Joining the military.

spalex

Kingfisher
Constitution45 said:
Out of interest, those who have been in the military.

Would you say there is another job which is on par with working in the military, or is there another career path that you would have chosen to do over the military if you had your options again ?

Yeah. Being a Private Military Contractor (colloquially known as a mercenary) is about the only job I can think of that takes all the good stuff about being in the military and eliminates all the bad stuff (apart from being away from home forever.
 

Easy_C

Peacock
Constitution45 said:
Out of interest, those who have been in the military.

Would you say there is another job which is on par with working in the military, or is there another career path that you would have chosen to do over the military if you had your options again ?


Yes. I actually would have gone to a top 10 business school(which, with a 1550/1600 SAT I could easily have gotten a direct admit for) and gotten an entry level position with an audit or consulting firm. The work isn't as exciting but you still get to travel and the exit opportunities are much better.

Also, as an officer your hours may vary. I was pulling 70 hour weeks....during the roughly half the time that I got to spend at home and not in the field. For that and all the same disadvantages you could be making two or three times the salary in investment banking, while also getting fantastic exit ops.
 

DMario

Woodpecker
Unfadable said:
Once you go through the system yourself, you might be singing a different tune. Sounds like you know what you want to do though, so good luck.

This is 100% True. I joined the Marines when I was 17. I feel like when you join young you miss out on a huge social aspect of your life. I was sent to Afghanistan when I was 19, and all I could think about for 7 months was how much I wished I was on a college campus chasing pussy.

I was later fortunate to get a job where I would live abroad for 3 years. I'm currently on year 1.3 and have visited about 20 countries so far chasing foreign broads, so thats a positive.

The Military is definitely what you make of it. I know Marines who have an awesome time, and ones who hate their life.

I would read this as well before joining, alot of this stuff they wont tell you. http://ihatetheusmc.com/things-that-are-wrong-with-the-marine-corps-the-master-list/
 

obrero

Sparrow
If you do decide to join I would recommend getting into one of the special operations forces. Either Army Special Forces or Air Force PJ. I never liked SEALs because they're arrogant, Delta Force is invite only and I don't know anything about Marine Recon.

Special Operations don't have to deal with a lot of the P.C. bullshit that goes with being in the military, plus make a lot more money once mission qualified. Not to mention, when they get out they are the ones with 150k+ contracting jobs waiting for them.
 

SlickyBoy

Hummingbird
Delta force is not invite only, but it is limited to E5 and up. That said, it is true (they won't tell you this) that you can pretty much forget being an operator on an SFOD-A team there unless you were first in Ranger Battalion, and of course only if you're a total stud, physically. Officially any male from any MOS can try out, but realistically it's a private club. Its similar in the Seals' devgru unit.

As for SOF units, delta are the rare ones who truly escape the day to day nonsense you find everywhere else. Even army SF (green berets) get their share of busy work and flag pole bullshit duties. It's still a lot better than the regular army, but not nearly as chill as you might think. Its a PC shit show all over the military nowadays.

There are better ways to make $150k, but you need not be ex-delta to do that as a contractor if you want.
 

RIslander

Hummingbird
I'm bumping this thread because I have a close friend who is a bit down on his luck and considering joining the U.S. Army Reserve as an officer. Most likely Military Police or Chemical Warfare Officer. He is in his early thirties and fairly fit. His rationale is a steady paycheck for 1 weekend a month/2 weeks a year, healthcare and education benefits. I believe that if not active he can count on $7000 a year as a 2LT for 45 days work and $45/month for excellent healthcare.

He is a blue pill type and we talk near daily... and he is seeking advice from his friends. For those of you with experience... what advice can I offer him? I have no military experience.
 

The Beast1

Peacock
Gold Member
How old is he? I can only speak to my attempt at joining as a full time naval officer , but i aged out really quick which sucked.

Doubly so, there were tests that needed to be done. Do army reserve officers have to take the OAR? Being so far out of school, it took me some time to recall a good half of the material. Needless to say, it was rough.

The easiest thing to prep for were the physical tests. Seriously had no problem doing that. I like working out.

To be honest, it sounds like he's joining for the wrong reasons. I recall a lot of people used to do this in the 90s and early 00s for the benefits and then got called on their grifting asses when the call to deploy happened.

Is he comfortable dropping what he's doing in the event he gets deployed? He doesn't have tits so he can't get pregnant to avoid it.

If he wants cheap healthcare, sign up for a healthcare ministry .
 
As a active duty Chem officer, butterbar LT, he will be fetching coffee for his commander and rarely doing anything related to the Chem branch. In the Reserve I don't expect much different. Tell him to go MP. Anyhow does he expect to game the US Army as a +$7000/yr side hustle? :laugh: He might get deployed so there's that
 

Waqqle

Kingfisher
TheDuncan said:
I have been thinking about the military for quite some time, steady pay, travel, disipline and depending on your job you could learn some sort of skill.

Obviously if you join the Marines or Army (infantry) you may run the risk of combat and injurys from training but as long as you know and expect that, sure it seems like you will deal with a lot of bullshit but to me it seems like the pros outweigh the cons.

I have talked with vets and they all think it seems like a good route to go if you dont want to go to school or work a regular 9-5.

I have researched all the branches and they all have things that catch my interest, leaning towards the Marine Corps (maybe im bias as I have Marine family and friends)

What is your opinion on the military?

This is going to be long but hopefully it will help anyone here who is thinking about joining the US military.

I was in the Army but, if I had to go back and join the military again knowing what I know now, I would join the Coast Guard. Coast Guard bases tend to be in scenic coastal places where it doesn't completely suck to live in (most bases in the other branches are in places that suck), the Coast Guard has a reputation for taking pretty good care of its members, and it is the only branch as far as I am aware which does not have barracks (even lower enlisted people get BAH - Basic Allowance for Housing - to live off base).

You almost certainly won't get killed or sustain any life-changing injuries in the Coast Guard and you might actually get to do the job that you signed up for. Further, because the Coast Guard is the smallest branch, there are not really any "Coast Guard towns" in the same way that there are "Army towns." This means that, wherever you are, you will most likely not be exclusively surrounded by people affiliated with the military and/or trying to marry a wasted 19 year-old Marine to get Tricare and lifetime alimony security before swelling up like a diabetic's foot. In the Coast Guard, it is entirely possible that you can remain a member of society for the most part. In the Coast Guard, you are basically a sea cop which is pretty cool.

Very few people re-enlist in the Marine Corps, the Army, or even the Air Force. Lots of people go career in the Coast Guard though. If you can't get in or don't want to join the Coast Guard, the next best thing is Air Force because they have the most females and less likelihood for getting physically messed up than the Army or the Marines as well as it being more likely that you will be stationed somewhere that isn't awful than it will be if you join the Army or the Marines. After the Air Force, there's the Navy but don't join the Navy unless you are ok with being on a vessel for 6 months at a time.

I do not recommend joining the Marines unless you want to see real combat and shoot people because it's pretty crappy if you aren't doing that. You get paid the same as in the other branches but you are treated worse and, if you aren't at least going into combat, I imagine it would just feel stupid to do the same jobs as people in other branches but be treated worse than them while still getting paid the same and being promoted more slowly (if at all - look up "terminal lance").

I don't recommend the Army unless none of the other branches will take you and you are just in a massive hurry (the other branches tend to take at least a few months to get you in whereas the Army can get you in within weeks) or, like the Marines, you desire to go into combat and shoot people. Otherwise, the situation is similar to the Marines in that you will do the same jobs as an Airman but be treated worse and probably get promoted more slowly than if you were in the Navy.

The Army is also probably larger than all of the other branches combined in terms of how many people there are in it. This means that you are invisible and expendable. If want to learn what the word "Kafkaesque" means and to understand what it feels like to truly believe that nobody in the entire cosmos will ever care or even know about you or anything that happens to you, join the Army.

I watched people get broken to pieces physically for stupid things just because someone did not want to bother making an exception to some arbitrary rule in a particular instance. Why? When a cheap electronic device is broken, do most people order a bunch of replacement parts and put a bunch of time and energy into fixing it or do they just wait for it to stop working completely, throw it in the trash, and buy a new one? That's why. You are a long unmemorable number on a piece of paper that no one will ever read (and which will probably be lost by S1 - basically Army secretaries - at least 10 times). You will never meet or likely even know the names of the people who have the most power over you and you will be no more valuable to them than an old cell phone.

For example, I had 1 female in my company who developed Crohn's Disease and had to have the bottom of her intestine removed. It took her around 3 years to finally get medically discharged if I remember right and she still had to go to PT (Physical Training) the whole time, colostomy bag and all, which only made things worse as you might imagine. Another female who was in my company is now on her 5th hip surgery after the physical therapists kept making her do squats with weights immediately after her previous hip surgeries just because that's what it says on some paper somewhere (luckily, she is out of the Army now but it took about 3 years for her to be processed out and she is probably unable to have children now).

There was always someone going suicidal where I was stationed. I went with another guy to pick up one of the soldiers in our company from the hospital after he had spent a week there following an attempted OD which someone on the suicide hotline managed to talk him out of (took that guy almost 2 years to be processed out, during which time he deteriorated further). Another guy from my company went suicidal after I left because his shoulder got destroyed and the physical therapists destroyed it further the same way they did with the female's hip. By the way, if you are told to go to physical therapy, you have to do what they tell you to do (even if they are wrong and everyone knows it) because it will be insubordination if you don't. I personally never heard of anyone's situation not being made worse by physical therapy at the particular base where I spent most of my time in the Army. When I was told to go, I just didn't show up and my absence was never noticed because, again, you are invisible and nobody gives a crap about you.

I could go on and on but my point is this: if you are going to join the military, at least talk to a Coast Guard recruiter and, if they really can't get you in, default to the Air Force or the Navy unless you really just want to get shot at and kill people, in which case go ahead and join the Marines or the Army but be sure to join specifically as infantry. The Army is probably the only branch that will let you enlist with a specific job in your contract (the others just put you in whichever slot needs filling) so you can enlist specifically as infantry or some other "combat arms" job. This is, by the way, another reason I recommend the Coast Guard or at least the Air Force. Those two branches have the most jobs which are applicable to the civilian world so, if you decide not to re-enlist, you won't be limited to only security contractor jobs. If you like being a security contractor, bouncer, or something like that though, combat arms may be for you.

*Note: You can only join as an officer if you already have at least a bachelor's degree so, if you don't, you will be enlisting, probably at the lowest rank and will almost certainly spend the entire duration of your first contract as a lower enlisted person (not an officer or NCO - Non-Commissioned Officer). If you want to be an NCO, you will most likely need to re-enlist. If you want to be an officer, you will need to sign a 10-year contract as opposed to a normal enlistment contract of 3-6 years.

*Note: All information I have given is for active duty and training. It may not all apply to National Guard and/or Reserves. I do not recommend joining either National Guard or Reserves because you will not get all of the benefits you will get as active duty and you will not get paid as much because you will effectively be a civilian most of the time (I think Guard and Reserves only do drills weekly and monthly respectively if I remember right - double check that as I was not in either). If you're going to join at all, I recommend just going all the way and being active duty. You're still going to have to do basic training either way.

*Note: Watch out for females. A lot of guys get falsely accused for all kinds of reasons. Always be in a "battle buddy" team to cover your ass and have witnesses. I wrote a character statement for one guy who got falsely accused by a female he was trying to white knight for.

*Note: For the love of God, do not get married or have a kid while you are in the military. Your bed will get cold at times but warming it up is not worth what you will have to pay in the divorce (the divorce rate in the military is even higher than for civilians) or even before it (look up "dependapotamus"), and Heaven help you if your spouse falsely accuses you of something at some point so that she can get you pulled out of your house off base and back into the barracks where the military will do all kinds of things to you to punish you on her behalf. I have seen it happen. Don't do it.
 

Waqqle

Kingfisher
You can get good things from the Army specifically if you go in with open eyes. Just remember some rules (which may also apply to other branches):

1. No one really cares about you unless maybe you are a Coast Guardsman or an Airman. Never assume that they do. If you die tonight as result of some stupid oversight that should have been fixed 30 years ago, the people with the authority to save you or fix the problem will not only not do so but they will likely never even read your case file because, at any time, there are at least 10,000 other units of government property contemplating suicide in their barracks.

2. Never assume or expect that things will ever go any kind of way but wrong and prepare yourself accordingly.

3. Always watch your ass and move in a battle buddy team of at least one other male and/or two females so that it is harder for someone to accuse you of sexual misconduct.

4. Never submit your last copy of any document. Always have at least 1 or 2 extra physical copies because your documents will be lost.

5. If someone has not gotten back to you about something by the tine they were supposed to, keep pestering about it until they get you what you need. Don't expect anyone to be competent or remember you.

6. Anyone above the rank of Captain is a politician. They don't care about you and you will not be able to access them. They will pretend to care and will say as much but they don't care and will never know who you are.

7. Don't believe anything said by anyone. Watch how people actually behave. That will tell you what they are really all about.

8. Don't volunteer for anything. You won't get paid more for doing so. If you volunteer for anything, only do so if it improves your chances of being promoted (and therefor paid more) faster.

9. Do not get married. I already said this but, seriously, don't do it.

10. Do not enlist as an 88M (Army truck driver). This is possibly the most deadly job in the entire military but you won't get to shoot anyone and it is not as respected by anyone outside of the military as infantry or other jobs. Also, what does it translate to in the civilian world post-military? Trucker. An honorable profession but not one known for getting paid or being treated well).

11. Don't believe anything a recruiter tells you. They can make the job of cleaning outhouses sound like James Bond stuff. Look up everything they tell you online and double check it.

12. Just go ahead and delete whatever social media you have now so it doesn't get you in trouble. When you join the military, you give up certain citizen rights, one of them being the right to free speech. Many people forget that, especially during elections (I was in during the Trump election - that was fun).

13. Don't take yourself or anything else too seriously. The more you take things seriously, the faster you will go insane and wind up in Behavioral Health (Psychiatrist).

14. If you let anyone screw you, they will.

15. Never argue with a command from a superior, no matter how obviously stupid. When you receive an order, do not try to interpret the "spirit" of it or anything like that. Take the instructions literally and do exactly what you are told. If it ruins something or makes trouble, they will be responsible. That's why they get paid more than you. If it's not your problem, it's not your problem.

16. Don't start smoking as you'll piss away your money. Don't start drinking for the same reason and because you might do something for which you will be punished.

17. Cultivate and nurture a network of allies within your company and unit so that, if/when you get in trouble/accused of something/whatever, you have character references.

18. Don't overtrain, eat enough protein, and stay hydrated.

19. There are opportunities and benefits available that you will not know about unless you ask around so always be doing that. For example, you can use at least some of your time in the military to complete some college courses. There are ways to do this so that you could even already have a bachelors degree by the time you graduate. Always be asking and networking.

20. Always remember: Fuck you. Papers got lost? Fuck you. Asbestos in the barracks? Fuck you. Confined to base because of something someone else you don't know in another unit or even another branch did? Fuck you. Don't have enough money left after making your student loan and child support payments to have your dress uniform dry cleaned every Thursday just so you can wear it to formations in the mud and rain? Fuck you. At all times, fuck you.


Bonus: 21. I'm not sure about other branches but, in the Army, if you have been in for less than 6 months (including Basic Combat Training), you can still quit by informing your command team (your Captain and 1st Sergeant) that you want to quit. Most people never learn of this until long after they've passed the time limit but one guy in my company did it and it took about 1 month to process him out. It's like they scrub you from the system as if you had never joined. This is called Entry Level Separation.
 

SlickyBoy

Hummingbird
Agree mostly with Waqqle. Explore the Coast Guard, then Air Force, but put the Army ahead of the Navy. And unless you have some deep seated, unmet need in your life for brotherhood and an obsession with uniforms, you probably want to skip the Marines too.

Whatever your friend may know about being red pilled (knowing what women are capable of - hopefully he does), he needs to triple that outlook in the military services and watch his step. There are all kinds of pitfalls and it gets worse every year. Both of those career fields that he has in mind are coed, so he will experience some of these threats first hand, he will witness how females are treated differently, given a pass for bad behavior and generally are cost ineffective, unmotivated participants in what they see as a camouflaged welfare system. But I digress.

As to his line of thinking:

It sounds like your friend is being fed a line from an Army recruiter about what slots are open in the next couple of months.

Why Chemical corps? Chemical on active duty is not a highly sought after branch, so he might want to ask himself why he really is being fed this choice. Recruiters have goals to meet - don't be just a number for them.

Why MP? It's ok as a job but he should also think twice about how it could set him up to be a civilian cop. If that's what he is after he may be surprised to learn that some departments don't like to hire former MPs because they are trained completely differently. There are some interesting jobs in MP branch, but many will not be available to him as a reservist - he should do more research and understand this before signing anything.

He should understand that the steady paycheck for one weekend isn't all that much money - has he looked at the pay tables lately? There are probably other ways to make $425.13 over the weekend. A large part of the appeal of the volunteer services nowadays is to those with few other economic options - like your friend, apparently. Remember too, if he only makes that as an O1, imagine the kind of person who puts up with a weekend of busy work for somewhere between $244.11-$292.61. Yeah, those would be the privates (E1-E4) he's going to be responsible for as a newly minted 2LT. If he's never led anything in his life or isn't at least the eldest brother of a couple of mischievous younger siblings, he's got no idea what's coming. Chemical Corps isn't exactly rocket science or high on the esprit de corp factor so it attracts a lot of sponges looking for benefits.

Speaking of sponges, as an officer he will be expected to do some more. If he expects any long term benefits, part time only won't get him very far.
 

RIslander

Hummingbird
RVF, as always, delivered. I'm going to link him to this thread. I notice several of you spoke well of the Coast Guard, and that's something I have actually considered for myself as a Reservist. They have a direct entry NCO program for Port Security Units. Does anyone know anything about that?
 
This is a very life-altering question, and as a civilian I can only tell you this:

For guys that really want to do it, they really get a lot of out of it. One of my friends was into military history and he loves it since he joined. He was basically into LARPing before joining the military, so now the military is just one big LARP for him. He would probably be the guy in one of those stolen valor videos yelling at the imposter, "x patch is in the wrong place, and you have too many combat ribbons for your rank, etc..."

For guys with little direction or no organizational skills it will improve them as people. The number of high school potheads I've seen join, and people with no direction, and turn their lives around is a testament to the power of discipline.

I have friends in the military, and as one poster said it's not a meritocracy (friends serving have confirmed this) and burdened by red-tape, and military is becoming pretty SJW-y these days, just google and you'll find photos of crossdressing and gay pride celebrations.

The one thing that deterred me (I'm college educated but was lacking direction), was injury or exposure to harmful substances/ working conditions. You name it, they have it in the military. All sorts of occupational injuries, not to mention military has a long history of exposing soldiers to potentially deadly substances (like DDT for example). Several of my friends are at least partially disabled because of military incompetence. You're government property.

On the other hand, joining the military to get an education (esp. post-grad) or learn an expensive trade/ occupation and then doing your service and getting out is not a half bad idea. You can leverage that into a career in civil aviation, medicine, government contracting, etc.

I can confirm via observation, however, that if you have one iota of game, being in the military will get you laid.
 

Dr Mantis Toboggan

Kingfisher
Gold Member
If you join the Army as a 35P (cryptologic linguist) you will get to spend anywhere from 6-18 months stationed in Monterey, CA learning a language full-time. The other services all have an equivalent of this MOS and send their people to the same school. By the time you graduate, if you graduate (it's one of the military courses with the highest fail rate), you'll be borderline fluent in your language.

The downside is that if you're a new enlistee, you can submit preferences but won't get to actually pick your language (if you've already been in for a few years you can re-enlist to go to school for a specific language, which is what I did to study Mandarin). The largest contingents of students at the school by far are studying Mandarin, Korean, Russian, Arabic, and Farsi--so odds are you'll get assigned to one of those languages although there are 15-20 or so other languages taught there and they're also possibilities. Obviously some of those languages are more attractive to the type of men reading this forum than others.
 

Waqqle

Kingfisher
^
This was my MOS (35P) as well and I was at the DLI (Defense Language Institute) for a while. Only the Coast Guard does not have linguists so that is the only branch which definitely won't send you to the DLI but they do have a base of their own in town right across the street from the DLI and they all live in town because the Coast Guard does not have barracks. They also have other bases/stations up and down the rest of the California coast.

I didn't make it through the course myself so, if you want to know how to pass it, you would do better to ask someone else who has succeeded in doing so. I can only really say what not to do from my own experience. The class I started in had 18 people and there were 7 or 8 left by the time they graduated. The crappy thing is that, even if the coursework is easy for you (as it was for me), all the other stuff you'll have to deal with, as well as whatever personal stuff you might be dealing with unrelated to being mentally able to learn your target language, may wear you down and crack you. This happened to me and it happens to others too. Behavioral Health (Psychiatry) is always overbooked and understaffed, or at least it was for all of the time I was at the DLI. The DLI is more of a psychological challenge than a physical one.

Mantis is right about not being able to choose your language. I was initially assigned Levantine Arabic but pestered my superiors every day until they switched me to another language that I was more interested in but this is not common. Generally, what you are assigned is what you get.

Personally, I think that the method of instruction at the DLI, at least for the course I was in, is almost worse than self study and the restrictions placed upon you make it exceedingly difficult to get any actual speaking practice outside of class. I think you might be better off (assuming you have an aptitude for languages) choosing a different MOS that won't put you in TRADOC (training environment) for 2 years and just learning on your own time while practicing with online conversation partners and maybe the foreign spouses living on base who speak whichever language you have an interest in. If you learn a language at the DLI, it will be in spite of the Army, not because of it.

That's just my own two cents and other people would surely have different views. Another thing to consider is that signing up to be a 35P necessarily means signing up for 5-6 years (or at least it did in my case) because the training period itself is 2+ years. Most MOSs will let you sign up for 4 or even 3 in some cases. Also, to be a 35P, you will need to be able to get a Top Secret security clearance. I never got one because my investigation process took an unusually long amount of time due to my lifestyle prior to joining the Army (I wasn't involved in criminal stuff, I just moved around alone overseas for several years and I didn't have many references who could confirm anything about me or my life during that period). I had already dropped out of the course before it concluded and told them I didn't want the clearance and signed a paper requesting that they cease the investigation process. From what I saw, the investigation process normally takes around a year to complete and some people get their clearances right before or right after graduation from the language course. If, for whatever reason, you are denied the required clearance, you will be re-classed into a different MOS that does not require the level of security clearance that you were unable to acquire.
 

jimukr75

Sparrow
"Why MP? It's ok as a job but he should also think twice about how it could set him up to be a civilian cop. If that's what he is after he may be surprised to learn that some departments don't like to hire former MPs because they are trained completely differently. There are some interesting jobs in MP branch, but many will not be available to him as a reservist - he should do more research and understand this before signing anything. "

Most large depts hire from civil service list so its irrelevant. If I have a higher test score , I get hired before the former MP so its a moot point(I probably did beat out a bunch). Small depts might be different but then they pay crap usually. For FED law enforcement it will probably help since they don't hire everyone from the test scores on their civil service list. They have the 1 out of 3 rule so when they get to a certain test score 3 candidates are called and ONE hired and then they pick the next 3 highest scores. The 1 candidate out of 3 who has military background will often win out unless other 2 candidates have desirable skills like language ability , former law enforcement, etc.
Most guardsmen I know did it for the education benefits and then used the college credits to qualify for police exam.
 

Dr Mantis Toboggan

Kingfisher
Gold Member
Waqqle said:
^
This was my MOS (35P) as well and I was at the DLI (Defense Language Institute) for a while. Only the Coast Guard does not have linguists so that is the only branch which definitely won't send you to the DLI but they do have a base of their own in town right across the street from the DLI and they all live in town because the Coast Guard does not have barracks. They also have other bases/stations up and down the rest of the California coast.

I didn't make it through the course myself so, if you want to know how to pass it, you would do better to ask someone else who has succeeded in doing so. I can only really say what not to do from my own experience. The class I started in had 18 people and there were 7 or 8 left by the time they graduated. The crappy thing is that, even if the coursework is easy for you (as it was for me), all the other stuff you'll have to deal with, as well as whatever personal stuff you might be dealing with unrelated to being mentally able to learn your target language, may wear you down and crack you. This happened to me and it happens to others too. Behavioral Health (Psychiatry) is always overbooked and understaffed, or at least it was for all of the time I was at the DLI. The DLI is more of a psychological challenge than a physical one.

Mantis is right about not being able to choose your language. I was initially assigned Levantine Arabic but pestered my superiors every day until they switched me to another language that I was more interested in but this is not common. Generally, what you are assigned is what you get.

Personally, I think that the method of instruction at the DLI, at least for the course I was in, is almost worse than self study and the restrictions placed upon you make it exceedingly difficult to get any actual speaking practice outside of class. I think you might be better off (assuming you have an aptitude for languages) choosing a different MOS that won't put you in TRADOC (training environment) for 2 years and just learning on your own time while practicing with online conversation partners and maybe the foreign spouses living on base who speak whichever language you have an interest in. If you learn a language at the DLI, it will be in spite of the Army, not because of it.

That's just my own two cents and other people would surely have different views. Another thing to consider is that signing up to be a 35P necessarily means signing up for 5-6 years (or at least it did in my case) because the training period itself is 2+ years. Most MOSs will let you sign up for 4 or even 3 in some cases. Also, to be a 35P, you will need to be able to get a Top Secret security clearance. I never got one because my investigation process took an unusually long amount of time due to my lifestyle prior to joining the Army (I wasn't involved in criminal stuff, I just moved around alone overseas for several years and I didn't have many references who could confirm anything about me or my life during that period). I had already dropped out of the course before it concluded and told them I didn't want the clearance and signed a paper requesting that they cease the investigation process. From what I saw, the investigation process normally takes around a year to complete and some people get their clearances right before or right after graduation from the language course. If, for whatever reason, you are denied the required clearance, you will be re-classed into a different MOS that does not require the level of security clearance that you were unable to acquire.

This is mostly true, I was not a 35P but re-enlisted to go to DLI after I'd already been in for a few years (and already had my clearance). Doing it this way means more total time in service but also allows you to pick your language and makes your time in Monterey more enjoyable, as you are not still in an extended form of basic training and are generally treated like an adult.

The one thing I strenuously disagree with is that studying a language on your own can be just as effective as DLI, it simply isn't--your full time job for 6-16 months depending on your language is studying, you're in class 6-7 hours a day (usually full immersion after the first couple months) plus 1-3 hours a night of homework. It's intense but it's the best way to get fluent or near-fluent in a foreign language, especially the complicated ones like Chinese and Russian, without living in that country (and depending on the language you may get to spend a month or so living abroad--I got to study in Taiwan about 2/3 of the way through the course, the Russian students got to go to Estonia or Lithuania IIRC).

My Chinese is pretty rusty now (need to get that back up) but at the time I graduated it was as close to fluent as I could've possibly gotten without spending several months living in China or Taiwan.
 

Waqqle

Kingfisher
^
Taiwan must have been really fun. I hope to go there at some point and maybe pick up some Mandarin too.

Language learning I think is one of those things that can tend to be pretty personal and different people have their own methods. In my case, I really did not like the teaching style in my particular class or the fact that there were so many restrictions in place and there was virtually nobody in town who spoke my target language (Korean) that I could practice with. For me, speaking practice is the most important element in language learning and classrooms have always been a bit difficult so I tend to prefer short bursts of self study followed by lots of speaking practice out in the world. If I can't get lots of speaking practice, I tend to lose interest pretty quickly because I don't care for texting in HelloTalk and all that stuff (to be honest, I should have considered this more than I did before signing up but I didn't know what I was getting into and what's done is done). In my mind, language is a means to an end and that end is communication. If I'm not doing that, it feels pointless.

That's just me though and my way certainly isn't the end all and be all. My Korean is actually unacceptably rusty as well and I want to go back to Korea to polish it up soon. It was never very good but I could at least converse on a basic level and I want to revive it. I'm thinking of teaching English in Korea so I can get my level up off the clock.
 
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