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!!