Does the military put off swearing in recruits
November 12, 2010 6:29 PM   Subscribe

My son-in-law is supposedly going in the military. This is a big deal because he has not kept a job to provide for my daughter and grandson and so this seems like a sign of responsibility. But when my daughter announces that he is finally going to be sworn in on _insert date_, when the date comes, he hasn't left to be sworn in and she always says they keep putting it off. Is this how the military operates? Or are they lying to us?
posted by frodoxiii to Law & Government (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've never heard of anything like this.

Has he gone through the testing and the physical yet? I believe the swearing in happens after that.

I say that someone is lying. Whether it's "them" or him or her... hard to say.
posted by FlamingBore at 7:04 PM on November 12, 2010

This is just anecdata, but my friend's husband's date for leaving for basic training was changed twice, but it was moved up in his case, not pushed back.
posted by IndigoRain at 7:15 PM on November 12, 2010

Not unusual at all. My granddaughter was delayed 3 times. They don't need as many recruits now. In fact they have cut back. And no bonus for most.
posted by JayRwv at 7:33 PM on November 12, 2010

This is just a guess, but certain branches of the military have fitness standards. At this site you can download a pdf for the army fitness requirements.. The fitness requirements vary for the different branches of the service, so if you know which branch he is supposed to join, you can check that through a little search.

People can voluntarily delay their date, if necessary.
posted by annsunny at 7:38 PM on November 12, 2010

Assuming you're talking about the U.S. military, and that your son-in-law is going into an active-duty status, and that he doesn't have some sort of medical, psychological or legal issue, and that... well, there are a lot of other assumptions and if's and maybe's. It's possible that you are not being lied to, or that your daughter isn't being lied to. I wouldn't put money on it either way.
posted by Etrigan at 7:49 PM on November 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

What service, what job/MOS/rate, what is his physical condition, etc etc. If he's going in with a guaranteed rate, classes can cancel which may affect leave date. He could have also gone to DEP to sign in on a certain date, which isn't the same thing as going to boot. You swear in more than once in the process. I think I swore at least three oaths, one signing the contract at DEP the first time, again at DEP when leaving for boot, and again at boot itself. Be suspicious but open to the idea that it's legit.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 7:55 PM on November 12, 2010

They have a great deal of applicants now due to the economy. Basic training classes only hold so many recruits (not unlike a university class, seats and spaces are limited). Funds can limit the amount of recruits brought in each month also. And... if the recruiter has to enlist a certain amount each month; the recruiter might be 'saving' a few recruits as a way of being certain that each months quota will be filled for a few months in advance. Six one month and zero the next two months does not equal a two recruit a month requirement...

"Supposedly" enlisted? Has he been to MEPS and passed? Has he taken his ASVAB and scored well? Is his height/weight and fitness level ok with branch he is enlisting with?

Few other jobs offer a lifetime of benefits after just a few years, so good for him; and good luck.
posted by buzzman at 7:59 PM on November 12, 2010

My brother-in-law signed up for the air force in November. His date to start boot was changed no fewer than four times and he didn't go in until March. Originally it was supposed to be December or January I believe. He was in great physical shape and definitely completed everything he needed to get in.

It happens but keep your eye out for changes.
posted by Octoparrot at 8:36 PM on November 12, 2010

This is how the military operates.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:27 PM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the military doesn't put a lot of stock in the personal convenience of individual recruits. When I was a Sea Cadet I did a lot of work with our Navy recruiters, and between drug tests, running, bad grades, criminal complaints, and the Navy's wisdom, I think we got one kid out exactly when we first said he would go. Most of them, it was a few months of delays. A couple went a few weeks early.

This has been going on a long time, though. My stepdad joined up in 1969 (voluntarily) and though they sent him to boot camp right away, when he finished they didn't have a spot in his A-school (or whatever they were called at the time) and he was faced with either an indefinite period of kitchen duty (something awful, like 12 hour shifts and random days off) or picking another job. And that's why he's in the computer industry today.

If I were you, I would feel a lot better if he'd already gone and done his drug testing. Our recruits were actually signing pieces of paper at that point, and I can't remember any who flaked out after getting through it.
posted by SMPA at 5:18 AM on November 13, 2010

This happened to me when I enlisted. Depending on what his specialty is supposed to become, there are multiple steps in the training progression. These steps have to be workload-leveled backwards from the end to the beginning so that "the fleet" (in the Navy, not sure what the other services call it) gets their trainees on a predictable schedule that meets manpower requirements.

That may mean delaying or accelerating a boot camp class-up date. If they've dropped a boot camp start date, or otherwise bumped him from one for a few more people of a specialty with a critical shortage, it's entirely possible that they would delay his actual enlistment until they had something for him to do.

My advice for your daughter, though, is to get more involved. She can meet and talk to the son-in-law's recruiter. It's very unlikely that the son-in-law has adequately thought of all the questions about military life she (and even he) would want to know about. She's allowed to ask. She's also allowed to call up the recruiter and have him explain the process for enlistment and why is he not going on the date previously scheduled? Recruiters are salesmen, but they're also friendly and helpful real people if you ask them to be. There's no excuse for son-in-law to know things daughter doesn't know, or for either of them to not know what's going on with the process.

If you're asking if your daughter and son in law are lying to you, uh, that's a problem I can't help you with. Their story is plausible, though.
posted by ctmf at 9:54 AM on November 13, 2010

That said, if he's having a personal crisis and NEEDS to get in to have a means of support, he needs to talk to the recruiter. He could probably get sworn in and then given some unskilled job to do until the boot camp spot is ready. I made phone calls at the recruiting station for a week before flying out waiting for a few other people to make it through the process and be sent as a group with me. I was kicked out of my house and didn't have a place to go and little money saved up. The recruiter somehow got me in and got my cheap motel paid for (or did it himself, I don't even know—it wasn't me) and picked me up and dropped me off after "work" every day.

There were others in my boot camp company who had gotten sent on to boot camp in advance and just picked up trash around the base or sorted mail at the post office until their training started.
posted by ctmf at 10:04 AM on November 13, 2010

Further anecdata - my brother joined the Canadian Navy about 2? years ago - he's in the officer training program (one of the youngest in his class) and had crazy-high aptitude test scores and he had a *ton* of delays in actually getting going with his training. The phrase "Hurry up and wait" is an apt descriptor for his experience thus far.
posted by purlgurly at 12:24 PM on November 13, 2010

Personally I think they start this kind of jerking you around to start the adjustment process, because that's how it's going to go all through your enlistment and you might as well get used to it early ;) (And I say that being a very pro-military person, let me qualify).
posted by lemniskate at 2:55 PM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

The son-in-law should also put a little fear of changing his mind about enlisting into the recruiter. Recruiters live by quotas, and "waiting to enlist" does not equal "enlisted." Whether he would change his mind or not, it's useful for him to have the recruiter think he might.

Just don't let the recruiter push him into or out of a specialty program he doesn't want just to get enlisted more quickly. (as in: "well, since the school you wanted doesn't have another class starting until March, we can't put you into boot camp until late December. However, if you want to be a [*], I could put you in right now.") Like I said previously, they can put you in early and just stash you somewhere if they really want to.

*Something that sucks. I won't insult anyone by specifying what I personally think would suck, since, you know, to each his own.
posted by ctmf at 9:04 AM on November 14, 2010

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