Pros and Cons of non-AD Army branching options

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by mariner116, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. mariner116

    mariner116 Member

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    My DD will be an MS-3 next year. She is looking into branching the NG or Reserves. What are the pros and cons of these two options compared to branching AD?
     
  2. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Well the pros and cons are probably what you would think. First off she needs to look at her own goals and the marketability of her major if she is considering this option.


    Pros

    Ability to USUALLY branch what you want
    Ability to move around
    More civilian-like service experience
    Possibly come out with a higher paying job (major depending obviously)
    Less chance of deployment

    Cons

    Difficulty with employment depending on major
    Not as many benefits (full Tricare)
    On your own deal when looking for units
    Promotions are different especially with NG
    Some find the reserves as not as organized or "military" for their liking
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012
  3. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I have to be honest- this seems like a pretty obvious question. You do understand that AD means that is your full time, "no-kidding" occupation and way of life which dictates where you live, what you wear, how you dress, when if ever you take a vacation and various and sundry other details of daily life- in exchange for which you get a reasonable though not exorbitant salary and in 2012 in the Army at least, a pretty good expectation that you will be going to a war zone more than once in the next couple of years? By comparison, a Reservist is absolutely a part time occupation, which will pay you a salary commensurate with a job that in the normal course of things requires a few days/month and whose unit might get called up to deploy but if so won't be twice before we are out of Afghanistan.
    If you still don't understand the difference in outlook and effects- I don't know too many people who picked up and moved their permanent occupation to be near the Reserve unit that they were drilling with- lots of them though who have a civilian full time job and life somewhere and then commute to a Reserve unit in a different location, which should give you a pretty good appreciation for the relative priority of Army to Civilian life for a Reservist. They make their living and life on the outside and make available a portion of their time to the Army- for which the Army pays them a small monthly salary which you can't live off of and can't make a house payment off- as opposed to a full timer who makes their living and life in the service and then if they get some time have outside interests.

    So- the answer is- are you primarily interested in being a civilian with some part time obligations to the service or a full time Soldier (or sailor, airman or Marine)? ( And before every reservist out there starts huffing and puffing about the role of the reserves- Yeah I know all about it and lots of USAR and NG soldiers have deployed (my wife for example spent almost 30 months in Afghanistan including command of a PRT in eastern Afghanistan) - but the proportion of Reservists to AD in theater and on their 3d/4th even 5th tour in theater is far from equal , which is as it should be. Reserve duty is a part time job that carries the chance or opportunity to be called up to deploy which is pretty different from a full time job with going to war as its primary raison d'etre).

    So is your kid employable and does he primarily want to be a civilian or a Soldier? Beyond that- I don't think that there are any other pro's and cons worth spending much time considering.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012
  4. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    Believe me, if she is going to be an MS 3, by now she has some idea of what the pro's and con's are. What did she tell you they were? If she told you she didn't know, or was confused about her options, then you should be worried.

    If she is thinking Guard or Reserves then she is probably thinking that being a full time soldier for the next 3-4 years is not what she is interested in.
     
  5. Marist College ROTC

    Marist College ROTC Member

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    Advantages of Army Reserve over National Guard include:

    No state mobilizations
    Greater opportunities in Military Intelligence, Civil Affairs, and Health Services

    Advantages of National Guard over Army Reserve include:

    Unit location will be close to home
    Greater opportunities in Maneuver, Fires, and Effects

    The important question is what branch is your DD most interested in ?
     
  6. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    One big difference I haven't seen mentioned is the difference in perception by future employers/graduate schools. This post is ONLY about future Civilian job opportunites, and not about other issues of "fit" between the cadet and their dreams of what ideal service to country should look like.

    Lots of articles have come out in the past two or three years in BusinessWeek, WSJ, etc. about the excellent employment prospects of Junior Officers leaving the Active Duty Army. Generally, to have been an Active Duty JO is in some ways better than an MBA in the eyes of many employers. The employer values the command experience, and even moreso, command in the heat of battle. Reserves Officers just aren't seen in that light, unless a Reservist has deplyed into Active Duty, of course. Certainly a Reserves Officer is seen in a more favorable light than someone with no military active duty experieince, but it's not the same as Active Duty.

    On the other hand, also speaking strictly of civilian career opportunities, to begin one's career at 22 instead of 27 means that worker will have five years experience more than the JO who leaves Active Duty. However, there is a risk here as well. Many graduating seniors in colleges and Universities, even A students, are not finding the type of job they had hoped for upon graduation. Many are working "internships" and other lower paid, entry level jobs outside their true chosen field because the first tier Management Track jobs just haven't been available in the midst of our four year long recession. It is no fun to be 22 or 23, smart, hard working, and scrambling around for months for a suitable civilain job... or go to graduate school as a substitute when there is no job to be had upon graduation.

    In some ways your cadet will need to make a decision between Active Duty, and Reserves/Guard, without knowing for certain that there will be a full paying, acceptable civilian job awaiting them in the civilian workforce, should they choose Reserves or NG. Active duty, in contrast, is a guaranteed entry level management job (perhaps in a field not of the cadet's first choice, though), with a defined path to middle management by the time they've gone through O1 and O2 to reach O3 in their fourth or fifth year in Active Duty.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012
  7. mariner116

    mariner116 Member

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    Thanks for the great input. The pros and cons depend on what the cadet wants to do.

    A bit of background. My DD's orginal plan was to go in the health sciences direction and to take an educational delay after graduation. Her plan was to not use the HPHC scholarship. She still plans on pursuing this career path.

    A disadvantage with the AD option is that the educational delay is only available when graduating (am I right about this?). However, many applicants for her graduate study area gain adminssion on their second application cycle. That would not be possible if she went AD and did not get admitted in her first application cycle. A Reserve of NG option would offer greater chances of pursuing her career path. So, one option she is considering is going into the Reseves or NG and then pursuing her advanced degree.

    Any idea on which program, Reserves or NG, would be better while going to graduate school?

    As Marist pointed out, Reserves seem a better choice in the medical area once she gets her doctor degree. She could then still pursue her original desire to serve the Army in a medical career capacity.

    DD seems pretty knowledgeable about the NG (several cadets at her school have branched NG) but she does not seem to know much about the Reserve option. Based on what I have read and Marist's comments, the Reserves might be a better choice. Thoughts?
     
  8. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    So since you mentioned HPSP, she is pursuing the physician path am I right? With ed delay option you are able to to apply for a second cycle if you don't get in but you have to file an extension request with the army.

    My good friend is a VERY well qualified applicant (medical work experience, GPA and MCAT wise) and he did not get into any schools this first cycle. He is applying for the extension and was told that there is a high probably of him getting it (but don't quote me because this is second hand info). His last resort option is to try and transfer NG/reserves.

    How is your DD sitting in terms of acceptance for med school (GPA, extra currics, MCAT wise)? He was older with stellar work experience/stats and didn't get in so it can be frustrating sometimes.
     
  9. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    mariner116 -

    My 2LT just went through the Reserves process, so I will tell you a little bit of what I know and my understanding.
    In the fall she will select either Reserves or NG. My understanding is that right now, everyone who selects one of these two options gets it.

    If she selects Reserves, she will be sent a listing of Units and positions available. It's going to be up to her to find a unit. This may be tricky since during the fall of her MS4 year she might not know where she will be in a year. So what she will do is email the units she may be interested in. The listing is an excel file that can be sorted by state, branch, position available. So, for instance if she is in Florida and wants a Platoon leader position - she can sort the list for all PLt leader jobs in Fl and see which branch is available.

    My understanding is that with Reserves she can apply for a transfer and switch units - as long as they have an opening.
    This can be much trickier with NG since if she moves out of state she has to switch states.
    Also, keep in mind she also needs to go to BOLC. I am not sure how they arrange that for grad students - maybe postpone it? This is a question she should investigate.

    Unlike AD, if you go Reserves you will start immediately after graduation - even before you go to BOLC. BOLC courses rotate through the year so it may be many months before a 2LT gets there. While a 2LT can't be deployed or go to AT with their unit until they have completed BOLC they will still drill.

    Sounds like your daughter has a good head on her shoulder and is exploring options. Good luck to her!
     

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