Wiser to go officer or enlisted?
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  1. #1

    Wiser to go officer or enlisted?

    Alright so here is the situation I am in and I would like other peoples opinions and two-cents.

    I am 22 years old, relatively fit, and have just received my associates degree (business economics). I had a plan to receive my 2 year degree and go on to join the Texas State Troopers because it's something I've always wanted to do and pays fairly well, I've put those plans on hold though.

    I'm young and responsible, never been in any trouble and full time employed and living on my own since I was 18. The few friends I have tell me I'm 40 year old trapped inside a 22 year old's body because all I do is work and never play. (in my opinion, I'm just striving to build a healthy and financially secure future and if that means being a boring workaholic now then so be it). I grew up in a much less than desirable environment and I'll be damned if I ever put my own future family through the same experience.

    Thing is, I also want to see other places (Ive never even seen the ocean), be a fighter, strive to represent something I believe in, and earn something that no person will ever be able to take away from me (I decided that should be the Marine Corps experience and the title Marine). I want all the goodies that come with it- the pride, the hardship, the blood, sweat, calloused hands, yelling-all of it. I want that experience and at the end of this life I want my future family to hear those 21 guns and let it echo down to their core that I stood for something during my life.

    One day after a long day at work after and some self reflection I drove myself to the recruiting station and made a straight line to the Marines office, sat myself in front of my recruiter. He had me take the PICAT test in his office, scored an 86 (MM 128, GT 126, EL 127, CL 116)(I'm putting the scores so that way people can draw opinions on if I'm even intellectually capable of doing what I plan on accomplishing) , told me that all I need to do is duplicate that at the MEPS station in their verification test and that it would take place for my ASVAB score. Went to MEPS, completed it, kept the 86, stayed the night at a hotel with all the other people, made it through MEPS processing with no problem. no color blindness, perfect depth perception, good hearing, everything checked out (I have astigmatisms in both eyes though, -4 vision, correctable but still..).

    I had it all set up, loved the 5 year contract I had. 0300 as security forces for 3 years and then 0311 for the last 2. Then I got to thinking....

    I'm 22, I would be going in as a PFC due to my college credits but I would end up having other 22 year old's in charge of me when I go in since they got in at 17. In 5 years I may make Sergeant. I would also be 27 and by then who knows, maybe I'll end up getting married, having a kid, would like to get a nice car or truck. I think it would be difficult to have these things and be bringing in 1.8-2.5k a month admittedly (money is not everything, but I believe it certainly gets important as age and responsibilities increase). But I would also like to fly CH-53's or be in the position of responsibility of making sure my Marines get home to their families -alive and whole and to do those you must be an officer. I only lack 2 more years of education for the degree.

    I told my recruiter where my head was at since I'm thinking about 5 years from now and where I want to be in life and he told me to give the reserves a thought and pointed out that doing the reserves while finishing college (which, hopefully I wouldn't get deployed during that time, I know that's a risk) is an option. Next year of college would be my junior year and he told me about the PLC program which I would take during the summer of 2019.

    I gave it some thought and decided that it may be in my best interest to push my limits and give myself a shot at earning a commission and becoming an officer after talking with a few friends and prior enlisted people (on a side note the 5 enlisted guys I talked to were very heavy on the financial aspect of it, making sure that I knew that officers brought home a respectively better amount of money that I could utilize to make those other life goals more in reach).

    Well the recruiter submitted a spiff and has started the process to move me from active to reserves as Motor-T (since there is an Airforce base in my city that I would go to for the training each month, I literally have no interest in being a diesel mechanic though, but I'm trying hard to convince myself that its only temporary -I know that if I don't pass the PLC and and earn the degree it wont be temporary though) and has me set up to go back to MEPS to re-swear in. Half of me is worried I'm making a huge mistake, the other half is saying push yourself and pursue a commission, its for the best and you wont regret it.

    If I go in as an officer I would be 25 with 2 prior years of military experience and would most likely stick with it until 45 for retirement. At 45 I would probably still try to muscle my way through Texas State Trooper School to finish that dream, maybe, I know testosterone levels start dropping after 30 and muscle loss starts kicking in mid 30's, I don't know what my determination would be at that age.

    I feel that going to boot camp would better help me both physically and mentally be more prepared for the PLC and TBS. I'm just trying to plan for the future and I want peoples opinions.

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  2. #2
    For what it's worth! Finish your education; get a degree in a field that you are interested in. Join the Corps; fulfill your desire to be a Marine; at the end of six years; either get out or make it a career and hopefully in the field that you have a degree in.


  3. #3
    Administrator Platinum Member madsox's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    MD, near DC

    So are you on a Reserve contract now waiting to ship? My personal advice is to do what I tried to (couldn't because I'm too blind and couldn't get a vision waiver for PLC/OCS):

    1. Get through boot camp,
    2. Go on to MCT and MOS school,
    3. Stay in college and go for PLC/OCS

    Enlisted commissioning program has always been extremely hard to get into, a few of our members can tell you more about that. But go for the commission by all means, and good luck to ya!

  4. #4
    Go to college, and while in college, join Navy ROTC. That might help you get money for school and put you on the path to be an officer. You might get to pick the Marine Option as soon as you start since you would be a junior. If for some reason you wash out from the officer training program, you would:
    1) Still have your degree
    2) You would still have the option of enlisting in the Marine Corps.

  5. #5
    Get your 4-year degree and join the Marine Corps as an officer.

  6. #6
    currently on a reserve contract now

  7. #7
    Have you gone to Boot Camp yet? If not, then District commanding officers may effect discharges for members of the DEP and SMCR awaiting IADT under the provisions contained in the current edition of MCO P1900.16 (Short Title: MARCORSEPMAN). One of the reasons: Pursuit of Higher Education, code ZDB.

    Will you make your recruiter mad...yes. This is your life and you need to decide what you want to do.

  8. #8
    I enlisted in the Marine Corps as a private ($98 a month), picked up PFC out of PI and was offered OCS out of boot camp (a degree was not required at the time). I turned it down as it required a 6 year commitment. During my time the majority of recruits in my series were given the MOS of 03's (needs of the Corps), I became an 0311. Within 14 months I was promoted to Cpl, last man standing rule.

    What you will learn about yourself as on 03 can not be duplicated in any other way. All the things that you said you desired to learn are apt descriptions of the life of an 03. Yes, you will earn less money while in the Corps, but the personal knowledge you will learn will raise you above the civilian pool as you live the life of an over achiever.

    When I was discharged I was immediately hired as a Police Officer with a big city Police Department. While an officer I earned my degree in criminal justice, but what I learned in school pales in comparison to what I learned at Parris Island and my experience in the Marine Corps Infantry.

    Remember, years later, you will not be known as having been enlisted or an officer, you will be known as having been a Marine. Just saying.

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