Need honest advice from a Marine

Need honest advice from a Marine

This is a discussion on Need honest advice from a Marine within the Bob & Terry's Place forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Please help me. I have a 24-year-old son who is thinking of joining the Marines. We both want to know what it would be like. ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array gilraen's Avatar
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    Need honest advice from a Marine

    Please help me. I have a 24-year-old son who is thinking of joining the Marines. We both want to know what it would be like. Neither he nor I trust what a recruiting officer would tell him, and I'm not really sure I would trust official websites too much.

    Here's his situation in a nutshell:
    - splitting up from his baby mama; they have a 4-year-old son
    - needs to declare bankruptcy;
    - is a hard worker, but has a temper
    - does not do drugs, rarely drinks, likes to drive fast (crazy, I call it)
    - is healthy
    - wants to join to fix his problems and also earn a living;
    - would like to be a gun smith - don't know if that's possible as a Marine
    - does not have a college degree
    - is a surgical tech in a hospital (I suggested he become a medic)
    - has a CHL and enjoys guns.

    I have two main concerns:
    - he is not at all religious, and I hear that some of the services have a *real* problem with terrible proselytizing, and punishments for not being *warriors for god*. I don't want him cleaning latrines for 4 or 8 years because someone doesn't like his lack of religion.
    - he is a sensitive soul. Don't friggin' laugh, ok? When he was in junior high he came to me in my room and said "Mom, when other people hurt, I hurt too."

    Is the Corp going to destroy him?
    If not, what is your guess as to his chances of making a success of this?
    Are there other places he can go for real information?

    Please be honest!
    A worried mom
    "I pledge allegiance to the war banner of the united states of Totalitaria. And to the Republic, which no longer stands, several bankers, who are now god, indivisible, with Bernanke bucks and credit for all."


  2. #2
    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by gilraen View Post
    - he is a sensitive soul. Don't friggin' laugh, ok? When he was in junior high he came to me in my room and said "Mom, when other people hurt, I hurt too."

    Is the Corp going to destroy him?

    Probably....well more like 50/50, it will definitely toughen him up and thicken the skin.


    Now, on to other points.

    1: The USMC does not have medics, the Navy does that for us.

    2: There are few guaranteed specific jobs in the USMC (for active duty), you get to pick three and you get what you get. There are some incentive programs that allow for locked in MOS' but they can easily get hosed due to injury, medical, or other issues. I chose "armorer" (kind of like gunsmith but not quite) avionics, and ground electronics. I ended up in ground radio and have done pretty well for myself. I was just thinking that I need to see if my the NCOIC of my recruiting station was still around somewhere and send him a thank you card for talking me out of the infantry, I'm sure I would have liked being a grunt, but my life has turned out pretty cool.

    3: Religion...no, your son won't be given a hard time for not being religious, however I would suggest that he attend services during boot camp just to get out of the squad bay and hear the ladies sing. It's not Full Metal Jacket and Gunny Hartman will not abuse him for not believing in the Virgin Mary.

    If he's interested in the medical field, I would probably advise him to go Army as they have medics, the Naval Corpsman (what the squids & us Jarheads call medics) can either go "Green side" working with Marines or end up on a regular naval posting on ships, naval stations etc.


    If he wants to be a Marine, I say go for it but it's not the only option. Many, man people have come out from the Corps unscathed. My brother is a successful jet mechanic and I've made a good run of the radio gig.


    Also, for other sources....both leatherneck.com and military.com are hit and miss and have more than a fair share of buffoonery but even a broken watch is right twice a day.

  3. #3
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    I spent 6 years in the Marines and am a 100% disabled Vietnam Vet. Go for it! Too many good reasons to list them all, not enough to list any.

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    PM sent with my answer.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

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  5. #5
    Senior Member Array bbqgrill's Avatar
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    Boot camp is a very tough 13 weeks it is an experience that will leave a life-long impression on anyone who earns the title Marine. Does it destroy, no; does it give a sense of confidence, yes; must you attend services, no; I did some Sundays did not on others. After Boot camp my school was field artillery which did not have nearly the impact that Boot Camp had on me. Serving in the Marine Corps is a great experience, you do see the world but, like so many things the experience is what you make of it. As for concern for your child I get that; my oldest is currently at Basic Training for the Army, my oldest is a beautiful young lady, I am proud of her choice, all-my-fault I actually thought she should go Marine but she has her own adgenda, she made her choice. Don't worry Mom let your adult son make his best choice. Oh one other thing the Navy provides all of the Marine Corpmen (Medics) but the Corps does have a MOS called armorer which would likely be a starting point for learning gunsmithing. As for me most, would say I've done OK since serving in the Corps I did not have a college degree when I joined the Corps; I have a BS now and am working on my MBA at nearly 50 years old.
    "To believe that social reforms can eradicate evil altogether is to forget that evil is a protean creature, forever assuming a new shape when deprived of an old one." - SAT

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    Senior Member Array dV8r's Avatar
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    I was Navy, sorry to butt in.First thing he needs to do is start thinking for himself and cut the apron strings.
    PackerBackerToo and TN_Mike like this.
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    My younger Brother sounded similar to your Son, yet without the child and his Momma. My brother was into things like any other young guy, but never really found his niche in life. dropped out of school in 1977. (he was 17) Got into different things. he and two of his buddies decided to go into the reserves, so they went down to the reqruiter and signed up. 1978-1983 Difference was, my brother signed up active duty marines, where his two "friends" chickened out.
    The rest was history and my brother still says it was the best time of his life (he's 49 now) Went all over the World, attatched to a FAC team with 2nd ANGLICO 2nd FSSG at Camp LeJunne. He had his hands on some of the most expensive toys in the Military. My Brother now owns a Firm that has him going 7 days a week, and he's very sucessful, and he says he owes it all to his days in the Marine Corps.
    I personally have two sons, who will commission in the Air Force very soon, and as they (my sons) see it, there's not much work out there, so they's rather make a career of the Military and draw a check after 20 yrs and then do something else with their lives wethere it's to start a business or possibly private pilot for a Corp, ( I believe they already have pilot slots) or other things that may interest them.
    I know there is a risk in anything, but at this point, what does your son have to lose by going in? Check into Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marines. I know Air Force has Technical Jobs that extend long after the duty is over.
    Might be the best for him.
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    Senior Member Array tubadude's Avatar
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    Lots of choices out there. I'm going back and forth about joining the Army, but as a bandsperson (42R).

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    Emphasize an MOS that will have a skill set that will help with civilian employment after his service. Gunsmith/armorer sounds cool to a young kid, he should talk with a few who do gunsmithing now. Hard to make a buck imho. I had the same problem when I enlisted at 17 with my Dad. He was a Korean War vet and tried to steer me to a technical MOS. Best of luck, God bless your son...

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    Not a Marine, but I do have some insight to the military after 24 years AD. Regardless of the persons age or maturity level, the military will change them. If nothing else it will instill a sense of accomplishment in them.

    As to job placement he needs to realize that the needs of the military are and will be first priority. If they can accommodate his wants that is fine, but they will place him where they need people at the time.

    As for the religion issue. I don't see that as an issue. I never in my career saw religion being pushed on anyone.

    I would suggest he get the financial issues resolved before pursuing the military. One of the fastest ways to have your life in the military become a living hell is to have your Commander receiving calls about money issues. I've seen people with stellar work performance records go down the tubes over debt troubles. The same is true with financially supporting your dependents. He needs to have child support taken out in allotment form. There are 2 benefits to it. First is that half is taken out of each check, so it's easier to manage. Second is the fact that if there is ever a question as to whether he has paid it, he has access to government records showing the payment.

    I wish him well in whatever he chooses to do.
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    Distinguished Member Array bigmacque's Avatar
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    Some good advice here. Some .... eh, less good than others.

    Regarding the MOS, something that is very important for anyone entering the military to remember is that the needs of the military come first. He can ask for something but he may not get it, and he can even get into a MOS and then have something trip him up before he even gets to perform -- and that can be very discouraging. Tell him to make sure he knows what the specific qualifications are for any given job and then make sure he can meet those quals. A simple example is color-blindness; it has nothing to do with fighting but could be a job requirement and if they find out after he's signed up and in boot camp that his color vision is not good enough for the job he wanted, he's not going to be allowed to perform that job.

    Archer's comments about financial issues are really important. While an enlistment is definitely a steady paycheck, it's really not much of a paycheck especially at E-1, E-2 proabably through E-4. He's not going to get rich and if his remaining obligations are big enough, he's going to feel like he's not even getting paid.

    Don't go into the Marines just to be a Marine. If the Air Force has a job he really likes, he'll have a much easier time getting the same pay, same benefits as any Marine and will spend most of his time sleeping in a bed rather than a cot.
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    Senior Member Array gilraen's Avatar
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    Thank you, everyone, for your replies (public and private) and your honesty. I really appreciate it, and he will too.

    He's got a lot to think about, and yes, it's his life. It's his decision. I'm just helping him gather info.

    Anyone else want to chime in - from any branch - please do!
    "I pledge allegiance to the war banner of the united states of Totalitaria. And to the Republic, which no longer stands, several bankers, who are now god, indivisible, with Bernanke bucks and credit for all."

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    I concur with all that JD said. I am active duty Navy medical and use to instruct at the school the Navy Corpsmen (medics) go for trauma training before going "Green Side" with the Marines. The Navy personnel also provide the religious services for the Marines. I never felt that it was pushed on anyone - ever. Sometimes it was a good escape from the routine.
    There is a lot of comfort knowing that your son is thinking about serving this country - nothing nobler than wearing the cloth of our nation (regardless of which branch of service). I would say there are more positives than negatives. In this economy, it is nice having a steady paycheck and the benefits can be very good (sure, I'm biased - we all have our good and bad experiences with medical). His child could also be eligible for his benefits another nice perk. Another positive is the leadership responsibilities available to him. The Corps (and other services) do a great job of teaching leadership at the lowest level. The leadership and other values instilled upon those in the military are life-long lessons learned and are carried with them forever. Ive heard that most fortune 500 CEOs have had military time and attribute their leadership and organizational success to their service.
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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    When I was in USAF Basic training in 1976 there were several guys that got discharged in basic,apparently they had partied with their friends before heading to the induction center,where they run you thru a battery of tests before you get shipped to your base for basic training,their Blood/urine tests came back positive for drugs and they were discharged after about a week of basic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gilraen View Post
    - splitting up from his baby mama; they have a 4-year-old son
    - needs to declare bankruptcy;
    These are two things that might be a slight issue for him. Now, I'm not in the Marines but I joined in 2010 and had to go through the whole process of financials and signing over parental rights to my husband for the duration of training before I could enlist so I at least have a little experience on the joining side.

    JD, my husband, had to show himself financially stable enough handle raising our son in my absence.

    Even if he and his baby-mama are not together the Marine Corps knows that he's still going to be financially responsible for his child and if his finances are already messed up it might be a troublesome start on a Private (or Private First Class's) pay.

    If his baby-mama isn't financially stable enough to raise the child in his absence for training it might be something that gives the Corps pause.

    He'll need to talk to a recruiter about his financial and parental issues.

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