Posted on May 15, 2021
CPT Infantry Officer
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I am okay being on active duty, but I do wonder sometimes whether it really is worth the commitment. Just like many, not being able to settle down in one place, having to wake up in the middle of the night because someone doesn't know how to figure something out, or messed up, and being away from family, a massive amount of suck-ups and bureaucracy, etc are what I really do not enjoy about being on active duty. The biggest upside with active duty is that I get to have a pension before mid-40s, but even with this, I most likely would have to keep working since the pension after just 20 years isn't that much to support my family. Just trying to hear some ideas and opinions. Please share your thoughts.
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Responses: 13
MAJ Armored Combat Command Commander
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Don't go Active Duty if you can't commit 100%. That is what the army needs. It does not need people who are retired on Active Duty.
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MAJ Armored Combat Command Commander
MAJ (Join to see)
7 mo
Here is the deal. You need to be committed before joining. He gives the distinct impression the retirement is lucrative enough for him to go AD despite his hardships. Being AD is not the proper testing ground for commitment. Like I said my litmus test is what if I was ordered to take a well defended hill. His litmus test is the sacrifices that real leaders accept as par for the course. I am not overreacting. We need the best leaders possible and he surely does not represent that by his litany of complaints. If he can not reconcile his personal and professional needs with the obvious challenges of leadership then I want him to stay the hell away from AD. When I became an Armor Platoon leader my job was to be the best Armor PL. I had no extraneous thoughts of how my career will suck. Now if you think it’s ok for officers who whine about the facets of leadership to come AD it’s on you and the army accepted an officer whose focus is on himself. SGT Robert Wager
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SFC Intelligence Analyst
SFC (Join to see)
7 mo
CPT (Join to see) - I'm a bit jaded at this point in my career and have 3 years left to retire. However, the military is a different beast and if you can't handle it on active duty, then it might suit you to go Reserves or Guard.

My brother went Guard after high school and is still in the Guard. He wishes he had gone active duty. I'm surprised he did go Guard because he had always said he wanted to travel. I think he went Guard because a bunch of his friends did too. He's going to be at 18 years Guard this year. He does have a son - and luckily he deployed before he had a kid. But he has had to leave for AT, drill and when he went to BLC and then ALC a couple years ago. So you're still having to make some sacrifices even if you're Guard.

If you don't like active duty - look into Guard and Reserve. It's really that simple. Figure out what will work for you and your family so you can be a better leader.
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MAJ Byron Oyler
MAJ Byron Oyler
7 mo
SGT Robert Wager - MAJ (Join to see) Is 100% spot on here. It is great for jr officers to ask questions but when your primary point is phone calls in the middle of the night being a system of abuse then you do not have it for AD.
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MAJ Armored Combat Command Commander
MAJ (Join to see)
7 mo
MAJ Byron Oyler - When I became an Armor PL my focus was learning the TACSOP as quickly I could. I tried to absorb the institutional, technical, and tactical knowledge of the NCO Tank Commanders. Taking care of the soldiers, to include how the platoon fit in the company. Trying to get the trust of the NCOs in the platoon, and learning how to fight the four M1 tanks to send steel down range as efficiently and quickly as I could. That was my job and primary focus.
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LTC Program Manager
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I've been Active, Guard and now Reserve and they are all a little different. You will run into issues with people in any organization, not just the military. Moving alot is a challenge unless you stay single or have a family that is committed to the lifestyle.
I would focus on having a plan to get off active duty the entire time you are active. If you have a plan for that it doesn't really matter if you make 20. I resigned off active duty at 17 years and took a government civilian position. It's probably the best career move I ever made. I am on track to pick up my last few years of active service and retirement only a few years behind my peers but I'll have my civilian position waiting for me when I do.

There are no bad choices here, only different ones.

Feel free to contact me if you'd like.
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SGT Joseph Gunderson
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If you must ask this, please go reserves.
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1LT Manager Of Customer Care
1LT (Join to see)
7 mo
Hold on SGT Joseph Gunderson, we need good officers in the Reserve Component too lol. We already have plenty that should get out.
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SGT Joseph Gunderson
SGT Joseph Gunderson
7 mo
1LT (Join to see) yeah, well, if the choices were active duty or reserves, it simply cannot be active duty. However, if there was a third choice pointing such a person to the exit, I would happily do just that. This is the exact kind of person who should never put on a uniform, least of all one with brass on it.
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