Question about Military Careers...

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Angie9715, Jan 25, 2015.

  1. Angie9715

    Angie9715 Member

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    Hi there! I hope this ends up in the right place. If it doesn't, I'm sure you won't hesitate to let me know. :)

    So this week I started having a dilemma. I'm torn between two career choices in the military, and I was hoping some of you could tell me the pros and cons of each. Now, considering I'm just a senior in high school, I understand that I have a few years to make up my mind. That's a good amount of time. But I'd still like to know a bit about each of these careers before I go away to college (hopefully that "college" will be USNA!). Also, please excuse me if I sound naive at all, and don't be afraid to call me out on it; I only have a small image in my head of what a military career is like. I have no family who were recently in the military (my grandpa was in the Army a long time ago, but claims that he never actually held a gun, so I'm assuming he never got the "full" picture of things), so I've never heard any "war stories" or "bootcamp tales" or anything of the sort. I have, however, seen those hour-long Youtube videos of boot camp, but I often get the feeling that they're not showing the whole picture. Anyway...

    First, the Marines. I've always wanted to be a Marine, ever since I was a fifth-grader. I did a research project on the military, and I found it to be really enticing... but the Marines appealed to me the most. Why? Well, simply put, I want to be the first in. I want to be the one to face an issue before anyone else, because I trust that I will have the training, tact, and motivation to do whatever it takes to nip a problem in the bud. I'm not saying that others won't have those qualities, but I'd rather be out there and know that I am 100% confident in what my company and I are doing, than risk the possibility of having a less confident person doing what would've been my job. (Please don't think I'm putting anyone down here; I have the utmost respect for our veterans and I do not mean to say that I am better than anyone else. I understand how the above statement might come across but, please, I do not mean for it to sound derogatory towards anyone in any way.) One of the reasons why I joined my local Fire Dept. was to make sure I liked this feeling of being the first in. I wanted to ensure that I could survive intense training (Fire School and company trainings at my station), that I could face danger and keep calm, and that I could take the pressure of everything depending on me (I'm often the one hooking up to the hydrant). And, just over a year later, I'm still loving it. I don't know what it is, but I absolutely love being the first in, and now I know for a fact that I can handle it. (I understand that the Marines is going to be tougher than the Fire Service, but I believe that I am prepared!)


    The other career choice that I've been considering is Surface Warfare Officer. I've been considering this for just about a week or two... Mostly because I believe that I would excel at it. Over the past few years, I've developed a good sense of leadership, particularly when it comes to running the school publications (Newspaper and Yearbook, for both of which I am the editor). The idea of becoming a SWO came to me just a short while ago, after a teacher saw me reprimanding a member of the Newspaper crew for not doing his job (long story), and said "Wow, you run a tight ship!" While my teacher probably didn't intend for me to take his comment too seriously and consider a drastic change in my future plans, that's what happened. Haha. I thought about the comment that night and said to myself, "hey, I guess I do run a pretty tight 'ship.' I wonder if I could actually run a /real/ ship. I bet I could, with enough training." I mean, my leadership will just get better with time and experience, and, like I said above in my Marines paragraph, I would trust that I could get the job done. In addition, being a junior officer on a ship upon commissioning, leading and learning from the sailors whom I command, and eventually, a long, long time from now, being able to run my own ship, sounds like something I would enjoy doing. And since I plan to get my B.S. in Nuclear Engineering, I feel like I'd have a good understanding of the inner-workings of a ship, especially carriers and subs, which could be helpful in the long run.

    So yeah.... thoughts? Pros? Cons? I appreciate all feedback, however I just ask that you please do not use salary/benefits, male to female ratio, or job difficulty to attempt to sway me one way or the other; those are things that I simply do not care about. I want a career for the career itself, not for the things that come with it... if that makes sense.

    Thank you!!
     
  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    The good news is, if you indeed find yourself at USNA, you will get exposed formally and informally to all the Navy and Marine officer career paths. You will talk to currently serving officers, learn about the missions, listen to briefings on service selection and warfare specialties, participate in summer training designed to help you make an informed choice. You actually have a long time before you have to decide what is right for you. Until then, keep an open mind and learn all you can.

    There are pros and cons to every choice - and a pro for one person might be a con for another. I grew up on a coastal island, around and on the water. Being at sea - loved it. The smell of salt water, even a pier at low tide, is "home" to me. For others, going to sea for long periods as a job was not high on their list.

    USNA can send you to the Marines or the Navy. NROTC - same kinds of exposure to career paths, though not in an immersion setting.




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  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Fully agree with Capt MJ. If you go to USNA and get your BS in Nuclear Engineering you will probably have to go SWO or subs. The need seems to be great enough that I doubt you would be allowed to go Marines.... but that's just my opinion.

    If you were to go NROTC, you would need to choose Navy or Marines up front. When you apply for a scholarship or even enter as a non-scholarship college programmer you have to make a choice.
     
  4. Angie9715

    Angie9715 Member

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    Thank you for the feedback!! :)
    One of the main reasons I'm hoping for USNA above anywhere else is because of the opportunity for in-depth exposure. Fingers crossed!
    Also, I already submitted my app for the NROTC Scholarship - Marine Option. In addition, I passed the PFT, qualified academically, and I feel confident with the way my interviews went, so I have a good feeling about the scholarship. So, in the event that I don't get an appointment to USNA but I get the scholarship to "(Name) University", I guess I won't have much of a choice!
     
  5. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    If you go the NROTC route, it is possible to change between branches. Not likely, but possible.

    This would be a great time to reflect on a career in either the Marines and Navy and develop a better sense of what you might want to do. The jobs and the missions are very different. Seek out some veterans to learn their perspective. Many firefighters have military experience - perhaps they can help frame the differences between the branches. As options begin to present themselves (USNA, NROTC, other) you will want to have a firmer resolve on the direction you want to go.

    Congratulations, by the way, on your accomplishments.
     
  6. Angie9715

    Angie9715 Member

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    USMCGrunt, should I find myself in NROTC, I'll accept the fact that I made a commitment. I've always wanted to be a Marine, so it's not like I'll be disappointed if I can't switch to be a SWO. :) Thanks for the idea, too! Most of my guys at the station were/are in the Navy, so I'll talk to them. None of them are Officers or Marines, though, so I might not get all the information I'm looking for... But I'm sure they'll be happy to share their thoughts! I'll search around the internet some more and see if I can find any more information on each career.

    And, thank you :) I always try my absolute best!
     
  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I like it. First, thanks for recognizing that you don't know everything. To be sure, even when you're in the service you won't know everything, haha. Second, I like the motivation. Being a Marine and being a Navy SWO are worlds a part. And it's helpful to remember that you'll spend some time helping someone else run their tight ship before you get a ship to run, tightly, on your own.

    The nice thing about not being in the Navy or Marine Corps yet is, you'll have time to get your feet wet, try some things out, talk to people with book camp or war stories, and ask about the pros and cons of each service (and specialities within those services). Because while there are some great aspects of serving in the Marine Corps and Navy (I assume, but remember, I served in neither), there are also aspects of each branch that are "less positive." You'll do best when you consider each, keeping in mind the good and the bad.
     
  8. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Recommend that you think what kind of Marine you want to be as a factor also. I just happened to watch "Jarhead II" on Netflix last night. It was a good entertainment. A theme in the movie was about being a Marine - something special, sacrifices, Semper Fi, and etc.

    There are many specialities within the Marine Corps, so do you want to be a pilot, supply, intelligence, admin, or whatever or just being a Marine trumps being in a specaility you might not like. Ultimately your choice of miltiary career shoul not be about what uniform you wear, but a combination of individual likes and service to your country.

    On a side note, if you haven't read "Starship Trooper" by Heinlien, I highly recommended. There is a passage in book if it talks about that everyone that signs up to serve is allowed to serve but what as what you want rather what you are qualified for.
     
  9. Angie9715

    Angie9715 Member

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    LineInTheSand: Thanks for the advice :) I know it'll be a loooong time before I get to actually run my own ship (should I choose to go SWO), but I feel like it'd be worth the wait!

    MemberLG: In terms of Marines, I had been thinking of Infantry Officer, Artillery Officer, or EOD, while looking through many other options and keeping an open mind. I tried not to get too attached to any one thing, because I was told by my BGO that if I attended USNA and chose Marines as my service selection, I would not be guaranteed my first-choice, second-choice, or even my third-choice job.

    I'll look into that book. I think my school has a few copies. Thanks!!
     

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