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05-07-11, 03:07 PM #1
Ship date delayed b/c of ROTC... Can I speed this up?
Wow. What a couple of weeks. Pardon me while I vent my story; I'd appreciate any advice regarding this situation.
I'm a 22 year-old male from Ohio, and until recently was a Junior at a university in the San Francisco Bay Area. After a lot of thought during the past year, I eventually decided to leave my university in order to enlist in the Marine Corps. I was cleared for the Public Affairs MOS, and my ship date was set for March 21st, which was perfect, because it came just three days after the end of my Winter Quarter final exams. That meant instead of leaving school, then having to go back to Ohio to wait around until Boot Camp, I could leave school and go right off to MCRD San Diego. Or so I thought.
So on March 18th, I finish my exams, and submit my paperwork to officially disenroll from my university. I become a college drop-out. On March 20th, I have to move out of my dorm and become technically homeless, but that doesn't matter because I'll be leaving for Boot Camp that day.
I show up to MEPS to go through my final processing before being shipped off. I'm in great physical shape, had a great ASVAB score, and am having no problems until the Master Gunnery Sergeant doing a final review of my paperwork sees that I did ROTC my freshman year of college.
I did Navy ROTC on scholarship my freshman year, and had a great time with the program. However, after my summer training that first year I decided to drop the program; I had to commute to another campus to do ROTC, and the time commitment was such that I really couldn't be both an effective midshipman and an effective student. Also, I decided that I'd rather have enlisted experience before becoming an officer.
Now, If you quit the program after the first day of your sophomore year, then you have to reimburse the Navy for everything they've given you. However, I disenrolled before then, and so didn't owe the Navy anything; I left my old ROTC unit on very good terms with them.
So back at MEPS this past March, the Master Gunnery Sergeant is reviewing my paperwork, and sees that I did ROTC. I'd told MEPS and my recruiter this several months before, and it hadn't been a problem. But that day it turns out that they need proof that I don't owe the Navy any money, and the discharge letter I have from ROTC isn't good enough. That's when they tell me I won't be able to go to Boot Camp that day.
This is scary, because I'm 2000 miles away from home, can't really return to my university, and all my money and my cell phone and everything are in my car, which my mom is in the process of driving back to Ohio. I use the MEPS office phone to find that her cell phone is, of course, switched off.
Additionally, no-one at the RSS seems to know how to process an ex-Midshipman because they've never had one come in before. After a few phone calls it becomes clear their higher-ups don't know either, and the regional RS and Recruiting Command are telling them two different and conflicting stories.
Eventually, it's decided that I'm going to have to process as a prior service, which means I need to get 3-5 character references and run a PFT (not an IST) as soon as possible. Sigh.
Anyway, long story short, I manage to get a hold of my mom, she drives back to pick me up, we stay with family friends in Sacramento, and during a crazy couple of days I run around trying to get character references and running the PFT (and score a 280, yay!). Eventually, we just end up coming back to Ohio.
The Gunnery Sergeant in charge of Marine OPS at MEPS said that "worst case scenario," I'd be shipped out to Boot Camp two weeks from my original date. It's been almost seven weeks, and I have no idea when this delay is going to end.
I'm not holding anyone to blame here; I understand military bureaucracy is an ugly beast, and all the Marines at MEPS and my RSS are doing their jobs as best as they can. I'm grateful to all of them for having been so helpful. And I also know that there are plenty of people who have had their ship dates delayed before, probably for much more frustrating reasons than mine.
But being in limbo like this still bites. I'm wondering if anyone might have any advice as to how I can help speed up this process? My recruiter said all I can really do is just suck it up and play the waiting game, and so I assume that's the case. But I figure it couldn't hurt to ask around about greasing the wheels. Thanks very much!
05-07-11, 04:37 PM #2
Seems to me that you like to drop out of things that you sign up for. If you sign on the dotted line to join the Corps, I must inform you that if you figure you do not want to be there, you cannot write a letter and become a drop out again. Once you become Marine Corps property, you must complete your obligated service. Hope you have a fruitful tour of duty.
05-07-11, 05:08 PM #3
Shouldn't be that complicated.
1 - call the Naval Education Training Command in Pensacola (or have your recruiter do it). NETC is the office that can tell wether or not you owe anything.
2 - if you owe money for reimbursement to the Navy, two years of active military service (under honorable conditions) will vacate whatever you owe them. You would require correspondance with NETC at the beginning of your enlistment and upon successful completion of your two years (you command can send the letter at that point).
3 - if you owe money, then you should have received a letter from NETC about six weeks after disenrolling from NROTC. That letter would give you detailed instructions and a POC at NETC.
4 - Don't waste a lot of time with your former MOI or any staff at your NROTC unit - they'll just direct you to NETC.
I'd get you the phone number for NETC, but you can pull it from Google just as easily. In the last six months I've helped another young man who had very similar circumstances, except he dropped out after his junior year and thus did owe either money or service. It is my understanding that if you drop out during or after your Freshman year but before the start of your Sophmore year that you don't have any obligation to the Navy. The one complicating factor here is that you did participate in NROTC functions that summer -- that alone may have indicated the "start" of your Sophmore year.
Nonetheless, look up the number for Naval Education Training Command (in Pensacola) and give them a call.
05-08-11, 03:10 PM #4
Thanks for the thought, Old Marine. Yes, you're not the first to have reminded me of my tendency to drop out of things, and I understand that the Marine Corps is a beast that's completely different from anything I'm used to. But I'm confident in my ability to make it through. I just want to hurry up and get going.
I appreciate the advice, 03Mike! I'm 100% positive that I don't owe any money, and so hopefully calling NETC will clear that up. I'll give it a shot. Thank you!
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