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Old 08-23-2021, 11:45 PM   #1
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Why did you choose your military branch?

I enjoy reading about your service branch choices and often wonder what led you there?

All through high school I listened to the older men that worked for my father - they all lamented that they (WW2 vets) didn't stay in the service - with the reasoning that they'd now be retired. That made a big impression on me.

After graduation - with limited job opportunities/ and no desire to go to college - I started my military search.

I started by visiting the Marine recruiter - he turned me off by immediately trying to command me about/ yelling to stand up straight. From there I visited the Air Force, they wanted the longest time commitment (6 yrs) to place me wherever they wanted. The Navy guy tried to push me into Subs (4/5? years). As my father served (briefly) in the Navy he inclined that way - but I didn't believe I wanted to be at sea (either on the surface of down below) without female companionship.

My last choice was Army; they offered me many different schools (my preference was electronics) AND only asked for a 3 year commitment.

Incidentally, my draft number was one of my draft years very last.

As for second thoughts: over the years I have debated if I should have gone Navy - over the years I discovered their electronic techs were very good and I believe their post retirement camaraderie is greater; my father in law attended many ship reunions over the years.

EDITED IN: it was only many years later that I learned of the Coast Guard - and now the Space Guard. Both commendable options!

Go Army!
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Old 08-24-2021, 12:09 AM   #2
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USAF made me the best offer.

After 7 years in the USAF, I spent the rest of my career life in electronics and computer network engineering. Retired in 2016.
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Old 08-24-2021, 12:14 AM   #3
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Last year of High School we (2 buddies and I) started talking about what we were going to do after graduation

Hank was working with his DAD in construction
Mark was working at a Service Station
I was working at a Hotel

Oilfield/refinery were the only decent paying jobs

Nothing else really worth while in our small town

Draft was coming up....
None of us wanted to go in the Army, Marines and figured Air Force was a no go
Off to the NAVY Recruiter
3 days of taking various tests all three of us qualified for the NAVY Nuclear Program
6 yr hitch....2 yr Nuke school and 4 yrs active
**we weren't good students/bored ---more interested in other activities BUT we weren't dummies

6 yrs NAVY or stick around WY town working oilfield/refinery
Mark and I had done that already--summer job

Besides NAVY meant out of WY and Oceans/Sea Adventures (we were kids....LOL)

Night before we were to leave we partied
Ended up with Hank breaking his leg so he was delayed
Mark and I off we went
San Diego Naval Station Boot Camp
Great Lakes Naval Station for 'A' School
Nuclear Power Training Unit, ID for 1st round of Nuke School

Hank followed in our trail 2 months later ---never saw him again
I ended up on a Guided Missile Destroyer waiting on school billet
Mark ended up on Cruiser waiting on school billet
*we both requested to remain on board

Mark & I did our 6 yr stint and got out---military career was not for us
Hank......did full 20 yrs

Heck of an experience, learned a trade/craft that ended up being a civilian career for me in California
Mark went back home after married and worked oilfield

Do it again....heck YES!
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Old 08-24-2021, 05:16 AM   #4
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My best friend in college was an active duty Marine officer whom the Marines had sent back to school to finish his degree. I tended to hang out with the VN vets anyway, and I loved the stories they told, especially the ones involving the fairer sex in exotic locations. At any rate, I decided I wanted to give it a go during my sophomore year and went to USMC OCS. Two years later I was commissioned and retired 27 years later.
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Old 08-24-2021, 06:29 AM   #5
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I wanted to fly from age 7. Couldn't afford to get a private license. Couldn't afford to go to college. Figured military was my best bet for free college and flying. Applied to Air Force and Naval Academies and numerous ROTC schools. Got into both Academies and lots of ROTC scholarships. Decided on the Naval Academy because it was closer to home (OH) and I had a girlfriend. Girlfriend didn't last 3 months, but I had a great 20 year career flying fighters off of carriers.

I also enlisted in the Navy (delayed entry to nuke program) the winter before I graduated high school. Backup plan in case I didn't get any scholarships.
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Old 08-24-2021, 06:43 AM   #6
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After high school, I spent every other quarter at a small technical school, since I couldn't afford to go full time. This quashed my educational deferment (1968) and I was notified to report for my pre-induction physical. Even an 18 year old knew this meant being drafted soon. So shortly after a visit to the USAF recruiting office I received an offer to be in the Air Force on short notice. I actually received my draft notice while in Basic Training.
I took advantage of some of the Air Force's educational opportunities and ended up with a four year degree and a commission. I retired after 20 years, 1 month and 12 days of active duty. I then went on to another 20 year career with a major airline.
My story may or may not be the best course to chart for any young person today, but it was the best thing that could have happened to me, and I have never regretted it.
Seeing this country from ground level.

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Old 08-24-2021, 06:55 AM   #7
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Army here. We were really poor growing up. I knew we couldn't afford college, and with a twin brother, and one car for the whole family, work wasn't a real good option either. So I went on delayed entry my junior year, and left after graduation at 17. Turned 18 during basic, a few weeks later shipped off to Europe. Ended up at Baumholder, Germany. I actually got to go into east Berlin before the wall came down.
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Old 08-24-2021, 07:16 AM   #8
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With a draft number 0f 3 I did not have much choice. I was sick of College and knew that I would be drafted into the Army. College was a joke as long as you showed up for class you passed. Wasn't learning a thing. I showed up for one class twice in the entire semester and ended up passing with a "D" grade. I was in ROTC and knew the Army was not for me. To many friends came home from Nam all messed up so Army/Marines was a No Go for me. Tried every branch for joining the Reserves but none had openings. My Dad was AF so I Talked to Air Force recruiter and he didn't have any openings either. My AF recruiter hooked me up with a Recruiter in Kentucky. My recruiter drove me to Pikeville, KY. I got on a bus for 14 hour ride to Louisville to enlist in the AF. Crazy trip since I lived 3 hours from Louisville when going by Car. Ended up a Nam vet with service in the Laos/Cambodia secret war. Stayed 22 years, met my Lovely Life partner wife, had kids and love the retirement check. Got 90% disability and loving the retired life RVing all over the country. Would do it again.
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Old 08-24-2021, 08:04 AM   #9
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Ever since I was knee-high-to-a-grasshopper, I've wanted to fly. Started taking flying lessons at the small local airport while in high school. Couldn't afford to keep it up making minimum wage on my summer job. Got accepted into college and found out they had an aviation program. Since I was borrowing money for school, I just borrowed extra for the flight program. First two years were a technical school so ended up with an A&P mechanics license and commercial license with instrument rating. Spent 3 more years obtaining a BS in education. Applied for Air Force OCS my senior year and was turned down. Viet Nam had just ended, AF was rifting people, and if you didn't have a 4.0 out of college (definitely not me) you were out of luck. Recruiter advised to wait a year, things might open up. I waited and got turned down again. While I was waiting a year, I talked to the Navy and filled out the AOCS application but never submitted it until the AF turned me down the second time. The Navy accepted me and I spent a career flying single seat, single engine jets and never left the cockpit the whole time. I was so glad the AF turned me down. Originally I was going to serve my initial obligation and get out and go with the airlines. I had so much fun flying, especially when I got into the adversary role, I stuck around and served a career in the Navy. Got passed over a few times for not following the standard career path, but I lived my dream, never did a disassociated tour, never had a desk job, flew the entire time, retired, then did twenty years in the airlines as a glorified bus driver. Why work for a living when you can fly airplanes.
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Old 08-24-2021, 08:14 AM   #10
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I got a draft notice in the mail and that was the shortest commitment. The army is a good place to visit but I would want to live their.
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Old 08-24-2021, 08:22 AM   #11
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I found out early I suck at work, so I had to become an Officer and I wanted to fly. Flying in the Navy is like sailing in the Air Force, a big case of 'what were you thinking'. 24 years later, no regrets.

My dad was a 31-year Marine. He lamented he always wanted me to join the military, but I joined the Air Force instead.
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Old 08-24-2021, 08:38 AM   #12
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1972 draft number 30. Talked to some returning vets. Navy slept in narrow bunks four high. Army had tents. Marines had shelter halves. Air Force had real beds in buildings. I went Air Force. Found my profession, had the means to marry my HS sweetheart and GI Bill paid for most of school when I got out. Rejoined the Air Guard after 9/11. Got kicked out in 2015 for being too old. Military career from 1972 to 2015 with a short 28 year brake in service. Only regret is I didn't join the guards early enough to earn a retirement. Still have same HS sweetheart wife.
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Old 08-24-2021, 02:59 PM   #13
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I was trying to finish two courses to complete a college degree and working night at a Gas station. Then I got a notice that since I was not a full time student, I lost my draft deferment and I had to go to the Army Base and take a phyisical and take some tests. Was not impressed with them. Vietnam was in progress at the time and I didn't want to go there.. Then in a few weeks My mother called and said I had mail from the Army. I told her to write that I no longer lived at that sddress and give it back to the mailman. Then went to the Navy and Airforce recruiters and voluntered for both. Airforce was first so I took it and ended up 22 years active duty and 20 years as a civilian. Course I ended up in Nam for a year anyway.
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Old 08-24-2021, 03:05 PM   #14
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Decided I didn't want to work in my chosen profession, pay sucked. Turned to military. I never even thought about any other branch of service AF all the way. Besides, the AF is the only branch that sends the officers to fight, while usually, the enlisted stay on base.
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