Just a puzzling little story


Last month, my 20 year old nephew left for Army boot camp. He had been kicked out of college, lost several jobs, had his car re-po’d and finally after hitting rock bottom, realized he needed some discipline and training and opted for a career in the military. My family has all been supportive of this and proud of him. My father was in the Air Force, my Uncle fought in the Army, and several great-uncles fought in WWII. My nephew grew up in the town which headquarters Strategic Air Command and went to grade school and high school with many children of military families, so he has been exposed to the military lifestyle for a number of years.

Last week he sent a letter to his mother in which he stated that he didn’t realize that this might mean he may have to go to Iraq or Afghanistan and he thinks that someone should have told him that before he signed up. :eek: How on earth does a boy become a man and not realize that a war is going on and that if he enlists in the armed services, that he may actually need to go fight that war?

I should point out that none of us are blaming the recruiter or any other entity for my nephew’s lack of common sense. Our family always discusses current events and I truly don’t know how he found a vacuum to crawl into where he could avoid information that would be clearly obvious to most 8 year olds.

Obviously this is just a vent, and no real advice is needed or requested, but I thought someone else might find it interesting. I’m afraid that I might need to send him a letter letting him know that if he does go overseas to fight, and someone shoots at him, he should duck.


Wow. The only thing I can think of is something I remember hearing back in high school. Some guy said, “ROTC was for those who didn’t really want to fight.” I totally disagreed with the phrase but maybe your nephew heard something like that and believed it?

“Duck!” :wink:


Now there’s a natural consequence!

I personally know many young men who have been over to Iraq and/or Afghanistan. Some of them didn’t want to go to war, but came back home ready to go again. It was like the experience unleashed an inner patriotism they didn’t know they had.

One was absolutely excited to go and serve his country (he came from a long line of servicemen), and is thrilled to be staying home now. He was one of the very first deployments back in Feb/Mar. of '03. Iraq was a completely different place back then; I imagine it was a lot harder to be there, then.


That’s a possibility, I suppose. He did express some distain at the idea of having to learn to use a gun before he left, lol. That should have been a tip off.

The one thing I told his mother that I think helped her see the benefit of him joining is that he will be safer in the service, even in a war zone, than he was on the street corner in the most violent part of our city hip hop dancing and hanging out with druggies most nights. At least he should have armor! I really hope and pray that this is a good experience for him.


Many people have that idea. Even my dad who served in Vietnam called me up once a few years ago to vent that someone in their church who was reserves got ‘called up’ and was going to the sand box, how unfair that it was. He had the audacity to say “how is this guy supposed to support his family on that kind of pay?” Serious as a heart attack he was. I probably spoke before I thought and asked him “you do realize that your daugher and her ‘family’ have been living on ‘that kind of pay’ for 14 YEARS???” No we don’t live in a mansion or drive a rolls, but we are doing OK.

Dh went straight to Desert Storm from basic/AIT (he did get a 2 week leave though before leaving for the unit that was deployed) and that was in 1990. And unfortunately that may be more so the case now, with what is happening over there(s).

Many of our soldiers are coming back from the sandbox, PCSing (going to a new duty station/unit) then finding out they are going right back because their new unit is deploying or is already over there. I don’t want to get into a rant against downsizing our forces. But this is a fact of military life. Even though this is the case, I still truly believe that the Army has been a great thing for our family. The unique challenges that we have faced have strengthened our marriage, our faith and our family. It was during dh’s most recent deployment that we decided to return (dh) and come (me & dds) to the Catholic Faith.

The old addage about boys into men is true.

My dh (who is one of those ‘suck it up and drive on’ kinda guys) called during his last deployment and cried because the soldiers of the country he was there helping had to choose between putting shoes on their kids feet or food in their bellies, that he couldn’t imagine being faced with that decision. He said that country’s soldier are living on around 100 american dollars a month. God has many ways of showing how blessed we really are in this country, even when risking your life for another on ‘that kind of pay’.

Thank him for me, what he is doing is truly noble. It will change the way he looks at the world and give him a value system and he will get to see firsthand why it is so important.


A friend of mine had a son who joined the army a few years ago. He didn’t tell anyone and just signed up. My friend told me later that he should have taken someone with him to help “negotiate” what benefits he would get and what his duties would be. I had no idea the army worked like that.
My husband graduated in the late 70s from college, to this day he wished he had signed up for military for a few years, because he feels like the experience would have helped him more than the first few jobs he got right out of college. I think every time he sees a military person in uniform he (well both of us) are so proud to see that person and understand what that person is willing to do for us.
If your nephew hangs in there, perhaps he will get into the groove with everything. I will keep him in my prayers.


From your description of his life so far, I would say the answer to that question is that he has not yet become a man.

Good luck to your nephew… I hope he becomes less oblivious when bullets are zinging past him. :doh2:

to Lovemyfaith,

As far as I know, there is no negotiation. There is a table with your rank, and your years in rank, and the list of how much you get paid, what your housing allowance and BAS is, how much your uniform allowance is, etc.


While the pay is a set thing for each rank/time in service, an ‘Alpha’ (as they are called if they have a certain ASFAB score) has more say in what his MOS (job) will be than a ‘Bravo’ (someone with a lower score). The list of mos choices for an Alpha includes the list of choices for the bravos, plus more.

They can negotiate pay to some extent (come in as a higher rank) with some college credit or previous military or by getting someone else to join also (recruiting for the recruiter). Also they can get a bonus if there is one offered for certain MOSs or length of commitment.


OK - I read this and had to ask my wife how anyone could be shocked that after joining the military he may go to war. She was more charitable than I, and had a very good insight. Perhaps he feels he’s special and different from everyone else, and therefore he would not be sent to war.

Sounds odd, but if this guy made it to college before he was kicked out, he’s probably not ignorant. He may be falling victim to the disease of entitlement that many of our population suffer. I see several young, and not so young, people feel they deserve things, whether they work hard enough or not. Wonderful example being the current credit crisis caused by banks helping people finance things they really hadn’t earned, and couldn’t afford.

Maybe heading to war, and his time in boot camp will teach him the value of hardwork, and that you have to work hard to distinguish yourself for priveledges… God bless him for serving our country, and may the Lord keep him safe!


What is the scene in Casablanca?

The French cop is berating Rick about gambling going on in his bar, “I’m shocked, SHOCKED I say, to find that there is GAMBLING going on here” when he is interrupted by someone bringing him his winnings?


Your wife had some good insight. I appreciate the prayers too.

closed #12

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