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Old 05-25-2013, 05:50 PM   #21
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I'd encourage him to go for it. I'm a Navy man myself but have the highest regard for Marines. Once a Marine, always a Marine. And believe it or not, the Marines are one of the highest tech service right now. As a civilian DOD analyst I had the pleasure of spending a year with a group of Marines who were doing cutting edge work on Recon. All were trained working with UNIX and Apple programs. Many were hired at very handsome salaries after 4 years in the Corps due to their training.

I dropped out of Law School at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to join the Navy and fly jets. BEST DECISION of my Life!!!!!!!!

The Marines will test every inch of him. Let him do it.
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Old 05-25-2013, 07:05 PM   #22
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I grew up in a military family and went into the Air Force myself. I can honestly say that it was one of the best things that I ever did when I was younger. It made me grow up and learn to be independent. I learned a good trade which helped me later in life and got to see some places I always wanted to see.

That being said, if I had to do it all over again...I would have gone ROTC and served as an officer. But, as a young man full of testerone and piss, and without much guidance from home, I signed up and was off to make my way in the world.

If anything...try to get your son to go into a field that has a civilian side to it. Delayed entry like what the others said. Because the service will change him and if does get out, he can continue on with life.

Remember...there's always a flip side to the coin...
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Old 05-26-2013, 03:06 AM   #23
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Why not encourage him to attend one of the military academies. He'd get his military experience and a college education. Plus, when he graduates he'll be a second lieutenant or ensign (depending on the Academy he chooses). I was in a similar situation and went to West Point ... the best decision I've ever made.
My perception is that in order to be successful at any of the service academies you need to be pretty damn sure you want A. go to college and B. join the particular armed services. If the motivation isn't there for both you'll either wash out during Plebe summer, or academically during the school year.
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:36 AM   #24
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I had this conversation with my youngest daughter 18 months ago. Tired of school wanting a change, considering Marines (They have my unqualified respect). Four points I made with her (for your consideration):
1. It is your decision and your life. This is a decision that will change your life, so be very sure. Once you commit - get it done. (Do not try to make the decision for them. A neighbor did that, refusing to let her son join the Army and he has since failed to launch always with this excuse.)
2. I can understand the attraction to Marines. Great service, esprit de corps, pride in overcoming a challenge. But also recognize their job focuses on being ready to kill.
3. I love you and Marines would entail a lot of risk, both from duty in war zones and the after affects. You are very important to me and I would worry.
4. Talk to others to clarify your thinking. Service is a wonderful direction, but the Marines are at the extreme, with the most sacrifice and danger. I will be very proud of your service regardless.

In the end she joined the Coast Guard 2/12, reporting to her first cutter at 17. She is happy and has grown into an amazing young woman in such a short time. The Marines probably would have worked also but she has no regrets.
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Old 05-26-2013, 10:00 AM   #25
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My perception is that in order to be successful at any of the service academies you need to be pretty damn sure you want A. go to college and B. join the particular armed services. If the motivation isn't there for both you'll either wash out during Plebe summer, or academically during the school year.
Very perceptive, Clif, and 100% true. It's hard enough even when you really want to be there.

And, for the OP, if this sounds like something your son might be interested in, I'd suggest the Naval Academy. From there you can become either a Navy or Marine Corps officer, and his preference may change in 4 years.
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Old 05-26-2013, 02:00 PM   #26
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Very perceptive, Clif, and 100% true. It's hard enough even when you really want to be there.

And, for the OP, if this sounds like something your son might be interested in, I'd suggest the Naval Academy. From there you can become either a Navy or Marine Corps officer, and his preference may change in 4 years.

The service academies aren't really an option. He just doesn't want to go to college right now. I can't make him want to go to college. There are no obstacles to him going to college. I work at the local university in town. He would get half-price tuition and we have more than enough $ saved for his education. We've let him know he can go to another school if he wants to leave town. He's smart, physically fit (5' 10", 185 lbs, 10% body fat), doesn't party, drink, or smoke. He's just ready to become a Marine. He works out with the delayed entry Marines on Saturdays. Bottom line, he is motivated to be a Marine. He is not motivated to go to college right now. He says he would like to do that later.

Thanks for all the input guys. I bought him the following books: Making the Corps and Into The Crucible. If he still wants to be a Marine after working out with them all summer and reading those books, I'll sign the papers. He'll graduate high school early (December). He'll be 18 in January and he may be at Parris Island for his birthday. If it's what he wants to do, I'll respect his decision and support him.
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Old 05-26-2013, 02:09 PM   #27
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Thanks for all the input guys. I bought him the following books: Making the Corps and Into The Crucible. If he still wants to be a Marine after working out with them all summer and reading those books, I'll sign the papers. He'll graduate high school early (December). He'll be 18 in January and he may be at Parris Island for his birthday. If it's what he wants to do, I'll respect his decision and support him.
For what it's worth, I think you're doing the right thing. Sometimes, it is just something young people need to get out of their system. My brother-in-law joined the USMC at 18, served his 4 years and then came home and went to college. More recently, my secretary's son did the same thing. For both of them, the Marines were a crucial experience in their lives, and it made them more seriously interested in college when they did finally go.
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Old 05-26-2013, 02:29 PM   #28
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I was in the same situation as your son in 1995--parents could have wrote a check to any college in the country. There were a million reasons for me to not enlist but two for it: an opportunity for adventure and a chance to make make my own way. I left home a week after graduating high school and finished my enlistment three years later with my college fully funded from the GI Bill. It was a great source of pride to financially earn a college degree from my own sweat and blood. I have a great gov't job thanks to my degree and veterans status and will FIRE in 14 years.
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Old 05-26-2013, 02:48 PM   #29
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I've been in the USAF since 1994 as an officer, so my experience is not USMC, but we share some of the same pitfalls. If seeing the world is a big priority, I'd recommend the Peace Corps. I know way too many disgruntled USAF guys who joined up to see the world only to spend 6 years in Clovis, NM.

In my time serving in embassies, I see that many Foreign Service Officers have a Peace Corps background, so there is some career progression there. They (Peace Corps folks) learn leadership, languages, cultural awareness and actually see the world.
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Old 05-26-2013, 02:53 PM   #30
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The service academies aren't really an option. He just doesn't want to go to college right now. I can't make him want to go to college. There are no obstacles to him going to college. I work at the local university in town. He would get half-price tuition and we have more than enough $ saved for his education. We've let him know he can go to another school if he wants to leave town. He's smart, physically fit (5' 10", 185 lbs, 10% body fat), doesn't party, drink, or smoke. He's just ready to become a Marine. He works out with the delayed entry Marines on Saturdays. Bottom line, he is motivated to be a Marine. He is not motivated to go to college right now. He says he would like to do that later.
Thanks for all the input guys. I bought him the following books: Making the Corps and Into The Crucible. If he still wants to be a Marine after working out with them all summer and reading those books, I'll sign the papers. He'll graduate high school early (December). He'll be 18 in January and he may be at Parris Island for his birthday. If it's what he wants to do, I'll respect his decision and support him.
Service academies are bad enough even if you want to be there.

If you don't want to be there then it's a waste of everyone's time-- especially for the other 12 candidates who couldn't get your appointment and would be greatly annoyed to see you drop out after a few months. He might be encouraged to apply for USNA after a year or two with the Marines, but he has to decide whether he really wants to go to a place where he has to pretend to be a recruit for a whole year (instead of just 14 weeks) and get yelled at by 21-year-olds. After drill instructors and gunny sergeants it might seem kind of... Disney. He might prefer to take a few courses on active duty and then use the GI Bill when he's finished his enlistment. However I roomed with a former enlisted Marine who loved being able to row crew and study military history.

You know that old joke about signing away your first-born? We had to sign away our daughter when she decided to join the Navy. Once they turn 18 they can do whatever they want without your signature.

It sounds like the decision has been made without you, and I think he'll appreciate that you're helping him with the educational resources. Those are both excellent books. He could also read through the website JoinTheMilitaryNow.com, which is run by an active-duty Marine. Most of it he's probably seen already. Some of it encourages him to stay clean and un-tattooed. Some of it will pique his interest:
Join The Military Now - Military Pay - How To Save $100,000 In Your First Enlistment

When your son finishes recruit training, he will have achieved the ability to perform at a level of intensity that will surprise you, and may be a little scary. It eventually settles down... or so I'm told.
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Old 05-26-2013, 03:20 PM   #31
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My nephew "knew" when he was 5 or 6 that he wanted to be a Marine. It took him some time after graduating high school to get all his tests completed and all the paper work done (his mom was a major obstacle) but he has made his dream come true and is now a Marine.

Talking to him on the phone, it's obvious he has gained a tremendous amount of self confidence and self respect. If nothing else, the Marines have helped him acknowledge his personal strength. My brother, retired AF, really tried to convince him to join another branch of service. Wasn't going to happen.
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Old 05-26-2013, 07:31 PM   #32
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Thanks for all the input guys. I bought him the following books: Making the Corps and Into The Crucible. If he still wants to be a Marine after working out with them all summer and reading those books, I'll sign the papers. He'll graduate high school early (December). He'll be 18 in January and he may be at Parris Island for his birthday. If it's what he wants to do, I'll respect his decision and support him.
Late to the thread. As an Army volunteer in 1967 here is my take.

He wants to be a Marine. It is what he should be. There is no substitute for experience god bad or indifferent. Reading stuff about it is like reading about sex. Interesting but, far removed from reality.

I knew nothing about the military when I enlisted, could not read well enough in English even if I wanted to read about it. Oddly my next door neighbor was a Major in the reserves, he choose not to tell me anything, except before I got on the bus to Ft. Jackson, he said "don't let them learn know your name". That was advice about as useful as teats on a bull.

It was an experience that I will forever appreciate, bout not enough to ever repeat.
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Old 05-26-2013, 10:29 PM   #33
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The service academies aren't really an option. He just doesn't want to go to college right now. I can't make him want to go to college. There are no obstacles to him going to college. I work at the local university in town. He would get half-price tuition and we have more than enough $ saved for his education. We've let him know he can go to another school if he wants to leave town. He's smart, physically fit (5' 10", 185 lbs, 10% body fat), doesn't party, drink, or smoke. He's just ready to become a Marine. He works out with the delayed entry Marines on Saturdays. Bottom line, he is motivated to be a Marine. He is not motivated to go to college right now. He says he would like to do that later.

He strikes me as remarkably focused and motivated kid. I am sure the Marine Corp recruiters are giving themselves high five about landing him.


Not trying to be flippant, because obviously there are risks, but if the worse thing your 17 year old kid does is join the Marines instead of go to college, I think you pat yourself on the back for a job well done as a parent.

Post pictures of his Marine graduation ceremony.
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Old 06-25-2013, 04:57 PM   #34
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Well, we signed the papers last week and my boy went to MEPS today and passed his physical with flying colors. He'll finish HS a semester early and go to boot camp in February. Parris Island is a little cooler in February than in June or July. The young man has more huevos than I did at that age.
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:45 PM   #35
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Well, we signed the papers last week and my boy went to MEPS today and passed his physical with flying colors. He'll finish HS a semester early and go to boot camp in February. Parris Island is a little cooler in February than in June or July. The young man has more huevos than I did at that age.
Congratulations to you and your son! I went through boot camp at Parris Island in June, July and August of 1963 at age 17. I hope it works for him as well as it did for me.

1963 That's 50 years ago.
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:10 AM   #36
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Congratulations to you and your son! I went through boot camp at Parris Island in June, July and August...
+1
Same here (June - August). Beginning in Feb is a good decision...
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Old 07-03-2013, 03:56 PM   #37
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Best of luck to your son...it is an honor to serve and the Marines are definitely the pointy end of the sword. I respect all Marines - I am Air Force myself and know that they are in first and out last.....I am amazed at their presence of mind...if you deal daily with life and death, what the powerpoint slide says doesn't have a such a huge priority in life; excellent perspective in my estimation. The fact that you care for him but are allowing him to make an adult decision shows that you've done a good job parenting him...he will probably do well, and whether or not he makes it a career is not as important as the fact that he will be challenged and allowed to earn self-respect and confidence. That is something no one can take away from him and will serve him well throughout his life.
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:44 PM   #38
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Congratulations to you and your son. I've worked with many marines, I always found their training served them well. A mentor of mine, former Marine, credits his service in the Corp with saving his life.

The way you handled this situation says lots about your parenting skills. You've given him every opportunity to succeed at being a Marine, or college when he's ready.

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