To Enlist or Commission

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by jactho, Nov 6, 2017.

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  1. jactho

    jactho New Member

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    So I am currently applying to USMA, USAFA, and the 4-year ROTC scholarship. I have no doubt in my mind that I will achieve one of the above and commission as an Officer. I am fairly far along, having completed most of the applications and attended some interviews. However, although I see myself as an intelligent person and I feel like I would thrive in an academic atmosphere, I very much want to enlist and do things vs. plan them. I do not have a "glory and honor" view of combat; I just want to serve my country, preferably in a combat-arms MOS. I am conflicted, and I would appreciate the insight and wisdom from those who know better than I on both sides of the topic: enlistment or commission.
     
  2. THParent

    THParent Member

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    I did some math:

    10 years from now, E-5 $3,200/month.
    10 years from now, O-3 $6,200/month with a college degree.
     
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  3. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator 5-Year Member

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    @THParent makes an excellent point. But it is not just about compensation. It is also about doing what you feel you will be best at.

    If you dream of being a sniper, operating a Browning 50 cal, or kicking down doors, etc. then you are probably better off enlisting.

    If you focus on having everyone on your platoon look up to you to make the decisions on when to strike, who does what, and calls for support at just the right time, then you would be better off being an officer.

    An officer's job is to organize, motivate and lead his/her Troops/Marines/Sailors/Airmen/ to accomplish the mission and then get them home safely. Yes, you will learn HOW to do those things and to teach it to others, but it is NOT your primary job to do those tasks unless you're the last one standing....and if that's the case, you have likely failed your mission as an officer.
     
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  4. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt 5-Year Member

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    jactho: It is too simplistic to make that distinction the way you do. Leaders (Officers, NCO's) both plan AND execute. This reality is more applicable in some "jobs" (military occupational specialty) than others but it applies universally in some degree.

    I was in the Infantry and can assure you that I was out in the field "doing things" right along with my platoon.
     
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  5. UHBlackhawk

    UHBlackhawk Member

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    I was enlisted prior to going ROTC, as was my DW. My DD dropped out of college and ROTC to go enlisted and is now a Plebe.
    So don't get what I'm going to say the wrong way as I've been there and done that. We need good enlisted soldiers. But much of what you do as an enlisted soldier is details. Yes, you train. But there is police call, KP (yes, even today), post beautification, CQ, motor stables, parachute detail (if you're in an airborne unit)... and many, many more details.
    But beauty and wisdom are lost on the young. If you decide to go enlisted, keep the idea of a service academy there and perhaps reapply after a few years.
     
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  6. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    “Post beautification.” Had to laugh. The military and its language.
     
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  7. Ravens

    Ravens Member

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    Just don't be fooled when the Command Sergeant Major ask for volunteers who would like to obtain their "vegetation assault license". It's the sly way of asking "who wants to cut the grass"...aka Post Beautification.
     
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  8. UHBlackhawk

    UHBlackhawk Member

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    My DD says she earned her Expert WW (Weed Wacker), Badge. Even in combat, for every patrol she did she probably did 5 days of details- guard duty, KP, IED/UXO sweep (line up and kick the dirt looking for suspicious stuff), "honey wagon" escort (there's a glamorous job- literally a crappy detail)... you name it.
     
  9. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt 5-Year Member

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    Lots of great work details for all. Don't get fooled into thinking enlisted personnel are the only ones assigned to things like that. Officer of the Day, Mess Hall inspections, Okinawa ville patrols, countless assignments as the financial/ harassment/ investigating / inspection/ assessment/ court martials/ etc officer. The list goes on and on.

    Combat has been described as "Months of boredom punctuated by moments of terror." Military life might be similarly described as days of monotony interrupted with hours of silly work details.

    These are cynical views of what can be a very motivating and rewarding career. In the end, you define how you see your service.
     
  10. UHBlackhawk

    UHBlackhawk Member

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    Oh, I agree. I did my share of 'ville patrol in Korea, payday officer (sweated every last penny that day), sensitive items inventories. Even combat missions were hours and hours of tedium. Many times the words of Thomas Heggen came to mind as I was flying, “ ...from Tedium to Apathy and back; about five days each way. It makes an occasional trip to Monotony, and once it made a run all the way to Ennui..." But I would not give up the time for anything. For all those times, there were times like when I sat in an abandoned Foreign Legion fort in the Sahara at night seeing stars as one can only see in a desert far from civilization.
     
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