Struggling with choosing to seek a commission or just enlist.
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  1. #1
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    Struggling with choosing to seek a commission or just enlist.

    It's been a little while since I've asked for advice on here and I've pondered it deeply. I've started going to a recruiter and working out seriously and I'm coming up on a crossroads that is really scrambling my brain. I've always wanted to be a Marine, and it won't be long and I'll become one, but I've got to decide if I'm gonna go reserves and seek a commission (Probably through PLC.) or just enlist into active duty and do my dream job full-time right off the bat. After more in-depth research I've developed some reservations about being an officer, reservations about ending up doing paperwork and sitting at a desk majority of the time. From my research, I gather that Officers usually end up there by Major, is that correct?

    I plan on getting a degree either way, so I've also thought about enlisting as active duty anyway and just commissioning later if I believe that being an Officer is for me. I know that's not really efficient time-wise, but I really don't want to wait 4 years for the military to be my full-time job.

    Either way I'd like to do a job that entails getting your hands dirty. I've mainly considered Infantry, Tank Crew, and Combat Engineer with trying out for the Raiders as a future goal unless I love whatever job I end up in so much I choose not too.

    What would you recommend to someone like me? I think it would be an amazing honor to lead Marines as an Officer, but I wonder if I would be better suited for leading as an NCO.

    And PLEASE don't think I'm trashing people with desk jobs, that is definitely not what I'm doing. I just want to be happy and I don't think I'd be happy ending up in an administrative role. It's just that I'm a redneck from South Carolina that's always loved running around in the woods, hunting, and shooting guns. I don't want to have regrets.

    Regardless, my ultimate goal is to make a career out of the Marine Corps.

    I appreciate y'all and any advice you have for me and I'm anxious to be part of your brotherhood.

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  2. #2
    read up on General Chesty Puller, paperwork was not his thing, he was right out there with the troops... In Korea, he went from fox hole to fox hole giving his men a shot of whiskey to warm them up...
    true fack from the autobiography called "Marine! The Life of Chesty Puller"


  3. #3
    Squad Leader Platinum Member Zulu 36's Avatar
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    My advice is if you want to be an officer, go for it first. Enlisted service ahead of officer service is not a big career boost. It doesn't hurt, but doesn't really help either. But becoming an officer while an enlisted man is very difficult (as a Marine).

    NCOs often end up riding a desk too. Regardless of your rank or MOS, if you are in a leadership position there is ALWAYS paperwork involved.

    Personally, I enjoyed being an NCO. I was pestered several times while in the Air Guard to become an officer, but I just preferred being a senior NCO. I had six-years active duty as a Marine, plus a year in the Reserves, then 14-years in the Air Guard. So I knew what being an officer involved. I didn't feel like starting over again as a 2d Lt and being the SLJO (Shi**y Little Jobs Officer). I didn't have to do that crappy stuff as an E-7, E-8 eligible.


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    Quote Originally Posted by irpat54 View Post
    read up on General Chesty Puller, paperwork was not his thing, he was right out there with the troops... In Korea, he went from fox hole to fox hole giving his men a shot of whiskey to warm them up...
    true fack from the autobiography called "Marine! The Life of Chesty Puller"
    I'm aware of Chesty's heroics but I didn't know about the foxhole whiskey thing, that's pretty cool, thanks for sharing that. And I've thought about how many Officers there's been that have done cool things like that, but I guess I've just been rattled by the horror stories of perpetual meetings, Powerpoint presentations, emailing, etc. that, from what I've gathered, a lot of Officers end up with. But then I read about stories like the one you mentioned, where senior Officers are out there with their troops leading from the front. I actually stumbled across a post on this website where an Officer was saying that if you end up glued to a desk as an Officer it's your fault because it's avoidable. I just want to make the right decision. Thanks for your reply!


  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zulu 36 View Post
    My advice is if you want to be an officer, go for it first. Enlisted service ahead of officer service is not a big career boost. It doesn't hurt, but doesn't really help either. But becoming an officer while an enlisted man is very difficult (as a Marine).

    NCOs often end up riding a desk too. Regardless of your rank or MOS, if you are in a leadership position there is ALWAYS paperwork involved.

    Personally, I enjoyed being an NCO. I was pestered several times while in the Air Guard to become an officer, but I just preferred being a senior NCO. I had six-years active duty as a Marine, plus a year in the Reserves, then 14-years in the Air Guard. So I knew what being an officer involved. I didn't feel like starting over again as a 2d Lt and being the SLJO (Shi**y Little Jobs Officer). I didn't have to do that crappy stuff as an E-7, E-8 eligible.
    It's not really that I don't want to do paperwork at all, I just don't want that to be in a position where it's so bad I start losing spirit. This guy had just that happen to him, where he ended up doing so much of that kind of stuff that his morale suffered. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BtdcjG_5aM

    Thanks for the advice!


  6. #6
    a lot depends on what you MOS is, infantry IE Grunts, not so much, supply where my daughter was, there's a lot more.


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    I think it would be a great honor to be an Officer and lead Marines. I just don't want to go into a job where I'll be miserable, as that would obviously not help me do my job well. I've been praying for guidance and researching the roles and I'm just plain not sure. Both appeal to me in different ways. As an Officer I feel like I could make more big-impact decisions, and it helps that I'm a huge fan of studying military strategy, but I wonder if leading as an NCO would be the sweet-spot for me.


  8. #8
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    I agree when it comes to the more junior ranks, but from what I've read Officers have to do a lot of Staff Duty in between commands and that once you make Major it gets really administrative. I just don't want to go into a job where I'll be miserable, as that would obviously not help me do my job well. I've been praying for guidance and researching the roles and I'm just plain not sure. Both appeal to me in different ways. As an Officer I feel like I could make more big-impact decisions, and it helps that I'm a huge fan of studying military strategy, but I wonder if leading as an NCO would be the sweet-spot for me.


  9. #9
    well also remember that when you become either Company commander or Bat. Co., you also have a staff to do a lot of the paperwork, and that leaves you to be able to inspect and make sure the training and/or security and planning to do...


  10. #10
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    Good point.


  11. #11
    Since April 2018 you have been debating on what to do. Pull the trigger on something no one is holding your hand in this decision, you either want to become a Marine or you don't. You are talking about doing staff duty and duties of a major, you haven't even talked to an OSO or joined the Dep pump the breaks on what happens when you pin on General or Master Guns.


  12. #12
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    I definitely want to join. I’ve started seeing a recruiter and getting things lined up. Just weighing the options.


  13. #13
    Plenty of officers were prior enlisted. I don’t think prior enlisted service necessarily makes you a better officer, but it CAN help. That said, I wouldn’t enlist with the primary focus for doing so being to make you a better officer in the future. The caveat being doing so to pay for school can be a good plan.


  14. #14
    also, a good officer who did not rise through the ranks, when they got to their duty station, picked the brains of their NCO's and SNCO's for their knowledge and experience, by the time one becomes an NCO or SNCO they've been around the block a few time especially in a Grunt unit...


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