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  • Need Guidance

    I have been searching ad nauseum and am no closer to an answer than when I started lurking in these forums severeal months ago

    I am seriously considering joining the NG here in Michigan, but I am need of serious guidance. Here is a bit of background...I am 34, almost 35, Bachelors Degree, married, no kids. I met with a recruiter to discuss OCS and other options. He said I am definitely a candidate for OCS, but said I should consider going enlisted first as it would give me a some perspective on being a soldier. Through my research on these forums I came to find out about the OSM. I did some digging, found their number and spoke to a really nice Lieutenant who said I should definitely NOT go enlisted first and just proceed to OCS after Basic?!?

    Is there an advantage to going enlisted first if you are OCS ready? Off the top of my head it seems like the addition of an MOS would be advantageous. How long do you have to wait if you go enlisted before you can apply to OCS? The Lieutenant from OSM said that because of my age he would not recommend delaying OCS.

    I am perplexed because I can see definite advantages to both paths. It seems like an MOS would be a great addition to an officer branch and a definite leg up for employment purposes. On the other hand, I could start OCS at E-6 paygrade and be at O-1 throughout BOLC. Monetary benefits aside, the officer track has its own unique employment distinctions.

    Officer Branch could be whole separate thread! I know what sounds interesting to me, but as my buddy over at OSM said..."if we don't need it we will just stick you somewhere that we do need you". I tried to find out what the critical units are in this state, but he said it changes too much to tell me. Which makes sense...what the NG needs today they might not need next August. I want to pick something that I will enjoy and excel at, but I also want to be able to contribute in a meaningful way and sometimes those concepts are not mutually exlcusive.

    I apologze if this post is too scatter shot...I am always thinking about some new "what if" and it leads to more confusion/indecision. I just want to make sure I have it all sorted out before I take the plunge.

    Thanks in advance for any input!

  • #2
    Re: Need Guidance

    I was in the same position as you, but took $20k and a deployment instead of going to OCS.

    If you want to be a commissioned officer, go to OCS. BCT, AIT and a year of drilling isn't the same as joining as a PV1, getting promoted to E-6, deploying somewhere along the line and then going to OCS. Even then, it's debated whether or not that experience matters. Plus, you're running short on time age-wise. With decent bonuses a thing of the past, unless you need SLRP, go to OCS.
    Last edited by chd; October 14th, 2010, 08:18 AM.

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    • #3
      Re: Need Guidance

      The enlisted side has better jokes than the officers.

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      • #4
        Re: Need Guidance

        If you were 25, I'd advise you to enlist with an MOS, drill for a few years, then attend OCS. You're 35, however, which means you're running short of time. Go straight to OCS.

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        • #5
          Re: Need Guidance

          Agreeing with the posts, go to OCS. I was young(and still am) so I could afford 4 years enlisted before going to the dark side. You may not have that luxury, OCS is better for you

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          • #6
            Re: Need Guidance

            Thanks for all of the feedback. I spoke to the recruiter today and he was very glad to hear I had been doing my homework. I posed a few more questions to him that I would like to throw out to you guys as well.

            My tentative plan at this point is to get squared away with the ASVAB, physicals, paperwork and be in BT by early January. Upon returning, drill with the retention unit before going to OCS in June. I asked the recruiter these questions and would like to get some input from everyone here as well.

            1. When I return from BT should I be making contact with units I would like to attach to based on the Branch Orientation I select?
            2. Does it make sense to pick a branch based on the location of a unit or should I pick a branch based solely on my interests and let fate decide my unit?
            3. Are there particular branches that have a higher likelihood of employment opportunities within the NG, M-Day, Technician jobs, etc.

            I would like to pick something that interests me and then, hopefully, a career will blossom out of that, but I am a realist and life seldom works out that way. I am acutely aware of this fact as I have never really been able to utilize my History degree in any relevant way. Personnel Manager, Program Manager, Project Manager...not a lot of history happening there. These are all titles I have held at one time or another and all have been wholly unfulfilling short of the paycheck they provided. As you can see, my trepidation about picking a branch is tempered by my experience that it is painfully impractical to become an expert in an area that has very little demand.

            My top branch choices at this point are: Military Intelligence, Engineer, Ordnance and Adjutant General. Some of these choices are based on interest and some because much of my civilian experience would translate well. However, being a pragmatic individual I am open to suggestions from the experts (you guys) who know what the NG needs today and might need in the near future.

            Your time and consideration is greatly appreciated, and has definitely helped ease the decision making process!

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            • #7
              Re: Need Guidance

              Originally posted by chopper_dave View Post
              1. When I return from BT should I be making contact with units I would like to attach to based on the Branch Orientation I select?
              2. Does it make sense to pick a branch based on the location of a unit or should I pick a branch based solely on my interests and let fate decide my unit?
              3. Are there particular branches that have a higher likelihood of employment opportunities within the NG, M-Day, Technician jobs, etc.
              ....
              My top branch choices at this point are: Military Intelligence, Engineer, Ordnance and Adjutant General. Some of these choices are based on interest and some because much of my civilian experience would translate well. However, being a pragmatic individual I am open to suggestions from the experts (you guys) who know what the NG needs today and might need in the near future.
              1. Work with your State OSM on an assignment and branch, not the units. Your recruiter can put you in touch.
              2. As an officer, get used to driving. Go for the career field, not the location, unless the location is just so far as to be untenable.
              3. Your OSM can give you better guidance. It's very rare to have an AGR lieutenant anyway, but Technician is a different animal.

              MI and AG need few lieutenants, but more captains and above. Do Engineer or Logistics for a few years, then switch to either of those branches later in your career.

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