Is joining the U.S. Military a benefit these days?

This is all assumption, but I am under the impression that people joining the U.S. Miltary be it Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, etc. these people are better off in the long term, especially with the likes of Military pensions and benefits

And when there is no massive war and conflict going on (at this point US Military conflict in the Middle East is an insurgency then a full on War), enlisted men and women usually would have the time of their lives after they passed training such as going on trips to be stationed at military bases across the world, even visit places for tourist activities.

My mother is an Army vet and during her term in the mid-late 90s, she had the time her of life, going to many bases in Europe (Particularly Germany) and the United States. And she's on military pension.

Again this is all mere impressions I have and I like some confimation and deeper explinations regarding this.

I would definitely say so. I don't particularly want to stay in and make this a career as I would definitely prefer being free to do what I want in my mid to late 20s than have to wait until nearly 40 to step into another career.

The organization can wipe away past debts, gives you GI bill for yourself or loved ones to go to college, guaranteed leave/vacation days being racked up every month you can't necessarily use whenever but still get you about a month's worth per year, the military exchanges for decently priced supplies, MWR for great deals on both local and popular recreations including vacation tickets, compensate for travel costs of transfer if commands, and then there is the fact you basically do not have to worry much about healthcare/food/housing/money while in. And you also get full VA benefits with only 2 years active service. I certainly thinks it's worth it even outside the job experience and traveling.

If you're going to join the Military hoping there won't be a massive war to fight on; you're joining for the wrong reasons. Wars happen. The more time with relative peace passes, the bigger the chances for war to start in the near future. I think it's getting risky to bet on those expectations, and you should take in consideration the worst case scenario. And that's without mentioning how incompetent the government has been with reintegrating their war veterans back on to society.

Depends on the country in question, the branch joined, what job one has within the military, etc. Oh, and if there's a war going on.

I know that military lawyers get paid less than many lawyers make in the private sector, but it comes with a pension and a lower retirement age if you stick with it. Same for military doctors and other people with special higher education skills. A friend of mine works as an E-4 for the Navy. While the pay isn't fantastic, he has few expenses, and takes home more than he would at most civilian jobs.

This might be relevant. http://www.tomdispatch.com/images/managed/costofwar_projectmap_large1.jpg
I know that there are about 800 US bases in another country, including in Germany and Japan from WW2. Many are safe but some very much not, like Somalia, Sudans etc. Your taking a risk joining up. But there are many vets on YouTube that actually give a well rounded representation of the world and the US. Spending time abroad usually opens their eyes and they try to relay that info to their fellow citizens.
By the way, I think the highest number of military bases in another country by a single country after the US is 6.

I'm looking into joining the National Guard at the moment after I graduate from university. I hear some naysaying that the Guard "has a higher rate of deployment than even active duty", but I'm 95% sure that that's due to short term deployments for domestic emergencies, like disaster relief. Get deployed for 2 weeks to 6 months helping to pick up after a hurricane. Personally I am A-OK with that. I don't particularly want to shoot somebody else, but I like the idea of helping in emergencies. I'm a big advocate for a civil service with military like training and benefits, and the Guard seems like the closest thing to that ideal.

I'd get training in my field of study, amd with my degree, I might be able to qualify to go to warrant officer training right off the bat, which would be even more field of study relevamt training (warrant officers are essentially specialist technicians in a wide range of fields in the US). As a warrant officer, I'd get paid $400+ for one weekend of work a month (and about $2000 for the 2 week required training every summer), which is a nice bonus for making sure bills are covered, or if my regular job has me covered enough, its a fund for a nice vacation every other year. They'll eliminate my $25,000 in student loans. I'll have access to the same healthcare as a regular soldier (albiet at a lower priority for waitlists), which means among other things I can get LASIK for free. If I stuck with it for 20 years, I'll get a pension after I turn 60ish. They might help pay for grad school (not really sure, I think it depends on things).

Essentially, with a volunteer army, a big budget, and the potential for the job to go really shitty real quick, the US military has to incentivise big time to attract enough people for their mission. I'd say that, purely from a benefits perspective, now is actually an optimal time for joining the military for benefits, while there's that stupidly huge budget in play and the president is chasing the military as a political interest group for his next election. Of course, any realistic analysis has to weigh the probability of near future conflict with that, which... yeah.

I'm about 70% convinced to going for the Guard. My goal is to work for the NGA (they're a foreign intelligence agency that collaborates with the CIA and military), and although I'll be graduating Magna, my academic history is tortured with dropouts and transfers and retaken classes, and I have no internship experience going into my last year. I think that I need to prop up my resume, and I can only think of two ways: grad school, with a specialty in what the NGA does, or the military, with their training that will be cross compatible with what the NGA does. The former costs money (doubly so, given that if I can join the NGA without it, I'm sure they'd give me funding for graduate studies), the latter gives me money. Decisions, decisions...

The ADF used to be a refuge for a lot of people who found themselves on the street. The reason why you meet an increased numberof LGBTQ people in the military in many Western countries given the proportionality to poverty and homelessness. So there are benefits. In that it used to be treated as basically the quickest way to stable employment anda steady pay cheque.

I'm nt sure how the U.S. works, but military service on your resume does come with some perks.

The sacrosanct nature of military budgeting means that there will always be a paycheck available for young people in the armed forces. Any other part of the government can be downsized, but not the military.

The only catch is that depending on what you sign up for and what happens, you might get shot at or bombed, because it's the damn military. And while the support the military provides sounds great if you assume you're going to be healthy and well when you get that support, if you end up with both legs blown off by an IED or brain damage from firing a rocket launcher or shrapnel in your penis, it looks a lot less worthwhile.

bastardofmelbourne:
And while the support the military provides sounds great if you assume you're going to be healthy and well when you get that support, if you end up with both legs blown off by an IED or brain damage from firing a rocket launcher or shrapnel in your penis, it looks a lot less worthwhile.

This assumes you have a choice. I'm not sure how it works in the U.S. but in Australia military service was probably one of the few things that could get you off the street. Personal experience speaking, the dangers of service are secondary to being assaulted by young thugs as you try to fall asleep in a tunnel service access.

Yeah, it happens ... people do just go out of their way to hurt the homeless. Hell, even the police beat the shit of you. So that means either crime, or military service or both. And the latter of service only if you're fortunate enough to have kept enough documents safe. I can assure you the dangers are secondary to being homeless. Particularly youth homelessness. And if a war ever becomes so dangerous as to challenge that, chances are being a civilian somewhere nearby is even worse.

That being said, nowadays the military isn't even a safehaven for the homeless looking for access off the street anymore. It used to be the military would swell with the ranks of a whole lot of kids who knew all too intimately the value of uncrushed cardboard and plastic bags to keep things dry and keeping wounds uninfected. And all too often these types of homeless kids have just the right fortitude and exposure to violence that makes them exceptional recruits.

The military doesn't want normal people, it wants exceptional people. Mental and physical fortitude, inured to violence and capable of inflicting it ... and all too often that goes with the territory for homeless youth. So they make exceptional recruits. All with the added bonus that they have reduced social contact with anybody else, so if they do cark it the effects of their individual social participation are not so widely felt beyond their comrades.

Whole reason why the U.S. military quietly wishes Trump's war against trans people in the military quietly goes away, because the fact of the matter is that the military benefits from people who have been abused, tormented, or otherwise social outcasts. Those are the types of soldiers that come in with a baseline much higher tolerance for pain and iniquity, and they don't need a lot to get them to realize their job is something they desperately want to hold on to.

How often do you get your hands on teenagers that know how to pick locks, or steal someone's wallet? How many teenagers do you know know exactly how much food they'll need to survive on? Or how to keep warm in winter with cardboard, or know 101 different uses for a plastic bag off the top of their head?

People can get sanctimonious about military spending, and then forget that it employs a whole lot of people that society would happily let starve or otherwise bash their head in with a brick because they had the audacity of lowering nearby land prices by curling up under a nearby train bridge.

This is principally why LGBTQ inclusion into the military is such a big deal. Because LGBTQ kids are many times more likely to be on the street, and military service is traditionally that thing that immediately provided an access to be beyond the street. People can then piss and moan about military spending, but then they'll probably piss and moan about public housing on top of that.

Or at least that seems to be the case here. Once again, not sure how it works in the U.S.

I would rather become a literal bank robber than an expendable cog of the military industrial complex.

Adam Jensen:
I would rather become a literal bank robber than an expendable cog of the military industrial complex.

Ah, but if you joined the military, you'd be taught a fair few things that'd help you in a later career in bank robbing. There's a real problem in people signing up for that reason.

Addendum_Forthcoming:
This assumes you have a choice. I'm not sure how it works in the U.S. but in Australia military service was probably one of the few things that could get you off the street. Personal experience speaking, the dangers of service are secondary to being assaulted by young thugs as you try to fall asleep in a tunnel service access.

Yeah, it happens ... people do just go out of their way to hurt the homeless. Hell, even the police beat the shit of you. So that means either crime, or military service or both. And the latter of service only if you're fortunate enough to have kept enough documents safe. I can assure you the dangers are secondary to being homeless. Particularly youth homelessness. And if a war ever becomes so dangerous as to challenge that, chances are being a civilian somewhere nearby is even worse.

That being said, nowadays the military isn't even a safehaven for the homeless looking for access off the street anymore. It used to be the military would swell with the ranks of a whole lot of kids who knew all too intimately the value of uncrushed cardboard and plastic bags to keep things dry and keeping wounds uninfected. And all too often these types of homeless kids have just the right fortitude and exposure to violence that makes them exceptional recruits.

The military doesn't want normal people, it wants exceptional people. Mental and physical fortitude, inured to violence and capable of inflicting it ... and all too often that goes with the territory for homeless youth. So they make exceptional recruits. All with the added bonus that they have reduced social contact with anybody else, so if they do cark it the effects of their individual social participation are not so widely felt beyond their comrades.

Whole reason why the U.S. military quietly wishes Trump's war against trans people in the military quietly goes away, because the fact of the matter is that the military benefits from people who have been abused, tormented, or otherwise social outcasts. Those are the types of soldiers that come in with a baseline much higher tolerance for pain and iniquity, and they don't need a lot to get them to realize their job is something they desperately want to hold on to.

How often do you get your hands on teenagers that know how to pick locks, or steal someone's wallet? How many teenagers do you know know exactly how much food they'll need to survive on? Or how to keep warm in winter with cardboard, or know 101 different uses for a plastic bag off the top of their head?

People can get sanctimonious about military spending, and then forget that it employs a whole lot of people that society would happily let starve or otherwise bash their head in with a brick because they had the audacity of lowering nearby land prices by curling up under a nearby train bridge.

This is principally why LGBTQ inclusion into the military is such a big deal. Because LGBTQ kids are many times more likely to be on the street, and military service is traditionally that thing that immediately provided an access to be beyond the street. People can then piss and moan about military spending, but then they'll probably piss and moan about public housing on top of that.

Or at least that seems to be the case here. Once again, not sure how it works in the U.S.

Preferably there should be spending on public housing and safety nets for all the vulnerable in society, prioritised over military spending. But there are too many tossers in power and supporters of said tossers who would rather invest in aggression, violence and death than helping people, all while denouncing anything mildly socialist because...half-assed reasons and mistruthes. Vulnerable people shouldn't be forced into military service out of a need to survive due to the failures of society and political systems that are enabled and encouraged by selfish desires. I guess it benefits those recruitment numbers to keep people desperate enough to feel there is no other choice for them.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

bastardofmelbourne:
And while the support the military provides sounds great if you assume you're going to be healthy and well when you get that support, if you end up with both legs blown off by an IED or brain damage from firing a rocket launcher or shrapnel in your penis, it looks a lot less worthwhile.

This assumes you have a choice. I'm not sure how it works in the U.S. but in Australia military service was probably one of the few things that could get you off the street. Personal experience speaking, the dangers of service are secondary to being assaulted by young thugs as you try to fall asleep in a tunnel service access.

Well, yeah. If you're stuck deciding between living homeless and risking death or joining the army and risking death in exchange for a salary...that's a shitty choice, but it's also a simple one.

But if you're just the average millennial having trouble finding work, like myself and most of my friends, then I would advise some heavy thinking on your part, because all those benefits tied to armed service are there for a reason.

I figure a heck of a lot depends on what part of the armed services you end up working for. A while back I worked in the kitchen of the local army barracks, and the guys there were in the signals corps. They were basically electrical engineers and IT guys; none of the people I spoke had ever actually seen any combat. For every grunt in the infantry whose job it is to get shot at, there's four or five guys backing him up from somewhere way back out of the line of fire. If anyone in this thread wants to join the army and stay in one piece, hook up with those guys.

bastardofmelbourne:

Well, yeah. If you're stuck deciding between living homeless and risking death or joining the army and risking death in exchange for a salary...that's a shitty choice, but it's also a simple one.

But if you're just the average millennial having trouble finding work, like myself and most of my friends, then I would advise some heavy thinking on your part, because all those benefits tied to armed service are there for a reason.

I figure a heck of a lot depends on what part of the armed services you end up working for. A while back I worked in the kitchen of the local army barracks, and the guys there were in the signals corps. They were basically electrical engineers and IT guys; none of the people I spoke had ever actually seen any combat. For every grunt in the infantry whose job it is to get shot at, there's four or five guys backing him up from somewhere way back out of the line of fire. If anyone in this thread wants to join the army and stay in one piece, hook up with those guys.

That's true ... but 'grunts' aren't just grunts, and the military is always looking for 'people with quirks'. People that thrive on danger, that can slip someplace unseen, can locate the enemy in any sort of conditions, is willing to free climb rock shelves and climb up trees, and be able to calculate and coordinate regimental firepower. All while in direct possible sight of the enemy, and being able to slip away unseen despite it, or to position oneself properly in such a fashion before an engagement.

And there are people, so-called 'grunts', that volunteer for those jobs. And they require a level and strange expression of human intelligence that are beyond common people. As I was saying, the military doesn't want 'ordinary' ... they want extraordinary. They want the exceptional. 'People with quirks'.

Even with their so-called 'grunts'.

These people do these types of things. Unthinkable things to the common person, under an immensity of pressure and personal endangerment, and the sheer importance of their job detail, that would break other people's minds. All for a measly $69K per annum starting salary in Australia.

So regardless of the outfit, 'grunts' are not just 'grunts'. There is a good chance they'll have people with 'quirks' that on their own don't mean they're intelligent (though usually it's the case), but it does mean they are incredibly skilled in their own ways that simply have no correlation to civilian life.

Stuff you can't just emulate by getting a degree, but requires a level of intelligence and mental fortitude that is so extraordinary in humanity. There is also a good chance these 'people with quirks' simply will not fit in anywhere else, or had lead lives far beyond the norm prior service.

Your opinion will be worth twice as much when arguing with strangers on the internet. But we all know what 2 x 0 is!

Clarity: I don't mean you personally. Or do I? (No.)

Thaluikhain:
Ah, but if you joined the military, you'd be taught a fair few things that'd help you in a later career in bank robbing. There's a real problem in people signing up for that reason.

Nah, I'm good. I watched pretty much every heist and caper movie in existence.

Adam Jensen:

Thaluikhain:
Ah, but if you joined the military, you'd be taught a fair few things that'd help you in a later career in bank robbing. There's a real problem in people signing up for that reason.

Nah, I'm good. I watched pretty much every heist and caper movie in existence.

Make sure you don't have psychopaths in your posse :P

Baffle2:
Your opinion will be worth twice as much when arguing with strangers on the internet. But we all know what 2 x 0 is!

Clarity: I don't mean you personally. Or do I? (No.)

If I got a dollar for the amount of times I've seen the conversation start with... "I'm an army vet with this long experience..." I'd be rich.

To be fair, the amount of people who have been in the army in the US is insane, but still.

SupahEwok:
I'm looking into joining the National Guard at the moment after I graduate from university.

Military service is an honorable service. You will gain enormously from it and will likely be a better person for having done so. I don't expect that you're blind to cliched but real potential pitfalls, of course.

Furthermore your educational ambitions run in line with my future niece's (read below).

With that in mind I thought I'd offer some friendly and very sincere advice. ^_^

SupahEwok:
I'd get training in my field of study, amd with my degree, I might be able to qualify to go to warrant officer training right off the bat

https://terminallance.com/2016/08/26/terminal-lance-437-warranted/

image

I suggest that you read the author's commentary in the provided link. Yes, it's the Corps but I worked with a retired Army W.O. 4 and between the stories he told me and from what I've heard from other friends who've served it's apparent that Warrant Officer tabs aren't handed out casually.

Warrant Officer gigs are notoriously difficult to come by, in fact. Most go to already well-educated, highly experienced, senior enlisted personnel. If you've got inside assistance from men and women who are currently serving and are very well-connected then they might be able to help you.

Maybe. Don't trust assurances from anyone who isn't currently serving at least as a Brigadier General. Preferably a Brigadier General who's a close relative.

You should always keep in mind that military recruiters have quotas to fill and they will lie, misrepresent and leave out facts in order to get you to sign up. They won't suffer for doing so.

image

You will for having blind faith in them. Or worse; for believing that the Green Machine gives a damn about your personal interests and ambitions.

Once you sign on the dotted line you cease to have any say in your future. In time honored military fashion you become a faceless "cog" and all decisions involving your future belong to other, indifferent "cogs" working at the Bureau of Personnel.

Look for any and all qualifiers your "honest-as-the-day-is-long" military recruiter may mention and expect that your dream path will not open up to you.

Recognize the Bureaucracy Of Red Tape before you join up or expect to live in constant, abject disappointment. [1]

image

For most people it's either start up enlisted or get an officer's commission.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Enlisted Path:

My young and very ambitious nephew is a Navy Petty Officer 2nd class[2] (and he's only 23 or 24 years of age) who's engaged to a wonderful young lady who is was Navy Reserve (she's now full time which is very important as you will see below).

He's a lifer and full time. He's the one-in-a-thousand who very literally continues to shine his boots every single day even while deployed on ship. That manner of constant hard work and inherent attention to detail, plus a serious amount of smarts and common sense, are making all the difference for him.

image

Thanks to high school R.O.T.C. he entered the Navy at the age of 18 as an E3; a Seaman 1st class (years ahead in rank of most enlisted) and is on the fast track for making Chief in the next couple of years.

A Navy Chief is an E6; an Enlisted 6th class, which is the rank of seniority where the services seriously begin culling less capable personnel out of service and sending them back to civilian life. So making Chief around the time he turns 26 or so will be notably impressive.

For an enlisted man it takes that kind of dedication to get doors to open in their favor. Graduate school is one door that will be available after he gets his bachelors.

Officer's Path:

As a college graduate you'll have the same opportunity to start off as an E3. Or you can elect to seek a commission and become an officer. With your educational ambitions you definitely want to be an officer.

It's critically important for you to recognize that career officers (which you shall be if you automatically plan to spend 20 years in service) are expected to seek graduate degrees if they wish to advance up the ranks.

Because of this the opportunities to achieve graduate schooling are available to career officers as a necessary matter of course.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

But there are two catches to your plan.

SupahEwok:
If I stuck with it for 20 years, I'll get a pension after I turn 60ish.

Catch 1: My nephew's fiance did the "1 Weekend/Month and 2 Weeks/Year" thing---and that specific, standard issue path---does not yield a pension for anyone after 20 years of service.

In order to get a pension after 20 years with the National Guard/Reserve you have sign up to follow a different plan--which certainly exists for each Service--but they all demand that you to invest far, far, far more time into said Service.

I heard all about the 20 year pension thing last Christmas when the kids visited us. Trust me on this--believe me: You can only get one in the National Guard/Reserve after 20 years if you invest more service time and do so from day 1. You need to go in with your eyes wide open and determine what and how to do it before you sign any forms to join up.

SupahEwok:
They might help pay for grad school (not really sure, I think it depends on things).

Catch 2: The Navy Reserve paid for my future niece's college degree. In order to get graduate school funding she had to sign on Full Time with the inherent promise of serving for "X" many years.

The G.I. bill covers a 4 year degree for service men and women in the Reserves. If you're looking to use it to pay off undergraduate debts the service will demand more dedicated years from you in order for you to get funding for graduate school.

As you're looking for a pension then it's a given that you'll have to sign up for the "Extra-High-Protein 20 Year National Guard Work Plan", anyway, so the grad school funding will come hand in hand with it.

****************

TL/DR: The U.S. military invests in you: You pay it back with a promise to serve for "X" amount of time. It's as practical as it is straight forward. So if you want graduate school and a pension expect to pay the Army back in full. You can still do it in the National Guard but it takes more than the "1 weekend/2 weeks" standard deal to achieve it.

****************

End Note: Both of the kids are enlisted personnel. An officer automatically has more doors open to them than enlisteds do. And you've got fewer hoops to jump through because you're an officer and not a junior-junior in the ranks. But you'll still have to sign up for more than the standard "1 weekend/2 week" path.

Hope this helps because half of my friends in High School (from decades ago) went military and they all had horror stories about recruiters and red tape.

Moreover your goals are so similar to my future niece's that I felt the need to reach out with the parallels.

[1] If you join up you'll repeatedly be disappointed but if you expect to do so you won't be blind sided.
[2] A Petty Officer 2nd class is an E5 just as a Seaman First Class is E3.

Samtemdo8:
I have and I like some confimation and deeper explinations regarding this.

I was military intelligence for the Air Force, but ended up assigned to a multi-country NSA program. I did very well on their linguist tests and they pretty much sold me on the idea that I could take college classes while I was in (more on that later). I spent a year in Monterey, CA taking language classes 8 hours a day for a year. It was intense, but fun and beautiful there. Then, I spent three years in a windowless bunker working a schedule that went: 5 shifts of 7am-3pm, 2 days off, 5 shifts of 3pm-11pm, 3 days off, 5 shifts of 7am-3pm, 2 days off, 5 shifts of 11pm-7am, 3 days off. Rinse, repeat. It pretty much sucked and, obviously, it was impossible to take college classes when that was my work schedule. When asked if I wanted to do it for another four years, I said nope. Honestly, though, the main reason I didn't re-enlist was because I know myself enough to know that if I hit 8 years, I'd start thinking about how that was almost 10 years and 10 years was half way to retirement. (as an aside, I have a few friends who stayed in and did 20 years, they all started retiring in 2016 at age 38 and yes, I'm a tad jealous) I left with a ton of knowledge about how to work classified equipment that doesn't exist in the civilian world and language skills of questionable civilian use (I often joke that I have all the vocab to say, "The Corporal attacked the helicopter with a rocket", but don't know how to say, "My brother-in-law has a wool vest."

That said, the G.I. Bill was a huge help in paying for college and I'm currently working in an industry that counts my years of military service as if they were years employed there (i.e. so my first year here, I was paid as though it was my 5th year here). I always leave the military experience on applications and it has often paid off, especially if there are other veterans involved in the hiring process (my current job has a pretty high ratio of USAF vets) and used a GI loan on our first house, which let us get a nicer place than we may have otherwise.

If you are looking for a safe bet, the military is not necessarily it, but your job there is possibly more likely to be the factor in how safe you are than whether or not there's a war on. Combat positions in peacetime are probably more dangerous that support positions in war, because a peacetime Marine practicing rappelling out of a helicopter is in more danger than a wartime Seaman doing Navy payroll in an office.

My main advice (which you seem already down with) is to make sure your contract places you in a job you are interested in, or will help your career. My cousin went in wanting to become an air traffic controller and ended up working 12 hour shifts standing in an underground silo, keeping visual contact on nuclear missiles to ensure that they hadn't been stolen.

Oh, also, the pay is pretty terrible at first. Though it's better than many other options if you're a teen who suddenly has a kid or you're LGBT and your parents just kicked you out of the house, refused to help with college, and you have nowhere to go. And 30 days paid vacation was amazing too. One year, just spent a month and a half with a girlfriend, another year just drove around and hit about 35 states, including driving Interstate 10 coast to coast.

CaitSeith:
If you're going to join the Military hoping there won't be a massive war to fight on; you're joining for the wrong reasons. Wars happen. The more time with relative peace passes, the bigger the chances for war to start in the near future. I think it's getting risky to bet on those expectations, and you should take in consideration the worst case scenario. And that's without mentioning how incompetent the government has been with reintegrating their war veterans back on to society.

Dang I wish this Forum had facebook like "thumbs up".
Great call.
When I was in basic, I had actually forgotten about the real dangers that can occur and what you have signed up for (all the rigamarole of getting to basic made me focus on that stuff rather than what it really is to be in the military. Same sort of thing happened planning marriage!)
Benefits if you do get through it OK?
College benefits
Pension if you stay in long enough
No real chores when off duty. Chow hall makes your meals. I had one room to keep clean. My own.
Travel: I got to see Europe.
I'd have stayed in but came back to USA where I didn't feel like I had a mission any more. I worked with civilians that made more than me doing less work. So it was like having a low paid job in which I had to dress funny.
But the job skills I gained have been a base for my skill sets throughout my life. 30ish years later, I would not have my current gig without that experience. Pays well enough. Roof over my head. PS4 and Xbox 1.

My boyfriend was in the US army from 2008-2013. He's only ever told me bits and pieces and doesn't like to talk about his experience at all, which... Probably says something on it's own.

The experience did cause quite a lot of negative effects on him. He's bisexual and very heavily had to repress his sexuality, along with other aspects of himself that would be deemed shameful by the people around him, even if those aspects really are benign. It took him years to break free of the walls he had to put around himself while he was in the military, and it was only maybe sometime last year where he finally started to actually let himself be himself, and ho man were the years leading up to that dark... VERY dark.

He did use his GI bill to go to into automotive repair. Since then he held a job in that industry for awhile before being laid off (and they treated him like shit the entire time and took advantage of him) and struggled to find a relevant job since. He now works at a department store where they also treat him like shit and take advantage of him. It's... Egh...

He's struggled with finances for awhile and to make ends meet. While he was in school there were a few times where he couldn't afford food. Any time he went to VA for help, well, they did everything they could to find some excuse to not help him and deny him benefits and assistance.

So, that was his experience. I know a lot of people have benefited from military service, but he kinda got the short end of the stick it seems.

Belaam:

I was military intelligence for the Air Force.. the G.I. Bill was a huge help in paying for college and I'm currently working in an industry that counts my years of military service as if they were years employed there .

Thank you for your service.

I had to "buy back" my USAF time but it too now counts towards retirement.

Different time: I put in $2,700 and got $5,400 in return for total of $8,100. That may seem like nothing, but state school in the day only cost $5K a year. So, $8,100 was almost half.

But to TC, again, we played war games that reminded me of the deadly reality we had signed up for. Something to keep in mind

 

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