maybe enlisting? — The Bump
Military Families

maybe enlisting?

DH is thinking of enlisting in the military. He hasn't decided which branch yet but leaning towards the army. We have been married 3.5 yrs and have a 19 mo DS. We are also TTC 2. DH is currently 24 and Iam 27. We met with a recruiter last summer, just looking into the options, getting info, etc. Since then DH had a new employment opportunity come up as a deputy sheriff that he took instead. He loves his job but its not working out quite as well as we hoped so...we are looking at the military again. I totally support him in whatever he wants to do but of course we want to choose what would be best for our family. If he enlists, we would of course start with the usual 34 yrs but would be looking at making it a career and staying in the full 20.nbsp;So I guess I'm looking for advice, thoughts, suggestions, anything! Any one's DH or you join after having a LO? What are some things we need to really consider before deciding? Benefits/downfalls of having a family while active in the military? Should we put TTC 2 on hold til we get it figured out? What did you do about work for yourself, do you work? Also me and DS recently moved to join DH so I am only a couple months into a new job...do I stick it out here until we can go with him or do I move back to where my family is so I have support? Ufta,my head is spinning! I would appreciate any input you have, experience,etc. Sorry this is so long! Thank you for taking the time to help me out! We plan to decide within a month.nbsp;
ETA: If DH doesn't enlist now, it would still be an option once he is done with his current term in 2.5 yrs. Is this waiting too long? Would it bee better to enlist now?
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Re: maybe enlisting?

  • I am not military yet, so I mostly lurk on this page, but my DH is in the process of enlisting in the AF.  The cut off age for the airforce is 28, I am not sure about other branches.  Just an FYI he needed to get a dependant waiver because we have two children, so you might want to wait TTC, it was a pain, and he just got notice that it was approved today after waiting three months.  He will be going in as an E-3 because he has a degree, which may have made getting the waiver a little easier, according to the recruiter they wanted to make sure that he could financially provide for our family.

    We feel that this change is right for our family, I don't look forward to solo-parenting when he is at training or during deployments, but we have prayed about it and looked at other options and this is what feels right.  I am planning on moving home to be with my parents during basic training, but after that I am living with my DH, and will make our home where ever he is stationed regardless of if he is deployed. 

     I know that a lot of the process for us has been "hurry up and wait" so unless you are lucky, don't expect it to happen quickly, I know that many branches are being pickier about who they are taking b/c so many people are interested in serving right now.

     

     

  • I agree on waiting to conceive. We weren't trying, we were told we couldn't have a baby naturally, and my husband enlisted in the Navy. Now he's leaving for boot camp and I'll be delivering the week he graduates and he'll miss all of it. Then he has to go to tech school for months. It's very frustrating to know he'll be gone for so much.

    Good luck! And get everything in writing! :) 

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  • Some of the things to think of.

    1. While your hubby is in boot camp can you guys live off of $1491 (based off E-1 pay with less than 2 years on for 2012 pay chart).  Even if your husband is to get in writting that he will be E-3 (like someone else said their hubby getting) while in boot camp everyone is E-1.  Not until they graduate they will move from E-1  - E-3.  Yes you will get BAH (housing money) but this wont kick in for several months.  

    2. Right now most branches are cutting back their numbers.  They are getting rid of good people.  So there is a chance you could be asked to leave before your 20 years is up.  Than you will be right back to where you are .

    3. What about doing the reserves?  By law he will still have his job he has now while he is away on military duty.  He can go to boot camp, school and what nots to see if the militay is right for him.  Plus the reserves are not affect by the military cutting back numbers so much (unless they are a real screw up).  USAR law states that job has to hold his position while he is on military orders and I want to say your hubby can be gone for 5 years and they still have to hodl his job.  So why not look into reserves.  Plus at any time your hubby can put in a request to go acitive duty for a year or what nots to get classes, training and deployments (not all deployments are bad.  My hubby was inGermany for a year)

    These are just a few things I can think of.  Hope this helps you.  And like someone else said.  Anything you want or do make sure they put everything in writting.

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  • image krissywave:

    1. While your hubby is in boot camp can you guys live off of $1491 (based off E-1 pay with less than 2 years on for 2012 pay chart).  Even if your husband is to get in writting that he will be E-3 (like someone else said their hubby getting) while in boot camp everyone is E-1.  Not until they graduate they will move from E-1  - E-3.  Yes you will get BAH (housing money) but this wont kick in for several months.  

    WRONG!! Depending on how many college credits you have you will get paid what you enlist as. If you have a 4 year degree you enlist as an E4. I enlisted while in college during my sophomore which made me an E2 bc at the time my transfer had not been updated, but when it did, I got PROMOTED while in basic to an E3. And not everyone will move to an E2 or E3 upon graduation. I see many soldiers return mostly as E2s unless they were at the top of their class - there are time requirements to be able to get promoted. BAH starts as soon as active duty starts which is based off of your area and how many dependents you have. My current location with dependents is over $1900 a month.

    The military will begin to become more strict on who they are letting in and they are not giving the big money bonuses anymore because of the drawback. But they won't kick people out unless you don't meet standards, can't get promoted, etc.

    Active duty takes some getting used to but deciding to go active or NG/Reserve is mostly about your family's lifestyle. NG was my choice bc I wanted to be able to finish school and got lucky that i didn't get pulled for a deployment until right after I graduated. It's been 9 years now and I am still in and have two deployments under my belt. I actually prefer the active duty lifestyle better when I am AD, as I find the transition from mday to active harder for me at times just because of my lifestyle, career and hobbies.

    Also it is the soldiers and sailors relief act that governs employeers holding positions for military members on active duty. They actually don't have to hold that actual job, but they must have a job available for the individual when they return, does not mean they will be doing the same thing. Most companies are good about holding your position but it varies. And with the funding cut backs, going to school, getting put on ADOS orders (which is active duty state side), etc for NG/Reserve members are going to be getting harder and harder to do with the funds drying up.

    Become educated, talk to other military members, etc before making a decision. I know many happy people in the military, i also know many uphappy people bc they feel like they were advised properly as there are many good recruiters and many bad as well.


  • image krissywave:

    Some of the things to think of.

    1. While your hubby is in boot camp can you guys live off of $1491 (based off E-1 pay with less than 2 years on for 2012 pay chart).  Even if your husband is to get in writting that he will be E-3 (like someone else said their hubby getting) while in boot camp everyone is E-1.  Not until they graduate they will move from E-1  - E-3.  Yes you will get BAH (housing money) but this wont kick in for several months.  

    This information is incorrect.  I went in as an E-3.  My pay was messed up for a few months and I was paid at E-1 pay.  When I asked about it, the DS sent me to have it fixed.  I was back paid all the money I should have been paid as an E-3 as well as the BAH that I never got in the first place.  BAH is paid in arrears, and will start about a month to a month and a half after he gets there, depending on the dates.  

    I would hold off TTC until y'all decide if he's going to join.  Wait until he's out of training and at a duty station. You'll know what training and deployment schedules are then.   



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  • image cmgedney:
    image krissywave:

    1. While your hubby is in boot camp can you guys live off of $1491 (based off E-1 pay with less than 2 years on for 2012 pay chart).  Even if your husband is to get in writting that he will be E-3 (like someone else said their hubby getting) while in boot camp everyone is E-1.  Not until they graduate they will move from E-1  - E-3.  Yes you will get BAH (housing money) but this wont kick in for several months.  

    WRONG!! Depending on how many college credits you have you will get paid what you enlist as. If you have a 4 year degree you enlist as an E4. I enlisted while in college during my sophomore which made me an E2 bc at the time my transfer had not been updated, but when it did, I got PROMOTED while in basic to an E3. And not everyone will move to an E2 or E3 upon graduation. I see many soldiers return mostly as E2s unless they were at the top of their class - there are time requirements to be able to get promoted. BAH starts as soon as active duty starts which is based off of your area and how many dependents you have. My current location with dependents is over $1900 a month.

    The military will begin to become more strict on who they are letting in and they are not giving the big money bonuses anymore because of the drawback. But they won't kick people out unless you don't meet standards, can't get promoted, etc.

    Active duty takes some getting used to but deciding to go active or NG/Reserve is mostly about your family's lifestyle. NG was my choice bc I wanted to be able to finish school and got lucky that i didn't get pulled for a deployment until right after I graduated. It's been 9 years now and I am still in and have two deployments under my belt. I actually prefer the active duty lifestyle better when I am AD, as I find the transition from mday to active harder for me at times just because of my lifestyle, career and hobbies.

    Also it is the soldiers and sailors relief act that governs employeers holding positions for military members on active duty. They actually don't have to hold that actual job, but they must have a job available for the individual when they return, does not mean they will be doing the same thing. Most companies are good about holding your position but it varies. And with the funding cut backs, going to school, getting put on ADOS orders (which is active duty state side), etc for NG/Reserve members are going to be getting harder and harder to do with the funds drying up.

    Become educated, talk to other military members, etc before making a decision. I know many happy people in the military, i also know many uphappy people bc they feel like they were advised properly as there are many good recruiters and many bad as well.

     

    Not entirely true, while good people aren't being kicked out, they are being denied reenlistment left and right for no reason.

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  • I think one of the biggest challenges that come with military life is raising children. This is by no means a reason not to enlist, just something to prepare for. Depending on his job within the military your family dynamic will likely change drastically. He might miss births of future children, he will miss birthdays and holidays and recitals. Even hardcore bleed green kind of military guys we know say their job was easy until they had kids left behind.
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  • The whole thing about what you enlist as (E-1 to E-4) depends on which branch of service you enlist in.  Marines only allow you to enlist as E-2, other branches (Army) can allow you to enlist as E-4.  You are considered E-1 until you graduate basic training.  At that point, you are promoted to your correct rank.  Everyone makes the same amount of money while in Bootcamp.  It is true that all branches are cutting back, some more than others.  As a prior Marine, I got to see the beginning stages of these cut backs.  They were kicking out good Marines for the littlest things.  I suggest going Army or Navy.  It's better job security.  If you go NG/Reserves, your current employer MUST your current position until you are back.  They DO NOT only have to hold a position for you.  If your exact job is not there when you return, that is a HUGE lawsuit.  Trust me, I've seen it happen.  Deployed Sept-April 07-08.  The main thing to get away from this is deciding whether or not to enlist.  It's not easy, and anyone who tells you it is, is wrong.  The pay really sucks, the jobs for spouses around bases are hard to get, the hours and time away is a pain in the ass.  Think about it long and hard about it.  Hope this has helped with anyone who is thinking of joining.

  • image Ktbug613:
    I think one of the biggest challenges that come with military life is raising children. This is by no means a reason not to enlist, just something to prepare for. Depending on his job within the military your family dynamic will likely change drastically. He might miss births of future children, he will miss birthdays and holidays and recitals. Even hardcore bleed green kind of military guys we know say their job was easy until they had kids left behind.

    I agree with this.  DH and I went through two deployments as a married couple.  We just did our third last year and we had two kids.  It was night and day for both of us.

    As for everything else, I would just do your research.  Nothing is guaranteed in every job.  When I see advice about "well, you might not get to 20 years because of xy or z" all I can think is "DUH".  You can't count on any job - civilian or government or military - for 20 years.  Things change, economies change. 

    For me the hardest part of the lifestyle is my own professional accomplishments.  I have a Master's degree and have tried to be as career oriented as possible.  Even with a lot of effort, I have had to take some long periods of time off and have had to leave some wonderful jobs with good pay and benefits.  It is by far and away my biggest gripe with Navy life in general. 

    But...  we have also met many wonderful people, lived in some great places, and have had some great opportunities.  My husband has gotten to travel a lot and I have gotten to join him in some great places. 

    The miltiary is a mixed bag.  I would just really look at your own lifestyle and weigh it against the pros and cons about enlisting in your situation.  Nobody can really give you a confident "yay" or "nay" because there are so many variables. 

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