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The_Radiation_Specialist
2007-Aug-28, 04:02 PM
Reading from posts here there seems to be a majority who have served in the army/navy. Most of the posters seem to be from the US. I was wondering if this was common for most to serve in the army/navy for some time.

And if you did what were your reasons for doing so. I would assume money, adventure or patriotism.

Nicolas
2007-Aug-28, 04:11 PM
How about being obliged.

Disinfo Agent
2007-Aug-28, 04:16 PM
A majority? Was there a poll around here that escaped my notice?

The_Radiation_Specialist
2007-Aug-28, 04:18 PM
I'm off putting polls for a while until some get their acts together. I know there will at least be 9 naughty posters who vote the wrong thing.

tdvance
2007-Aug-28, 04:18 PM
many, yes, but majority? Not so sure about that.

There are lots of reasons to serve (disclaimer: I'm a civilian, always have been)--legal obligation used to be a common reason, though not anymore in the US. There of course is love for one's country--I would guess that's #1 or close to it. Then, there is the adventure, and the experience, and I'm sure for some it is lack of better options. My high school best friend joined the Marines at first because he always wanted to be a Marine growing up, but developed a powerful love for his country later. My late grandfather joined the (what was then called) Army Air Force in WWII largely because he wanted to learn to fly, but also to serve his country.

Todd

Nicolas
2007-Aug-28, 04:21 PM
Job certainty can be a good reason too.

Matherly
2007-Aug-28, 04:28 PM
Most people I know who joined up (i.e. my family) did it for the college schollarship. One decided to make it her career.

Of course, with a General (retired) in the family, we have an unusual perspective.

Oh, and for the record, I did not.

pilgrim
2007-Aug-28, 04:36 PM
I'm a civilian and always have been. Never tried joining and I don't think I'd pass my medical at that but the one think that might have made me consider it is learning some discipline. I suppose fighting for a cause I believe in would be another but I don't think military and I are likely to see each other eye to eye on that. So learning discipline seems like the one reason which made me kinda half-wish to join.

Neverfly
2007-Aug-28, 04:38 PM
If I hadn't joined, my generation would have been the first to not serve in a branch of the US Military since our nation was founded. Of course I din't learn this until after I joined...

My grandfather ( fathers side) was in WWI, WWII, vietnam AND Korea...

He lost a pinky and died at age 97.

Larry Jacks
2007-Aug-28, 04:39 PM
I joined the Army right out of high school. I was too restless to go straight into college and wanted some adventure, so I joined the Airborne Infantry (paratrooper). It was a lot of fun but after several "incidents" with some of my jumps, I decided to switch over to the Air Force where I worked communications. In the Army, the lower your rank, the closer you are to the action. In the Air Force, 99% of the enlisted personnel aren't on aircrews. Instead, we salute the officers as they go out and say, "Have a nice flight, sir!"

I got out of the Air Force in 1982 to attend college full time. After graduation in 1984, I taught school for a year then decided to go back into the Air Force as an officer so I could fly satellites and work on space systems. While I enjoyed teaching, I was married by this time. My years as an enlisted man had made me used to poverty (especially during those awful Carter years), I found I no longer enjoyed it. I stayed in the Air Force until the big drawdown in 1992. I now work as a defense contractor supporting Air Force Space Command.

In my years in the military (Army and Air Force, enlisted and officer), I met people from many different walks of life. People joined for a variety of reasons - job opportunities, specialized training, adventure, travel, college tuition, patriotism, etc. People who have not served or who aren't close to people who have often have misconceptions about military personnel and the reasons why they joined. That's unfortunate because it leads to a lot of stereotyping.

Quite frankly, if I were in a hiring position and had to choose between two otherwise equally qualified candidates for a job, the one with military experience would almost certainly get the offer.

Nicolas
2007-Aug-28, 04:45 PM
...Unless it was the foreign legion maybe...

;)

On a sidenote, I have a brother who sometimes mixes up the foreign legion and the salvation army. I tried to make him remember by saying "those guys with their flame throwers in Africa, that's the foreign legion". Seemed to help :).

Moose
2007-Aug-28, 04:47 PM
My grandfather (WWII, drafted) and father (volunteered) both did. I didn't. I've never been in good enough health to, and I'd join only as a conscientious objector or not at all.

In any case, the Canadian military neither needs nor wants my skill-set. The post-secondary educational system does.

Ironically, one of my simulator engines is (last I heard, anyway) in use at two (possibly three) Canadian Navy training centers. A DB front end I worked on in 2000 (and never got paid for, incidentally) may be in the Persian Gulf right now on a US carrier. At least it was accepted and signed off on by the US Navy for use on at least one carrier in the Persian Gulf. I don't know if they ever ended up using it.

Paracelsus
2007-Aug-28, 05:18 PM
My husband is an USNA grad and served in the SeaBees as an engineer for 9 years before he left; most of his friends are Navy-buddies. My dad served for 3.5 years in the Navy as a missile tech way back in the early 60's--didn't see any action in Vietnam, though. A couple of buddies of mine went to VMI; one became a Marine, retired as a full-bird colonel, and started his own business. The other went to Army jump school, got out somehow (never got the story what happened), and now sells insurance. My maternal grandfather served in the Army during WWII but never went overseas (stateside duty).

I'm a civilian and always will be--am very bad at taking orders. ;)

PetersCreek
2007-Aug-28, 05:36 PM
For me, joining and remaining in the USAF resulted from a combination of reasons. I was young, with a pregnant wife-to-be so obviously, I needed a steady paycheck...and the medical benefits were certainly a plus. But before that, I'd long planned some sort of career track with or through the Air Force so I certainly didn't see myself as forced into that direction.

Some of the allure was the technical nature of the jobs available. But there was also patriotism and the desire to serve. I can't imagine that 4 years would have turned into 10, then 20-plus without those core motivating principles. I could have made more money and worked fewer hours away from family. I passed on a couple of offers to do so. But the experience wouldn't have been the same.

Man, that seems like a life time ago...and I only retired in '99.

Larry Jacks
2007-Aug-28, 05:39 PM
I'm a civilian and always will be--am very bad at taking orders

There is another example of how those who have never been in the military often don't understand it. Other than basic training, it isn't as if people go around shouting orders at one another all of the time. Instead, you have a job to do. You'll be given instructions on how to do it. In that regard, it isn't all that different from a civilian job.

I've worked both military and civilian jobs over the years. Many of the worst bosses I've ever encountered are those who've never served in the military. They're more likely (in my experience) to be "shouting orders" than anyone I encountered in the military outside of training. Some people's idea of being a leader or a boss is shouting and throwing their weight around. I seldom encountered that in 13 years in the military.

Neverfly
2007-Aug-28, 05:48 PM
I'm a civilian and always will be--am very bad at taking orders

There is another example of how those who have never been in the military often don't understand it. Other than basic training, it isn't as if people go around shouting orders at one another all of the time. Instead, you have a job to do. You'll be given instructions on how to do it. In that regard, it isn't all that different from a civilian job.

I've worked both military and civilian jobs over the years. Many of the worst bosses I've ever encountered are those who've never served in the military. They're more likely (in my experience) to be "shouting orders" than anyone I encountered in the military outside of training. Some people's idea of being a leader or a boss is shouting and throwing their weight around. I seldom encountered that in 13 years in the military.

Very true.
This is a peeve of mine that when people think military they think of a D.I. barking.

korjik
2007-Aug-28, 05:55 PM
I should have joined right out of HS, but I spent a year and alot of money in college before enlisting in the Army. I have always freely admitted I did it for the college money.

Basically, I figured 'what chance is there that there will be a war in the next 4 years?'

This was in 1988 :)

Swift
2007-Aug-28, 05:56 PM
I'm off putting polls for a while until some get their acts together. I know there will at least be 9 naughty posters who vote the wrong thing.
Only because the poll was naughty :p

At the OP - I never served in the military. I am in a kind of funny age group in the US, by the time I was old enough, the Vietnam War and the draft were just over, but the mandatory registration (with a volunteer army) hadn't come together yet, so the DoD has no records of me.

I have nothing against military service, but it just wasn't in my life path - I went from high school to college to grad school and then on to life.

Paracelsus
2007-Aug-28, 06:02 PM
I'm a civilian and always will be--am very bad at taking orders

There is another example of how those who have never been in the military often don't understand it. Other than basic training, it isn't as if people go around shouting orders at one another all of the time. Instead, you have a job to do. You'll be given instructions on how to do it. In that regard, it isn't all that different from a civilian job.

I've worked both military and civilian jobs over the years. Many of the worst bosses I've ever encountered are those who've never served in the military. They're more likely (in my experience) to be "shouting orders" than anyone I encountered in the military outside of training. Some people's idea of being a leader or a boss is shouting and throwing their weight around. I seldom encountered that in 13 years in the military.


I have no basis for comparison RE bosses, but my husband hated many of his superior officers while on deployment. He likes his boss now; but then he works for a bunch of retired military guys, so I'm not sure how much different the leadership style would be at his present job vs. his experience in the Navy. I'll have to ask him tonight. :)

Delvo
2007-Aug-28, 06:06 PM
People who are or have been in the military are a minority here.

I've never been in, but did consider it for a while. The only thing that could have tempted me was the interesting machines they use, so I would probably have gone into some military application of engineering.

Trebuchet
2007-Aug-28, 06:55 PM
I was drafted in 1972. If I'd stalled a bit longer the draft law expired and I might have missed it altogether. I didn't get sent to Vietnam and it wasn't altogether a terrible exprience but it was pretty much a waste of two years.

I knew way too many people who developed serious drug and/or alcohol problems while in the Army. I consider myself fortunate to have avoided that. Of my small unit, about 1/3 were druggies, 1/3 were drunks, and the rest of us just tried to stay out of their way. Most of the NCO's were alcoholics.

Edit: I was actually drafted in May, 1971, not 1972! Not that any of MY brain cells got damaged!

Larry Jacks
2007-Aug-28, 07:14 PM
The early and mid 1970s were a tough time in the military, especially the Army. Many of the drug problems you described dropped radically once the people who were forced into the military against their will left the military. I'm not saying that draftees were bad people (but some were) or that everything became squeakly clean once they'd left. Drugs continue to be a problem today, just a lot less than it was then. There has also been a severe weeding out of drunks and other bad actors.

For the record, I'm opposed to the draft. It just isn't needed today and hasn't been for over 30 years.

DyerWolf
2007-Aug-28, 07:21 PM
I think that people join for as many different reasons as there are people.

I joined at 17 because being in the infantry was something I had "always wanted to do." At the time I thought I'd only do one enlistment, but then ended up doing almost 20 years in the Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserve. For the most part I enjoyed it tremendously. I look back fondly on all the times I spent jumping out of various aircraft, climbing cliffs, travelling, blowing stuff up and generally doing a hard, dangerous job with some of the best people on earth. You can't really do that anywhere else.*

The character of the US military has changed since we abandoned the draft. It's kind of nice working in an all-volunteer force, where you know that no matter what, at some point in each servicemember's life they stepped forward and said "pick me."

In any event, the military is not for everyone.







*Some of my friends who went into oil and gas pipeline exploration and development or recreational pharmaceutical import/export might disagree...