(Closed) Going into the Army for Graphic Design?

posted 7 years ago in Career
Post # 4
Member
2496 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

He probably will have to go to boot camp, then to additional training (A School) for his specific job (graphic design sounds really cool, actually).  Most likely, following all of that, he will get assigned to a base and you will be able to move with him there.  It’s possible this position is non-deployable, but you will want to check on that.

The perks are that you will have a guaranteed job and income.  In addition to base pay, you will receive a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH in military terms), and it is determined by the area you are stationed in.  For us, it will be about an additional $1200 a month.  Your Darling Husband will also get the option of taking the Loan Repayment Program (for current loans), or the Post 911 GI Bill (for future education, including yours and your children’s).  Darling Husband could only choose 1.

The downsides are that yes, you will be apart…. πŸ™  You cannot visit or call during basic. It’s letters only, but it’s only for 9 weeks, which in reality, is not long at all. Once basic is over, however, you will be able to talk and visit during A School, at least at some point.  If his A School is longer than 6 months, you can move to be with him, otherwise you’ll have to be content with just visits.

My Darling Husband is leaving in July for Navy basic training and we’ll be apart for 10 months total for his training.  It sucks, but we’ll be able to pay off all of my loans in that time with my income, then we’ll be able to have better opportunities because his loans will be basically paid for.

My advice is to talk to several recruiters and think about the pros and cons.  It’s a tough choice, and you honestly have to BOTH want this for it to work.  I am really excited, but I still have my moments where I am sad that we’ll be missing so much time together.  But, we’re both excited for how Darling Husband can serve our country and I am SO insanely proud of him for wanting to do this!!

Plus, I hear homecoming sex makes it all totally worth it… hehehe. πŸ˜‰

Post # 6
Member
2496 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

I should also add that you should check out each of the branches for their opportunities and perks.  For example, the Marines would not give Darling Husband any rank because of his college credits and would have started at an E1 (bottom rank).  The Navy, gave him 2 extra ranks (extra pay, extra respect, etc) because he had completed lots of college credits, so he will start at an E3. 

Also, some branches are giving enlistement bonuses now, and some are not.  Some jobs get enlistment bonuses and some don’t.  That’s why I recommend talking with LOTS of people, several recruiters and do LOTS of research online about what you are considering.  We talked and thought about it for 8 months before making a decision.  Between that and his training time, you might have enough time to sell your house too.

Just more info.  I don’t know much yet about life in the military, but I know a lot about the signup process!! πŸ™‚

Post # 7
Member
2496 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

@canthugallcats: You won’t have to give up your pets!! πŸ™‚  You can choose to live on base, or you can get off base housing and just find a place that allows them.

Most A Schools are less than 6 months long, but that’s something to ask.  If he goes to the office, definitely go with him with a list of questions!  DH’s recruiters are awesome and I go with him all the time to their meetings.  He’s in a program that allows him to wait to ship until after his semester is over, so they meet once a week to talk and prepare for basic training.  But, yes, go with him and he won’t have to sign on the spot! πŸ™‚  They might be pushy, but just say no haha!

Post # 9
Member
2496 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

Here’s more info.  Sorry I sound like a crazy lady for posting so much, but I know HOW frustrating it can be to do research on military stuff and it’s really hard to know what questions to ask.  We were there this past summer, so I love helping people figure out whether or not to join…

It looks like he’ll do 9 weeks of basic (he’ll be at whatever location they decide), plus 13 weeks of training in Maryland, so 24 weeks total.  Figure about 6 months of separation, since the Army won’t move you during his A School since it’s short, and there will probably won’t be much time between basic and A School.  Usually they go from one to the other immediately.  It’s long, but it’s not as long as it could be!  Basic will be the hardest part; towards the end of A school he will start getting more privileges including phone time and computer access, at least that’s how it is for Darling Husband.

This site is very reliable for up to date info, and has been invaluable to us.  Here’s the specific page for that job you are considering.

http://usmilitary.about.com/cs/army/p/25m.htm

Post # 11
Member
2496 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

@canthugallcats: You know, I thought about DH’s life being threatened a lot when we were first starting to consider this.  He’s going to be on subs, so if something happens… it’s pretty bad.  But, I started thinking, that with his job in particular, he won’t see combat.  Neither will yours!  Yay! 

Also, he’s with the smartest guys who also hold the guns… statistically he’s safer.  Plus, I can’t control when he dies whether he’s in the military or not.  He could just as easily get killed driving home from a regular job, die doing sports (he loves rock climbing), or just die of natural causes.  The military is a safe place for him, even though mentally, it doesn’t seem like it is. πŸ™‚

And he’ll probably have 1 recruiter, but if you can’t ask someone else in the office and there isn’t another one nearby, call another recruiting station, or double check your facts online.  There will be a lot they won’t tell you, and some things that they won’t know.  Don’t be afraid to question what they say or get a second opinion from online or someone else that’s already in doing the same job.  You can ask a recruiter to put you in touch with someone else doing the same job and you can sometimes ask them questions.

One thing Darling Husband did was to get the manual for the Navy and read it now.  It’s what you get in basic, but he’s already learned a lot so that when he gets there, he’s very prepared.  It was very helpful to him, so that’s another option.  You can find the Army manual on Amazon.  Darling Husband considered the Army for awhile, and got a book specifically about boot camp, and I read it too… it was very eye opening! πŸ™‚

Post # 12
Member
2496 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

@canthugallcats: Sure!  Like I said, I know it’s so tough to find info… we’ve just figured out what DH’s training would be like from doing our own research on Navy family message boards… very frustrating for both of us.

I will get to see Darling Husband after basic for a weekend, before he goes to his A school.  Then, they have Thanksgiving Standdown, so I can go up there for that weekend.  Then, the bases close over Christmas, and if they’re in A School, they get a week off (YAY!!!), so we got lucky there and he’ll come home for a week.  Then, he goes back up till the mid/end of May and he’ll start to get weekend passes probably in March-ish, we think.  He will be at A School about 4 hours from our house, so it’s not bad to drive there for a weekend or two a month.  He is training to be an electronics tech on submarines, so their deployments are shorter, but there’ very limited communication, so his deployments will be a lot like a 3-9 month bootcamp all over again… hopefully we won’t deal with a deployment for a year or so.

So, in all honesty, it’s not going to be 10 months of total separation, but we won’t live together.  It’s not terrible and after that we’ll move together to whereever they send us… we’re hoping for Italy πŸ™‚

Post # 14
Member
2496 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

Well, DH’s recruiter is new and kinda young (he’s hilarious too… totally not a typical military guy) so he just didn’t know a lot yet about typical questions that are asked.

We found out that since Darling Husband is taking the LRP, his loans are paid for, but we are taxed on any payments that are made by the Navy.  We also have to pay the interest that’s accrued.  It’s still an awesome deal and we’re so thankful for it, but it’s nice to know that ahead of time so we aren’t shocked! 

You can leave earlier than your contract states, but they cannot make you leave more than a week or so early.  DH’s ship date is July 5th, and they called him in Feb. asking if he wanted to leave early.  He said no, and that was it!  They can’t make him leave more than 2 weeks before I think it is… it’s not long.  They can also push your date back a week or so if needed.

They also didn’t tell us anything about his training past basic — they just didn’t know and couldn’t find the info, so we had to go find that ourselves.  Recruiters are salesmen… they will really try to make a sales pitch and sell you on something, so it’s wise to double check everything.

If they tell you that he’ll get an enlistement bonus or the LRP or GI Bill, make SURE (and double check!) that it’s in his contract.  If it’s not… he probably won’t get it.  It’s sad, but true.  Sometimes recruiters will fudge the facts to get you to sign, then you sign and it’s too late.  You can, however, get out of your contract before you leave for basic.  I am not sure how, but I know Darling Husband could still get out of his contract if he wanted to.  Once you step on that bus, though, you’re committed! πŸ™‚

Post # 16
Member
2496 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

There’s also the chance that he won’t get offered the specific job he wants.  He has to go take the ASVAB test to determine his eligibility for jobs at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS).  It’s basically a glorified SAT that also focuses on technically skills and knowledge.  Darling Husband had a book he studied from for it and he did really well (and he’s not a good test taker!) If the Army still needs a graphic designer and offers it to him, he can get that job.  There’s a chance he won’t get it offered to him, though.

Darling Husband wanted to be in intelligence and there were no jobs for that available, so he took a sub job (which is really good apparently).  Your Darling Husband could go without an MOS (job) and go back to MEPS to keep checking on getting the exact job he wants, but it’s risky.  If it didn’t happen, he would run the risk of not getting any job and be put wherever the Army wants him.  So, it’s wise to have 3-4 job possibilities lined up that he’s interested in.  We didn’t know that ahead of time either.

I have to go make dinner, but feel free to PM me if you have any more questions!!  Like I said, I’m more than happy to help you in any way I can! πŸ™‚

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