My brother wants to join the National Guard. WTF?
March 16, 2006 7:06 AM Subscribe
My little brother just announced that he's seriously considering joining the National Guard. Help my family and I either a) discourage him, or b) make peace with his decision.
posted by TurkishGolds to Law & Government (41 answers total)
He's 22 years old with no college education. For the past several years he's been bouncing around from one low-paying job to another. Albeit, he's been doing fun stuff like spending summers doing conservation work in Montana and winters working as a ski lift operator in Vermont.
He's always heard a different drummer and he's very impressionable. He's been spending A LOT of time with a recruiter and a friend of his who's passionate about the National Guard. I think that a lot of their influence shows in the e-mail from him that I've copy-and-pasted below.
I don't have a lot of specific knowledge about the National Guard to know whether or not the claims that he makes below are true. I don't know how to argue against what he's saying, but I'm anti-war, anti-bush, anti-violence so my knee-jerk reaction is to be terrified. I can't ever imagine making this life decision for myself. It scares me that this idea would even cross his mind. I have no idea how credible any of his claims are regarding the compensation and the option of avoiding deployment.
(aside: he has a history of drug-abuse problems and mental illness including hospitalization, but has been quite functional for some time.)
I am seriously thinking about joining the National Guard. If I did that, I would still live right here in Vermont and only have to serve 1 weekend a month, so I would still have time to go to school or work or anything else I need to do. I would learn all kinds of new skills, and I feel like it would greatly increase my confidence and responsibility. As far as being deployed is concerned, I talked to my friend who's in the guard about it for a long time and he said there is absolutely no way they can send me to the Middle East or anywhere else like that without my consent. He said that when they tried to deploy him, he refused and he didn't have to go to Iraq. If they do try to deploy me, which is unlikely at this point, I plan to either outright refuse, go to Canada, or get a psychologist to say that I am not mentally stable enough to go.
Everyone that they were going to send has already been sent, and they are actually sending people back now, and after this Iraq War the U.S. really doesn't have enough money to go and start another war, especially with Bush's approval rating being down to like 30-something now. Furthermore, I went to take the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) and my scores were well over 100, almost perfect, good enough to qualify me to be an officer or anything I want to be. I spoke with the recruiter, and he recommended a Supply and Logistics job for me which is not a combat position. Basically I would just sit in front of a computer and keep track of my unit's supplies and equipment. Just for completing the training for this job, I would receive a bonus of 20 thousand dollars. I would get $4500 a year towards my education, $297 for every weekend that I serve, as well as an additional $200 bonus. Also, I would have Health and Dental Insurance provided for me for the rest of my life. I feel like this is an excellent opportunity for me to get my life back on track, go to college, and achieve success to the level that I have always been capable. I hope that this idea does not totally freak you out. I have not enlisted yet, and do not plan to enlist until I am good and ready. I would probably go to Basic Training down south this Summer, and then go on to Advanced Training, and possibly also look into the Mountain School.