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Family and being in the Army.


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My father was, and has always been very supportive. My mother was apprehensive. She just wanted to make sure it was what I really wanted to do. Now she is very supportive.

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My parents are both very supportive of it because they know it's been a dream of mine since I was a little kid. My wife was apprehensive at first and still has some nerves. I'm taking my wife and son away from 2 solid careers and all of our other family. She also understands that she wants to let me do what I need to do. AND doesn't want to hear me bitch about "what could've been" when I'm 50. The in-laws are probably the least supportive just because I'm taking their daughter and only grandson away from them for the foreseeable future.

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Does the same level of apprehension come from the reserves/guard as it does AD? I mean if your wife or family knew that you were part time instead of full time would they still feel the same nerves?

I imagine the apprehension would be pretty significantly reduced if I was doing NG or Reserves. It would mean the my family could stay here in Dallas with my wife's job, my son's daycare, and both of our families that live within 20 miles of us. With AD we're taking a jump into the unknown so to speak so with that comes a lot of risk but also the potential for a lot of rewards. The nerves are definitely there, not just on my wife but also on myself.

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Exact quote from my father "Why in the f**k would you do that. You're a f*cking moron". He was speaking in terms of leaving my career behind. Told him in a not so nice way to eat it.

 

Wife told me to go for it. Mom told me to go for it.

 

My dad and uncle are the stereotypical "i was going to join" people. Everytime it comes up now i just respond with "but you didnt..."

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Dad and gf have been very supportive, although my gf was pretty apprehensive about the whole thing. My mom was pretty ignorant about a lot of stuff though. Once upon a time I was applying for Marine PLC, but it didn't work out for me. So now that I want to apply for WOFT she sees it as a "downgrade" because I'll be a WO instead of a Lt., as if its her career move? I just have to put aside her opinion because I know what's best for me.

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My family has been mixed about it. My mom said go for it, but my dad (who is more liberal than my mom) has had some skepticism. My fiance on the other hand-- she kept pushing me to join the Air Force Reserve since she felt the Army side was more dangerous. Any truth to that?

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My family has been mixed about it. My mom said go for it, but my dad (who is more liberal than my mom) has had some skepticism. My fiance on the other hand-- she kept pushing me to join the Air Force Reserve since she felt the Army side was more dangerous. Any truth to that?

 

Statistically yes, but the Army is also the largest branch and a majority of those casualties are infantry.

 

Make no mistake though, choppers go down: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aviation_shootdowns_and_accidents_during_the_Iraq_War#Rotary-wing_aircraft

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I joined straight out of high school and got support from my entire family. Just typical mom being scared for her baby boy stuff. I showed her a video of our bird landing on an exfil in Afghanistan, no shooting or anything, just typical dust. She started crying, so no more videos or stories for her lol

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The only advice I can offer when you're on the fence about making a major life change; better words were never spoken than "Big risks, big rewards". Calculated risks, but taking a chance nonetheless.

 

Also take it from me because I see it frequently, there's nothing more tragic than a 40 or 50 year old man spending what should be his glory years, fervishly trying to compensate for a life not fully lived. Just do it, there's more reward in trying and coming up short than spending the rest of your life wondering "what if?".

 

Mike-

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The only advice I can offer when you're on the fence about making a major life change; better words were never spoken than "Big risks, big rewards".

 

Also take it from me because I see it frequently, there's nothing more tragic than a 40 or 50 year old man spending what should be his glory years, fervishly trying to compensate for a life not fully lived. Just do it, there's more reward in trying and coming up short than spending the rest of your life wondering "what if?".

 

Mike-

I feel like your posts on this forum should be consolidated and turned into a book of wisdom and advice.

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The only advice I can offer when you're on the fence about making a major life change; better words were never spoken than "Big risks, big rewards". Calculated risks, but taking a chance nonetheless.

 

Also take it from me because I see it frequently, there's nothing more tragic than a 40 or 50 year old man spending what should be his glory years, fervishly trying to compensate for a life not fully lived. Just do it, there's more reward in trying and coming up short than spending the rest of your life wondering "what if?".

 

Mike-

 

I see your point. There's fear, and then there's regret. And often the regret is far worse.

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You're gonna make a great recruiter :)

Don't put that bad juju on me. Trying to get picked up before that is a reality. My board results come out the week I leave for Rec school. So I'll prob be one salty bastard if I realize I'll be recruiting for real. I'm hoping to go there get the badge pcs to Rucker and woc it out. Lol my luck is that would happen then I'll go be a warrant officer recruiter instead of my first doody station.

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The only advice I can offer when you're on the fence about making a major life change; better words were never spoken than "Big risks, big rewards". Calculated risks, but taking a chance nonetheless.

 

Also take it from me because I see it frequently, there's nothing more tragic than a 40 or 50 year old man spending what should be his glory years, fervishly trying to compensate for a life not fully lived. Just do it, there's more reward in trying and coming up short than spending the rest of your life wondering "what if?".

 

Mike-

Very well said. I've been fighting this battle myself and is one of the reasons I have decided to switch over to what Lindsey once called "the real military".

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My family only knows about the military through Hollywood movies.

 

"Don't worry" I say, "that guy is a bomb diffuser, I wont be doing that"

"Don't worry" I say, "that guy is a SEAL sniper, I wont be doing that"

"Don't worry" I say, "that guy is a WW2 tank commander, I wont be doing that"

"Don't worry" I say, "that guy is a KIA Vietnam veteran reanimated into an elite robotic super soldier, I wont be doing that"

 

Lucky for me they haven't seen Black Hawk Down yet.

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My family and I have had screaming arguments about my desire to fly helicopters, and to fly helicopters for the Army, since I was about 14-15. I joined Civil Air Patrol and they allowed it because "maybe it will get it out of her system." Any real mission (I was ground search and rescue) I wasn't allowed to go to because it was "too dangerous." I wanted to go to West Point and based on my credentials at the time would have likely been accepted--but I was under 18 and my parents wouldn't allow it.

 

I wanted to take Helicopter lessons but would settle for airplanes. Not allowed. So while I dreamed about driving into the recruiter's office on my 18th birthday, I decided to obey their wishes and went to college instead. Halfway through, I'd had enough of academia and everytime a helicopter flew over I imagined myself in it. That calling had never gone away. So I left my school in Oregon, moved back home, and finished up my two remaining years of college in one year, while working 2-3 jobs and also assembling my WOFT packet. This was 2010. The arguments escalated. "It's too dangerous," "you'll die," "I don't think you understand the significance of it," all the way to "you might get raped and you're okay with that?" I was brewing with anger every moment I was home, and what made it more frustrating is it was ignorance yet love on their part. They weren't attempting to crush my dreams, but they never understood what it is to feel like you have a calling, and to feel it in every fiber of your being. I was 20, so I started taking one helicopter flight lesson a week, out of my own pocket, and there's nothing they could do about it. Eventually they thought it was cool and would ask me questions about it. As I flew more, they came around--to helicopters, not to the military.

 

As I assembled my WOFT packet over the disgusting amount of time it took me to do so, I was juggling 2 jobs, full time undergrad classes followed by 2-3 graduate classes later on, flying and working towards CFI checkride, and huge pressures and unhappiness at home. Every mealtime it would get brought up and my sanity and my expectations were brought into question.

 

I got selected, left for basic, and on that graduation day they were both beaming with pride, asking lots of questions, and very very happy for me. It was like a switch got flipped. "If you can't beat em, join em." Or something. Over the last couple years their support has only grown. My mom still doesn't want me to deploy (so imagine her happiness that I got Yakima), they have taken an active interest in my career, and we haven't had a fight about it since I left for Basic in Nov 2014.

 

All that just to say that if this is like your situation, I 100% understand. None of the above was exaggerated in the slightest. Hopefully your family will come around like mine has. It's impossible to tell, but honestly if their reasons are out of love, they will. They will come to accept it, you are still the same person they have always known, but now your career is out of their control and they will support it.

 

Stay the course. Do not let anyone else dictate your life. What Mike said about regret is dead on. At every argument I would tell them "if I don't do this, I will spend the rest of my life wondering 'what if?' and I cannot live with that."

 

It's really just that simple.

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My wife met me when I was enlisted and has always fully accepted me as a soldier. She married me knowing that she was along for the ride. My parents were all for my enlisting when I did. It was nice to have their support, but having given due diligence in educating myself on the realities of enlisting in the Infantry, I wouldn't have cared if they disapproved. I had quite a few friends who commented negatively on my joining. At worst, some of them now work boring soulless jobs for not much more than minimum wage, and at best some of them work boring soulless jobs for 6 figures.

 

But at the end of the day, I have countless stories for the grandkids, I know myself and my capabilities more than any of my old civilian friends ever could, I've made friends from all over the world and have done things I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that I would do. I've seen the sacred idealism that lies in the hearts of young soldiers who choose to go into battle, and though I've lost friends in this profession, I get to honor their memory by supporting our brothers and sisters on the ground for the next decade or two.. I have more meaning in my life than most people ever get to experience in a lifetime. I have a future so rad I can hardly envision it, and on my worst day I still feel like I hit the lottery.

 

Last week I had one of those mondays where nothing seemed to go right. And then I suddenly realized that not only did I fly an attack helicopter that morning (though not particularly well;) I also was able to spend an hour of my day playing with my kids who have nice things and a nice home because of the Army. Not a bad life at all. I haven't felt like I was actually going to work since graduating WOCS, even (I can't believe I'm saying this) when I'm stuck over at B Co.

 

Joining the Army was the best decision I ever made. It may not be for you. Ask questions, do research, be realistic, and never ever let anyone except for maybe your wife have any influence on your choice. There are definitely a lot of downsides to this profession, but in my experience they pale compared to what you stand to gain.

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If my wife made me pick between flying or her I'd be showing up to Rucker with a duffle bag and no household goods. Deuces babe! Lmao kidding I met her before I deployed to Afghanistan back in 2013. We dated for about 4 months before I deployed for 9. Then we dated for like 1 year after I got back before I proposed. She has always been the glue that keeps me driving on and striving for more. There are times however that she does not support something I am doing (NTC, ALC, JROTC, range week, 0400 division runs, etc). I just remind her that I always strive to do what's best to give the best possible life I can and with that comes some shitty things that I have to do in order to keep my career.

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If my wife made me pick between flying or her I'd be showing up to Rucker with a duffle bag and no household goods. Deuces babe! Lmao kidding I met her before I deployed to Afghanistan back in 2013. We dated for about 4 months before I deployed for 9. Then we dated for like 1 year after I got back before I proposed. She has always been the glue that keeps me driving on and striving for more. There are times however that she does not support something I am doing (NTC, ALC, JROTC, range week, 0400 division runs, etc). I just remind her that I always strive to do what's best to give the best possible life I can and with that comes some shitty things that I have to do in order to keep my career.

Yo, at least you're missing Victory Week this year...

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The Army is great and has benefitted my wife and I greatly, but at the cost of separating us from our extended family. It's not easy to have to rely on phone calls when someone is in the hospital or to be on the other side of the country when there is a death in the family. Or to see great memories being made with your face absent in all the pictures. You're looking at almost a decade of commitment to the Army and if you're close to your family like I am, it takes its toll. I'm ready to hang my hat up and work my way home so that I can be with the ones I love and savor the short time on earth we are given with each other.

 

The Army is great but it's definitely a sacrifice.

Edited by SBuzzkill
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