T Nation

Military Reserve


Do we have any T-Men that are members of military reserve? - I was wondering what you thought about it and how was/is your experience as a member? - Also what branch of military you were/are a reserve for? - I was thinking about becoming a reserve but wanted to hear some opinions first. Thanks.


I was an MP in the reserves from 1987 to 1995. I'm sure things have changed a lot, but I really enjoyed it. I was fortunate enough to do some travel and got to know some really great people. All in all, I think it is what you make of it.


Now im not in the reserve Im active duty. But, I work with alot of reserve guys on our flight in the Air Force.

It all depends on what you want. If you go to do something in the military for quality of life go with the Air force. And if you go Air Force I would say dont be a cop. That is what I am. Not that it is anythig wrong with it, its just that there are better jobs in the AF.

If you want the benifits like insurance and stuff like that you only get that in the resrerve if you are on ative duty orders. So the rest of the time you are stuck with what ever your civilian job has.

The reserves also deploy for up to 18M. Now the longest I have ever been deploled is 214 days. And that is long by AF standards. The rest of them only get deployed for about 3 to 4m.

So its all in what you want. There really isnt one that is better than the other. Some just harder than the other.



I spent six years in the Marine reserves, I am now active Army.
I hated the reserves. It was hard to turn the "Grunt" in me off and on. I lived far from all other guys in my unit, so I didn't get much comradre, these were just guys I just saw once a month. It seemed that reserve weekends always fell on the same weekend that wedding/concert/party/seminar always fell on. I busted ass 40-60 hours a week, and my time off was spent playing GI Joe. I just about broke even, covering gas and food vs the money I made at reserves (not to mention the loss of overtime).

And I do mean playing. These guys never saw the real service, so they just had an idea of what it was like. Maybe that was just my unit, but leadership was lacking. There is little time to train, you spend as much time prepping and doing admin as you do training, and by the time it gets going well, it is time to pull it in. And preperation for war... it was the quality of men, not the quality of training that kept us alive.

Also, in this day and age, reserve and guard units are deploying as readily as active units.

Well there are good things about being in the reserves, I find active a much richer and rewarding experience. I wish I would have done this initially, and maybe reserves later in my career.


I hear ya. If I would have gone straight to active duty instead of starting in the reserves.......Id be retiring in 2 years.......oh well.


I appreciate your responses. Sometimes I wish that I had joined up right after HS. Do you guys think that joining the military is more for a single person?- Did any of you have you own family (kids, wife) before you joined?-


Yea I have a wife and 2 kids.

One of my kids I never get to see because of the military. He lives with my X in another state. I think it would be better for a single person because it was the hardest thing I have ever done to leave my wife and kids and then hardly ever get to see my other kid.

But, I am not the only one who has a family and goes to Iraq. It is all in how strong your relationship is.

And you will know if you join and you get sent to Iraq. I mean we had guys whos girl friends left them wives or what ever. Just because they couldnt stand the seperation. But, It can be done with a family. People do it all the time.

My wife loves me being in the military. Just for all the benefits. I mean we live on base so we dont pay a water or electric bill. And there are no taxes on things. If something cost a dollar that is what you pay.

Goodluck in whatever you decide.

All in all I think it is worth it.



Before you ask is military good for single vs married guys, ask is it good for you? If you hate it, your wife will as well.
I am newly married (6 months), and we love Army life. We were dating before I enlisted, got engaged during school and married before I checked into my unit. She is supportive of me, proud to be an Army wife (the hardest job in the Army) and this works well for us. We are finicially secure, have a nice place, get healthcare, and have a good group of friends and neighbors. Of course, I haven't deployed with her yet, so her feelings may change.
Honestly, most guys lose their girlfriends back home when they join. Divorce is common (then again it is in the civialian world as well). I feel that when we get through my enlistment(s?) this will only make us stronger.
As far as age goes, I was 26 when I joined active duty. It works to my advantage. I have life experience, judgement and maturity over the 18 year olds. I'm not worried about partying, chasing women and fucking up. I have more focus. And still, I will be able to retire by fifty if I choose. Don't let age be a limiting factor.
Good luck, whatever you choose, and feel free to ask any questions. You'll get honest answers from a variety of people.


I am active duty AF and have been for 11 years now. I have a wife and a daughter. I have been married for 8 years now. Before we got married I told her that I could get a phone call and be gone from 90 days up to one year. That one year thing just happened. I went to Korea and had to leave the family behind. They are very supportive of me and my career. I have met some of the best friends I will ever have and have seen some wonderful places.

BUT....don't let all the good cloud your judgement. There will be times in which you will wish you didn't join. There will some long hours sometimes and you are gauranteed to deploy. This is almost like any other job except you cannot quit. As far as the age thing goes, I agree with combatmedic, I was 20 when I joined. I supervise 1 asshole that has posted on here that was about 23-24 when he joined. One of the best troops because he has the maturity that the normal 18 year old does not have.

I would not trade any part of my time in for anything in the world. I have learned so many things through the military that I would not have in the civilian life.

Good luck to you.


I supervise 1 asshole that has posted on here that was about 23-24 when he joined. One of the best troops because he has the maturity that the normal 18 year old does not have.

I would not trade any part of my time in for anything in the world. I have learned so many things through the military that I would not have in the civilian life.

Good luck to you.

ass hole< do you think so. from this feed i don't know if i should cry on your shoulder or kick you in the nuts. but thanks anyways


Asshole=best troop. I dont know what to say. Im blushing. I think that is one of the best complements I have ever gotten from a supervisor.

But, take his advise Kidd. It is good stuff.



He was talking about me as his troop


I'm currently in an Air Force National Guard unit. You need to decide what you want out of any choice involving it.

I went in at 31 years old. I went in to develop a new school set, and hopefully springboard to a new career.

At the time, I was an Operations Manager for the second largest ports authority on the Eastern Seaboard and making decent money. I joined in March 01 and was in my technical training during 9/11.

My unit got activated for 24 months and I spent 411 days of that deployed during 4 rotations. Being away from my kids was tough, but at the end of the activation, the technical experience was there for my resume.

I left the Ports Authority and went to work as a Network Engineer at the FBI HQ. Since then, I've been offered and accepted a job at a major Internet Service Provider.

The only advice I could possibly offer is come up with a plan before you go in, then follow it.


I have been on Active Duty and in the National Guard. I joined when I was 19. Maturity is important. I think I enjoyed the National Guard more. One weekend a month and two weeks during the summer was great. You still need to be commited to the job. The difference is that no one is riding your ass the time your not at Reservers unless your married. You really have to balance service with everyday life. I would also advise you to think hard about your MOS and find something that you like. I chose Airborne Infantry for the wrong reasons and I paid for it. Look at your strengths and play to them it will make your life alot easier.

Me Solomon Grundy

P.S. - I am joining up again this year.

I joined the Navy Reserve after 8 years active duty flying.  I'm still drilling and now have 23 years total.  I agree with the poster that said the drill weekends seem to come at the same time as other weekend events but the money for me has been very good, the benefits are increasing all the time (like medical) and I've earned my retirement so after age 60 I have some income and my wife and my medical covered for life.

Since I mobilized all of 2003 I'm now using the Tricare medical benefit.  I have 3 years of coverage for about $260 a month for myself, wife and 2 kids.  

I'm not sure I how I would feel if I had to do the whole 20 in the Reserves.  They ask a lot more of us now then they did prior 9/11.  Coming off active duty with 8 years complete it made sense to join the Reserve.  

The value of your Reserve pay for 20 years, then retirement and medical benefits after 60 until you (and your spouse if you set it up that way) die is usually valued somewhere between $800,000 and $1,000,000 over your life.  Knowing that we will have full medical coverage after age 60 so I can retire when I can afford to is worth the whole thing to me.