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Old 02-25-2009, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Hampton Roads, Virginia
1,123 posts, read 4,705,088 times
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Thanks Caution... I have been researching the Airborne, Ranger etc jobs and I do understand that if drops out or doesn't make it he is a grunt. We are just getting around to that discussion - I have to do it at the right time - because he is so set on that job it is scary. His recruiter saw him in school yesterday and told him to pick 5 jobs - not just 1 and they would go over every one of them.

Being a recruiter it must be a real pain to have to deal with mom's like me!
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Old 02-25-2009, 12:44 PM
 
957 posts, read 861,785 times
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I have to say it: It is the parents' job to save their kids from their own poor decisions. I think you're dropping the ball here. That's not a political statement. You're talking about letting your kid make a decision that requires parental consent (I hope) and may well result in him getting killed. Bad parenting I say. You can see from the posts above that people are telling you, things are not likely to go the way your son is thinking. That's where the parent should step in. Why not let your kid wait until he's 18 to make this decision fully on his own? That your son wants something so bad "it's scary" is not a good enough reason to help him, IMO.
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Old 02-25-2009, 06:25 PM
 
Location: Fly-over country.
1,765 posts, read 6,243,997 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heiwos View Post
I have to say it: It is the parents' job to save their kids from their own poor decisions. I think you're dropping the ball here. That's not a political statement. You're talking about letting your kid make a decision that requires parental consent (I hope) and may well result in him getting killed. Bad parenting I say. You can see from the posts above that people are telling you, things are not likely to go the way your son is thinking. That's where the parent should step in. Why not let your kid wait until he's 18 to make this decision fully on his own? That your son wants something so bad "it's scary" is not a good enough reason to help him, IMO.
You're correct. But she's involved, and that's enough. If she "forbids" him, he'll be down at the MEPS on his 18th birthday without her.

Let's look at your comment in some other ways and see if they relate.

- I see you are letting your 16 year old drive. This is not a political statement. This driving may very well get him killed-- in fact it's the number one killer of people in his age group.

- I see you are letting your 16 year old date, and that leads to sexual activity, as we all know. Since teen pregnancy and STDs are a huge risk, letting children this age date is a mistake. Don't try to talk to him about it, just step up and stop it.

Ok. That's kind of silly. I myself dislike moral equivalence arguments.

My bottom line on this is simple:

- No parent jumps for joy when their kid enlists, at age 17, or even at the maximum enlistment age of 34. It's a strange mix of pride, fear and self-doubt. There will be sleepless nights mixed with tears of joy.

- The chances are high, for any military person, in any service component, active or reserve, to deploy to or in support of an operation that you might as well call "war" over the next several years. We should all assume both the 17 year old and the parents accept this, and have come to grips with it. Even without war, training is dangerous. Essentially you are practicing all forms of combat. If you want to get better at basketball, you shoot hoops. If you want to get better at war you do some very realistic practice. So even if a military person never leaves the base, he or she is at risk, in spite of the best control measures in the world.

- This is a personal decision. Advice can be given, but judgment should be reserved.

- Lastly, about 300 million people are being defended (or served, if you prefer that) by around 3 million. This includes wars and deployments we don't like, reasons we don't like, policy we disagree with, and places we can't even find on a map. That being said, the best we can do is support those families who belong to that elite group and try to understand that for some, just to have served, even at great personal risk, is in itself all the explanation we ever need.

I'm retired now, but I can tell you, those men and women are just like all of us plain old civilians. It's not about some geopolitical theory or blind patriotism. It's about service to country and service to your fellow man. These are not complex ideas that involve nationalistic agendas. These are people who understand that, "Someone has to do it."

That's my $.02. Maybe my world-view is twisted.
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Old 02-25-2009, 08:54 PM
 
957 posts, read 861,785 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caution View Post
If she "forbids" him, he'll be down at the MEPS on his 18th birthday without her.
So be it. It's not much like dating or driving. It's more like he's getting parental permission to have a baby, because he dreams of taking the kid to baseball games. Better that he make the decision on his own as an adult. That way, if he's middle-age and scrubbing toilets at some outpost, or on the streets with all the other washed-out vets who found out the military wasn't what they expected (even to realize that it wasn't true at all that "someone has to do it"), at least he can't blame mom.
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Old 02-26-2009, 07:12 AM
 
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
34,590 posts, read 42,755,715 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stacylee926 View Post
Thanks Caution... I have been researching the Airborne, Ranger etc jobs and I do understand that if drops out or doesn't make it he is a grunt. We are just getting around to that discussion - I have to do it at the right time - because he is so set on that job it is scary. His recruiter saw him in school yesterday and told him to pick 5 jobs - not just 1 and they would go over every one of them.

Being a recruiter it must be a real pain to have to deal with mom's like me!
Glad to hear your updates. I agree with you about your son graduating with his class. I always told my kids that "real life lasts a long time and don't be in such a hurry to leave your childhood behind". This usually goes on deaf ears, though, since they are so eager to get on with their next adventure.

Two things I forgot to mention in my previous post about the Rangers: Although they do tend to get themselves into the thick of things, the good part is they are only deployed for 3-4 months at a time, unlike the soldiers who are deployed for 12-18 months at a time. Secondly, although the training is hard, the ones who sail through it are the ones who LOVE the physical challenges. They LOVE testing themselves. My son went through Ranger School with a bunch of West Pointers in his group and they all had the same attitude about the rigorous training and physical depravation... like, you need to be able to see the humor in living off of bugs and treebark for a few days. Success is just as much mental attitude as it is physical stamina.
I just thought of a third thing.. When my son, who just retired, was a Ranger. The attitude towards them was that they were all bad boys who's infractions were sort of overlooked...drinking, carousing, etc. Now it is different. Rangers have a very strict code of behavior these days. Many of those who started in my youngest son's group have been booted out. It usually involved drinking and the bad behavior that accompanies drinking. Let your son be warned that if he gets into a Ranger Unit he must be very careful not to screw up, because there will be a line around the block trying to take his spot, and he also will not be too happy with where they place him in the Army.
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Old 02-26-2009, 08:30 AM
 
Location: Hampton Roads, Virginia
1,123 posts, read 4,705,088 times
Reputation: 667
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heiwos View Post
I have to say it: It is the parents' job to save their kids from their own poor decisions. I think you're dropping the ball here. That's not a political statement. You're talking about letting your kid make a decision that requires parental consent (I hope) and may well result in him getting killed. Bad parenting I say. You can see from the posts above that people are telling you, things are not likely to go the way your son is thinking. That's where the parent should step in. Why not let your kid wait until he's 18 to make this decision fully on his own? That your son wants something so bad "it's scary" is not a good enough reason to help him, IMO.

WOW - I think that the mere fact that I posted this proves I want to help my son make a well informed decision. My husband and I have a very strong and close relationship with our son. My son respects our opinion and still looks up to us to help guide him. He is not some cocky teenager.

My son wants to be a Ranger - but he only has the knowledge about the job from video games, watching the military channel and talking to recruiters and his ROTC contacts. That is alot of sources, but they don't explain all the details. I know this and I also have learned what the REAL job is and I do NOT want him to pursue this job right away. He cannot be a ranger until he is 21 anyway. My choice would be for him find an interesting career for 4 years, then pursue the Ranger avenue or other career choice when he reups at 22. He will see alot of jobs and have many experiences in those first 4 years - one of which may change his direction all together.

He does need my signature until Sept when he turns 18. That is why we will have him sign after June (and before Sept)- when he is still 17 and I can make sure he makes a good decision (oh, and he WANTS to sign up ASAP, we are not pushing him on this one bit. It has been his decision since he was young). He also gets a $1000 a month bonus and the sooner he signs, the more he can collect for his future.
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Old 02-26-2009, 11:05 AM
 
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
34,590 posts, read 42,755,715 times
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Stacylee926, a little correction. If there is an age requirement, I'm not aware of it. I know for a fact that at least one of the kids who went to the Ranger Regiment after boot camp with my son only turned 21 after he got there. That kid is one of the ones who took a liking to alcohol after he turned
21, got into trouble, and got kicked out. Perhaps your son cannot go to Ranger School before 21? This is different.

Some ammo you can use on your son, if you haven't already. He will go in with higher rank and higher pay with more education and experience than someone who does not. My son went in as an E-3 because he had an Assoc. Degree, and after 2 years is an E-5. Not bad.

Another tactic we used on our son was that we gave him Lasix eye surgery as a graduation present, and the Army will not take anyone for at least 6 months following this surgery. If your son wears glasses, you might try this tactic yourself and gain at least 6 months for him to cool down.

Is your son clear on the difference between being in a Ranger Regiment and going to Ranger School? There is an important distinction.
Anyone who qualifies from any branch of the Army, officers or enlisted, can go to Ranger School (this is a very grueling course and at the end you get a Ranger Tab), which is not the same thing as being in a Ranger Regiment. I believe every Ranger in the regiment needs to eventually complete Ranger School, but this could take a few years in some cases, and it would be impossible to go very far in rank unless a soldier in a Ranger Regt completed Ranger School. A slot in a Ranger Regiment is what you want to see on your son's contract. Sadly, a lot of kids at graduation from boot camp thought they could just sign up somewhere to be Rangers, after the fact, probably because some recruiter told them that anyone can sign up to go to Ranger School. This is theoretically true, but not how you get into a Ranger Regiment.
Hope I didn't confuse you more.
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Old 02-26-2009, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Hampton Roads, Virginia
1,123 posts, read 4,705,088 times
Reputation: 667
Gentlehearts - yea I am confused.. but that is ok . It is all still new to me!

I doubt the laser eye surgery would work. He had a tooth that had to be pulled because his permanent tooth was already growing in ABOVE it. We were referred to an orthdontist and the dr said he would need 3 years of braces!! Our son said no way.... because he knew you cannot enter the Army with braces. Turns out that tooth is moving down on it's own. Our son says if it needs further work later, the Army can take care of it - lol! Right now I am ok with him joining after graduation next year. He will be almost 19.

The recruiter is the one who told us he cannot be a Ranger until he is 21. True or not, that works for me .

Thanks for your thoughts on this
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Old 02-26-2009, 02:54 PM
 
957 posts, read 861,785 times
Reputation: 195
Just want to say that I do greatly respect everyone who protects & serves, including those in the military. I think the way many of the troops are treated these days is a travesty, and don't agree that they need to sign their whole life away (or face prison) for the nation to be well defended. I realize this would be a tough decision for a parent of a child who really believes the propaganda. Perhaps his jets can be cooled by getting him face time with some vets, not just those who are career military or recruiters. When I was a teenager I got a patriotic case made for the National Guard; had I not needed parental permission I might've signed up right then & there. Good thing I didn't join or I might be writing this from Iraq now.
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Old 02-26-2009, 05:07 PM
 
Location: So. of Rosarito, Baja, Mexico
6,571 posts, read 17,962,548 times
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I'm a Korea vet so it's been a long time since I served. At that time a person might try to apply thru the 1st sgt for some school of choice. Schools had a starting period and you might have to wait months before the next class began. The most probable thing was that you were needed in your current MOS and transfer chances were slim. The CO had the discretion of letting you go or not. If you get 2-3 different MOS specialties then the chance is always in your favour.

Bottom line would be education before entering the military. With high school you are on the bottom of the list. A "AA" degree would be a lot better for a 18-21 yr old person and chances for promotion.

On going to camp in 1950...we had a lot of draftees join our unit. One person had a BA degree and stayed behind as a acting 1st sgt when the rest of the unit deployed to Japan. The camp was empty and many draftees were coming to the base and this guy had just completed basic training and was a 1st sgt that never rejoined our unit. Some people were lucky.

As for the 17yr old...he should go for a AA degree and a couple of yrs older would be the best for him if he wants to make the military a carear. At 19 I was offered the chance for OCS and a commision.

Hope he makes the wise decision. Steve
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