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Old 05-21-2012, 12:01 AM
 
3 posts, read 3,450 times
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So I've been thinking about the army lately and wanted some advice on how realistic this all is for me. I'm 31 now, which I know is much older than most people going in, so that may be a strike against me already. I didn't think about it as an option when I was younger and didn't really respect it. I considered it something people did when they didn't have much else going on or had some idealized view of patriotism. It didn't occur to me until later how wrong that view is, and now I find that I am constantly thinking about it as something for me and something I want to do. I don't seem to fit the idea of what I think would otherwise be normal for someone joining: I've never been the jock, never been the very physical type, never even held a gun before. I'm also socially liberal, which seems to be the opposite of the military in general, so I worry how well I'll even fit in. Maybe most importantly, I've never been a follower, at least not in the sense of being entirely comfortable under the strict rules of someone else.

On the other hand, I am looking for a drastic change. I want certain things in my life and I believe that the army can provide them in ways that, at this point, nothing else can.

So what's the advice, if any, from those that know better than I do on these matters? Am I just fooling myself?
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:36 AM
 
11,987 posts, read 10,680,497 times
Reputation: 9898
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohj81 View Post
So I've been thinking about the army lately and wanted some advice on how realistic this all is for me. I'm 31 now, which I know is much older than most people going in, so that may be a strike against me already. I didn't think about it as an option when I was younger and didn't really respect it. I considered it something people did when they didn't have much else going on or had some idealized view of patriotism. It didn't occur to me until later how wrong that view is, and now I find that I am constantly thinking about it as something for me and something I want to do. I don't seem to fit the idea of what I think would otherwise be normal for someone joining: I've never been the jock, never been the very physical type, never even held a gun before. I'm also socially liberal, which seems to be the opposite of the military in general, so I worry how well I'll even fit in. Maybe most importantly, I've never been a follower, at least not in the sense of being entirely comfortable under the strict rules of someone else.

On the other hand, I am looking for a drastic change. I want certain things in my life and I believe that the army can provide them in ways that, at this point, nothing else can.

So what's the advice, if any, from those that know better than I do on these matters? Am I just fooling myself?
Age shouldn't be an issue. You'd be surprised -- 31 is older than most, but you won't be the only old guy at Basic. As for being physical, you'll have to get in shape, but it's something you can definitely do if you want to. Socially liberal? So what... I'm far left in my political views... when I was younger, I thought that was a big deal. It's not. No one cares. I don't care. If you are not a rude person, and you respect the fact that opinions vary, you'll have no problems. I am very open about my political beliefs and very quick to listen to others share their political beliefs. With a few very unusual exceptions from extremely narrow-minded people, this has never been a problem.

I've never been a follower, at least not in the sense of being entirely comfortable under the strict rules of someone else.

This is going to be a huge problem. If you can't change your mindset in this regard, I highly encourage you to not join. I was a rebel in my teens and early 20s. I ditched class, smoked cigs where I wasn't supposed to, thought that people with more experience and wisdom than me were fools who had nothing to say. Rules were for idiots... not smart guys like me. Boy was a I dumb. Now I proudly follow orders to support a mission. Mission accomplishment requires disciplined people who don't hesitate to take action when given a directive. I take orders, and I give them. When I tell my subordinates to do something, I expect them to execute. Period. As a leader, I welcome the question "why." Soldiers who understand the mission will accomplish it better. I always have the time to offer insight. What I don't have time for is nonsense. The mission is defined by higher... always. You may disagree with the mission. That's fine. Doesn't matter... execute. I have trust and confidence in the collective wisdom of those who define missions. They don't always get it right, but they get it right often enough to have earned my respect and compliance. If you don't see yourself being able to adopt this atttitude, stay away from the military.
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:09 AM
 
5,666 posts, read 4,211,174 times
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I agree with WestCobb, especially the last section.

During Basic.
Listen to order, mouth shut, head down, get on with it...

Thereafter.
Listen to order, ask intelligent question (if relevant) listen to reply and ask follow up (if pertinent) then when told the Q & A is over.... mouth shut, head down, get on with it...

There will also be many times, especially if deployed, when the Q & A wont happen and you react to what your told to do without question, you need to trust absolutely the word of the one telling you what to do regardless of how you feel about it. If you feel that would be hard for you to do then don't consider the Army.
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:18 AM
 
3,269 posts, read 4,777,121 times
Reputation: 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohj81 View Post
So I've been thinking about the army lately and wanted some advice on how realistic this all is for me. I'm 31 now, which I know is much older than most people going in, so that may be a strike against me already. I didn't think about it as an option when I was younger and didn't really respect it. I considered it something people did when they didn't have much else going on or had some idealized view of patriotism. It didn't occur to me until later how wrong that view is, and now I find that I am constantly thinking about it as something for me and something I want to do. I don't seem to fit the idea of what I think would otherwise be normal for someone joining: I've never been the jock, never been the very physical type, never even held a gun before. I'm also socially liberal, which seems to be the opposite of the military in general, so I worry how well I'll even fit in. Maybe most importantly, I've never been a follower, at least not in the sense of being entirely comfortable under the strict rules of someone else.

On the other hand, I am looking for a drastic change. I want certain things in my life and I believe that the army can provide them in ways that, at this point, nothing else can.

So what's the advice, if any, from those that know better than I do on these matters? Am I just fooling myself?
Why the Army?
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:35 AM
 
Location: Sierra Vista, AZ
16,116 posts, read 20,148,778 times
Reputation: 8204
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohj81 View Post
So I've been thinking about the army lately and wanted some advice on how realistic this all is for me. I'm 31 now, which I know is much older than most people going in, so that may be a strike against me already. I didn't think about it as an option when I was younger and didn't really respect it. I considered it something people did when they didn't have much else going on or had some idealized view of patriotism. It didn't occur to me until later how wrong that view is, and now I find that I am constantly thinking about it as something for me and something I want to do. I don't seem to fit the idea of what I think would otherwise be normal for someone joining: I've never been the jock, never been the very physical type, never even held a gun before. I'm also socially liberal, which seems to be the opposite of the military in general, so I worry how well I'll even fit in. Maybe most importantly, I've never been a follower, at least not in the sense of being entirely comfortable under the strict rules of someone else.

On the other hand, I am looking for a drastic change. I want certain things in my life and I believe that the army can provide them in ways that, at this point, nothing else can.

So what's the advice, if any, from those that know better than I do on these matters? Am I just fooling myself?

It would be easy to say you are too old, forget it but when I was a recruiter a 33 year old divorced woman with 2 kids caame in tested well, went to Pharmacy school and found a home in the Army. She was one of the best soldiers I ever met. Not having fired a gun before can be an advantage because you won't have to unlearn bad habits. As for Socially Liberal that isn't a problem in the modern Army. Every day I am on my local base and see that the troops don't really want to hear the right wing news being pushed by the retirees and some superiors. As my header says, my advice is worth every penny you paid for it. It works for some and not for others

Good Luck
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Petticoat Junction
930 posts, read 1,575,979 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohj81 View Post
I've never been a follower, at least not in the sense of being entirely comfortable under the strict rules of someone else.
Then the military isn't for you.
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:48 PM
 
Location: New Mexico U.S.A.
24,131 posts, read 38,871,775 times
Reputation: 28099
how realistic this all is for me. I'm 31 now - I was in my best physical condition at age 36 after being in the Army about 16 years.

I considered it something people did when they didn't have much else going on or had some idealized view of patriotism. - I was drafted

I've never been the jock, never been the very physical type - Me neither, failed a few PT tests, "they" helped me pass by early formations and doing the PT Test with me.

I'm also socially liberal, which seems to be the opposite of the military in general, - Don't think like that... You are a member of a team...

Maybe most importantly, I've never been a follower
- You will learn to follow, then you will learn to lead.

at least not in the sense of being entirely comfortable under the strict rules of someone else. - Everyone follows the strict rules. You get accustomed to it. You begin to realize that a structured organized group can be enjoyable to a degree. You don't have any rules as a civilian?

So what's the advice - Go see an Army recruiter, right away.... Here are Recruiters web sites, it would not hurt to go to all of them:


Good luck

Rich

Last edited by Poncho_NM; 05-21-2012 at 09:26 PM..
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:18 PM
 
Location: vagabond
2,631 posts, read 4,831,584 times
Reputation: 1300
about the I've never been a follower, at least not in the sense of being entirely comfortable under the strict rules of someone else part, i'd just say that it will only hold you back as much as you want it to.

i have never been a very good follower either. i was always an ADHD loner-explorer type that liked to go off and do his own thing. but when i decided to join the usmc, i put that aside, because i wanted to be a marine more than i wanted to be a loner.

i did pretty darn well. i still hate being told what to do; i still grit my teeth when dealing with numbskull superiors. but i deal with it and move on, realizing that it is my choice whether it bothers or kills me or not, and that it is my choice whether i end up a good follower/leader, or a poor one.

nearly everything about the military is a mental game––even the painful, gruelingly physical stuff––and if you can recognize it as a mental game and play like a game, you'll come out on top.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:05 PM
 
1,820 posts, read 1,984,215 times
Reputation: 2576
The army is not for you. However, if you are really into it, then you must do this. Run miles daily starting now. Gym daily and rotate. Swim daily. Bike daily. The initial training is very physical. It is a killer for someone with your history. Your bones and support structure and internal conditioning will be a heavy strike against you that you make not be able to overcome. You will be washed out in the first 6 months. Good luck. Hope you do not spend 4 years on kp because you failed the physical requirements.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:46 PM
 
3 posts, read 3,450 times
Reputation: 15
Well, certainly varying opinions, to say the least!. From "no problem, go see a recruiter now" to "you'll be washed out in 6 months so don't bother". That's quite the range, and I realize I probably wasn't very specific on the details.

I said I haven't been a follower before, and that is true, I haven't. I never said I couldn't be or wasn't willing to. I recognize that it will be a significant change, and the whole point of coming here and asking opinions was because I am willing to have it. Honestly, if there's something I like even less than just being a follower is being told that I absolutely can't do something or can't adapt when I need to. I can.

In any case, I guess I was more looking for opinions from people who faced similar challenges and how it worked out for them. I can't be the only one who has this kind of history.
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