T Nation

Question for Military Vets


Got a buddy who just joined Nat'l Guard and left for basic a week ago. Seemed to have everything figured out and was pretty excited. He graduated from college in '06 and signed up with a program that will put him through Physician Assistant school after 4 (or 6? I forget) years of service. I would love to do something similar and if anyone has any advice or input, I appreciate it.

I graduated from college in '07 with a double BA in Int'l Relations and French and I've been twiddling my thumbs ever since. I work for a medical clinic but it's def not what I want to do with my life. I'd love to go to law school and from what I understand, there are programs through the military where they will eventually pay for it.

I know this is a broad question, but I've heard horror stories about recruiters promising the world and then guys getting stuck with a bad deal. Any advice for someone looking into OCS or other avenue?


Are you looking to go active or Nat guard?


Honestly, I'd be excited to go active. My buddy went Nat Guard 'cuz he didn't want to be deployed. I'm at a stage in my life where I need to do something other than go through the motions. Ya know?


Having done both active and guard duty (Cobra pilot) I prefer the guard duty if going to pursue a career/school. The guard will usually pay upto 75% of your tuition to a state school (Guard is state run, reserves are federal if you choose that route) and you can also get the GI Bill at a prorated rate. Active duty will give you a shitload more money (including the full GI Bill) but you do have to live your life on the military's terms - not yours.

Your buddy may not get deployed to a combat zone (Guard does go there however) he could more likely get deployed to backfill AD that went to said combat zone. So, instead of being Iraq/Afghanistan, he will be playing with his dick in the middle of Kansas or some shit. I would rather go to Iraq - JMO.

There are horror stories about people getting screwed over, but it's usually themselves that do the screwing and not the recruiters. If you're a dumbfuck (bad ASVAB score) your ass will be humpin a pack and getting shot at. That's not the recruiters fault.


Right on. Thanks for the rundown, Icarus. Looks like I need to go take the ASVAB and proceed from there.

I was actually born in KS.. but I'd rather not go back. ha.


But what if you're a smart fuck and you want to hump a pack and get shot at. And hopefully return fire?


I mean, yeah... there's a huge part of me that wouldn't mind being in the thick of it. (at least I say that now, right?) Glad you said that, WolBarret.

smartfucks wanna shoot stuff, too. I just really wanna be able to 'pew pew pew' some shit and serve my country. Then, maybe go to law school and wreck some havoc (read: do my best to un-fuck this fucked up political situation) in D.C. Crazy plan or what?


sounds like you have a good idea of what you want to do. i spent 4 years enlisted in the marine corps. after i got out i went to school and got my bs in english. i thought about going to ocs after i graduated, but it didn't work out.

anyway, there are programs that will let you be in the military and go to law school if you want. i don't know if it's the same now as it was back then, but in the marines the choices for officer candidates are air (fly planes and helos obviously), law, or ground. ground is basically anything and everything else besides air and law.

after you graduate ocs you then have the squad leaders course, while in squad leaders course you pick 3 fields that you want to do, and the corps tries to fit you into one of those choices depending on what is available. obviously nothing is guaranteed, but from what i've heard they usually can get you pretty close to something accepable.

military life is not easy, but i think that after it is all said and done, the benefits outweigh the hardships. good luck!


Depends on what field you're looking to get into, and then which service. There are a ton of programs before and after you commit, depending on what you're looking for. I went through the AF PA program, which included guard/reserve, coast guard, army, and navy. I also went through COT with doc's, lawyers, etc.

There's a ton of programs that the recruiter can clue you in on, but more important to know the prereq's and requirements for application. Some programs have you complete active/enlisted time in another field, only to apply later--with nothing guaranteed. With others you apply for a predetermined need/position. It's important to ask EVERYTHING up front, and make sure everything is in writing/clearly documented.

There are great programs and opportunities, but remember that you have to look out for yourself to make it work...seriously. BTW, the guard and reserve are not sure or even good ways to avoid deployment...they often are some of the first to go. But it doesn't sound like you're too worried about deploying.

Hope this helps.


I appreciate the responses, guys. Everything you've said supports what I've been anticipating.

My grandfather served in WWII and my uncle in Vietnam, so I've been privy to some of the pros and cons of military life. I definitely agree that the benefits outweigh the negatives.

I had the opportunity to spend a good amount of time abroad these past few years and I'd love to be able to travel again and pursue my goals at the same time. Seems like this would be an appropriate route.

I've got a friend of a friend who is a Major in the Army based a short distance from me (Indianapolis). I'm gonna meet with him and then get in touch with a recruiter.


"If you're a dumbfuck (bad ASVAB score) your ass will be humpin a pack and getting shot at. That's not the recruiters fault."

Of course! Those who CHOSE to do that are all witless fucks who lick windows in their off time. How could anyone POSSIBLY volunteer to do such unsavory business? The delicate geniuses who fly machines are truly the only enlightened ones in the military.

Your advice blows, dude.

Would like to set the record straight- there is little difference between being in the NG/Reserve and Active Duty concerning deployments to a combat zone (IZ or AFG). If you want to avoid going to combat- do NOT join. Anything.


Infantry is the backbone of the Armed Forces, DirtyM. Don't talk shit about them. Anyone who signs up for the military deserves respect, regardless of MOS or Branch.


i think he was being sarcastic....


i think he was being sarcastic....


Hey OP, you don't take the asvab as an officer.

you have a hard chance of getting 'screwed' going in as an officer. max your pt, do well at OCS, place in the top of the OML, and your branch choice will be pretty much guarenteed.

remember though, there are tons of options, not just pure active or guard. you can get an AGR job, technician job, ADSW orders, all kinds of shit.

did you have any idea on what you wanted to branch?

while they have good intentions, i would suggest not trying to get advice from the process from enlisted guys on your route. same way as i try to tell people i'm not exactly sure of the enlisting/meps process.

good luck with everything man!


I'd still take it to see where I place though, right? I'm probably all wrong in my ideas of how things proceed so I appreciate the tutilage.

I'm at work so I can't respond in great length, but I figured Army 'cuz someone told me they had 'the most options'. I don't know what any of those acronyms are and that's why I'm asking these questions. That's also why I'm glad there are mofos like you guys to provide advice and experience.


you should look into working for the secret service or FBI, with your double major especially in a foreign language you could probably do something uber sweet.
but seriously, I have a friend who majored in criminal justice and spanish and got approached by the FBI and applied to the secret service.


negative. officers do not take the ASVAB.

i HIGHLY suggest army. maybe i am biased b/c i'm army myself. but you are right, they have tons of options, the SLOTS for all of those jobs, and give out the most money.

sorry about the acronyms. what i mean is you can also pick up full time national guard jobs. meaning you wear ACU's to work. but you work 8-4 like normal mofos, and live wherever you want to. not to mention you get full pay, benifits, medical coverage, yadda yadda yadda.

AGR = active guard reserve = full time national guard job
ADSW = active duty special work = kinda like AGR but it has a fixed end date. ADSW orders can last anywhere from a week to a year or more. while you are on orders it's just like being active duty

any other questions feel free to ask here or PM me

what were you thinking of branching in the army?


I looked into FBI and CIA and both would be fantastic, I'm sure. I couldn't do Secret Service simply 'cuz I'm not too keen on Mr. Komrade Obama. I know there's more to it than the POTUS, and I know he's the 'commander in chief' of the Armed Forces and all, but I just couldn't do it. Didn't some enlisted guy refuse to deploy due to BHO's questionable birth certificate? I would have a problem protecting a guy who is seemingly trying quite vigilantly to ensure the destruction (or at least degradation) of some things I hold very dear. Anyway, not trying to jack my own thread.

The idea of Army appeals to me more for reasons of future interest and further education.

Again, grateful for the knowledge. I just recently started looking into this so I'm not sure of a branch. At first glance, EOD looks like a good time. Some of my friends think I'm crazy for even considering that route 'cuz I just finished school and have some hefty loans. Wouldn't be too prudent to go get all blowed up when I owe some $$$, right?

Like I said, HolyMac, I'm a blank slate with this stuff. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can and make the best decision. I'll def. hit you up with more questions.

And then I'm gonna go change my username to 'CRIMSON TRACE'.


Infantry is the backbone of the Armed Forces, DirtyM. Don't talk shit about them. Anyone who signs up for the military deserves respect, regardless of MOS or Branch.[/quote]

For clarity's sake- I was being extremely sarcastic. I violently agree with you.