URGENT: My son joining the army

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Army.Dad, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. Army.Dad

    Army.Dad Member

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    Hello guys,

    How can I cope with the fact that my oldest son wants to be in the army? he is currently an ROTC cadet going on to his MS III year after this semester is over, but in order to do that he must contract otherwise he cannot be enrolled in the ROTC curriculum anymore and cannot commission (he also has a small window of opportunity to do so) I am very concerned about his choice to be an officer in the army due to my fear of him dying or losing a limb in combat. My other fear is the possibility of him coming home with PTSD from seeing the horrors of war--seeing those around him die; soldiers and civilians alike. He has been considering active duty then going reserves but I do not want him to deploy due to the possibility of him going to a warzone and being in the front lines but he doesn't seem phased about that since he has internalized this as a fact. So far his branch of choice is MI, ADA, Armor, JAG, AG, CA and I am not sure if a junior grade officer only focuses on his/her branch and not specialize in anything else (my son was talking to me about S-3 positions and how, as an officer, you must go through this phase) another thing I am not so sure about is how exactly the role between an officer and NCO differs I know one gives orders and one executes them, but how INVOLVED are officers that branch in the combat arms versus those that do not. I know this is a rant and to be honest I do not know much about how the military works; but to me, I think everyone in the army including officers are trained to kill anyone they find suspicious and to simply carry out orders.
     
  2. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    I'm going to let some parents respond to most of your questions as I've never been on that side of the fence, but I just wanted to say I think it's awesome you are reaching out for understanding and education instead of just blasting your son's potential decision.

    I hope some of our parents who have "been there, done that" can provide you with the insight you are seeking.
     
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  3. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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  4. Wilco

    Wilco Member

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    There is a very good stream of discussion on this forum under posts for Whip-sawed Parent you may want to look. Many with some of the same concerns you have raised. Few if any parents want their children in harms way at any time. But there is much truth in the saying that the freedom we have in this country is not free and was not given to us freely.
     
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  5. ginko

    ginko Member

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    Army.Dad,
    I have two sons who are both choosing military service. My husband and I have no prior military experience. We are religious people and we value the freedom that has enabled our middle class American lives. We raised our sons like typical kids except we emphasized faith and responsibility. Our boys LOVE this country and they have no problem with the concept of giving their lives or limbs to protect freedom. As a mom, I cannot condemn them for this. This attitude amongst brave men and women is the whole reason this great nation even exists. This problem is the same dilemma that has been faced by parents from time in memorial. When you have children who are willing to die for the freedom that they value, you call them brave and you honor them... and you pray for protection. What would you say to the hundreds of thousands of parents who lost sons in World War II? Would you say that they should have kept their sons home? What about the Civil War? Were those ideals worth dying for? How have you gotten to the third year of ROTC to begin grappling with the concept of fighting and possibly dying for freedom? I began emotionally dealing with this issue when my boys began using weapons (guns, bows, knives). Did you miss the whole point of American history class? People have died for freedom. Good people. Beloved people. Intelligent people. Innocent people. Our people! If this is your son's choice, then you should honor him. You should candidly express your concerns but understand that he has probably embraced some values that you do not understand. There is no good reasoning for volunteering to kill and/or be killed for an ideal. Nevertheless, our way of life depends upon brave men and women who do just that. I pray that you can find some personal peace with this.
     
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  6. Craig

    Craig Member

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    I was an officer in the "green" navy. I deployed during Desert Storm. My mom would tell me how my father would stand in the kitchen and stare out the window once the shooting started. Like any parent, he was worried about the possibilities. While he was in worrying, I was doing what I wanted to do. Would do it again. Yes it is a high risk profession. We are sadly reminded of that all too often. Now 25 years later, I have a daughter at USNA and a son getting ready to start at USMA. Do I worry? Most certainly. I explained to each the ups and downs and horrors of war you can experience. I also explained the excitement and thrills. I get more nervous about them on duty because I cannot control it. I also get that way when someone else is driving. I take comfort knowing each has found their calling. It is their path. I hope they live a long life. But more importantly I hope they LIVE!
     
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  7. Army.Dad

    Army.Dad Member

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    We come from a third world country and to be honest it is really hard for me to see the military the way you do and just like you we are not military and are very religious. My son however was raised in America and the last time he told my wife that he is protecting our freedom he was only yelled at even more because there is still that assumption that he is dying for a strangers country rather than his own. In my opinion its an ignorant way of thinking but this ideology is connected to our pride in our culture and value systems. We didn't raise our son to be a soldier and it concerns us to see him go this route when he can be a professional in something else but at the same time I want him to be happy and make a rational choice. If he wishes to pursue the military I hope he finds a career that does not put him in harms way (but according to him that would vary)
     
  8. pkarmy6

    pkarmy6 Member

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    Army.Dad,

    I joined the military at the age of 17, yes my parents worried about me. I was their only child and son. Most of my dad's college buddies were drafted and died in Vietnam fighting a war which didn't need to be fought. They didn't raise me to be a soldier, but I decided that was the best course for me, my family has a long tradition of military service.

    Just because you are not from the USA doesn't mean you can excuse yourself from protecting it...YOU reside here now and I am assuming you have become citizens or are in the process of doing so. To be an officer you have to be an American citizen (correct me if I am wrong anyone) and thereby he will be protecting HIS country (the USA). So don't you or your wife dare to yell at him for wanting to serve his country. You live here and your son wants to protect you. My "battle buddy" from Basic Combat Training was Croatian and another was Jamaican, they joined the military to earn their citizenship. You think it is ignorant to love your country and be willing to die for her, that is your own idea, but if people before hadn't stepped up for the love of country you might not be here right now.

    You can't control your son that is the bottom line he is in college and he is an adult.... if you don't want to alienate him then you had better support him in his decisions. You should try to understand what is motivating him to do this. Let him make his own decisions and learn from them. Joining the Army was the best decision I have made....I would do it again and if my children decide to join the military I will tell them the pros and cons and allow them to make their own decisions.

    I am sorry if this sounds hostile you just sound as if you are trying to control your son (not a very good idea). My parents tried this at first and then they realized being in the military was my dream and then they supported me. Did any of that make sense? I might have misunderstood some of the things you wrote and if that is the case I apologize.
     
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  9. ginko

    ginko Member

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    You come from a third world country and you want to enjoy the freedoms that this country offers... but those freedoms were bought at the expense of the lives of the sons and daughters of the people of this country. So you want the benefits but you have a problem with the cost?
     
  10. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    Army.Dad

    I assume you have been in this nation for a while, went through the naturalization process and were educated on the history and values of this nation. What you were taught is not propaganda.

    Our military officers are truly from our best and brightest. The SAT/ACT scores, college GPAs, and extracurricular activities for what it takes to gain a Service Academy appointment or ROTC Scholarship bears that out. These young Americans are all volunteers and come from all corners of the country, from all religions, from all economic and ethnic backgrounds. The troops they command are all volunteers. They are all impressive. They believe in what they are doing. They believe in the United States of America.

    The oath they take is NOT to an individual, a party, a government, or a police state. It is to a 200+ year old document that establishes a government that is to represent the people and codifies an ideal through its bill of rights.

    They are taught the difference between a lawful and an unlawful order. And they are relied upon to know the difference. Our country and our system is not perfect, but it is the most perfect I've found. It facilitates incredible opportunity even with its flaws. I pray to God that he continues to bless us.

    Pride in one's culture is great. IMHO pride as an American is greater.

    Your DS sounds like a wonderful person. I wish him a successful military career and you peace with his choice.
     
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  11. pkarmy6

    pkarmy6 Member

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    Falcon A and ginko...here here! Army.Dad they are correct. You want to be here living and enjoying freedom which has been gained by young Americans giving there lives... but you don't want your son to carry on that distinctly American tradition. Support him and as Falcon A said...make peace with his decision and love him for wanting to protect HIS country (the USA) and his family who live there.

    The American way of life has been built upon the sacrifices of those who were willing to lay down their lives for and ideal (not propaganda) which surpasses selfish desires.
     
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  12. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    Are you insinuating that the profession of arms is, in fact, not a profession? Or that your son was raised to be better than a soldier? These are simply questions to get your clarity.

    I don't want to come off as hostile, but I'll admit it is tough with this one.

    My parents didn't raise me to be a soldier. What they did do was raise me with certain morals, values, and beliefs, one of which being that many Americans before me served and afforded me the opportunities I had growing up. I was, and am now, in a position to repay that debt and pay it forward to future Americans. Less than 1% of our nation answers this call, and your son hears the phone ringing. THAT should be a badge of honor as a parent, for you have raised him right.

    Some of the best people I've met in the Army did not start out as US citizens, but their reasoning for serving are inspirational.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2015
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  13. pkarmy6

    pkarmy6 Member

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    -Bull-.....I know right? I am not trying to be hostile either, it is tough.
     
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  14. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    It's your son's life. I understand your concerns, we all share them, but we also don't walk around letting them dominate our lives. I suggest you support him in his endeavors or you'll lose your son through your efforts to dissuade him, whatever form they take.
     
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  15. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    I can understand Army.Dad's bewilderment at his son's chosen career. He picked up his family and moved them to a place where working hard can get you ahead perhaps unlike his homeland. And now his son has gone and put that opportunity at risk to perhaps go off and fight and become a casualty in another third world country.

    Understand, that he has an OPPORTUNITY to be successful in this country with hard work. However, there is no guarantee of anything here. Bad things happen, even to recent immigrants who are trying to do the right thing. There was that recent news story...

    http://www.wtsp.com/story/news/2015/03/08/muslim-immigrant-shot-dead-dallas/24608663/

    My point in bring up this disturbing story is not to give fear of living in this country, but to reinforce the idea that there are no perfectly safe lifestyles here in the US or anywhere, only different degrees of risk and reward.

    I think we as parents often get to fixed on the risk part of that equation knowing what we ourselves had to endure for our children to have this chance. However our sons and daughters (note to Army.Dad mine falls into this category) too must take a bit of risk in life and perhaps some sacrifice to continue that momentum that we started and showed them as the way to move forward. The reward from their choices may very well be that element of courage that we ourselves engaged in making the sacrifices we made to get them where they are. And it passes on to subsequent generations.

    There is a popular prayer, the first part of which has been adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous which you may or may not be familiar with. I think that it would be appropriate for you to contemplate in this situation...

    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    The courage to change the things I can,
    And the wisdom to know the difference.
     
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  16. SnowMom

    SnowMom Member

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    All parents worry about their children - that's normal, but we can't let that worry take a hold of our life. Our ADULT children have to live their own life. Right now, all we can do is pray and encourage our kids as they go out and start making their own journey in life. Sometimes their decisions will frustrate us, but ultimately, you hope you raised them right, and now it's their time to go and live their life - we can't live their life for them. If we support them in these big life decisions, they are more likely to be open to our advice now and then. Of course, none of us want anything to happen to our children, but anything can happen in any job, or driving to work. As many have said above, we should be proud of our kids for their determination and drive to protect our freedom.
     
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  17. AJC

    AJC Member

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    While this thread is interesting and my wife and I are dealing with some of the issues as our son pursues his dream of becoming a USMC Officer I am not sure it belongs in the ROTC forum.
     
  18. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Your son seems to be a remarkable young man who is interested in serving his country despite tremendous pressure from his parents. I applaud his independence and willingness to follow his heart. No parent wants to see their child injured in any way but you can't keep them in the nest forever.

    I recommend you read this book. It is not exactly the same but close to your situation and told from both the parent and son's perspective.

    Keeping Faith: A Father-Son Story About Love and the United States Marine Corps by John Schaeffer
    “The story of a young man having a growth experience by joining the military is a classic scenario, and John Schaeffer does justice to his take on it in his account of personal transformation from high-school graduate to U.S. Marines corporal. Interspersed with his narrative are his father Frank's remarks on the rest of the family's incidental affiliation with and new perspective on the marines in particular and the military in general. They brought to the encounter the ignorance and prejudice against the military that too often accompanies their status as members of the college-educated white middle class, from which, in fact, precious few of America's servicemen come. But in the end, Frank expresses open pride in having sent one of "the best ye breed" to the corps before September 11. One of the better books of its kind, and likely to remain so. - Roland Green Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved”
     
  19. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    As long as the conversation remains respectful, and believe me that I'm watching it closely, then the topic itself is fine. If it ever gets out of hand I will be closing the thread permanently.
     
  20. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I am an AF wife of an O5 (Lt. Col- AFROTC grad) that flew fighters over Iraq from 1990 (invasion of Kuwait) to 2005. He was in the Green zone (Baghdad) My DS is an O2 USAF C130 pilot (AFROTC grad 2012). He will be deploying in Aug/Sept. doing God knows what. Truth be told I am not worried at all. I know that the AF has trained him so well, and his love for his wife will make sure he will do everything to get back home in the worst situations. And if he doesn't make it home, I know he would have died doing what he loved.

    Now that being stated, I recall my in-laws(my husbands side) asking me point blank if I feared he would die because of his job. I looked at them in bewilderment. I reminded them that we live in NJ, and that their spouses travel roads where everyday there is a cause accident, many of them resulting in fatalities, do they worry every time they leave for work every morning?

    If you believe in faith, like I do than you find peace with faith. If a higher being is to call them home, than you could lock them in a closet that day and they still will leave this world. There is nothing you can do to stop it!

    What you can do is support him and enjoy his happiness of obtaining their goal. My MIL never got it when she talked to him...it was never the right war in her mind, and he always would say there is no such thing as a right war. He loved her to the day she died, but I would be lieing to you if I didn't say it created a wedge between them. He just didn't talk to her about that part of his life like he did with my family. He became closer to my family because they never illustrated any negative thoughts to him about serving.

    I leave you with these two thoughts.
    1. Read everyone's posts again.
    ~ I am sure you did not intend to offend, but honestly, two big points need to be driven home.
    ~~ You live in this great nation that allows you more rights than the country you immigrated from, but are unwilling for your DS to defend those rights!. Sorry, but without people lik him, than this great country would not exist.

    I would be prouder than anything, and yes I am religious. He is fighting for the weak and those that are defenseless. That is important to me from a religious aspect.

    ~~ Professional. They are not mercenaries. They are college educated. The more you take time to understand the military, the more you will understand that they place a high emphasis on education and training. They offer 75% tuition assistance for them to get their Graduate degree in whatever they choose. They are sent to military education along the way of their career. They are managers with very high numbers of personnel and budgets at a very young age.

    My honest opinion I don't think anyone here can change your opinion, but I hope that you learn how to put a smile on your face and hide your fears.
    ~ Did you not hide your fears and give only positive thoughts when he took his driving test? His SAT? College admissions? If so, than you are a pro at it!
     

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