T Nation

How Do You Feel About Your Time In The Military?

I have some really good friends still from the Marines, and it taught me how to work harder than anyone else in the room, as well as how to push myself, and stay moving and thinking in situations that make others freeze up. Had some good times, some bad times, but - and this is totally on me - I ended up being ensnared in the drinking culture that is rampant in the Infantry (not all infantrymen, but definitely some, and I associated with those groups), and ended up developing a serious drinking problem towards the end of my service. If you’re smart and stick to the plan, you can go in at any rank, eat and live for free, save money, and leave with a nice chunk of cash and free college. If you go in as an officer you can really do well for yourself and set yourself up for great success afterwards (or make a career out of it). Shoot - if you’re young, you can do 20 years, retire from the military at 40, then do 20 years in something like the post office, and retire at 60 with double retirement and live like a freakin’ boss.

Anyways, I’m rambling, but my point is that I got some really good lessons, some unforgettable experiences, and some amazing friends out of it. I also got some injuries, some memories I want to forget, and some dead friends that I miss every day, not just on memorial day. Your experience will depend on what MOS you choose and whether you do enlisted or officer.

If you do officer, don’t be the butterbar who comes into a platoon and tries to tell a staff sgt with 6 combat deployments what’s up.

Good luck.


Ya hate to see it

And if you go enlisted, refrain from calling butterbars “butterbar” to their face. Especially when you’ve gotten drunk, started a fight in the barracks, and the OOD that has to break it up happens to be a butterbar who’s having a terrible night on duty. Tends to bring out the worst in people


Wow, this seems to be universal. I realized I can’t say much about the military itself so I deleted my post but I think this has to be pointed out.


This is country specific and I don’t know if it applies where you live but I’m going to add:

Around my region, if you move up the ranks as a commissioned officer, chances are you will be posted to certain vocations where you deal with the private sector and handle certain government contracts. Lots of private companies in industries from manufacturing, advertising to IT deal with the military. There’ll be lots of good jobs with high positions waiting for you after you retire just based on your government contacts alone.

NCOs aren’t posted to such vocations. Those whom have maxed out their ranks usually end up as security guards in shopping malls. Otherwise, they stay on in the military as civilian staff after retirement age at a reduced salary.

Again, remember this is country specific but I’m kinda seeing similar things from other posters so this might be relevant.

I think the only difference is that military people are so disrespected here because of reasons I can’t go into the older guys working in 8am to 5pm vocations in divisions don’t dare to leave their camps in their uniforms or some loons will do dumb shit like follow them from behind when they’re driving home and high beam them just to fuck with them lol.

DEFINITELY country specific. If you’re an aviation mechanic you can make BANK working for Boeing or Delta right out of 4 years of service - and they’d much prefer someone with 4 years of on-the-job experience vs. some kid fresh out of a technical school. There are a ton of enlisted jobs that can really help you out as a civilian. Unfortunately for me, outside of security and private contracting, there isn’t much for infantry, but I can say that having military experience on my resume has been a plus in literally every job I’ve applied for since leaving. Also, if you’re enlisted and can get a good percentage of disability from the VA afterwards you can work a regular job and be SUPER comfortable with the supplementation on top of it.

Basically, enlisted opens a ton of doors as well in the US, but it’s a notable step down from Officer, and if you have a college degree and go enlisted, then I really don’t know what you’re doing, unless you have 0% chance of making it through OCS or something. Even if enlisted guys don’t like you, there’s a fraction of the hazing that you have to deal with as a boot in the Marines, and you get paid a LOT more.

A side note - I think a lot of people think they can leave the military after 4 years and just join up with private contractors. Even as infantry there’s very little guarantee - it’s a saturated market, and will only become more saturated as we pull out of Afghanistan. You need boots on the ground in a combat zone, and even that isn’t going to necessarily get you the job.

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Ah, I get it. @jshaving You probably want to ignore what I wrote pertaining to this.


But is it the same for people at early retirement age(40 is considered “early” for officers)? @flappinit That was what I was mostly focussing on.



I think I shouldn’t be commenting since I don’t know much about how it’s like in the US. Sorry if I’m making this more confusing for you @jshaving .

People who live in my region should take note of what I wrote, though. Shit, I have a relative who was an ex-colonel who came to my house just to ask me to help persuade his son from signing on since he wouldn’t listen to him and I was close to his son at the time.

With a college degree at 21, if you go straight in, you’d be 41 at retirement. With enlisted, if you have a parent sign at 17, you could theoretically retire - although 25 years gets you more - at 37, lol. I honestly can’t say how common that is, because I didn’t know how old a lot of my NCO’s were. I found out my platoon sgt was like 36 and I swear, he looked 50. Lotsa combat.

By the way - it’s even MORE crazy in Australia. We went there in 2011 for a joint training exercise with the 5th RAR and they get paid very well. The AUG sucks, though.

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Counterstrike be damned. I lol’d at that.

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I might be biased - I had to qualify on it, and unlike the M4/M16, you can’t just pick it up and shoot it lefty because if the bolt assembly isn’t set up for lefties/righties it’ll eject hot brass into your face. So I had to qualify right-handed, which means using a righty stance and my non-dominant eye through a scope. Did manage to qualify, but the rifle is clunky and they also don’t use a crosshair, they use a circle that they put around the target. Apparently it has to do with the psychological aspect of hesitating while putting a crosshair on someone and pulling the trigger - putting a circle around the target might make it easier or something. It might be the case, but it sure makes it weird to shoot.

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