Army and Engineering

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by turtlerunnernc, Feb 13, 2015.

  1. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    I am not very familiar with the military, so please understand if this is a dumb question. My son plans on attending VMI as an Engineering major. Currently Mechanical, but thinking he may want to switch to Civil. He is hoping for an AROTC scholarship and to commission as a 2nd Lt upon graduation.

    My question is what will his AD options be. In surfing ( the all knowing ) internet, it seems that most of the actual engineers are civilian, not actual army. In looking at MOS with Engineer in description none of them seem to be doing what I would consider the engineering aspect. One of them, involving building bridges etc seems the most engineer like, but would be more classified as civil.

    Maybe I am just confused. If he spends 4 years working his rump off to be an engineer then doesn't actually get to be one? Or am I way off base. Just wondering once he commissions what he can expect. Is engineering a good career path within the army? Is one ( mechanical or civil) better over the other, long term career wise?

    I guess when I imagine him as an engineer in the army, something like say Combat Engineer ( dealing with setting/ clearing mines) or Horizontal Construction Engineer ( using bulldozers etc). The Technical Engineer or Engineering Officer, maybe are the closest. Again being unfamiliar with the military I'm just not sure, are these jobs using the degree he studied for?

    Thanks for helping a confused mom.
     
  2. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    You are not off base. I wish candidates are diligent as you were about researching about the Army. A simplest way to look at it is that if someone wants to be a civil engineer, they should join a civil engineering firm. You join the Army to be a soldier. Eventually, you son can do some civil engineering if he ends up with the Army Corps of Engineer. These are senior CPTs or higher assignments, something like after 8 to 10 years of service.
     
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  3. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    So true. The knowledge gained by studying a particular major may have some applicability in the service but the vast majority of majors will not have a direct correlation.
     
  4. Jcc123

    Jcc123 Member

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    Turtle runner, you received some good explanations and advice in the other thread you started on this topic (http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/major-and-commissioning.41505/#post-405260). What aspect of his Army career choices is your son still struggling with, and maybe we can help further?

    I think you may be confused regarding MOSs. Officers are branched, so while they "technically" receive an MOS, it is not the same as enlisted personnel, who contract for a specific job. As you can see below, the list of possible enlisted engineer MOSs is fairly long. If he branches Engineer, your son would likely commission as a 12A (or B) Engineer, and would supervise those enlisted personnel you see below that were assigned to his unit. His job is to communicate his commander's intent, and make sure his NCOs and soldiers have the resources, training and materials to accomplish the mission, whether that be clearing a route for a convoy or grading an airstrip for a new base.


    Career Management Field 12: Engineer
    Enlisted Jobs / MOS List
    12B—Combat Engineer
    12C—Bridge Crewmember
    12D—Diver
    12G—Quarrying Specialist
    12H—Construction Engineering Supervisor
    12K—Plumber
    12M—Firefighter
    12N—Horizontal Construction Engineer
    12P—Prime Power Production Specialist
    12Q—Power Line Distribution Specialist
    12R—Interior Electrician
    12T—Technical Engineer
    12V—Concrete and Asphalt Equipment Operator
    12W—Carpenty and Masonry Specialist
    12X—General Engineering Supervisor
    12Y—Geospatial Engineer
    12Z—Combat Engineering Senior Sergeant

    Corps of Engineers Officer Jobs / MOS List
    12A—Engineer, General
    12B—Combat Engineer Officer**
    12D—Facilities / Contract Construction Management Engineer (FCCME) Officer

    Corps of Engineers Warrant Officer Jobs / MOS List
    120A—Construction Engineering Technician
    125D—Geospatial Engineering Technician

    None of his responsibilities as an Engineer Officer are what you would classicly consider "engineering". As MemberLG pointed out, that could come later in his career if he landed a spot with the USACE, but as a junior officer, true engineering is outside the scope of his responsibilities.
     
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  5. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    Thanks, all of that helps. I understand it better now. DS wants to commission and be career military. He is very good in math and science. I know he expressed an interest in the Corp of Engineers. Maybe he should switch to Civil once he gets to VMI.

    This was more for me than him. I get the impression that as long as he is serving his country he will be happy.
     
  6. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Well, now...... isn't the new Army commercial about joining th Army to become a graphic designer? OUTSTANDING.
     
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  7. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    Ok, this my brain can understand !! Thank you. I will show this to him as well.
     
  8. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

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    This is an abridged retread of something I posted several weeks ago in response to a poster who was fretting over which engineering field would be best for his future in and beyond the military. It is not exactly relevant to your DS's situation, but the themes are the same:

    The military owns the cadet/mid. This is something that many Cadets/Mids and their parent do not think about when speaking of "serving their country".

    Military and academic obligations during college are important in almost equal measure.

    An 18 or 19 year probably has little idea of what majoring in Engineering really entails and less notion of his/her changes during the next 4-5 years. The process of learning will reveal your DS's favored field. The Army, at least, really doesn't care.

    Things can change in a heartbeat which in turn render a Plan A almost useless.

    "I am speaking as the father of two STEM DS's for whom HS level math and science (AP included) were easy. DS #1 is AROTC MS 4. DS #2 started out aspiring to USNA, changed to NROTC, got ROTC scholarship to Michigan, later DQ'ed for eye injury. I think their experiences would be instructive to you.

    I'm assuming by your user name that you would be shooting for the college graduating class of 2022, which would make you a HS sophomore. Your mentioning of Engineering tells me you are a math/science superstar and/or you just love machines and how things work.

    1. You are very smart to start thinking about these things now and this forum is an excellent place to start. Always use the search tool to answer a question before starting another thread with your question.

    2. Concentrate on the studies in front of you right now. As you get deeper into Math, Physics and Chemistry I predict you will find something you hate and something you love.

    3. There are any number of things beyond your control in the application process. You may even just simply change your mind. You may have a disqualifying injury.

    DS #2 was kicked in the eye with a soccer ball two months before receiveing his scholarship and was medically DQ'ed. When he lost his NROTC scholarship, the cost to attend U Mich went from $10-12k to $40k. One of his back-ups was in-state Big 10 U, cost $0. He is Mech E sophomore, works in a physics lab and couldn't be happier.

    4. Understand that you will change over the next several years in ways that you can't imagine. Some of the changes will come from within as you mature and some will be situational. Some are gradual and some are sudden.

    When DS #1 began compiling a list of schools, he was deadset on finding the best Chem E programs. He shared the list with a good family friend who chairs an engineering department at the local Big 10 U. He told DS to think no more narrowly than "I love Chemistry" or "lasers fascinate me". Until you actually get into the guts of engineering, which really doesn't begin until Sophomore year, you have no idea what you are getting into. Engineering can be extremely boring and tedious, so you better love what you are doing.

    5. Engineering is by far the toughest college major. Almost all programs leave virtually no opportunity for electives. At an SA or in ROTC you are on a four year clock, so a ninth and tenth semester are not really an option.

    DS #1 hated the E part of Chem E for all the reasons mentioned. He switched his major to Chemistry. He carried in quite a few credits from HS which would have allowed him to easily finish in four years, but he wanted more academic freedom and less time management stress with his ROTC commitments. He was able to take Arabic, enough Computer Science for a minor, and graduate on time.

    He got his first choice of Active Duty of Signal Corps with the opportunity to work in the brand new Cyber Branch.

    I will let others remind you that an SA or ROTC at a civilian university is not just another college experience. If you are not absolutely committed to serving in the military at the military's pleasure, life can be very unpleasant before and after graduation/commissioning.

    Just ask those AFA graduates who aspired to fly jets and just found out they will be missileers working 200 feet underneath the North Dakota prairie."


    Goals, planning, and preparation are never a bad thing.

    Best of Luck to your DS!
     
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  9. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    I completely agree the above post, you never know what will happen.

    Now, I have another question. Say DS dream comes true, 4yr AROTC scholarship to VMI happens. He heads off to school as an 18yr old engineering major. If in 6 months or a year decides to switch to civil can he? Does the army care? Or, what if he decides engineering isn't what he wants at all. Can he switch completely to something like history or political science or I don't know, snake charming? Does the army care then?

    Just curious how easy it is or allowable when you belong to the army.
     
  10. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

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    My DS changed his major from Chem E to Chem, but that had to be cleared at a level above his battalion and definitely not a given, because it was a drop in Tiers. Engineering to a Social Science would be a bigger drop in Tiers and probably more of a stretch.

    Search the forum for better explanations about changing majors. The topic comes up frequently.

    Yes. The Army cares.

    The biggest mistake a kid can make is choosing a major for the purpose of getting an xROTC scholarship, unless he/she is willing to lose that scholarship if the major proves too difficult.
     
  11. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    Ok thanks. I will search. He didn't choose it for a better chance at a scholarship. I'm pretty sure he will stick with an engineering field. I was just wondering because he is only 18 after all, and you never, he could get into it more and decide he doesn't like it.

    Thanks for all of the info.
     

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