Transitioning from service


USNA C/O 2017
Mar 27, 2020
BLUF: I’m transitioning from Active Duty in 2 years and would like some Alumni to share their experience and guidance to help me during my process.
Funny how life goes. I started following this forum as a middle school student in the early 2000’s, attended the USMMA for a year before leaving to enlist in the Navy, was back on here in 2013 when I applied to USNA while on active duty, and now as a Marine Officer and USNA Alum I return again.

I’m coming up on 2 years left on my contract and starting to look towards preparing myself for transitioning back to the civilian world. When I reach my EAS in ‘22 I’ll have been in service for 11 years. Now that I have a wife and hope to start a family in the near future, I find myself ready to start a new chapter in life.

With the military being all I know in my adult life the prospect of finding a new career is pretty intimidating. The shear volume of options is the real kicker, and although I have a general idea of my interests the specific paths seem to change by the hour. I’m hoping some of you Alum out there could help me by sharing your own transition experience, and offer some advice on how I can narrow my search.

Thank you, and any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated! And of course a lot can change in 2 years so I am absolutely keeping an open mind, while also looking to use that time to ensure I’m fully prepared.



USAFA Grad, Faculty 3yrs, ALO 7yrs
10-Year Member
Apr 16, 2010
One thing I wish I had paid more attention to when evaluating options was the cost of health insurance. Upon separation, I drifted between two small companies before moving onto a larger Fortune 500 company. The differences in out of pocket monthly contributions was huge. In either scenario, it was a lot more than $0 tricare. When you evaluate things, look at the total benefit package and pay attention to actual take home pay. Today, that is really the only number you see and your frame of reference is built around the biweekly checks. Have you received the propaganda letter from HQ that attempts to tell you your equivalent salary in the civilian world? I remember getting that, and in my case, I dismissed most of it because it was things like officer club = country club... and other things I was not using. I will say in hindsight, it is closer to accurate than it is to fantasy. If you currently make $X as an O2 with 11 years + BAH + BAS, and the job offer is for $Y... consider what $Y-health insurance looks like to see if it is in line with your current standard of living.

Another thing on the Tricare front - my mom is a cancer survivor and she accompanied us on pediatrician visits occasionally and she would comment on things like "wow, you had a 730 appointment and got seen at 730!.... Wow you don't have to fill out any paperwork? You don't pay a copay for your visit? You seriously don't have to pay anything for those prescriptions?" I failed to put enough weight on her comments because to me, I only knew the tricare way and had zero perspective on what other systems were like. For as much as we like to bash the medical and dental hobby shops, it is actually a pretty decent system all things considered.