Army Guard vs AD

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by sheriff3, Aug 15, 2016.

  1. sheriff3

    sheriff3 Member

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    Hello all, DS just completed advanced camp and is on the fence as to AD or guard. Please give me all of your pluses or minuses. Thanks.
     
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  2. k2rider

    k2rider Member

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    Well, if he goes AD, he'll have a job lined up for him when he walks away from college with decent benefits. Additionally, his commitment will be over in (4) years vs (8). If he'll have no problem getting a job in his chosen career field, going the NG or Reserve route will allow him to get going ASAP, probably making more money than he ever will in the Army. He'll also get paid for his monthly weekend and Summer drill sessions. One thing to remember when deciding on NG vs Reserves is it's easier to move about the country if necessary (job transfer?) with the Reserves.
     
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  3. QA1517

    QA1517 Member

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    I would say a lot depends on what he wants to do in civilian life. Finding that job that allows you to take off 2 weeks in the summer as well as possible deployments plus the 1 weekend a month. Also depends on what units are available to drill with in your area and if it fits your interest.
    DS is in guard, engineering bridging unit, so they do a lot of field exercises and training. His unit has 3 or 4 months per year that they have 3 day drills so you miss that Friday from work also. Most companies have 1 evening about a week before drill that they having a phone conference to discuss the upcoming drill so that to takes up time. He also had to attend a 40 hour OSHA class for his unit, so there was a week (got paid for that one plus his certification goes with him into the private sector).

    He spends an average of 6 to 8 hours every week doing guard work (no extra pay for the extra time you spend preparing things for drill weekend).
    He has been commissioned a year. Likes the work, likes his unit. He just got put in charge of the largest platoon (65 people) that contains 3 distinctly different squads so every month he has to prepare 3 different training plans.

    Next summer they are to do their summer AT in Europe for about 3 weeks. The following year is there rotation for deployment.

    So as you can see there are a lot of variables that would come into play.
     
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  4. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

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    Sheriff, IMHO it depends on his goals, his branch assignment and what his prospects are for work in the civilian world. K2 may be correct about pay, when comparing 2LT base pay to a management trainee job at a big company, but there is no comparison when adding up all the benefits: particularly health care and more bonuses than you can shake a stick at.

    QA's DS has what looks like an excellent NG situation. It seems to work almost perfectly for him and that makes all the difference regardless of where a 2LT ends up. Presumably, he has a good civilian job with a good employer and his NG assignment is challenging.

    Likewise, my DS's situation as an active Duty 2LT works well for him.

    Commissioned May 2015. Branched Signal. S-BOLC Sept 2015-Feb 2016. Deployed overseas Feb 2016. He was fortunate to get everything he requested: AD, Branch and first Duty Station. His goals, in no particular order, were to build a useful skill set (in or out of the military), actually use that skill set from the get go, manage people, and see the world. Other than being STEM heavy, his college major was unrelated to his Army MOS. His situation simply could not be repeated in the civilian world for a fresh faced college grad.

    From that perspective AD looks very enticing. Unfortunately, not every Cadet gets his/her first choice(s) and there can be a lot of disappointment related to that.

    All the best to your DS!
     
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  5. QA1517

    QA1517 Member

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    To add to this, if he goes guard he will start drilling immediately (actually takes a month or two to get thru the state paperwork and get assigned to a unit). He will still have to attend BOLC. Guard usually pushes them thru fairly quickly but it could take up to a year and then he's gone for however long his branch's BOLC takes. So that could interfere with finding that perfect job after graduating. Not a lot of companies will be willing to hire you if they know that in 3 months you're going to be gone for 5 months. He might have to find something to fill the gap until he goes to BOLC.

    Remember employers cannot fire you for taking off for drill or deployments but it doesn't mean they can't find another reason not to hire you to begin with.
    And the time off could inhibit your job advancement also. One of ds's friends is in Louisiana helping with the floods. That wasn't planned job wise. Professionally that can throw a kink in things.

    In a perfect world we would like to think all employers would be military friendly and so on, but that is not always the case.

    Here's something else to throw in, don't rely upon a guard paycheck to pay your bill's. It doesn't run like clockwork. right now ds is still owed for June, they had July off and he just finished August drill and is owed that. Why, I don't know. Sometimes they just run late.
     
  6. sheriff3

    sheriff3 Member

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    Thank you all. All were excellent responses and the information that he needed
     
  7. QA1517

    QA1517 Member

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    Best of luck to him. Hard decision to make, but that's why they become officers.
     
  8. cajuncarrier

    cajuncarrier Member

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    Well, I never thought that DS would be asking this same question because for years all he has talked about is going active. However, I got the call this summer while he was at CLC/LDAC (or whatever it is called now) DS said they changed it again while he was there. We talked for about 40 min. how he was so disappointed in the training and the unorganized leadership of the camp. I was so stunned, I didn't really know how to react much less answer any of his array of questions. I didn't then and still don't know how to guide him in this situation. One good thing is that he doesn't commission until 2018, so he has time to work through some issues and come up with a plan. Being a super senior has its advantages sometimes. I would hate to see him go reserves when he so wanted to go AD for so long. Reserves wasn't even on his radar. That is what shocked me the most.

    On the good side of this summer-- after he left CLC he was stationed at Fort Meade in MD with the Army Corp of Engineers as an intern. He totally loved it!. His major is mechanical engineering. So if anyone has experience and would like to give some advice on his options for AD and Reserves, that would be much appreciated.
     
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  9. AROTC Parent

    AROTC Parent Member

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    This might allow for the best of both worlds. Civilian position as an ME with the Army Corp of Engineers and as a Reserve Officer. He still might be disappointed with his Reserve time though. I know a number of civilian DOD and other government agency employees successfully serve as Reserve Officers. DIA civilian and MI Reserve Officer for example.
     
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  10. Jcc123

    Jcc123 Member

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    @cajuncarrier I would advise your son to avoid basing his AD/reserve decision on how CLC was run. ROTC is ROTC and the Army is the Army. Unless his actual career goals have changed, there's no reason to alter his decision based on a subpar experience at an ROTC summer camp.
     
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  11. sheriff3

    sheriff3 Member

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    DS had a reserve briefing while at advanced camp last week and was very unimpressed with the presentation. I think he is still on the fence but will for sure will not consider reserves
     
  12. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    You don't want to make a career decision based on an unsatisfactory summer camp experience. They may be still working out the kinks after the move from JBLM a few years ago.
     
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  13. k2rider

    k2rider Member

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    My son went thru EXACTLY the same thought process. He had wanted to go AD from easy one but after going to LDAC, he was all set to go the Reserve route and he started looking for open positions. Fast forward to later in the Summer where he was assigned to shadow a LT attached to a Special Forces unit and he had such a great time that he was back on the AD bandwagon.
     
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  14. txpotato

    txpotato Member

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    Yes. All of this. Our son also went through Advance Camp and CTLT this summer (back to back with no breaks -- flew straight from Knox graduation to CTLT). The kid who has wanted AD and an Army career his whole life has changed his tune. I'm left stunned and not knowing what to say. His main concern seems to be the effects of life on the family (divorce rates, suicides, etc.). Any other insight would be greatly appreciated.
     
  15. cajuncarrier

    cajuncarrier Member

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    That's exactly what I told him. We will discuss this more in-depth this year. Trying to get all of the info I can gather and understand his options in both directions.
     
  16. cajuncarrier

    cajuncarrier Member

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    It is a very difficult decision to make for these cadets. I think DS is beginning to consider those effects on family as well. Let's keep in touch. I would like to know how it all plays out for you guys. For now, I'm going to continue to pray that he makes the best choice for him.
     
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  17. cajuncarrier

    cajuncarrier Member

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    Update. Spoke with DS this week. He told me that his cadre said he will be over the cutoff for AD and that even if he wants reserves or guards he could be forced AD. So he mentioned changing over his ROTC scholarship to the reserve option within this year. Sorry he spouted some acronyms but don't exactly remember them. Then he started to list the benefits of doing such a thing such as being able to look for a unit before the placement of the commissioning cadets come out., etc. Anyone have info on this process?

    also, Do any of you have some experience with this? How to I guide him in this process? He is very close with his cadre and talk to them concerning this, but I would like to make sure he is aware of all his options and the consequences of doing this. Thanks
     
  18. Jcc123

    Jcc123 Member

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    I'd be stunned if he was "forced" AD. It just doesn't happen. I assume he's talking about converting his scholarship to a GRFD scholarship. To be honest, at his stage it's probably not happening either. Why should the guard pick up the tab for his last year
    of school when he can just select guard as his
    component and move on?

    He needs to make the decision based on his personal career goals and be comfortable with it. If he wants to be an active duty officer, the choice is clear. If he prefers a different civilian career, then guard or reserve makes more sense. It's really that simple.
     
  19. QA1517

    QA1517 Member

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    Well the consequences are if you change over to a GRFD scholarship that you cannot go back and will not be able to choose active duty if you have a change of heart. I'm not sure they would allow him to change scholarships during his MS-IV year. I have no experience with that.

    The threat of being forced active duty I believe is a cadre threat just to shock him. In todays environment where the army isn't exactly short on incoming officers I find it hard to believe that they are going to force someone active duty. Not that it might not happen, but a few years ago when they still had LDAC, as I read on here, the #1 or #2 cadet in the country chose reserves over active duty.

    In our state as far as choosing a unit, if he is positive on guard or reserves, usually after the first of the year he will contact his state's resource officer and get a list of the units around where he wants to live. DS had to list his top 3 choices. The resource officer then contacts the units to verify if they will have any openings coming up, if so they will slot the cadet for that opening.

    The benefit being he could kinda choose what branch to go.

    Our state is heavy in Engineering and MP units but also has other support. Not every state might have has many choices as far as what branch to go into.

    The other plus is if he finds a job that would transfer him to another location or even out of state, he could transfer to a guard unit close by or possible even to staff at state or battalion headquarters.

    But here is the big HOWEVER.....If it's the training and organization that has put him off on active duty, national guard and reserves is absolutely no better. DS has been commissioned in guard for just over a year and has a arms length list of how disorganized things are.
     
  20. jocomom

    jocomom Member

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    The LTC at my DS's unit came back from a command briefing last year and told the unit that per higher, if trends continued, cadets would be forced AD to make mission in the near future. Apparently the improving economy, better job prospects and "war fatigue" are all contribution factors making a reserve component a more appealing option.
     

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