A Navy and Air Force recruiter(s) has been talking to me about the Reserves.
I participate in a service industry (non-combat personnel), and there is a Reserve equivalent. I would probably go in as an Air Force “Captain,” and whatever the equivalent to the Navy is, due to education and experience.
Again, these two are the ones actively recruiting me at this time. I’ve not spoken with an Army (Officer’s) Recruiter.
This has been my thinking:
Pros about becoming a Reservist:
- One Weekend a Month turns out to be a $500+ month pay raise for me. That is significant, since my family is trying to get out of debt.
- I could purchase the TriCare (military) insurance at less than $200 per month (for me and two kids. Wife is taken care of by her job). Right now, my insurance runs over $1000 per month. That would be a HUGE SAVINGS! Honestly, this is the biggest selling point to me at the moment.
- I always wanted to join the military; just never seemed to be the right time.
Cons about Reservist Service:
- I would be gone one weekend a month, and we are raising two young children.
- Could be deployed into a combat zone and possibly die (though not likely, I would be a non-combat personnel), leaving a widow and two fatherless kids.
Now, when I think about the Branches of Service; this is what I think of:
Army – Easiest Branch to get into (in my field). I’ve heard that my career path doesn’t tend to stay in for very long (high turnover rate). Worse food, worse accommodations. But, if you like to see action; boy will you get it! High deployment possibility.
Personally, even though I don’t want to be away from my wife and children for long periods of time; I wouldn’t mind playing in the dirt. I had often dreamed of going on some assignment somewhere, and coming back 6-9 months later. My reason to avoid deployment (if an option and not required) is family based; not preference based. I’m the kind that would actually want to go.
Even though I have plenty of ex-Army buddies; it’s never been a Branch I wanted to check out.
Air Force – Great food, great accommodations. Great Pay. While deployment is possible, not necessarily probable. I would spend most of (if not all) my time stationed at a base. My ex-Air Force friends have told me, “This is the closest you’ll come to living a civilian life while being able to wear a military uniform.”
It also seems to be the hardest to get into for my line of work. Their turn over is minimal, and they’ve been cutting in this category. In the state of TX, there are two current openings.
My dad (who died right before I was born) was an ex-Air Force guy. Turns out that he had been military police, and I have a piece of his uniform (some silver wings). This is an emotional thing for me. A connection to a dad that I never got to know.
Along the lines of family, they would be the most family friendly (or so I’ve been told). This may be the “smartest” choice.
I’ve never been good at making the smartest choice. I’m too much of an “feeler/intuitive.” I’m an INFJ for those who speak Meyers Briggs.
Navy/Marines – I added the Marines here for a reason. You see, as a young child I always wanted to be a Marine. I blame it on my brother, and John Wayne. I actually checked out the Marine Reserves while in college…and you know what? They only take Marines coming from active duty! Also, they don’t have COs of their own, they use the Navy’s Commissioned Officers.
Ok, I never dreamed about joining the Navy. I grew up around water, and I really have no need to live on it ever again. I don’t get excited about swimming; and who ever thought that a “white” uniform was a good idea?! White! Really? I mean, the Marine’s uniform looks soooooo much better!
Along the lines of the Navy, they are known for having great food, and good base accommodations. They also have good pay. I would either have a base assignment, fleet assignment, or Marine assignment as a reservist (or so I understand). There would be a high possibility of deployment. They are almost as hard to get into as the Air Force; but not quite as bad.
As I think about it; my mind says “Air Force. No brainer.” Also, there is a little bit of my heart that pushes that way as well. Something about having it in common with my deceased father. But, a larger part of my heart says Navy (MARINES!).
Of course, the largest part of my heart, 99.9% of it belongs to my family. As an adult, a husband and a father; that weighs in most heavily.
I appreciate any wisdom you might be able to share as I make my decision.