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WannabeMustang
06-12-06, 12:53 PM
I'm not sure exactly how I should start this thread, so I'll begin by introducing myself and explaining my situation.

My name is Kris Walker. I'm nearly 19, I've completed a year of college with a 3.33 GPA, and I've been thinking about the Marines since before I left high school. The Army Recruiter constantly talked about benefits and parties; Gunnery Seargant Rose talked about honor, courage, and commitment. I read about the Corp, and I fell in love.

So, here I am. I'm getting married in July, and I go to MEPS tomorrow to get everything straightened out. Before I go (although I may not have responses before), I wanted to ask a few questions.

Originally, my recruiters attempted to sell me an aviation contract. They insisted that I was smart enough to do it, and so I should take advantage of it.

Then I told them what I really wanted to do was be in the SMCR while I was in school, and then enroll in the PLC program. I'm dedicated to finishing with a degree, but I don't want to wait to be a Marine until I'm out of college. Not only that, but I think that being at least somewhat an enlisted Marine (I know the Reserves can be a far cry from active-duty) will help me better understand and lead my men when I graduate from OCS and TBS.

The recruiters told me that if I really wanted to go Reserve to PLC, and my main interest was not job skills but being an officer, then an infantry reserve enlistment would be a good choice. It would give me more "Marine-like" activities while drilling, it would familiarize me with the weapons, and it would also give me the advantage of knowing what it was like to be part of a platoon before I ended up leading one.

The questions start here. First, is that really a good choice? i.e., will an infantry reserve enlistment be as helpful as they say in the officer's program?

Second, my fiance is very concerned about deployability. The recruiters have informed me that once in the PLC program, I become undeployable. (Officer's contracts trump enlisted contracts, and the PLC's interest is that I attain a degree.) The second question is, is that true?

They also told me that the new guy doesn't get deployed-- that if I come fresh out of bootcamp and my unit is deployed immediately after, I won't go. Is that true?

Also, what are my chances of getting into the PLC program when I return? I have a 3.33 GPA from a year of college, a 30 on my ACT, I'm projecting an 85 or so on the ASVAB (my original was 98 but the test is harder now), and I plan on being able to make a 275 to 300 on the PFT before I leave. (Getting in shape comes easily to me.)

Does anyone have any advice for me? I myself am not as worried about deployment (although I would worry like anyone else) but I also would rather not go to Iraq or Afghanistan as a Reservist. Training two weekdays a month might conceivably help me with the PLC program, but I'm not sure it will be real useful if I'm thrust into a deployment. Since I want to finish school first, however, I don't want to enlist active duty.

I do know one thing, though: I am committed to school, but I am also commited to being a Marine. Period.

Thanks in advance for the help! I'm in awe of you, Marines!

Sixguns
06-12-06, 01:07 PM
Going into the Reserves is a good move, regardless of MOS. As a reserve Marine, there are many options available to you besides just going PLC. There are many factors and bits of information that will decide who is picked up for PLC/OCC. There are few slots available. Deployments and periods of active duty are real in the reserve component. I don't want to give you a percentage of chance you will get picked up for PLC, but getting married and few other items that require waivers may lower your chances.

Once trained, Marines are combat forces. You can go anytime, anywhere and having paid your tuition or being a PLC candidate will not change that. If you are a reserve Marine and your unit deploys, so do you!

Have you ever interviewed with an OSO? That's the Marine Corps Officer Selection Officer. If not, you might want to ask if it is necessary seeing you are enrolled in college full-time.

I have more on this topic and it is too much for a quick post.

dscusmc
06-12-06, 02:29 PM
Question 1: Your recruiter made all good points. Personally, I would suggest getting an MOS that you enjoy. An infantry MOS will give you a leg up at OCS and TBS for all of the reasons that your recruiter told you it would.

I think the recruiter is absolutely right regarding drill activities. But, I would suggest finding an MOS that interests you and you can see yourself wanting to serve in as an officer. If you can, check out the reserve unit you may go to first.

Infantry is always a good choice, because the rest of the Marine Corps is only really around to support those Marines. Its nice to have that infantry perspective for any other MOS. Nevertheless, you still have a few more years of college...3 years of drilling - I would at least explore your options.

Question 2: That's all true so far as I know. There may be a scenario where it is possible to deploy - for instance if you were to request deployment. I don't know, you should ask. We had a guy in my OCS platoon that was a Reservist and was trying to deploy after OCS. I'm not sure if he was successful.

Question 3: You will get accepted, don't worry about that. If you maintain that GPA and a 275+ PFT, you will have no problems getting selected - assuming you are good to go on all the other stuff. We had guys with sub 3.0 GPA's in my PLC-Combined class. The lowest PFT's were probably in the 260's. Those guys probably struggled during PT. You'll be fine if you keep that 3.33 and 275+.

Advice: First, make sure the fiance is 100% on board with the plan. She should understand the deployment issues after you get in. Take her to the recruiter with you if possible so that she can ask questions. Second, find out about the reserve unit you may be going to before you join - if possible, visit. Some reserve units are better than others and you don't want to spend 3 years in a company that lacks organization. Good luck!

dscusmc
06-12-06, 02:31 PM
Oh yeah, Sixguns suggested talking to an OSO - make sure you do that before you make a decision.

Echo_Four_Bravo
06-12-06, 02:41 PM
What is it about people that want to be Marines, without having to do Marine things? I understand where you are coming from WannabeMustang, it all makes sense. But, being a Marine that isn't able to deploy doesn't make much sense to me. Personally, I would be terrified that my unit would deploy and I would be left behind, not that I may have to go with them. We are in a war, you want to be a Marine. Those two things go hand in hand. If you aren't willing to deploy, I think you would be better served finishing your degree and then seeking a slot in OCS, or maybe going Naval ROTC if your school offers it.

WannabeMustang
06-12-06, 11:05 PM
What is it about people that want to be Marines, without having to do Marine things? I understand where you are coming from WannabeMustang, it all makes sense. But, being a Marine that isn't able to deploy doesn't make much sense to me. Personally, I would be terrified that my unit would deploy and I would be left behind, not that I may have to go with them. We are in a war, you want to be a Marine. Those two things go hand in hand. If you aren't willing to deploy, I think you would be better served finishing your degree and then seeking a slot in OCS, or maybe going Naval ROTC if your school offers it.

With all due respect, sir, it's not my own fears of being deployed that stop me. I've made a commitment to my family and to myself-- a commitment made before I commited to the Marine Corp-- to finish school. My father dropped out of college and it's haunted him his entire life; all he wants for me is to graduate.

Not only that, sir, but I want to nurture the relationship I have with my future wife. I will already be gone for about six months, and then a weekend every month, and all summer for two more summers (missing our anniversary, as well, which we've talked about). Setting deployment on top of that this early on could ruin my marriage, another commitment I take very seriously.

Beside all of this comes my burning desire to be in the Marine Corp-- a desire that I feel will make me unhappy until I can satisfy it. I want to serve the Corp as best I without compromising the other commitments I have made in life. Sir, I have no desire to be a Marine without doing Marine things; I am no more afraid of war than any man might be. I'm trying to reach the best decision I can with all the ropes pulling on me: family, wife, school, and even, assuming I become an officer, my future Marines.

Why would you foist me off on the Naval ROTC, or prevent me from at least getting a small taste of the enlisted side before I have to lead them? No hurt feelings here, or anything of that sort, sir, but I'm not sure why you gave the advice you did...but I still very much appreciate you taking the time to respond, and hope you will respond again. Thank you!

To DSCUSMC:

Thank you for the counsel, DSCUSMC. As far as MOS's, I really haven't seen any of them. They've kind of been like, "Well, what do you want to do?" And I kept saying, "I don't know, show me the job list." I think that I would enjoy the infantry side of things, especially because, as you say, that is what the Marine Corp revolves around. Being a groundpounder has a special appeal to me.

At the same time, I would be quite happy, say, working with small computer systems. Or being a cryptologic linguist. Or whatever. As long as it didn't involve a wrench or human waste management, I could be content. :)

So far as my fiance, she wants to support me 100%. And she does. Despite what she says, however, I can see that she has serious fears about me being deployed in an infantry position. Now, since I plan on going active duty, I won't always be "safe", but for now I'd like to reassure her by being undeployable. Undeployability, however, is not my main goal. Should it be impossible, I will still become a Marine.

Lastly, how can I visit? I'd love to do that! Thank you, sir.

Sixguns:

Hmm...I have people saying two different things on deployment status. How strange. How can I sort that out?

And no sir, I have not talked to an OSO. The recruiters have told me that the particular OSO for our area doesn't really care about anything but their quota, and says it would be best for me to contact them after I get back from my training, when I would be wanting to apply. Does this sound like a runaround?

Also, would I really have to get a waiver if I'm married?

Thank you, sir!

Geetar
06-13-06, 12:05 AM
E4B, it takes all kinds to make up the Marine Corps. Not just gung ho types. Like it or not, we need sharp minded Marines to make calculated decisions. I think mustang is looking at the big picture here. It's best not to ruffle ones feathers before knowing all of the facts.

Echo_Four_Bravo
06-13-06, 01:56 AM
Mustang, what I said was in no way intended to be an insult or a slap in the face to you- but I fear you took it that way. I will try to reword my thoughts, taking into account what you said in your reply, and see if that helps in any way.

You've made a promise to your father to finish school, and have made that a big priority in your life. You're also about to get married, and she is worried about you deploying. These are both valid concerns, and things you have to consider before enlisting. Yet, you have the burning desire to enlist now. (This is something I understand. I was once in your shoes- I decided to go active duty and complete my education when I got out. That was not a popular decision, to say the least.)

But, let’s step back from your situation, and look at the needs of the Marine Corps. The nation is in a war. The active duty military has been on a hectic schedule, with some people making three or four trips to Iraq already. The Marine Corps reserve has also sent many Marines to the combat theatre, and it doesn’t look like that is going to stop anytime soon. Now, you come along to enlist, and fill one of the reserve slots- be it as an airplane mechanic, infantryman, or any other MOS. You are filling a quota within the unit, a quote that is there because it has been decided that they need a person to fill that spot. So, the Marine Corps pays to send you to boot camp. They pay to send you to MOS school. And they believe that slot is filled. Now, your unit gets activated, they are needed in Iraq, Afghanistan, or wherever the US is fighting. The unit has a team-like attitude, and they’re ready to go. But, then they find out that Mustang isn’t going. That slot will be empty when the bad guys start shooting.

The time, effort, and energy that were spent training you to be a Marine in your MOS have now been wasted. Marines do not exist to drill once a month, they exist to win battles. Thus, having a Marine in place that cannot be deployed to where the battles are taking place is not (in my never humble opinion) in the best interest of the Marine Corps.

Now, I think it is wonderful that you want a taste of being an enlisted Marine before you pin on your gold bar. That is something that I wish more officers did. I also think that it is great that you are showing your loyalty to your future wife and the integrity to hold true to your word. Both are qualities that I value, especially in Marines. But, my loyalty lies with the Marine Corps, and I believe that having Marines that are ready, willing, and able to go to war is in the best interest of the Marine Corps.

By saying that you could join the Naval ROTC I was in no way trying to insult you. I think that the ROTC is a great program. It gets future officers ahead of the curve. While not in the military, they are more familiar with what will be expected of them than their classmates that choose to spend their time drunk.

One final note, I don’t know whether you would be deployable while in PLC. It wouldn’t make sense to me for you not to be, but not everything in life is intended for me to understand. But, if Sixguns says you can be deployed, I would believe it until I saw undeniable proof that it isn’t true.

WannabeMustang
06-13-06, 04:41 AM
Now, you come along to enlist, and fill one of the reserve slots- be it as an airplane mechanic, infantryman, or any other MOS. You are filling a quota within the unit, a quote that is there because it has been decided that they need a person to fill that spot. So, the Marine Corps pays to send you to boot camp. They pay to send you to MOS school. And they believe that slot is filled. Now, your unit gets activated, they are needed in Iraq, Afghanistan, or wherever the US is fighting. The unit has a team-like attitude, and they’re ready to go. But, then they find out that Mustang isn’t going. That slot will be empty when the bad guys start shooting.

The time, effort, and energy that were spent training you to be a Marine in your MOS have now been wasted. Marines do not exist to drill once a month, they exist to win battles. Thus, having a Marine in place that cannot be deployed to where the battles are taking place is not (in my never humble opinion) in the best interest of the Marine Corps.

Ouch. Good point, sir. That one really hit home. I'm torn by two initial responses: the first being that the Marine Corp has its reasons for doing things the way they do them...the second being that I completely agree with you. The thought of leaving a unit a man short in Iraq is not the way I want things to be...so what do I do? I leave for MEPS in less than 12 hours! The only thing I can think of is to do an MOS like small computer systems or something and then cross my fingers for an infantry slot at OCS. That way, I have a better chance of finishing school and putting my fiance and parents at ease...at least for now.

I'm very torn...why do decisions have to be so difficult, sir? :mad:

In any case, thanks again for the help and for the clarification. I was initially a bit offended by the first post, but now I understand. Thank you again, sir.

Sixguns, where are you, sir? I could use that knowledge you have of the PLC and Reserve stuff!:scared:

Sixguns
06-13-06, 09:34 AM
YOU NEED TO TALK TO THE OSO FIRST!!! Do not proceed with anything until you have that interview. An OSO will lay it all out for you and let you know about options and possibilities. Your recruiter should be arranging this and if he isn't you need to ask! To say an OSO does not need to talk to you is a crock. In the enlisted recruiting manuals it states that a potential poolee with a full semester of college completed must be interviewed by an OSO.

WannabeMustang
06-13-06, 05:58 PM
Sixguns:

Okay, sounds good, sir. I'll make sure I arrange to have an appointment with them. I've settled on being in the reserves, PLC or no, so that's not a problem. Would it be a bad thing if I waited until after MEPS to talk with them?

The latest news? Sixguns was very right; although there is a program to prevent activation of PLC program members, it is only extended to those on the cusp of graduating...the Marines obviously share Echo-Four-Bravo's ideology. Therefore, reserve Marines, PLC or no, are deployable.

You were also correct, sir, on the marriage waiver; my understanding is, however, that it is a standard dependant waiver, which is not all that difficult to obtain. Sound right or am I being herded again?

Thank you again, Sixguns!

By the by, screening ran over and my recruiter was unaware that the time for the ASVAB test had changed, so I hit MEPS tomorrow instead of today.

Echo-Four-Bravo, my reserve slot is as a field artillery cannoneer. Sounds like fun, huh? :) I'll still be in the action, but I can at least help my family out by letting them know that (most of the time) the artillery guys will be a couple miles to the rear. Thanks again for the help: your comments were very much on my mind today as I talked with the recruiters.

I'm stoked about all this! And as an added bonus, my recruiting station will be in Chattanooga, where I went for my first year of school. Left a lot of good friends there-- and now I'll get a chance to see them at least once a month!


Any further advice? Or catches I should be aware of? And what in the world can I do to show my gratitude for the effort you Marines have put out helping myself and all the other poolees?

Sixguns
06-13-06, 06:13 PM
Knowledge is power.

WannabeMustang
06-13-06, 06:52 PM
Agreed, sir.

Echo_Four_Bravo
06-14-06, 12:15 AM
Mustang, when you get to arty school at Ft. Sill let me know. I'll drive down and buy you a frosty cold one.

WannabeMustang
06-14-06, 12:48 AM
That would be an honor, sir...although I still won't be legal by then. :) Thanks for offering! I'll take you up if the DI's let me leave alive...lol.