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Thread: Wisdom About When To Enlist
06-11-11, 12:20 AM #1
Wisdom About When To Enlist
Greetings to all,
I have been a lurker on this site for awhile, but I think it is time that I finally ask a few questions. I've been searching the forums for answers to avoid asking what appear to be routine questions, but I'd like a solid answer from someone in the know. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to become a United States Marine, but I've also got the same desire to become a qualified Gunsmith. With that in mind, I've found an MOS that combines both desires in the form of MOS 2111 (Small Arms Repairer), which ultimately leads to MOS 2112 (Gunsmith).
I also happen to be a college student attending Miami University (Oxford, Ohio), and I will be graduating next May. I understand that when one enlists in the Marines, the desire to be a Marine should come first, and I respect that requirement. However, I also know that those 4 years or more can drag by awfully slow if you choose the wrong MOS, so I'd like to make an organized decision. Since the slots for FY-2012 open up in October, could I maximize my chances of getting a 2111 spot by DEP'ing in this August before I head off to college? Also, if I did go this route, since I am home for the summer, could a future problem arise with me enlisting in a different town than where I will spend the majority of the year (college)?
While I'm at it, if I really had my way, I would also at least attend training for MOS 8152 Security Forces (which means I'd have to be an 0300, I believe), but I do not know of anyone that holds multiple MOS's at the same time, so this and MOS 2161 Machinist are my fallbacks should Small Arms Repairer not work out.
Thank you all for your service, and any future input I receive will be greatly appreciated!
06-11-11, 08:09 AM #2
Looks like you need to visit a recruiter, Semper Fidelis.
06-11-11, 08:43 AM #3
Sgt L. is correct. A recruiter would be your best bet for nailing the specifics of MOS availibility. As for the specifics of armorers and ammunition technicians... you will have to ask a Marine that does hold/has held that MOS. I can tell you that basic Marine Corps boot camp will teach you nothing new in the area of weapons handling, upkeep, and technicalities if you are already the least bit knowledgable.
You are able to hold multiple MOS(es) while you are in but it takes some cross training/schooling that is at the discretion of your command and cannot be addressed at this time. While I am not a recruiter, I can tell you that you are NEVER guranteed a specific MOS, even when you sign a contract for a specific MOS. If you read the actual contract that you will sign should you choose to enlist, which most poolees do not, you will see that in every one of them there is a clause that states you will be placed in an MOS in accordance with the needs and availibility of the Marine Corps and you may or may not be compensated should your choice at the time of your signing be denied.
But do not fear! Should you get the complete opposite MOS of your choosing, at your 2 year mark you will be eligible for a lat move/ cross rate designation which allows you to submit a package (request) to move to a new job/training and depending on the need/availibility of your job and desired job you may or may not be able to train the job you want. Remember, in the end, it all comes down to where the Marine Corps needs you.
Also, to answer your question about being located in a different area than your recruiting station. You may be anywhere in the world, provided you return to your recruiting station for monthly pool functions/any other required meetings. When I joined I spent my before boot camp in another state and returned once a month from May through August for the poolee functions and there was no problem. Just remember to ASK QUESTIONS. A recruiter may or may not intentionally tell you the truth and they never obliged to tell you the entire story. If you ask questions you should be fine, just do not be afraid and try to get all the pertinent information you feel you are entitled to and/or want to know.
06-11-11, 12:04 PM #4
A recruiter visit is definitely in the imminent future. However, Mr. Cunningham nailed precisely why I prefer to ask questions before I go in and see a recruiter when he wrote, "A recruiter may or may not intentionally tell you the truth and they never (sic) obliged to tell you the entire story." I've had minor dealings with 2 recruiters in the past, and each time it was to my benefit to research everything they said. With that in mind, I'd like to already have an answer in my head to the questions I ask the recruiter so that the enlistment process may move along as smoothly as possible.
Thank your for the hope about the lateral move should I not get the MOS I want. I wasn't fully aware as to how that worked, but now it makes a lot more sense. Still, it looks like I am going to have to get used to going where the Corps will need me,so I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
11-06-11, 12:19 AM #5
Hello again, forum friends!
I thought it pertinent to finally update you folks on what I ended up doing.
As instructed, I went to see a recruiter back in early August, with the idea that I would have enough time to be in the DEP by October so I could get first dibs on the MOS of my choosing for FY2012 and have a ship date close to my college graduation(May of 2012). Boy was I mistaken, but more on that later! This is a long story, so you might want to either grab a cup of coffee or come back when you've got time to read it, if you're interested.If you'd like to be helpful by answering my questions, but don't want to read the entire story, please skip to the end!
I'd spoken with a recruiter a few years ago when a college buddy dropped out and joined the Corps, so I knew that having asthma as a kid might potentially be a problem for me down the road. This prompted me to undergo a Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) by a private doctor, which showed that I no longer have asthma and am physically fit for military service. I did this with the intention of attending Platoon Leader's Course my junior year, but the opportunity to pursue another life dream combined with the realization that the MOS('s) I really wanted were on the enlisted side delayed my seeking out of a recruiter at that time, but kept me interested. Fast forward to this summer, and the prompting I received from you all finally lead me to the recruiter's office.
Like everyone else, I did the endless amount of paperwork upon my first visit with the recruiter, and was told that my previous medical history (mainly asthma) would be an obstacle.I'd brought my PFT results to our first meeting, so he told me that I had a good chance of getting in. However, he said he needed more documentation about an undescended testicular surgery I had when I was 9 years old, which due to me living in 6 different states over the last 21 years, would prove difficult to obtain. I jumped through a good amount of hurdles to acquire endless amounts of paperwork, and was constantly being told to do "just one more thing"before I could be approved for MEPS. It did not help that there was a general lack of effort for communication on his end to keep me up to date on my paperwork process, despite my regular efforts of calling when I said I would and doing what I was asked. Funny enough, though he is too busy to answer his phone or return his calls, he posts 3-4 statuses a day on facebook, so I found out the quickest way to elicit a response from him if necessary ! I attended Poolee PT every week and generally enjoyed the activity and guys that came, despite the recruiter's regular habit of showing up 40 minutes to an hour after the time he told us to be there. I was finally allowed to take the ASVAB without a medical examination, got a 91 AFQT and the line scores I needed to get the MOS' I desired, so a little progress was made.
Fast forward about a month, and I headed back to college for my Senior year. Mind you, my recruiter resided in my home town, which is about 2 hours away from where I attend school. This distance only added to the communication problems experienced when we lived in town, so after a few weeks with no communication from him despite my calling twice a week to receive instruction on how I could best help my paperwork moving, I thought something was about to come up.Sure enough, when he finally decides to call me back, he tells me that I should probably start seeing a recruiter closer to my school, because he did not have the time to deal with someone far away. I was also instructed to come get my recruit folder the next time I came home for a break, whenever that would be.
Lucky for me, because I saw this coming, I learned about the expediency of 1-800-Marines, and had dialed it literally the moment after getting this news. The gentleman on the phone directed my call to the nearest recruiting station, and within 5 minutes I had a new recruiter. I told him my story and what was going on, and he told me to give him my old recruiter's number so he could get my medical file from him and start my enlistment process. We hung up, and he called me back as promised with the information that he would be faxed my file that weekend, and was effectively saving me a 2 hour drive home. He also told me he would be happy to come to campus to speak with me, and we arranged a meeting the following week. I couldn't have been more satisfied! I guess as one last show of grace, my old recruiter did not do as he promised and had to receive a call from my new recruiter's Gunnery Sergeant to get my file over ASAP .
My new recruiter has been an absolute joy to work with, and told me straight up early on that my childhood asthma could really hold things up, but that he would submit my file and give me an answer as soon as he could. I was also informed that my medical file from 14 years wasn't even needed, so I wasn't exactly thrilled that almost a month of my efforts had been wasted. Anyways, word finally came back from the MEPS doctors that I will have to take a Pulmonary Function Test with them for a wavier, and that this will be a few months away. It also means that the results from this test will have to go through Beumed (?) for approval or rejection, and that this could take an additional couple months. All total, I've been told that I'm looking at 5-7 months before I can swear in, if I am not rejected. Until then, he said he wants me to come PT with them as much as I can, and stay in contact.
What is Beumed, and why does my information go through there specifically ? I did some research, and the closest thing to an answer I came up with was Naval Beufort Hospital in South Carolina.
Though I know that this is a specious question, does my wavier have a good chance of approval? I was told that I shouldn't worry because I have already taken a Pulmonary Function Test and passed it. However, if I understand correctly, even if I pass the PFT, the Beumed doctor's can still reject me. Are there any other factors that go into play that determine whether or not I get approved?
In closing, I would like to add that I did not write this as an attack on my previous recruiter's character.I withheld his name on purpose, and have not lied or exaggerated about anything he did. Though I am personally disappointed in his actions, he has processed a good number of people, and generally does his job well(at least from what I saw). My guess is that he was extremely busy, and preferred to deal with the fastest cases. I tried my best to not let his actions negatively impact my desire to join the Corps, and though it looks like I still have a lot of waiting and fingernail biting to do, I will give my all to staying motivated (and maybe looking at other options for a career, just in case!)
11-06-11, 01:59 AM #6
11-06-11, 07:06 AM #7
"in my day"
We walked in (or were escorted in ) to the Recruiters office,signed papers and were shipped out within a week .
Sure seems complicated nowadays------
11-06-11, 11:48 AM #8
You're thinking of BUMED = US Navy Bureau of Medicine. All USMC medical matters are handled by the Navy and BUMED is the HQ and final arbiter of all of that stuff. Yes, BUMED can reject you no matter what any other doctor says, but they may accept you.
If you go to the link provided by Dan M, particularly Post #23, the poster there is a current recruiter. His info has always been good as far as I've seen.
Keep digging and scratching. It sounds like you have a recruiter now who wants to help you and that is an important ally to have. Bust your butt for the Marine in PT, etc. Make both of you look good.
When I went in, back in 1971, my friend tried to enlist too, but was rejected at AFEES (old term for MEPS) for childhood asthma. They didn't have all of the tests then that they have now, so he was at a dead end for any military branch. The Corps lost a very good Marine I think. He later went on to become a skilled paramedic, a firefighter, and a high-angle/technical rescue instructor. So much for asthma.
11-06-11, 10:58 PM #9
Thanks a lot, gentleman! I read through the forum DanM graciously posted, and I now have a much clearer understanding of what is going to happen to me. I did not know that the test was an administration of Methacoline and not a spirometry, so this definitely adds a new twist to things. I'm thinking it might be a good idea over my Christmas break to take one with my doctor and see what the results are before I take the real deal. I'll report in as time goes on!
02-25-12, 12:55 AM #10
Good day to everyone,
I am writing to you all again about the proper method to go about talking with my recruiter about a sensitive issue. I began the enlistment process back in August of 2011 with the hopes of being in the DEP by October of 2011, but here it is February (almost March) of 2012, and I still have no definitive word on whether or not I will have the chance to become a Marine.
Incidentally, I will be graduating college here in May, and I need to have an answer very soon about where my life will be headed so I can adequately prepare. This direction could take the form of another line of work, but I would hate to commit myself to a job if my BUMED information comes back positive.If I do accept another career path, I do not think it fair to quit it because the Marine Corps finally decided it would give me a chance. I understand that my recruiter does not have much influence over the speed that BUMED operates, but I think that having my file under review since November has been adequate time for a decision to be made.He claimed to me the BUMED reviewal would be done by February back in November, but I took his statements with a grain of salt, and I am no longer sure what to expect. Life sort of hangs in the balance due to the uncertainty.
Is there any course of action that I can take that could expedite an answer from BUMED about whether or not I will be accepted, or am I relegated to continue twiddling my thumbs?
02-25-12, 01:10 AM #11
Fair?! People change careers everyday and often never look back except to reminisce, like we do on here. What's not "fair"* is remaining someplace you'd rather not be and hating it, like a prison sentence.
*Fair is weather, fair is my lady, fair is a county festival where people show off livestock and produce. A majority of Marines struggle with the word "fair" in emotional context, and often taste bile when it slips from our tongues.
02-25-12, 06:58 AM #12
Julien, BUMED takes as long as they want. Remember, they are reviewing waivers from both the Marine Corps and the Navy, plus medical board results for injured/ill Marines and Sailors, plus whatever else it is BUMED does.
You learned your recruiter wasn't kidding when your waiver may not come back until February, which it still is. Your recruiter has exactly zero influence over BUMED.
If you are interested in joining the Corps, you have little option but to wait. Nothing stops you from exploring other options in the meantime. If your waiver is granted, things should move along a little better as it seems you have a recruiter willing to work with you.
Good luck and keep us posted.
02-25-12, 01:37 PM #13
You are dealing with the beuracracy of the US military (AKA the black hole where medical waivers routinely go never to be seen again). Whomever came up with the phrase "moving in a snail's pace" had an intimate relationship with it. Believe me, it will get slower before it gets better. You will learn what frustration truely means.
BTW, I attended Miami University at the branch campus in Middletown.
03-26-12, 03:57 AM #14
Checking back in again, and this time I come with good news as the storyline progress!
First and foremost, I did not bother my recruiter about my application in late February. As Zulu36 mentioned, there was absolutely no point because he has no influence on the BUMED process. I posted that day because I was frustrated by the slowness of it all, but you folks offered more useful insight, so I chose to suck it up and keep waiting. I figure I'd rather die knowing I got rejected than quit early and end up having doubts.
Exactly 3 days after I wrote my last post, my girlfriend of 4 months and I decided it was time for us to part company. She was the first woman I ever loved, and my coworker at our crappy campus job for the last 2 years. Needless to say, I was already heading downhill on an emotional roller coaster when my phone rings that night. It's my recruiter, and he's called to tell me that my application came back from BUMED. I haven't spoken to him in a month, and my heart literally jumped into my throat when he said that I was allowed to go in for medical processing at MEPS. When I got off the phone, the first thing I thought was how I was going to explain to you guys that my recruiter was right, and I had no reason for not being patient till March. I ate crow that night!
MEPS trip, first time:
Fast forward a few weeks, and I head home for spring break. Lucky for me, the state MEPS is in my hometown, and the Gunnery Sergeant at my recruiting station was going to allow me to drive myself there. My recruiter calls me a day before I am supposed to go, and tells me that MEPS needs another up-to-date medical form because they expire every 90 days.This means that he and I basically got to play phone and fax tag for a few hours so he could get my forms in on time. I hit the rack early that night, and my phone wakes me up 2330. For reasons I am still unclear of, administration did not receive the fax from him, and I was unable to process that day. However,I would be allowed to the following day.
That day arrives, I drive down to MEPS, get there at 0540, sit through the morning presentation, reach the liasion's office where they finally have my paperwork , and wait my turn with 2 other prospective enlistees. I'm raring to get through it all, and the Gunnery Sergeant asks me if my recruiter had given me a urinalysis the night before. I answered in the negative because he is 2.5 hours South of here, and I drove myself due to being on spring break. He looked at me and told me that he could not let me process that day, because should I fail the drug test I would not be able to join the military for the rest of my life. He ultimately had my best interest at heart, so I thanked him for looking out for me, and headed home. Needless to say, I spent some of my spring break jumping through more bureaucratic hoops.
MEPS, time 2:
My recruiter gratuitously apologized for me not being able to get through MEPS during my spring break, and promised me that he would personally drive me up to MEPS himself and insure that I got through it on the day that best worked for me. True to his word, I medically processed on March 16th. I got to spend 2.5 hours in the car with him each direction, and he told me a lot of stuff about his time in the Corps. I found out he's not much older than I am (I'm 22, he's 24), but he's already seen and done a lot of interesting things in the military
He dropped me off at 1430 the day before medical, and I could not believe my eyes when we drove up to the Crown Plaza hotel. I was expecting a Day's Inn at best, but instead I got to sleep in a comfortable queen size bed and lounge in a recreation room complete with gaming systems and plasma screen television, all for enlistees only. Second, I did not expect all of the enlistees to be Army. Out of the 35 people I got on the bus with that morning, I was the only person trying to go Marines. Besides a smattering of Navy and Air Force (I think they were both females to boot), everyone was Army.
MEPS was as boring as I'd read, and the only highlight from my time there came about during the one on one consultation with the doctor. Every single one of the 3 doctors they had looked like they'd qualified for AARP 20 years. When I finally got my turn to have the consultation, as luck would have it, I pulled the head doctor at MEPS. He read over my file, made a big deal about the university I attend by asking me 30,000 questions about it, signed my form, had me sign next to the X, and told me to get out of his office. As I'm reading over my file, I saw that he had denied me qualified for military service. The box stated that he was required to explain to me why he had done this, so I promptly took my folder to the nurses' station.She read my file and told me that he had done this because my medical records stated I owned a nebulizer and inhaler at 13 years of age-not that I regularly used it. I looked it over, and sure enough, my mother had told the doctor just that during a routine physical almost 10 years ago. That piece of paper had somehow ended up becoming part of my file when my recruiter requested my medical history from 2 different doctors, and it was ultimately the evidence that prevented me from swearing in that day. She told me not to worry, that the Marines would probably order me a pulmonary function test, and I'd most likely be back in a week to take it. Oh the joys of having a worrying mother when you're a kid!
I finally get done processing, and a bunch of the people I'd met over the previous day and a half start to swear in. One guy going Army from up near Amish country was at MEPS to take a pulmonary function test, and I hadn't seen him since the presentation that morning. As I'm in the cafeteria waiting for my recruiter to drive the 2.5 hours North to come get me, he finally pops up out of nowhere. He comes to sit with me at my table, and tells me he failed the pulmonary function test. Turns out he made the mistake of taking the offer of albuterol (asthma medicine) on the second try of his test, and his peak respiratory flow improved, which gave the impression that he had asthma. As he's telling me his story, I'm starting to worry that I'm going to end up failing the test, and end up not being able to serve like him. He ends up leaving soon, and my recruiter finally arrives about an hour later. He goes into the Gunnery Sergeant's office, and comes out to tell me that my wavier has been sent back to BUMED for approval, and should return in around a month. It worked out that the pulmonary function test I'd taken and aced when I was 20 meant I did not have to receive an asthma consultation. He told me not to worry, and I should be good to swear in when it gets back. I figured I'd been waiting this long, so I'd live waiting a little longer.
In closing for this time, I have mostly learned through this process to be patient and not expect too much when dealing with bureaucratic systems (you'd figured a Sociology major that studied Weber would know better ). My recruiter has done the best he can with the options he's got, so it looks like about all I can do is rely on him to get me through it. He's gotten me this far! Thanks again for listening to me and offering your insight! I'll make it a point to check in a bit more often.
03-26-12, 04:12 AM #15
P.S-Slinger Dun, I'd like to ask your permission to quote your observations and analogies about the concept of "fair". They would go quite nicely as end quotes for my final paper in ethical theory !
Tennessee Top-What did you think of Miami University while you were at Hamilton?
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