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A Few Questions on Officer Life (and Then Some)

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  • A Few Questions on Officer Life (and Then Some)

    Hello and all of my respect to everyone on this board; it has helped answer many, many questions from the start of my consideration of joining the military. That start was about a year and a half ago when I was a junior in high school. I am now an MSI in ROTC on a full (campus-based) scholarship. I am studying Computer Science as a major and am doing very well in my first year GPA-wise. I have loved ROTC so far and it has definitely molded me into a completely new person in a great way. My plan (I know it's early, but I'm future-oriented, well, as much as you can be in the military ) is to commission into the Guard. And, as I have seen in a very "brilliant and informative post" by LTC Ritchie, this entails serving in the Guard for the full 8 years of my MSO. I just now joined the forums because I have a few questions that I'd like to open up on here. I realize some of them have been asked before, but most of the responses either 1) didn't apply to my situation, 2)were from years ago (I know it's unlikely that much has changed, but I wanted to get a more modern view), or 3) didn't answer my question completely or veered in another direction. Thank you all ahead of time for any insight.

    Okay, here we go:

    1. Is it more difficult to branch into the reserves from ROTC? I have heard many different answers to this one.
    2. If my "dream" scenario becomes a reality (branching into the Guard, maybe Intel or Signal), will I have the same job over those 8 years? Can I do any recruiting as an Officer?
    3. I realize it varies from unit to unit and job to job, but some forums on here seemed to imply that the Guard is not as "part-time" as it's made out to be, at least not as an officer. How does the Guard fit into your family and civilian life as an officer? (I should mention that having a family is a significant part of my plan for the future).

    And a few bonus questions out of curiosity, in case you'd like to share your insight:

    1. If anyone is in Computer Science or a related degree, did you have trouble landing a civilian job while in the Guard?
    2. What kind of changes, if any, do you think the Guard will see as the US Military cutbacks and Middle East drawdowns begin?

  • #2
    Re: A Few Questions on Officer Life (and Then Some)

    1. Not really sure

    2. I assume you are asking if you will stay in the same field..? You won't have the same job for 8 years, no matter what your branch is. Your job will vary depending on your duty positions / rank. For example, as an EN, you'd expect to be a PL, then XO, then either Staff or Command, but eventually back to Staff. In 8 years you'll be a CPT, close to being ready for promotion to Major.

    3. As a company commander I probably spend 8-10 hours per week managing company business - responding to emails, talking to the staff, catching up with PLs, interfacing with BN etc., and that's probably not enough time. I live 3 hours from the Armory, so I spend a significant amount of time and money getting to drill compared to a lot of other people. This calendar year I have or will have had 3 MUTA 6's (3 day drills meaning I miss work on Friday), a MUTA 5 (report Friday Night) which required me to take time off of work, a week long Overseas Coordination Conference, a 2 week AT in the summer, and a month long ODT mission (TY-13 AT) in Germany. And oh by the way, I haven't started Captain's Career Course yet. Part-time? My ***. It's become a large commitment on top of a full time (45+ hours/week) job. I would not have it any other **** way though. As a commander you're job is to train soldiers and you can't do that without putting in the time to come up with good training plans.

    Of course you could get by with a lot less effort and a lot less time invested between drills if mediocrity is your thing.

    Bonus Questions:
    1. So you write code? If you're half decent at it, you shouldn't have a problem finding a job, unless you live in an area that doesn't have much of a tech industry.

    2. Deployment rotations are starting to slow down for now, at least until another big conflict comes up. Money is tight in my state so we are starting to feel a lot of constraints like losing the ability to do things like send soldiers to NCO schools AND have them at AT - it is an either/or situation now. RMA funds (which we use for training meetings, bringing soldiers in to do stuff during the week, etc) has been cut.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: A Few Questions on Officer Life (and Then Some)

      Originally posted by jdark135 View Post
      Hello and all of my respect to everyone on this board; it has helped answer many, many questions from the start of my consideration of joining the military. That start was about a year and a half ago when I was a junior in high school. I am now an MSI in ROTC on a full (campus-based) scholarship. I am studying Computer Science as a major and am doing very well in my first year GPA-wise. I have loved ROTC so far and it has definitely molded me into a completely new person in a great way. My plan (I know it's early, but I'm future-oriented, well, as much as you can be in the military ) is to commission into the Guard. And, as I have seen in a very "brilliant and informative post" by LTC Ritchie, this entails serving in the Guard for the full 8 years of my MSO. I just now joined the forums because I have a few questions that I'd like to open up on here. I realize some of them have been asked before, but most of the responses either 1) didn't apply to my situation, 2)were from years ago (I know it's unlikely that much has changed, but I wanted to get a more modern view), or 3) didn't answer my question completely or veered in another direction. Thank you all ahead of time for any insight.

      Okay, here we go:

      1. Is it more difficult to branch into the reserves from ROTC? I have heard many different answers to this one.
      2. If my "dream" scenario becomes a reality (branching into the Guard, maybe Intel or Signal), will I have the same job over those 8 years? Can I do any recruiting as an Officer?
      3. I realize it varies from unit to unit and job to job, but some forums on here seemed to imply that the Guard is not as "part-time" as it's made out to be, at least not as an officer. How does the Guard fit into your family and civilian life as an officer? (I should mention that having a family is a significant part of my plan for the future).

      And a few bonus questions out of curiosity, in case you'd like to share your insight:

      1. If anyone is in Computer Science or a related degree, did you have trouble landing a civilian job while in the Guard?
      2. What kind of changes, if any, do you think the Guard will see as the US Military cutbacks and Middle East drawdowns begin?
      1. Not really sure

      2. I assume you are asking if you will stay in the same field..? You won't have the same job for 8 years, no matter what your branch is. Your job will vary depending on your duty positions / rank. For example, as an EN, you'd expect to be a PL, then XO, then either Staff or Command, but eventually back to Staff. In 8 years you'll be a CPT, close to being ready for promotion to Major.

      3. As a company commander I probably spend 8-10 hours per week managing company business - responding to emails, talking to the staff, catching up with PLs, interfacing with BN etc., and that's probably not enough time. I live 3 hours from the Armory, so I spend a significant amount of time and money getting to drill compared to a lot of other people. This calendar year I have or will have had 3 MUTA 6's (3 day drills meaning I miss work on Friday), a MUTA 5 (report Friday Night) which required me to take time off of work, a week long Overseas Coordination Conference, a 2 week AT in the summer, and a month long ODT mission (TY-13 AT) in Germany. And oh by the way, I haven't started Captain's Career Course yet. Part-time? My ***. It's become a large commitment on top of a full time (45+ hours/week) job. I would not have it any other **** way though. As a commander you're job is to train soldiers and you can't do that without putting in the time to come up with good training plans.

      Of course you could get by with a lot less effort and a lot less time invested between drills if mediocrity is your thing.

      Bonus Questions:
      1. So you write code? If you're half decent at it, you shouldn't have a problem finding a job, unless you live in an area that doesn't have much of a tech industry.

      2. Deployment rotations are starting to slow down for now, at least until another big conflict comes up. Money is tight in my state so we are starting to feel a lot of constraints like losing the ability to do things like send soldiers to NCO schools AND have them at AT - it is an either/or situation now. RMA funds (which we use for training meetings, bringing soldiers in to do stuff during the week, etc) has been cut.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: A Few Questions on Officer Life (and Then Some)

        Originally posted by jdark135 View Post
        Hello and all of my respect to everyone on this board; it has helped answer many, many questions from the start of my consideration of joining the military. That start was about a year and a half ago when I was a junior in high school. I am now an MSI in ROTC on a full (campus-based) scholarship. I am studying Computer Science as a major and am doing very well in my first year GPA-wise. I have loved ROTC so far and it has definitely molded me into a completely new person in a great way. My plan (I know it's early, but I'm future-oriented, well, as much as you can be in the military ) is to commission into the Guard. And, as I have seen in a very "brilliant and informative post" by LTC Ritchie, this entails serving in the Guard for the full 8 years of my MSO. I just now joined the forums because I have a few questions that I'd like to open up on here. I realize some of them have been asked before, but most of the responses either 1) didn't apply to my situation, 2)were from years ago (I know it's unlikely that much has changed, but I wanted to get a more modern view), or 3) didn't answer my question completely or veered in another direction. Thank you all ahead of time for any insight.

        Okay, here we go:

        1. Is it more difficult to branch into the reserves from ROTC? I have heard many different answers to this one.
        I'm not sure but you will have to do some legwork on your own. If you have not accepted an ROTC scholarship, you should consider SMP. It's a great way to see things from within and gain valuable experience. You could potentially retire that much earlier as well.
        2. If my "dream" scenario becomes a reality (branching into the Guard, maybe Intel or Signal), will I have the same job over those 8 years? Can I do any recruiting as an Officer?
        No one can say for sure. It depends upon the force structure and funding for your state. There are many variables.
        3. I realize it varies from unit to unit and job to job, but some forums on here seemed to imply that the Guard is not as "part-time" as it's made out to be, at least not as an officer. How does the Guard fit into your family and civilian life as an officer? (I should mention that having a family is a significant part of my plan for the future).
        It should be part-time work (in terms of hours). It may be a full-time commitment.

        And a few bonus questions out of curiosity, in case you'd like to share your insight:

        1. If anyone is in Computer Science or a related degree, did you have trouble landing a civilian job while in the Guard?
        I'm near finished with my major - BS Computer Science. From what I can tell, there are some mediocre computer science majors that still landed jobs in their field of study. The same cannot be said for most other undergrad majors.
        2. What kind of changes, if any, do you think the Guard will see as the US Military cutbacks and Middle East drawdowns begin?
        Decreased funding. Excessive CPTs and MAJs resulting in many not being able to be promoted. The Army as a whole will become more selective and very quick in my estimation.
        If I were you, I would branch IN. If you are a talented CS major, you won't need your .mil background to help you finding meaningful employment. MI may be helpful because of the clearance.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: A Few Questions on Officer Life (and Then Some)

          Thank you for the prompt response, sir. And I would love to branch MI, but I also know slots are limited, especially in the Guard. But I'm crossing my fingers and will hope for the best and expect the worst.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: A Few Questions on Officer Life (and Then Some)

            Again, thank you for the advice, sir. Lots of good experience there. I guess my biggest worry is not being able to give enough time to either my civilian or military career or family life for all 8 years, but I realize that that balance is part of the job. It's my hope that there are enough computer jobs on the market that someone will hire a Guardsman.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: A Few Questions on Officer Life (and Then Some)

              Bonus question #1: If you write code and it is not something like COBOL, FORTRAN, ADA, etc..you should be able to get a job. If you write C# code and know SQL and Oracle databases, you will be set. Get Microsoft certified as an MCSD, MCAD and that should set you up.

              I did full time software development and flew UH-60A/L and HH-60Ms part time. Then I got an opportunity to become a technician and do it full time. The pay is about 75% of what I made as a software developer, but flying is a lot more fun.

              Comment

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