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Unread 08-26-2008, 08:12 PM   #1
ajeepman
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Exclamation any family military experience info please

My situatuon is I am 32 years old , married and have 2 boys 13 and 9. We currently do not own a home so relocating is not an issue. We just moved into our current home last year so leaving behind great friends is not an issue either. I make $24 per hour as an electrical tech for a major retailer's in house maintenance program. I have noticed a lot of cut backs by the company to help survive the economical struggle and fear that my job may be eliminated within the next year or so. With that said I like to look long term for my family and feel that if I need to make a job change or take classes to further my career it would be best to join the Military and take advantage of the schooling and benefits offered and possibly retire in 20 years at the age of 52 from the military. I have always wanted to be a police officer but the wife says she could not sleep at night knowing the dangers. As far as the military she accepts that god forbid something were to happen , it would be for a good cause rather than some guy that just killed someone that I happen to pull over for no tail lights deciding to take my life as I approach the car. I am by no means looking at the military as an easy way out because if needed I would work 3 jobs to support the family. I have always had the desire to serve and almost did join 4 years ago. So with this said I have my wife and kids blessings to take the leap but I would like to hear your experiences to consider if its right for us. I will be meeting with a recruiter in the next couple of days most likely to put everything on the table as far as what they have to offer. I believe my only option at this point would be the Army at 32 but will look further into this.

Sorry to write a book but I wanted to put it all on the table the 1st time so there was no need for guessing my situation before responding.

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Unread 08-26-2008, 08:20 PM   #2
firefighter1c57
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Sounds good to me. The Army does a lot to help take care of familys. Family Rediness Groups, good family health care, family houseing pretty good, but getting really good at most bases. El Paso is building new nice family housing, same thing in Lawton. Go for it. Hooah
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Unread 08-26-2008, 08:38 PM   #3
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Like the above poster says, lots of facilities and programs to help take care of families. My personal experience was that the kids got to travel the world and interact with lots of cultures and young people. One of my daughters learned a second language. Kids seem to learn much faster than us old folks :-) Anyhow if you don't get into a job where you're constantly deployed then its a pretty nice gig.

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Unread 08-26-2008, 08:54 PM   #4
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Thanks guys....I was thinking the same as far as a good MOS choice so not to be deployed as often. Any suggestions? I have an electrical background but (not to sound bad) I can pretty much do anything I set my mind to and it actually comes pretty easy to me. My current job also requires me to maintain and repair automatic doors, alarm systems, ems systems, computer networking, freight equipment and pretty much anything else that needs repair or upgrading. I was hoping that would be a plus and maybe lead to a job offered on a base and be able to spend most of my time local. Unfortunately although I have 15 years experience , I am not licensed in any of these areas other than certified locally so I don't think the Army will offer me much for my experience. This is something I will be discussing with a recruiter hopefully in the next few days.
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Unread 08-26-2008, 09:00 PM   #5
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If you are looking for an environment where you come home everyday to your family, look at the Air Force, I did 10 years and then seperated. I had a few TDYs and a 1 month deploymnet, but for the most part it was like a regular job as far as working environment. Your getting to that age when they will stop looking at you. I think 35 is the cut off if I remember correctly, they may have changed it though.

There are several good careers with the AF, you can actually take what you have been doing and do the same thing, they have electronics people all over the AF. I was in computers/networking myself and it's paid off 10 fold since I got out. I raised both my boy's while in the AF, they are 12 and 15 now, and I always had support from my mentors and advisors. People were always there on Thanksgiving and Christmas to provide a ham or turkey for airmen with families. Of course I returned the favor after I moved up in the ranks to my airmen.

I throughly enjoyed my time in, but I was at that point where I needed to move on.
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Unread 08-26-2008, 09:04 PM   #6
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My three kids are all in the military, two of them have wives and kids (one wife each, multiple kids each). They do quite well financially (one is an Naval officer, the other Naval enlisted) and the wifie's and kids seem to be healthy and happy. All three will probably retire before I do. Naval officer has received bachelor and master degrees while on active duty. Army kid (enlisted) is still unmarried but seemingly enjoys his career.

The only caveat I would have for you is age; I took basic at the age of 19, was in Vietnam six months later. 32 is ancient .

Seriously - speak to an Army recruiter, but check out Navy/Coast Gaurd just to see. Clean sheets on a warm rack have a lot to recommend them.

As always, read the contract twice before signing.

(I elected to get out of the military after my Vietnam tour. Those people kept shooting at my airplane. And there's no excuse for that level of rudeness.)

Good luck!
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Unread 08-26-2008, 09:09 PM   #7
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I think it is different strokes for different folks. The way things are these days with the Army it seems no matter what your day job is, you are going to get deployed. I personally am in the AF but have a lot of friends in the Army. A few have supposed jobs that don't deploy, well they have deployed so think of it as I am going to deploy. The military does offer a lot of programs for families. My wife and I are personally waiting till I get out to start a family. I just don't want to raise a family in this lifestyle. Again that is just personal feelings.
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Unread 08-26-2008, 09:12 PM   #8
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My Grandfather was in the navy on the enterprise which the story is being told on the history channel on battle 360 if anyone is interested...I chose to go to the history channel website and purchase the dvd set... any way I am open to all branches but as you mentioned my age is a determining factor as to whether I can enlist or not. I know the Army is a go but not sure on the others but I am researching tonight. Thanks again for your time,Tony
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Unread 08-26-2008, 09:16 PM   #9
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Was there a question in the original post?


I'm in the air force, enlisted, coming up on 22 years service.

First off - if you want to be a police officer is that the kind of job you're looking for in the military? MP or security forces?

Secondly - it's true that USAF folks deploy less often than army folks - but the difference is narrowing year by year. The really big difference is that most USAF deployers are away for 4 months at a time vs the army's year long tours (note: the AF guys are filling more and more 12 month long tours every day)

Third - basic training is tough on older folks. I went thru Army OSUT at Ft Knox as an 18 yr old... joined national guard, later switched to USAF. USAF basic training is MUCH less demanding than army basic training.

Fourth - money - you won't be making 24 dollars an hour anymore! While some of that will be offset by base housing and medical coverage it's still a chunk of cash you're not going to have.... if you have outstanding credit card debts or car payments, etc that you can't get out of the military won't help with that



Having said all that, I wouldn't trade a single moment of my military service for ANYTHING else in the world - it's been an AWESOME 21 years!
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Unread 08-26-2008, 09:23 PM   #10
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I was an Electronic Warfare/ Intercept Aviation System Repairer (33W) while in the Army. Sounds about on level with your experience. Great GI Bill, and bonus money. And you won't be out on the front line.

One situation with kids, is the constant change. Going from school to school, duty station to duty station can be rough on them.

Basic training will be tough... start getting in shape now.
Pay isn't the best, but the benefits make up for it. Also, in order for you to go overseas, you'll have to do a 3 year there since you have family. Makes it more fun to be in a foreign land...
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Unread 08-26-2008, 09:29 PM   #11
ajeepman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjjj View Post
Was there a question in the original post?

Fourth - money - you won't be making 24 dollars an hour anymore! While some of that will be offset by base housing and medical coverage it's still a chunk of cash you're not going to have.... if you have outstanding credit card debts or car payments, etc that you can't get out of the military won't help with that

Having said all that, I wouldn't trade a single moment of my military service for ANYTHING else in the world - it's been an AWESOME 21 years!
Thanks and as far as outstanding debt, I have avoided credit cards and the only debt is a car loan which I plan to either payoff prior to enlisting or deal with as need be. I know the pay is definately going to be hard to adjust to at first but from what I've read on the military benefits a large portion of my monthly expences wil be offset by allowances for housing and food. Is this not the case? My main concern would be if the family goes right away or if I need to try and cover the bills at home some how before the family is allowed to come along. I definately would love to be home as much as possible but my boys have been brought up as respectful and very well mannered kids. They are very good to their mother and with that said would be fine if I were deployed for a year away but after that year what happens? Do I get time off and if so how much before being re-deployed? These are the kind of answers I am looking for and am hoping to get real life experiences prior to meeting with a recruiter.
Thanks again,
Tony
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Unread 08-26-2008, 09:33 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by athos76 View Post
I was an Electronic Warfare/ Intercept Aviation System Repairer (33W) while in the Army. Sounds about on level with your experience. Great GI Bill, and bonus money. And you won't be out on the front line.

Basic training will be tough... start getting in shape now.
Pay isn't the best, but the benefits make up for it. Also, in order for you to go overseas, you'll have to do a 3 year there since you have family. Makes it more fun to be in a foreign land...
33w seems right up my alley and I will be looking into it tonight

please explain what you mean about the 3 years overseas

Thanks,Tony
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Unread 08-26-2008, 09:54 PM   #13
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Might not be the best option for you. First you will take a huge cut in pay to start you will make around $1250.00 a month before taxes, that is $7.80 per hour. Yes they will provide housing and money to cover expenses but it is capped. You will be in boot camp and away from your family. You will have to wait until you make rank to be allowed to live off base. The hassles of getting your family set up as needed in a place to live and covering the rent etc. until things fall in place will put a huge financial drain on you and them. Unless you are lucky and get good assignments you will be away from your family.

Right now even though your future is unknown you are there with your wife and children. You have a set routine and you all get time together. There is nothing like going on a deployment and returning to your family to your wife handling everything including discipline, bedtime stories, cooking cleaning, bill paying, car care, lawn care. You will be outside of the loop. It is wonderful for the first few days while you are fresh home but when it all settles down and you need to try to fit into a routine then it gets tough. What do you take on, to what level? What will you mess up trying to learn the system? What things do you let the wife keep doing so as to not make it tough on her when you next deploy? It takes an incredible amount of work to make it work. The kids even though they may understand why you are doing what you are doing they will still be bitter because you are not available.

You will find that your family didn't come in your sea bag. Whether you like it or not the military expects you to make them prioroty #1. For to long your family has been in that spot and it will be tough for you to change that and you will be bitter. It will be tough for them to understand that their school plays, ball games, graduation, etc may end up with you out of the picture due to military duties that you are unable to get out of, and they will become bitter.

There are many options for you other than the military that will use your existing skills or train you in another trade. You should look into the local workforce development center/unemployment office and see what they have to offer. Some of the programs will be available to you to advance yourself and make it more desirable for the company to keep you. Some will be only available to you if you lose your job and are layed off collecting unemployment. Knowing what is available to you will only help to ease your mind as to your future regardless of the outcome. One piece of advice if you choose to forgo the military, maintain your current job and continue to do a good job. The place may be downsized and you still have ajob. Or it may go under and as one of the final employees you may be eligible for severance, a few extra months of health insurance, a company payed for retraining program on top of programs offered by the state.

At your age and with your children at the ages they are I would advise you stay away from the military. I think it would end up doing worse for you in the end than if you were to stay where you are and take what may come there.

If you need to ask questions or talk drop me a pm with phone number and I will touch base a bit more on being in the military. It works great for some but others it doesn't I was there with family for 10 years and saw the good and bad.
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Unread 08-26-2008, 09:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajeepman View Post
Thanks and as far as outstanding debt, I have avoided credit cards and the only debt is a car loan which I plan to either payoff prior to enlisting or deal with as need be. I know the pay is definately going to be hard to adjust to at first but from what I've read on the military benefits a large portion of my monthly expences wil be offset by allowances for housing and food. Is this not the case? My main concern would be if the family goes right away or if I need to try and cover the bills at home some how before the family is allowed to come along. I definately would love to be home as much as possible but my boys have been brought up as respectful and very well mannered kids. They are very good to their mother and with that said would be fine if I were deployed for a year away but after that year what happens? Do I get time off and if so how much before being re-deployed? These are the kind of answers I am looking for and am hoping to get real life experiences prior to meeting with a recruiter.
Thanks again,
Tony

Housing is provided on a availability bases, or housing allowance if not available. BAS is the food allowance, and it's hit and miss depending on your location. When your not deployed, it's kinda a 9 to 5 job. Most weekends of, mission first. You get 30 days of leave a year. Use it.

Quote:
33w seems right up my alley and I will be looking into it tonight

please explain what you mean about the 3 years overseas

Thanks,Tony
If you do a overseas tour, such as being based in Italy, you can take the fam with you, but you'll be there for 3 years.
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Unread 08-26-2008, 10:00 PM   #15
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Air Force! You'll know (in general) when you'll be deploying, if you deploy at all so your family can prepare. The standard of living is a bit higher for both the family and yourself. You'll be in the military, but still have a sense of self. Focusing on furthering your education will be much easier with a "normal" Air Force job. Avoid AFSC 3P0X1 (Security Forces) like the plague. I did 6 years of that, met some great people, saw many sandy places and got treated like the bastard child of a drunken Air Force/Army one night stand. Somehow I still miss every minute of it. As rjjj stated, you won't be bank rolling anymore, ensure that you'll be able to make your current bills on military pay. You're older and wiser, but still; don't let any recruiter, whether AF, Army, Navy or whatever push you into anything. Make sure you have a guaranteed job assigned before signing anything, "open general" means you'll be a cook, cop or crew chief. Good luck.
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