.  It gives them a sample of military life, especially when they head out on weekend training exercises or if they get chosen for summer training camp, etc.  For some it is just a fun extra curricular they do, for others it is a step towards their plans to be in the military and for others it serves to prove they can not stand the structure, heirarchy, training etc it entails.  For my kids it had made them want to enlist greatly.  ds15 always wanted to, but dd14 actually never had plans to, then I made her join cadets last year since it was free and I was already dropping ds15 off each week.  She wasn't sure what she thought of it and actually considered quitting this year but I didn't let her.  She now loves it, and is planning to enlist as a mechanic in the army, and letting them handle her training so that when she gets out she will be a heavy duty mechanic and make good $ as a civilian worker.  Ds15 had plans to enlist armored but until he can remain med free for at least 5 years that won't happen.  In Canada it is still fairly easy to enlist, you just need at least 10th grade, pass the psych test, PT test etc and your in.  Both kids plan to enlist and then let the army pay for training/college rather than college first and joining as an officer. I think often with jobs like the military teens get a glamorized image of what it really is like and cadets while not the same as the regular forces does help take some of that shine off the image kwim.

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Well we had a nice chat yesterday about the military. From the little I know about the military, I feel like Air Force would be a better fit for him. We'll look into the cadets, unfortunately the nearest CAP group is in another town and my finances don't allow me to drive there on a regular basis, plus when I brought it up before he wasn't interested. We'll see now. 

 

With his other career goals, he'd really need to go in as an officer. He doesn't want to do ships or subs. 

 

I told him bluntly that if he wanted to join the military (any branch), he'd had to up his self-discipline, academic work, and personal fitness. So the whole interest may be a good test of whether he's willing to do some hard things. 

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With his other career goals, he'd really need to go in as an officer. He doesn't want to do ships or subs. 

 

I told him bluntly that if he wanted to join the military (any branch), he'd had to up his self-discipline, academic work, and personal fitness. So the whole interest may be a good test of whether he's willing to do some hard things. 

I don't have a lot of experience with officer training/academies, but plenty of military folks in my family.  I would say the one thing I wanted my boys to get was that once you sign on that dotted line, you belong to the military.

 

For instance, many a young man was promised to be able to take college classes during the military and it rarely happens, unless it's a random online class while the enlistee's duties are in a lull. 

 

I also know young men who signed up for career paths that would keep them off the ship, and then ended up on the ship.  If you join the Navy or the Marines (a branch of the Navy), you would be best to accept you will likely be on a ship. 

 

And with the Marines in particular, there really isn't a chance to become anything but, well, a Marine.  You can't be a medic (except as a side job, band-aid type of work) or build bridges because those are Navy jobs.  The Marines are a division of the Navy that is meant to just be... Marines.  My brother was a Marine and absolutely loved it, and he probably should have just stayed in.  There aren't really any skills that transfer to civilian careers outside of very physical things.  And compared to other family in other branches of the service, my brother had a particularly difficult transition out. Maybe it was just him, but we wondered if Marines in particular are so accustomed to being told what to do every minute of the day, that it is difficult to suddenly find no one standing over you - it took a good while for him to get himself up for work, clean up after himself, etc. (he was not in war).

 

Julie

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 Maybe it was just him, but we wondered if Marines in particular are so accustomed to being told what to do every minute of the day, that it is difficult to suddenly find no one standing over you - it took a good while for him to get himself up for work, clean up after himself, etc. (he was not in war).

 

Julie

 

And this part is what makes me do a complete huh? with ds. He hates being told what to do, he has a lot of freedom and uses it fairly wisely for a teen, yet he questions everything, not in a rebellious way more in the two year old Why? way. That was part of our conversation yesterday, is he willing to abide by what a CO tells him without question. I do think he could adapt though. 

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I wouldn't totally evaluate military potential by the way a kid behaves at home.  My brother the Marine was the most lackadaisical teen you could imagine, nice but not very motivated, didn't really do what he was told, not very physical, fishing was his sport of choice.  But he loved, loved, loved the discipline of the military, the physical fitness, the defense of hearth and home.  (He still has great posture, LOL.)  Even my dad the disciplined Air Guard career Colonel said he joined the military because he was goofing around too much in college.

 

That I wouldn't worry about. 

 

What I have worried about with my boys is whether they really get that they will no longer be able to decide "I want to have this job" because whatever the promises were, they can be changed as the military needs them to be changed.  Of course, it might be less likely that a college-trained candidate be changed from what he is trained in, as long as the college was finished before beginning active duty.

 

(Oldest son has already finished his 8 years in Army Reserves, and youngest seems to have dropped his Marines aspirations and the recruiter is no longer coming over.  Last year, he passed their little online test easily, so they seemed to be pursuing him, but he wasn't a senior yet so nothing could be formal.  Unfortunately, neither of my boys wanted to be an officer, not really the types to want to yell at people, which they seemed to feel would be a lot of it LOL.)

 

Julie

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Well we had a nice chat yesterday about the military. From the little I know about the military, I feel like Air Force would be a better fit for him. We'll look into the cadets, unfortunately the nearest CAP group is in another town and my finances don't allow me to drive there on a regular basis, plus when I brought it up before he wasn't interested. We'll see now. 

 

With his other career goals, he'd really need to go in as an officer. He doesn't want to do ships or subs. 

 

I told him bluntly that if he wanted to join the military (any branch), he'd had to up his self-discipline, academic work, and personal fitness. So the whole interest may be a good test of whether he's willing to do some hard things. 

 

EL, sorry to take so long to get back to you. If you could pm me your address, I have a hand-written letter from our neighbor addressed to your son. I think he added his phone number too. He's a good guy and worked hard to get his scholarship. This is the young man I have mentioned whose mother originally thought he wouldn't go to college. His sister's comment was that while she may be smarter, her brother works harder and in the long run, it will be to his advantage. So I think the concern for more self-discipline are valid ones, but I also know 15 yo boy brains look nothing like 18 yo boy brains. If your son has a goal that he is fired up about, the discipline will start to show up.

 

Also, my BIL is a "former" Marine who was deployed during the Gulf War and he said he would be happy to answer any questions. He would tell your son that it was a good decision because he was just drifting after high school. He is very proud of his service. While my sister is very proud of his service, she would also tell you that life hasn't always been easy as a result. He is not an officer.

 

My oldest son looked long and hard at military service; he was in CAP and received his Billy Mitchell award. He changed his mind when someone he knows and who is three years older, joined the Army, learned to jump from planes, deployed to Iraq, and came home with an honorable discharge and a fairly messed-up body and mind. The young man is only 22 and his future has really changed. It is good to get lots of perspectives. Our neighbor (and the mother of the young man who wrote to your son) has been in the National Guard since she went to college. It's been a great route that has allowed her to raise her kids, spend time in Afghanistan and in Washington D.C. She's a meteorologist and an officer. There are lots of different routes to go. Have fun exploring.

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I am not sure about the other branches, but the Marine Corps has always been the slowest for promotion and it has gotten even tougher now that they are downsizing. My husband (16 years in the Marine Corps in May) has often commented how sorry he feels for officers coming in now, and how much more difficulty they will face to promote. However he is very grateful for the experience that he has had and the education he received (Naval Academy). He has always needed to have intellectual stimulation, and since he has done so many different "jobs" there has been enough variety to keep it interesting. The hours, of course, have often been ridiculously long, at home and on deployments. He has been deployed around a total of 36-40 months over these 16 years. There is a strong network for career transitioning for those who have been to an academy, and most peers he knows have not had trouble finding a job. Enlisted personnel, I think, struggle much more with the transition. He knows many prior enlisted who have become officers, through different methods, but I don't know how hard it was to be accepted into these programs. That's all I can think of off the top of my head! Military was a big shock to my parents and his- they are all extremely liberal and were convinced he was going to be brainwashed:-)

 

One other thing to add- he has never been injured in combat, but the higher emphasis on physical standards in the Marine Corps has caused him to push himself farther than he would have otherwise. He herniated a disc in his neck and tore his shoulder, and while the shoulder was probably his own doing, the neck was really worsened when he has to go to SERE school (required for aviators - a week of evasion and simulated POW style camp). So even without combat injuries, there is a higher risk for injury just by being a Marine! Which sounds fine in your teens and 20's, but by the thirties most people are approaching broken, it seems!

 

Sara

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One other thing to add- he has never been injured in combat, but the higher emphasis on physical standards in the Marine Corps has caused him to push himself farther than he would have otherwise. He herniated a disc in his neck and tore his shoulder, and while the shoulder was probably his own doing, the neck was really worsened when he has to go to SERE school (required for aviators - a week of evasion and simulated POW style camp). So even without combat injuries, there is a higher risk for injury just by being a Marine! Which sounds fine in your teens and 20's, but by the thirties most people are approaching broken, it seems!

 

Sara

 

Thank you for sharing your experience. Ds's father is in construction and dealt with similar issues, bad back, working with broken wrists. Even as a person who likes to go-go-go, he felt fairly beat up by the job by 40. 

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My brother was in the Marines (enlisted, went to Naval Academy Prep School, graduated from the Naval Academy, then stayed in for his commitment & then got out). In high school, his backpack went into the closet when he came home from school & didn't come out again until the next morning when he was leaving for school. He was an average © student although capable of much more if he put effort in. Once the Marine Corps helped him to see his future, goals, and the path that lay ahead of him (as an enlisted Marine), he became a focused & motivated guy. I think he was on a couple of ships or subs during his time in the Marine Corps, but only for some patrols - not assigned to them full time.

 

My DH went Navy ROTC, was commissioned, and did his five years in the Navy. Neither have found transition to civilian life difficult in terms of getting a job, but they do find that non-military people exaggerate the magnitude of their work problems. DH used to laugh because his military problems were sometimes life-or-death. Not so in the case of designing & manufacturing air conditioners - his first job out of the Navy.

 

He might find that some colleges/areas have less competition for ROTC scholarships than others. It might be just as difficult to qualify for them, but there might be less (quantity of) competition. 

 

 

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