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A question for veterans with children:


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My dh is retired from a long career in the military. And our children are starting to leave our nest.


Did you encourage your children to join the military? Discourage it? Indifferent to it?


I have a high schooler who is kinda freaked out about the idea of losing his military dependency once he comes of age. He is considering the military because it's something he's familiar with and he wants to have that connection into his adult life. We have always encouraged our kids to go to college (and two of them have) - and the military was very good to us! - but I'm not sure I like the idea of my own kids going into the military. I suppose that's a bit hypocritical of me, but there it is.


So what has been your experience?



ETA: I know it's ultimately their decision and not mine to make, but I was just curious if this emotional attachment to the military is typical in military kids, to the point of wanting to enlist themselves?

Stephen & Karen and our six boys, ages 21, 21, 19, 17, 14, & 11
Stephen - Military retiree (as of summer 2012) & current DOI employee (Big Bend National Park)
Karen - Homeschooling stay-at-home mom & veteran
San Antonio, Texas

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I have a son-in-law who served for a while in the Army and a son currently serving. I served 9 years in the Navy. I am neutral in the matter and share what I thought was good and bad from my experience when asked and let them make their choice.



John and Sharon
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It's natural for parents to hope that their kids will "do better" than they did, and for a lot that means going to college, etc.


I would think that a military brat is going to have a more realistic perspective of the life of a soldier than a lot of folks.


Just because he wants to enlist doesn't mean it's forever. I did one enlistment and then went to college and got an engineering degree.


They can also always join the Reserve / National Guard to get a better feel for whether it is a good direction for them without making the full time commitment.




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Pugsly said it perfectly.


I would only add that people die in civilian life from violence. Your kiddo could have done better than us and been in the towers on 9/11. Or been in the car that collided with Bruce Jenner's car. I retired with 27 years and along the way between a break in service for college that I had to cut short due to the military announcing they were considering closing all prior enlisted and officer accessions in October of 2006. I had all but a semester and finished at night on base. However the delay cost me being able to go for a commission as I got my first of three BS degrees and my automatic AD from CCAF in the same month ad my 35th birthday. I also got most of my Master;s done while active at night on base via Troy state on base.


The military and an education go hand in hand today. I retired senior enlisted but with an education in many fields and exposure to cultures and languages I learned along the way. I was a brat, as was my Significant Harassment of 42 years, 43 this coming September. She tried to join and at that time they took no people that were deaf in one ear as she was from a mistreated ear infection at a military hospital in the 60's.


I was a bit disappointed that neither of my boys joined as either officers or enlisted. Onje is in construction and the other had a degree but never used it because he worked his way through school at The Outback steakhouse here. He was offered his own store, did well with it while he put his soon to be wife through Nursing school, then got burned out in the 24/7 of successfully running a national chain place and since his wife made almost half of what he did, but worked 12 on, 12 off, 12 hour shifts, which to him looked like a vacation. He decided the stress wasn't worth the money so at 35 he returned to schools and since he already had an engineering degree from LA Tech, in two years he had his BSRN. They moved to Denver and make more together than he made with all the stress and are very happy.


My point is that some of us don't know what we want to be when we grow up well into our 30s. The military allowed me to cross train from 5 years as a medic and scrub tech, to Medical Laboratory Technologist with a one year tech school, and then I found a better way to draw blood with no AIDs risk - the M-16! So I cross trained into SAMTU that later became CATM and had a great final 20 years or so making loud noises and blowing things up, teaching our Base personnel how to shoot all the weapons including the Cops and OSI folks, and we fixed them when they broke em.


I got to change jobs with no worry about pay, moving, or training for them. I was a brat as was my wife, and neither of us would take back one minute of it, nor go back for one more.

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Hi Kinsa!!!

My Father, Step Father, and 3 uncles all served 20 plus years in the Navy. I made the Navy a career as well. Now I always encourged my sons to join the military. My youngest son joined about 5 years ago. Now would you believe he joined the Army. I guess with all of that Navy background he said I think I will join the Army. My oldest son couldn't join the service do to a medical condition but his wife did. Yep my Daughter in Law, Mother of my grandkids joined the Army. She is now out and after 2 tours in Cuba and one in Fort Leavenworth KS my son is getting out in August. Getting them in was easy, I had no control over keeping them in.


The military was good to us and still is. Losing their dependency doesn't happen til 23 or 26 maybe if they go to school??? I don't remember. My wife was so against them joining the military. So when the DIL did a tour in Afghanistan it was a loooooooooooooooooooong year.

Good luck!!



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I spent 8 years in the Navy and my sons were all Army, eldest 3 yr., middle son 5 yr., and youngest 24 years. All three have degrees that the Army paid for and that was one of the reasons for each in choosing to go in. Our youngest still says that he had 16 years in when he decided to make the Army a career. Now that he has retired from active duty he works for them in a Civil Service position. Thus far we have two grandsons who have graduated HS and while the first one has been encouraged to consider the service because he really has no idea what he wants to do with his life, neither nor his brother have seriously considered going in. A young many could do much worse as it pays much better today than it did 20 or more years ago, but there are still the risks associated with military service.


On the other hand, the military is far smaller today than in the past so they do not have nearly so many positions and they have much higher standards of who they will accept into the service. .......


I can tell you from personal experience, it is far easier to go into harm's way yourself than it is to watch your son go there. It was a bit of a trial observing while our son was in combat in the middle east. What was really strange was doing live chat with him from the combat zone! :unsure:

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure



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My family is long time military and have 4 sons and 1 daughter (the baby). If anything, we have pushed our children toward college. Sometimes pushing them to take classes not required for H.S., but necessary for college admittance. It has always been my top priority to ensure that none of my children would ever have to worry about having funds available for college without having to go into debt (that's no way to start out life). I wanted them to be able to make a life choice for themselves without having to look at military service as a means to end.


That being said, my eldest and youngest son elected to serve. The eldest did 6 years simply to learn a skill set he could translate into professional life. He's done extremely well with that and now owns his own business. My youngest son had his heart set on military service from a young age and wants to go career. He worked very hard to graduate a year early in order to enlist at 17.


I think most of it boils down to encouraging them to work hard and aspire to their full potential... clear the path for them as much as possible, then all you can do is support their decisions unwaveringly.

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My Dad was disabled out of WW2, and (maternal) Grandfather disabled out of WW1. Both died early in life. Military service was not considered without risk. I did my stint, used the GI Bill, and did well enough in life afterwards.


Years later I watched my (only) Son as he worked his way thru College (no student loans, worked part-time). I observed him getting tired after a few years... to the point he 'stalled' after completing about three years of a Bachelor's Accounting Degree. We went off and had a Father-Son chat over coffee... and kicked around ideas - one of which was joining the military. I suggested to him... Marines & Army walk everywhere they go, Navy floats, and the Air Force Flies. Choose wisely.


Long story short, at age 23 he chose the Air Force... they arranged to get him into the Meteorology program at keesler AFB... and he has been very happy with that decision ever sense. He will complete 8 years in 2016 and take his discharge, going after a Masters in Weather Science... Using the GI Bill.


Our Son was always quite responsible and reliable... and the Air Force managed to improve on that immensely. He is truly a Man now - and He knows it. He has confidence... experienced in many ways, seen much of the world... and values his country, having served it.


It was good for him.


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