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Old 12-13-2023, 06:30 PM
5,970 posts, read 3,711,573 times
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Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
Something I have noticed among Vet groups is that Vets who have problems and issues are more likely to be guys who only served one contract. Whereas retirees have a completely different attitude about their service.
That seems perfectly logical to me. If you are having problems or issues, why would you sign up for more of the same?

OTOH, retirees must have found something they liked about the military or they wouldn't have stayed that long. When I was in back in the late 60's, the "lifers" were pretty much guys who couldn't or wouldn't have a made a decent living on the "outside".

For them, the Army was a godsend. They didn't have to know much or do much. Just keep their mouth shut and muddle through whatever menial tasks they were assigned, and they could be guaranteed a job and paycheck for a long as they wanted.

And after they retired, they would get a pension for life. It wasn't a lot, but it was a great deal for someone with little to no education and little to no abilities or ambition.
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Old 12-13-2023, 07:19 PM
Location: Forests of Maine
37,452 posts, read 61,366,570 times
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Originally Posted by Clemencia53 View Post
were you in the guard or reserves. Have never heard of anything like this happening in the regular service. Well at least in the Air Force. Guess that was the days before direct deposit?
I served 20+ years on Active Duty.

In the 70s and 80s, commands were under pressure to lure people into Direct Deposit. I signed up for DD a couple of times, usually induced by a promise of extra liberty. Both times they messed it up pretty bad. The system would forget to send out pay for a month, then try to make up for it by sending out 2X the next month, etc.

In 1977 I was at groton attending a school, and I had a savings account at the base credit union. At that time, each base had its own credit union and none of them had the ability to transfer between CUs. I transferred to my next base [DamNeck] for a different school, when I checked in the first thing I had to do was start up a savings account at the CU on base at DamNeck. When I checked in with the command dispersing wanted the routing and account numbers for my DamNeck CU savings account, and they sent out a paycheck.

When I got the statements from both the groton CU and the DamNeck CU, I found out the two dispursing offices had paid me twice for the same month. They sent one check to the groton CU and one check to the DamNeck CU. I told the command about it, and I was told to sit on that money and never spend it. Because as soon as dispursing figured out what they had done, I would be billed, and it would trigger an audit which would freeze my pay for another six weeks.

I remember once in HolyLoch the command would not let us go home after work if we were not signed up DD [that would have been between 87 and 90].

In 1991 it was time for me to re-enlist. The Navy had just changed the enlistment contract to say that I was required to give them access to a bank account for DD. Without DD I would be violating of my contract.

Thankfully by then Navy Federal CU was on most bases, so we no longer had to open different accounts at each base.
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Old 12-14-2023, 09:09 AM
Location: Centennial, CO
2,274 posts, read 3,075,471 times
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I personally would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Had some great times both active duty and in Reserves. Made some good friends and had some interesting experiences I never would have had otherwise. Coming out of high school I wasn't socially ready and responsible enough for college. I don't think I would have done as well if I'd gone straight to college from high school. Also I'd have been saddled with student loan debt. Luckily I was able to take advantage of both my GI Bill and Illinois Veterans Grant (pays tuition for any public school in the state if you serve X amount of time), and I paid nothing for my 4 years of college at U of Illinois. Had a great time and could concentrate on my studies (and fun!) for 4 years. Got a good internship which turned into my first professional job right out of school.

I have also used my VA Loan benefits a number of times, having bought 6 of my homes using VA loans over the years. Great benefit. Most I wouldn't have been able to buy without it as I would have needed a big down payment or would have been stuck paying PMI.

Also, I enjoy getting military discounts for things, plus most people (especially older folks) generally give you a little bit more respect when they find out you served.

I haven't needed to use my VA benefits as I've always been covered by workplace health plans/insurance, but it's good piece of mind to know it's there should I ever need to, especially as I get older.

Also, I learned what it's like to push your physical and mental limits while in the military. I continued to stay in shape after my time was up and still do to this day. I also learned how to deal with red tape and bureaucracy which has served me well. I don't love it but at least I know when I come across it in day to day civilian life it's usually nothing compared to what you deal with when working for the Federal government (lol). So I have that going for me, which is nice.

Now, would I recommend it today? It depends. I have a more skeptical view of the world and know much more about how it works than I did as a surly 18 year old. The world is a different place, too, compared to the placid mid-90's to early 2000s when I served. I was lucky to get out right before the post 9/11 fallout began. One's experience depends a lot also on what branch and what MOS they choose, and where you are stationed. I was lucky as I enjoyed my MOS and where I was. I can imagine it might be different for others not so lucky.
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Old 12-14-2023, 10:57 AM
303 posts, read 237,246 times
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Way too nuanced an issue to simply answer "yes" or "no."

Random thoughts

1. I work with a lot of veterans who "checked the box." Did 4 years of nothing, are now out and collect veterans preference, talk about "when I was in the military" and cover their cars in military stickers. Utterly worthless in the workplace. They bring nothing to the table.

2. My neighbor left both(!) legs in Iraq. He got to be in a Stephen Segal movie and appears to be financially well off.

3. There's a lot of servicemembers who aren't on the internet because they're in Arlington.

None of the above would give the same answer to the question. If a youngster asked me "Should I go in the military?" I'd say................"It depends."
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Old 12-14-2023, 06:51 PM
Location: Honolulu
1,891 posts, read 2,531,250 times
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It would be interesting to hear from those who suffered permanent injuries in the line of duty if they still think it was worth it to join. A lot of people point out sacrifice and fighting in defense of your country, but I think reasons for joining are far more selfish. In other words people join because of what's in it for them, whether that be adventure, travel or financial reasons. Not that there's anything wrong with that since most everyone is selfish when choosing a job. If you believe in what you're fighting for I guess it would be easier to accept injury, but if you don't believe what you're fighting for it could drive you crazy.
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Old 12-14-2023, 07:10 PM
Location: South Raleigh
506 posts, read 259,785 times
Reputation: 1350
And then there are those who joined to avoid being drafted. Some of my fraternity brothers joined the USAF or USN during the Vietnam War, to avoid being drafted into the US Army. Some were able to avoid the draft only by agreeing with their local draft board to teach school for so many years. None of my friends claimed medical issues or ran off to Canada. Most of us ( in my social group ) joined because it was the right thing to do.

Yes there were benefits, but we also believed ( as I still believe ) that we were doing something worthwhile.

Granted, I never saw combat, but I lost some good friends in the war. And I sent a few to their deaths ( what was supposed to be a simple unarmed surveillance mission turned into 17 lives lost ). I very much regret their deaths, but I don't regret where I served or what we were doing.

There were some in the unit who didn't believe in what we were doing, and we were careful not to trust them.

But that was a long time ago. We live in a different world now, where our "systems" are much more complex. Yet we still have a great country and it is still very much worthwhile protecting.
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Old 12-14-2023, 07:39 PM
Location: Forests of Maine
37,452 posts, read 61,366,570 times
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Originally Posted by Upminster-1 View Post
And then there are those who joined to avoid being drafted.
When I checked on board my first sub, most of the crew were former draft dodgers.

As I understood it.

All 365 days of the calendar year were marked on balls turning in a barrel, one ball was picked at a time, and that 'Julian date' was assigned a number.

The annual process numbered all 365 days of the calendar with assigned numbers. One through 365.

Then each week the draft board would announce if they needed they needed the next sequential number and everyone knew what Julian date that meant. If your birthdate had been assigned the number 5, and the previous week they had drafted all fours, then you knew your number was next.

If you got a low number [which meant you knew up front that your number was going to be called soon] a person could enroll in college classes and get a college deferment. Four years later when you finished college your deferment likewise dissolved and you were back to having the same low number in that year's weekly draft notices. Among some of these recent college grads who were soon to be drafted, they would volunteer for a branch that avoided hiking in the jungles of VN. Thus most of my crewmembers had come to be serving on subs.

The week that I reported on board, I was with three other new crewmen. It was said to us that we were the first to check onboard in many years, who were NOT draft dodgers.
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Old 12-14-2023, 07:58 PM
Location: South Raleigh
506 posts, read 259,785 times
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Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
When I checked on board my first sub, most of the crew were former draft dodgers.
My local draft board had a similar system. So we all had college deferments, but only for four years. Some of us were in five-year engineering programs, so committing to a commissioning program would give us an extra year.

Just before commissioning my draft board assigned me the number "365" which many of my classmates would have loved to have. My Detachment Commander then called me in and asked if I wanted to be relieved of my obligation. I said no, and so he put me in for graduate school as my first active duty assignment. And I never looked back.

I can only imagine what it would be like on a sub in those days. Hopefully even those draft dodgers would put safety first and be quite conscientious in their duties.

I have a friend who was in the Navy during that timeframe. He spent several years on subs, but eventually ended up on a river boat in VN ferrying "special" troops in and out of some very dangerous places.

I am what is called a Vietnam-era veteran. Not a Vietnam veteran. I know and appreciate the difference. I did serve in SE Asia, but not actually in VN, so it didn't count.

By the way, in my college social fraternity all but four of the brothers were in advanced ROTC and went on to active duty. Roughly half of them did not come home.
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Old 12-15-2023, 07:02 AM
Location: Sandwich
383 posts, read 397,669 times
Reputation: 1224
I spent 6 years as a Reactor Operator aboard a fast attack sub and would do it all again. The experience added to my independence, confidence and provided me a great career in my civilian life for over 31 years. With that said, I'm not so sure about serving today. I hope I am wrong, but it appears the military leadership today is driven more by politics and "woke-ism" than the mission and I don't believe they have your back.
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Old 12-16-2023, 04:57 AM
Location: Metro Seattle Area - Born and Raised
4,897 posts, read 2,053,213 times
Reputation: 8651
A hard no for both, especially within the Army, which is the only branch I service in until retirement.

I did over 13 years on Active (Combat Arms: Tanks) and 17 in the Reserve (Combat Support: MP) as a senior NCO.

Maybe the Coastguard or Space Force, but never the Army or Marines.

I will not lie, without my military service, I would not have landed and retired from my federal civilian job as a GS-13. Without question, there are some great benefits, but in return, you have to sell your soul AND put up with beyond massive amounts of BS. Leaving Active Duty and retiring out of the Reserve we’re two of my best days in my life… Excluding the birth of my kids.

I can only imagine all the BS in today’s Army after years of WOKE-ism training. I often wonder if they make a female Infantry-woman carry the M240G, along with all her own gear PLUS extra for the platoon and a minimum of 200rds of ammo.
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