Convincing my parents

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Dzall, Apr 29, 2014.

  1. Dzall

    Dzall Member

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    I chose an Army ROTC scholarship a couple months ago, but my parent's hostility towards my decision recently peaked. They believe that I have been seduced by army marketing, and that I am joining some suicidal cult that I am going to hate or be brainwashed into liking. Whenever I try to convince them that they are entirely wrong, they tell me that I have only talked with the propaganda wing (ROTC) and that I have no idea what army life is really like. I am getting extremely tired of this and I would really appreciate having some veterans answer some questions so I can definitively disprove their erroneous paranoia. I would really appreciate any advice.

    1) If I go into reserve, either immediately after I commission or after a 4 year active duty commitment, is there any chance of me being called again to serve unless there is a war? They are convinced that the defense cuts will mean that I will never get out and constantly get called back.

    2) If I choose a reserve option after commissioning, what sort of commitment would I have in the reserve? They think it would derail any other career I would be interested in.

    3) If I wanted to do reserve rather than active duty, how likely is it that I would get it?

    4) Does ROTC really present an experience that is similar to active duty life?

    I feel that I know the answers to most of these questions, but I want to hear from people who actually have actual experience.
     
  2. MSFaygo

    MSFaygo Member

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    Thank you for your interest in serving your country!

    You should be proud of your desire to serve even if your family doesn't support your decision. Without brave young men and women like yourself, we would not be able to live in this 'land of the free' (which really wasn't free!)
     
  3. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    Correct me if im wrong

    Usually if you go Reserve you have an 8 year commitment in the Guard or US Army Reserves. If you want Reserves, I'm sure you'll get it. There are so many that want Active, they'll give the slot to one of them.

    I'd say no, ROTC doesn't give an accurate representation of Active a Duty life, just like Medical school doesn't give you an accurate representation of life as an emergency room doctor.

    I'd tell you above all, to follow your heart. You have to make decisions you can live with yourself, you certainly don't want to be 40 and be kicking yourself for not pursuing your dreams.
     
  4. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Usually. However, if by the time you graduate the USA is in another war/armed conflict which requires more officers and enlisted people than is currently projected.... THEN you may not have a choice whether you are active or reserve. Hard to foresee the future and I would be very cautious of joining the military with any plans of being inactive for 8 years.

    One benefit of ROTC is that you can "try before you buy". Give it a shot for a year, learn more about the Army and then make your own decision.

    Good Luck!:thumb:
     
  5. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    1. You will most likely not be called to Active Duty unless a major conflict starts, think another Iraq War. Defense cuts will not increase you chances of being called Active and they will not mean you will never get out.

    2. If you commission Reserves or National Guard you will have an 8 year commitment. It will not derail any civilian career, there may be times you will go to extra training other then your normal drill time. You can have a civilian career just fine while in the Reserves.

    3. You can select the Reserve option when you asses, nobody has been denied the Reserve option for a while, even during the past two wars. There are plenty that want to go Active Duty.

    4. No ROTC does not represent Active Duty life, maybe somewhat while training but overall no. You will have plenty of time to be a normal college student, join clubs, join a Fraternity, play sports, run for school office, it is not 24/7 unless you want to attend a Senior Military College.

    Like was said above, you can accept the scholarship, do ROTC your freshman year, if you decide it's not for you then you can leave, you will not have any obligation and won't have to pay back the scholarship. Your obligation starts the first day of your sophomore year, so in essence you have a one year test drive.
     
  6. Dzall

    Dzall Member

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    I really appreciate these responses. Hopefully it will help me to get my parents more comfortable with my decisions. Regardless, I guess I'll have a year to see if I'm making the right choice.
     
  7. mbitr

    mbitr Member

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    With regard to your first question, the Reserve is on a cycle (see ARFORGEN) just like its active duty counterpart. The idea is that once every five years a unit becomes available for active duty mobilization, as needed. The GWOT did away with the days of one weekend a month, two weeks a year, for six years and I'm out. It's become an operational force rather than an auxiliary one. Why? You're cheaper than a regular because you sit at home for a few years for beer money and then they call on you only when they need you. The thing is no one really knows how this going to pan out once we're completely off a war footing. Some units have gone to Africa for partnership and assistance missions. Some guys have been trying to get on a deployment forever with no luck.

    Will drilling interfere with your real job or your civilian life? I would expect it to. Every now and then you'll miss a wedding or a birthday or whatever because it conflicts with drill. As an officer, you're responsible for as much as your active duty counterparts. Obviously, you can't do all that in two days a month. Expect it to suck more time out of your schedule than advertised and be pleasantly surprised if it doesn't.
     
  8. ABF

    ABF Member

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    Your ROTC years will be normal college life with some Army training mixed in. Let me emphasize it... "normal college life". Your ROTC commitment will take less time than if you joined a fraternity... and, will provide you the camaraderie you'd find in a frat. If you are like me, some of your ROTC friendships will be life long.

    Will your nation need you for war even if you are a reservist? Maybe. Make no mistake about it, you are agreeing to stand in defense of your nation (and it's allies). You are joining a warrior class. Don't consider the ROTC scholarship "tuition assistance". Consider this whole thing as your first steps in joining the ranks of your nation's warriors. (I considered myself honored to have that opportunity.)

    Can the military keep you beyond your commitment period? Yes. It's called "stop loss". It's legal, and not used very often. When they do use it, it's not like they tack on several years. It's normally only several months.

    Can you get reserve component duty? Yes. However, chances are VERY likely you'll be one of the (majority of) Cadets that compete for the coveted Active Duty slots. When you are finishing college and approaching commissioning, you'll be eager to do active duty. After learning all about the Army history, it's traditions, and after training for four years with fellow soldiers, you'll be chomping at the bit to do it full time. It's also a full time, professional career. You won't have to work on a resume and maybe end up making lattes at Starbucks with your college degree.

    Will your military (reserve) duty affect a civilian job? Yeah, probably. Even though it's against the law to hold your military service against you, no employer looks forward to seeing good employees leave for drill weekends and military training. Yes, it's possible you may be deployed on orders if national defense (or in the case of the Guard, State emergency) requires it. Some employers value reservists and will still pay you full time while you are deployed. (Those are the employers you should seek out if you plan to be a reserve component soldier.)

    Your family will respect you if you make informed decisions relative to your future. They may not admit it, but they'll respect you even if you make decisions against their wishes. I might also add... They don't really ever have to be "comfortable" with your decision, but I bet they beam with pride the day you ask them to pin your Lieutenant bars on your shoulders.

    Even though I came from a family where all the men had served in our armed forces at one time or another, my mom too was heart broken when I told her I signed the AROTC contract. She worries... that's what moms do. She congratulated my 18 year old son a few months ago when she found out her grandson had just received an AROTC scholarship. I love my son as much as your mom loves you. I wouldn't have recommended the Army to my own kid if I didn't believe in the program. Tell your mom to contact me if she has questions.
     
  9. nofodad

    nofodad Member

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    ABF great post.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    +1 ABF

    I will add my twist on it as a wife and now a Mom of a O1 AF pilot.

    I am originally from NJ. NJ is a state where a majority of people work in NYC and drive the TPKE daily or take the the train.

    I was onced asked by sister in law if I worried that Bullet would die in a plane crash. She made a remark how she would constantly worried if it was her.
    ~ My response:
    Life is part fate/destiny. As much as my heart would break if he died, if that was his day to die I could lock him in a closet and he would die.
    ~~~ Asked do you worry about your DH driving everyday on the TPKE and dieng in a car accident? The chances of that occurring are much higher than Bullet dieng in an airplane.

    Plus, I knew that Bullet absolutely loved his job. He used to joke that he couldn't believe they paid him to do it. None of our siblings ever said that once about their jobs. They were happy with their careers, but that self reward was not like it was with Bullet.

    Just my insight about why they will probably come to see it differently when they see you the first time you return home from college. They will see that they sent a way a kid, and a young man returned.
     
  11. payitforward

    payitforward Member

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  12. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    At our Battalion we involve Parents during orientation, parent's weekend, Dining out, and any other opportunity we can. Invite them to come ask the questions for themselves.

    With regard to employers check this site out www.esgr.mil . Some employers may not be keen on hiring Guard/Reserve, but some employers realize that you have a value added being an Officer. They won't have to train you to be a good leader, because the Army has already taken care of that. Many employers (especially the ones that pay well) realize what you bring to the table. There are a number of what we call head hunters that do nothing but help junior military officers (JMOs) get hired when they leave the military. I got my first job after leaving the Army in 1996 with US Steel because I was a former Army Officer.

    If you want Guard or Reserves you will get it, unless something changes drastically.

    And finally, when someone hints that they don't think I'm being straight with them I recite the soldiers creed for them. I don't try to hide the fact that if you sign up for this job then you are agreeing to "stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States in close combat". You'll learn all about the soldier's creed, the Army values, and the Warrior Ethos during your freshman year. That certainly isn't sugar coating anything, and if you aren't OK with that part of the creed there are opportunities to serve your country in other ways and there are other young Americans who would be more than happy to save you the trouble of using that scholarship.

    Good luck with Mom and Dad.
     
  13. runslikeajohndeere

    runslikeajohndeere Member

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    Your choice is very respected.

    Many possibilities do exist, yet each will serve your goal.

    My brother was ROTC, and only served his obligation. Now a nuclear engineer, he works in a profession that may have never been possibly without the leadership and opportunity that ROTc offered. Your parents have done their homework - much like my wife and I- yet your heart and desire will truly motivate you to do what is best for you; and, that will equal success.

    Can things happen? Yes, but you'll will do what is necessary and I'm sure your family will support you. My brother's family was nervous he would be recalled a few years ago, but they now admire his resolve and patriotism.

    Good luck,

    A father
     
  14. Retchop

    Retchop Member

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    I was not thrilled my son wanted to be an infantry officer for many of the same concerns your parents may have.

    My oldest son chose to go National Guard to have the best of both worlds. When he finished IBOLC and returned home, he had two fortune 500 companies bidding for his services. He was a business major and nothing overly special academically.

    He interviewed with other junior officers finishing up their initial tours and made his choice. His compensation was significantly higher than his peers from college. He would not have had these opportunities without the national guard.

    He is very pleased with his choice. He does have the best of both worlds and is moving forward in each. He is currently a 1LT in ranger school and will be returning to a promotion and the next step in his civilian career.

    If YOU want this, it will be the right decision. No one could enjoy what my son has gone thru without "wanting the suck".

    Good luck to you.
     
  15. payitforward

    payitforward Member

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    I was talking to a business owner the other day — a relatively small business that employs <500 people, but he told me that he instructs his HR director that any lead they get that shows 4 years ROTC and a recommendation from the college's PMS should be forwarded directly to his office. He told me that people with that kind of college experience and that recommendation are almost always (he said "99.9%") ready for leadership in any workforce.

    He was talking specifically about ROTC cadets who chose not to seek a commission because that's specifically what I was asking about, but the inference was there as well that an ROTC cadet who commissioned and then was out of the service with recommendations from superior officers was equally well-regarded in his company and almost always offered a position if one was to be had.
     
  16. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Did you mean cadets that did not seek Active Duty?

    A cadet can't complete 4 years of ROTC without commissioning.
     
  17. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    I'd iike to comment and will try not to repeat from above responses:

    1) Yes, there is a chance that within your 8 years of Reserves or Guard duty, you will be called up to Active Duty. It doesn't depend only upon another Iraq or Afghanistan. There are peacetime initiates in the Army that could require a call up to a several month commitment to Active Duty. I don't know if that is a 1% chance, or 20% chance since it is a newly evolving change in the role of the Reserve forces.

    2) Not derail, but it will create obstacles you need to clear. Firstly, if you do CULP or Project GO after sophomore year in college, you obviously can't be doing a summer Internship at a possible future employer. Second, the summer after Junior year, which is the Internship that is really an extended job interview and out of which most Interns are hired full time after college, won't be available to you because you will be on duty for 30 consecutive days that summer for LDAC. Since LDAC doesn't start until first week of June, and then for the following 6 weeks starting weeks, it is almost impossible to qualify for a formal Internship after Junior year. The earliest you could start an internship would be first week of July. I am not aware of any Internships that allow that, at least not formal ones for which you interview. That might be a big deal, or not, depending upon what your career interest is. For a corporate job in management, marketing, finance operations, etc., most new college graduate hires come from the Internships, which you won't be able to have. The job market is still pretty tough out there, especially for entry level management or operations jobs, and without an offer coming from an internship, you're behind the eight ball there.

    That also means that you will have a hard time finding a full time job for the summers after Sophomore and Junior years. That is potentially a lot of money, but since you are on Scholarship, it balances out. Non-Scholarship cadets really have it rough because they probably need summer jobs to help pay for college.

    As to your parents, that can get bad if they choose to play hardball. By that I mean, you as a freshman have to pay Tuition, and for room and Board that first year on a 3 yr. AD scholarship. If they choose not to help you financially that first year, where are you going to get the money? A student is only allowed to borrow, by Federal mandate, $5,500 total their freshman year of college. Most families supplement that with a PLUS loan, which the parents take out. Without the PLUS money, and without parents money who are playing hardball, how will you pay for Year 1? It's clearly doable at State schools, but I don't think there is any way for a Private school, unless that school's financial aid office comes through in a big way for you... and they don't care in the computation if the parents refuse to contribute. So bottom line, you need to come to some sort of agreement with your parents to give you a year to make sure the Army is for you, and to have them help you pay for that first year.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014
  18. Jcc123

    Jcc123 Member

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    A cadet at an SMC can participate for 4 years and elect not to commission. Maybe that's what she was referring to?
     
  19. payitforward

    payitforward Member

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    Exactly.
     
  20. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    I have to say that I am not all that versed in the SMC's.

    So a cadet at a SMC can participate in a ROTC program for 4 years and elect not to commission, I did not know that. Do these cadets attend LDAC for the Army or OCS for the NROTC Marine Option, at what point do they decline a commission. Again I am not up to speed with SMC's but it seems like a big expense to send a cadet to LDAC or other training when they have no intention of commissioning.

    Learn something new everyday.
     

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