Anyone here served or had a career in the military?

I’m quite curious. And if you do, why did you serve or choose to pursue such career?
How’s the experience? Is it something you hold dearly, or is it something you loathe?

@spyridon

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I served in the United States Air Force as a radar Air Traffic Controller. The reason why I served, honestly, was for career opportunities and because my Father pressured me into joining. For the most part, people who say “I served because I wanted to serve my Nation” are full of it — at least if they are claiming that’s the primary or sole reason they joined. For me it was a reason, but probably #5 on my list of reasons. I did not know a single person in the Military that joined because they were so noble and wanted to serve others and nothing else - every single one of them joined for money or career opportunities, first and foremost.

For me it was a mixed bag for reasons I don’t care to get into.

I would 100% recommend people joining up and serving. I would personally recommend going either Air Force or Coast Guard - especially if a big motivating factor is having a good civilian career after you get out.

If you want to be a GI Joe and go fight in wars, join the Marines or Army. Or if you want to sail the seven seas go Navy. My Grandpa was an Army combat vet who fought in WWII, my Wifes Grandpa was a WWII combat vet from the Navy, and my Dad is both an Army and Marine Corps Vietnam veteran - I love all 5 branches of the Armed Forces.

I am retired US Navy. I joined the navy because of the draft, but reenlisted on my own accord.

Since I was a Hospital Corpsman I also spent a number of years assigned with the Marine Corps.

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Four years in the USAF. Joined because I was fed up with graduate school and the draft was still in force. Served in the old Strategic Air Command in an ICBM squadron. One of the best jobs I ever had, but I didn’t re-enlist. One of the unexpected benefits of the draft was that I met a great variety of people from all different backgrounds. An overall good experience.

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I was USNavy, US Naval Acadmey, served my time as a surface warfare officer - a ship driver. I wanted to serve and make a difference, this was the way I chose to do it. I loved every minute of it (except maybe running the obstacle course at Annapolis…:disappointed_relieved:)

I retired and went into teaching HS in the public school system, not as rewarding when you discover that there is a significant percentage of the population who have no problem with not contributing to the ‘common good’ by getting an education and gainful employment.

I’m now in my final 10 years of employment, in a private Catholic School, teaching science. I’ve always fallen back on my military experiences to get across key ideas in earth science, not many people have lived through hurricanes on land and sea, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions 10 miles away!

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I served in the Marine Corps for 27 years.
I went into the services because my father served in the Army in combat, my brothers also served as officers, one in the Navy and one in the Marine Corps.
I chose the Marine Corps because my uncle was an infantry officer in WWII and was highly decorated.
I wanted the sting and struggle of the Marine Corps.

I did 3 combat deployments, and I would do every day in the Marine Corps all over again. I owe my renewed Catholic faith to my service in Iraq, having met a great chaplain there.

I came back fired up happy to serve God.

The Marine Corps doesn’t want to hear about “our needs”…it’s looking for people who want to give and give.

If you put your shoulder into any job, military or otherwise, seeking to principally serve God, you will be very very happy…because you will have happily said Yes, and because you shouldered the struggle required.

It’s really a matter of disposition and attitude.

I hope this answered some of your questions.

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I served 20 years - 4 in the Navy and 16 in the Air Force. I began the Navy at 18 because I was brought up to serve your country (I wanted that but I also wanted “stories” to tell!). However, there were many reasons for joining, some noble some purposeful (like taking care of our family). Reasons for joining and continuing to serve grow with time and age. Some memories you hold ever so dear, others you don’t. But I suppose in the end, when I meet God, I will fully know why I did.

Wow thanks for replying guys!
Even though I’m not from the US I do respect you guys for serving your country through the military.
God Bless you all!

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I joined the Air Force to “evade the draft” five years before end end of the Vietnam War, and I wore the uniform for three enlistments, 11 years. The AF made me a Russian linguist, and during my third enlistment I finished a BA in the language. That formed the basis for a 22-year civilian career at NSA.

D

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I joined the state military (not federal) at age 54. I work with National Guard soldiers and on other state-specific projects. It’s not a “fighting army” in our state, although that’s legally an option if needed. It’s more of a first responder force, doing search and rescue, emergency traffic control, emergency shelter security, various emergency management functions, etc.

My reasons are several, but the core of it is to give back in a way others can’t or won’t, and to contribute in a way I couldn’t when I was younger. A benefit is that I like the structure and discipline – it helps me do everything else in my life in a better way. Basic training was hard, but fun every minute, and it has definitely improved my work and home life. I’m a better husband and father for it.

One thing I love is that my CO’s encourage religious activity. When there’s downtime during a Sunday drill, and if there’s a mass scheduled, I love to attend because usually there are only three to five people there including the priest. That’s because there’s so much active work being done during that time. It’s a very personal experience with God, though, and I cherish the rare times I get to participate.

The military is just fun, if you don’t mind occasional long days and hard work. You get a great deal of satisfaction from it, even if all you do is train with never an opportunity to deploy.

By the way, our service falls under the state law, alongside the Army and Air National Guard. I think 26 states have State Guards or State Defense Forces. We’re a true state militia – no pay, we supply our own equipment. We all have day jobs, and pay out of pocket to participate. At the same time, we’re subject to the Code of Military Justice (i.e., courts martial, etc.) just as any Guardsman.

You wondered about the experience. My uncle was buried this weekend. He fought in the infantry in Korea, was injured in basic training, and after the war he re-upped in special forces in the National Guard. My Dad was in Korea after the war, and all he would tell me about it was how much fun he had and the he “could never touch his toes.” (Apparently that was an exercise they did.) My brother loved the Coast Guard, and another flew for the Navy. That’s just the immediate family. I drill one weekend a month with some side work during the month.

There’s a chance you’ll be killed as a soldier. There’s a much greater chance you’ll never see action, and you’ll develop extraordinary talents and skills you can use to better yourself and others.

Specifically to your question: no soldier loathes his service, he or she is quite proud of it; but some might not enjoy the experience.

Good luck!

i was a Navy officer and aviator, flying as a bombardier/navigator in A-6 Intruders off the USS Eisenhower. I served off the coast of Iran during the Hostage Crisis and later off the coasts of Libya and Lebanon during some of the early crises there. I also served in a reserve NIS unit (later NCIS of TV fame).

I joined for three reasons, not in any order:

  1. I had been in the draft lottery, but had a high number, so I didn’t get picked. I was both relieved and disappointed. All of my male role models had served in the military and I felt that was a way to really, “become a man.”
  2. I felt, and still feel, it is a citizen’s duty to serve their country and/or community in some formal way.
  3. I got my college degree in law enforcement and tested well for various departments and agencies, but was consistently being beaten out for the jobs by Vietnam vets with veterans’ preference. So, I figured if I can’t beat 'em join 'em and I made my rounds of the recruiters looking for law enforcement positions in the military. I was working on possibilities with the other services, but when I got to the Navy, they said they didn’t have any positions like that, but would I like to sit for the aviation exam? As it happened, I belonged to a flying club and was a student pilot as a hobby, so I said, sure. When my test was scored, it was like I had hit the jackpot on a game show. The recruiters were all over me. They paid for me to go to Pensacola and get a full guided tour. They finally sold me on the program.

I left after my second tour, because my wife and I had two babies at home and I would have been headed back to sea duty. It also dawned on me that if I stayed, I would spend a lot of the next dozen years at sea, away from my kids and I didn’t want that. I wanted to cut my loses.

If I had it to do over again, I think I would still serve, but probably in the reserves or National Guard or I would choose a career that I could stand for 20 years and left me with some marketable skill. The 8 1/2 years I spent on active duty took a chunk out of the prime of my life with not much payoff. I am proud that I served, but it took its toll.

I think people who have not been in the military appreciate the sacrifices of going in harm’s way, which I also did, but don’t appreciate the sacrifices of just being deployed, away from home and family, as well as the daily monotony, punctuated moments of “hair on fire” frenzy.

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