For those who attended a SA, served, then left immediately...

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by stella, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. stella

    stella Member

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    if you left within 5-6 years of graduating from the SA, can you share what made you choose to leave after your 5 years of service?

    Just curious, mainly, as to whether many go into a SA planning to get their degree 'serve their time' (for lack of a better term) and leave...or is it a decision that comes during those 5 years that you do not want to stay? If the later, what led you that decision.
    If the former (went to the SA intended to graduate, stay 5 years and leave) what prompted you to go to a SA initiall?

    S
     
  2. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Life happens. Things change. Some people join and want to be an admiral or general. Some are forced out. Some get out on their own. Sometimes you find a girl and you realize moving every 2-4 years won't keep her happy.

    Some people only want to do five, but then end up loving it, and stay as long as they can.

    You enter a service with all good feelings. Sometimes you realize it's not all that idea. Sometimes it is.
     
  3. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    LITS is right on the mark. Everyone comes to a SA with a different thought on serving. Most think they will serve many years. Life happens, dreams change, families happen, etc. I decided to get out at the 5 year mark because I had accomplished all I could dream of, was tired of being shot at, was worn down from war, and ready for new challenges. It is a personal choice for everyone. You will see classmates who you never imagined staying in 20years commanding ships and squadrons. Folks who you always thought would make Admiral, decide to hang it up.
     
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    There's no stigma about leaving after 5. Maybe on the outside someone is thinking "all that money and training and they do the min." but inside.... it's a different story. You did five, which is more than a good 93% or so of the U.S. population.


    Now, I've only been out 2 years, but the further you get from the time you served, the more it because some weird past life.
     
  5. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    I went in planning on a career as the hottest fighterpilot that ever hit a heaving carrier deck at night. That was what my goal was even in applying to USNA. It was what kept me going through a ferocious Plebe Year (read Jim Webb's book) and through academic boards and more restriction than the devil allows. Nothing could shake me from that goal......until my eyes went bad. Ships became my home and I was a good officer but my heart wasn't in it. At least I wasn't living in the mud like my USMC roomate and then I got orders to the Riverine forces in Vietnam and learned to live in the mud. That experience was one of disillusionment of my beloved Navy as I had always thought that combat would be filled with superb leadership, support, recognition, appreciation, and the close comradere of men under fire. It wasn't. It was ugly. For every great commander there was also a jerk that wasted good men and, like Hoops, I was burned out.

    When I got back and during my rest tour in the Riverine Warfare school, I realized I was happiest as my own boss and not jumping to another man's tune. Besides my original Navy goal was long gone. As a result, I left the active duty Navy and started and ran my own business and it was the thing to do for me. I also went into the Reserves and served the balance of my USN time experiencing just enough of working for a boss to make me realize I did the right thing and also it was enough to fulfill my desire to stay connected to my country.

    I never used my degree from the Boat School but I used the leadership lessons that started with Plebe Summer and lasted all through those 4 years practically every working day of my life. I instinctively surrounded myself with men who had experienced Plebe Years and who would do what they said they'd do which is a rare quality these days. Amazingly, I now really cherish my time at USNA as it certainly gave me more than I ever realized until much later.
     
  6. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    That last point is great one. It's amazing how much great talent was pushed out by these wars. I know a lot of guys who are far, far more intelligent and talented officers than I who got out after their initial commitment was done. Some had spent 3 out of 5 years in Iraq/Afghanistan. You can't build a life like that, and in 2009 there was no real evidence that the deployment were ending. I have friends who are on their 5th deployment. 5 out of 9 years spent deployed to a war zone. Some people can take it. Some people can't. One isn't better than the other. Life gets in the way of a lot of things, and war gets in the way of life.

    I never thought I'd spend a day over 5 years in the Army. Oops.
     
  7. USADadUSAFADaughter

    USADadUSAFADaughter Member

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    I did not attend an SA, but I served 4 years active duty and left for graduate school and family but served another 6 as a Reservist. I left active duty, and ultimately the reserves, thinking I would be an old man at 45ish and wanted to do other things with my life.

    I did do those extra things with my life, but now at 50, I realize I'm still young and could be reinventing myself (again) with the cushion of my military retirement pay.

    Ah, for regrets and a wish for do-overs. LoL As others have said, life will change. You will enter the Academy (or any other school), thinking you have it all planned out--your major, your service specialty, maybe even ideas about your first duty assignment. Write it down, and see how it changes over the next 4 years. Embrace the challenge, serve with pride--5 years, 10 years, 15...
     
  8. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    7.5 years

    My first child. Wanted to make it very clear that I believe you can be a very good parent while in the active duty, but I wanted to spend as much time as I can with my children. Spent today shuttling my first child to two sports events with her younger sister - tiring but priceless.

    I believe everything has a price, so what is time with your family worth? All depends on
     
  9. navyasw02

    navyasw02 Member

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    Slightly different spin- Did my JO sea and shore tour and said I never wanted to cross the brow of a submarine again. I looked for other jobs in the Navy and tried to lateral transfer a few times and the nukes had their meat hooks in me pretty good. My third lateral transfer attempt I had my resignation letter typed and ready to route, but luckily I didnt have to.

    Am I satisfied with my decision? Most days. I think my new community is far better than my old one, but the Navy has really changed since I joined and I dont really like the direction it's headed.
     
  10. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    In what way?
     
  11. sprog

    sprog Member

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    I went to a Senior Military College (VMI). Nonetheless, I think it's similar enough of an experience to a service academy that I might speak somewhat intelligently on the question.

    I had every intention to make the Air Force my career when I started as a Rat at VMI. I left the service after my ROTC committment ended.

    Why?

    Mostly for the reasons people on here have already stated. Essentially, I wanted more control over things in my life. You do give up some freedoms for the good of the service while on active duty, and I wasn't keen to move every few years and stay in a career field that wasn't satisfying to me. I was stationed in Minot, ND, and had I remained in the service, I would have had at least another year there before the ability to PCS to such a garden spot as Great Falls, MT (which, compared to Minot, is like Paris). I was in ICBM operations, and the mission, while important, is one giant exercise in waiting for an event which, thankfully, will probably never happen. Because of the nature of nuclear operations, the standards are very high and demanding (e.g. a 98% on an emergency war order test will have your Squadron Commander bringing you into the office on an off day to "study EWO"). That can wear on you after a bit. Being on the Personnel Reliability Program (PRP), which means you have to go to the doctor for every sniffle (can't take NyQuil on your own when you feel like crap), can also be tiring.

    I realize a lot of guys have had it really tough over the last few years with deployments overseas, and probably, my gripes sound a little wimpy in comparison. Nonetheless, there are other aspects of being an officer in any career field which can be draining. Simply, I was just tired of the Air Force, and I wanted to do something else. Since then, I used my GI Bill to go to law school and moved back to where I'm from on the East Coast. I got married and have a good life with a steady job that doesn't dominate that life. I don't regret my time in the Air Force at all. In fact, I treasure it. Still, leaving when my committment expired was the best choice I've ever made.

    There are as many reasons for leaving the service as there are people separating.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
  12. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    Counselor Sprog, did you contemplate law school/graduate school as an undergrad? If so, did you take any specific steps to advance the possibility, such as taking the LSAT? (I have advised Dwarf Star to think about a post-military life, but his focus is on OML/AD/Infantry.)

    I hope you at least left North Dakota with a "Why Not Minot?" t-shirt.
     
  13. sprog

    sprog Member

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    I had passing thoughts about it during undergraduate school. I didn't think too seriously about it until I was about 1.5 years away from getting out of the AF. My best friend from VMI got a graduate degree in international relations while I was still at Minot, and I almost went that route ( I visited him at school once and really liked his program). In the end, I thought the law degree would open more doors for me. That made sense at the time (maybe not as much now, as the legal market has really been saturated). Luckily, I got into my position before the economic crisis.

    I took the LSAT while on active duty (after I had decided that I would leave the service when the committment was up).
     
  14. sprog

    sprog Member

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    It has just occurred to me that I have spelled "commitment" incorrectly in all of my postings.

    I sometimes think that I really do get dumber as I age. I'll just call it an unfortunate brain fart. Luckily, these forums are anonymous. :yllol:

    Doh!!

    -Captain Dumba$$
     

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