Thinking of Joining the Navy Reserves: What Do I Need to Know
May 20, 2013 12:43 PM   Subscribe

I'm 39. I'm thinking of joining the U.S. Navy Reserves. I'd like to go in as an officer if possible. The cut-off age is also 39, so I only have so much time to make this happen. What do I need to know before I sign on the line which is dotted? Are there any websites you'd recommend so I can go in forewarned with as much knowledge as possible? Any anecdotes anyone can share? Any information at all?
posted by entropicamericana to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
My husband joined the Navy later in life. Its harder to go in as an officer than you'd think and the process takes a lot longer, like maybe waiting for up to a year before they work it all out. Do you have a medical or very specialized technical or scientific degree? If not, its unlikely that you'd have the opportunity to go in as an officer at this point.
posted by stormygrey at 1:07 PM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Have you spoken with a recruiter yet?
posted by OsoMeaty at 1:15 PM on May 20, 2013


From what I've read, recruiters tend to tell you the bare minimum. I'd like to know all the gotchas.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:22 PM on May 20, 2013


Do you have a career field in mind?

Over the last few years, the Navy has gotten pretty good at integrating Reservists into the regular force structure. We now rely on Reserves to fulfill operational deployments. Plan on going overseas. The Navy Operational Support Centers (NOSC) are where most Reserve units are located.

Homeport is the official website, I linked to their "Welcome Aboard" page. Try this page as well.

Budget cuts have been implemeted and show no signs of abatement. "Force shaping" is in full swing. Unless you already have a certain skillset that the Navy is looking for, or are willing to acquire one, you may not be accepted.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:26 PM on May 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


You really need to speak with a recruiter because you are non-traditional recruit and you have serious time constraints, as you'll need to ship to basic before your 40th birthday. You don't go to a recruiter, say "I'm in", sign some paper work and then ship out a few days later. It's a much more complicated process. Also, the military as a whole has expierenced some serious budget cuts, are excepting fewer recruits, are raising standars, and can afford to be very picky with who they will accept because many, many, many more people want to join than there are spots. I'd really urge you to speak with a recruiter before you sink your heart into this.
posted by OsoMeaty at 1:33 PM on May 20, 2013


Also, their are age limits for commissioned officers. I think you have to be comissioned before your 32nd birthday. Not sure about non-comissioned officers. Non-comissioned officers work their way up from the bottom.
posted by OsoMeaty at 1:39 PM on May 20, 2013


The Army was taking people up to through age 42 a couple of years ago. So that is another option to to look into.
posted by COD at 1:41 PM on May 20, 2013


the man of twists and turns said pretty much everything I was going to say. There's very little upside to a recruiter (who generally doesn't have much of a quota, if any, for officers, even in times when the more traditional officer-recruiting sources (ROTC, OCS) are being told to ramp down their efforts) to getting 39-year-old you into the service under the wire, unless you have a particular skill -- and really that means "an MD," because the other stuff isn't really as useful to the non-medical parts of the Navy, which have particular ways of doing things that don't necessarily overlap with how you learned to do them.

The only "gotcha" to watch out for at this point is that if "OCS" or "direct commission" isn't in your contract, don't sign it (well, don't sign anything yet, obviously). If the recruiter tells you "You're sure to get OCS right after you finish Basic," tell him that you know better, and you want it in your contract.

Drop me a MeMail if you have any specific questions, but talk to a recruiter ASAP.
posted by Etrigan at 1:50 PM on May 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Adding to what's already been said here, I would also suggest looking to a university you have nearby with an NROTC unit; though this may not be the route you take, the active duty instructors there deal almost exclusively with Officer Candidates & Midshipmen with the focus on training & screening them for commissioning. Depending on the city you're in, they may/may not deal very often with reservists, but they'll probably be able to point you in the right direction - I think you've already hit the age limit for an ROTC program, but they may be your best in-person source for advice (and they don't have quotas the same way that enlisted recruiters do).
posted by Seeba at 8:32 PM on May 20, 2013


Second the special skill needed to get a commission. They like linguists, too, but unless you have some credentials, that isn't likely to be real helpful. It may help you get a school, though.

My nephew joined the Navy, at age 34. The process was, let's say, rich in the accomplishment of many, many small details. He's completed his basic and tech training, and is now happily on the job, shore duty in Yokosuka, Japan.

The recruiter is your man--or woman. Your clock is ticking, so you should go have a talk with them soon. It may be helpful to know that many interesting jobs require a high security clearance, which can take up to several months to complete. Most recruits spend that time in basic (or boot), and an intermediate training course while they wait for clearance. If you have no reason to believe you can't qualify for a high SC, this is one avenue of discussion to have with the recruiter.
posted by mule98J at 11:13 PM on May 20, 2013


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