Be All I Can Be? Perhaps

The times they are a-changin’.

This post seems to be older than 19 years—a long time on the internet. It might be outdated.

A few month ago, I was contacted by Amry Staff Sergeant Todd A. Dimock. He was curious about my interest in the Army. I told him that I had some interest. We met a few weeks later and talked about the possibilities.

I have been thinking about the joining some brach of the Federal Government, FBI, CIA, DEA, Military or otherwise, on and off for many years. I had considered USAF so that I could fly fighter jets and perhaps make it to NASA one day. FBI, CIA, and DEA were all interesting because of the all the technology they use for surveillance. Ever hear of a program called Echelon? I digress.

However, no matter what department I joined, if I joined, I didn’t want to just be a mindless tool, sent out to kill. I wanted to use my skills to make a difference and I think the Army has the potential to let me do that. I don’t think I’d ever join the Full-Time Army, I would join the Reserves (the "one weekend a month and two weeks a year" gig). This doesn’t give me all the benefits of being Army full time, but it does allow me far more choices about what I want to do in the future. The Amry Reserves actually lists some pretty compelling reasons, many of which I not only agree with, but am activly looking for. They include:

  • Serve in the Reserves while remaining close to home (home being Colorado in this case)
  • Earn extra income (this helps pay for college, I also get money for tuitition as well)
  • Pursue a civilian career while serving in the Reserves (the flexibility I want)
  • Continue your education with the help of the Reserves (like I said before, money for college)
  • Build a military retirement (given the state of Social Security, this wouldn’t hurt; but it’s not key)
  • Benefit from job training that will enhance your civilian career (this is a key part)
  • Maintain a high level of mental and physical discipline (and so is this)

I already took the ASVAB and passed, so I’m in the door, if I so choose. I can also do Basic Training this summer and then next summer I can do my AIT.

However, the most interesting, and possible the key to this entire decision came today. Staff Sergean Dimock called me today with some rather interesting information relating to residency. Apparently, if I were to join the Reserves (and I would also assume any other Military Department), I automatically gain In-State Residency for tuition purposes. This is important, very important, because this summer I was planning on getting some sort of job here in Colorado so that I could hopefully, but not guarenteed, gain In-State Residency for next year. However, which such an attempt, I would have to find a job, find a place to live, find a way to get to my job, feed myself, etc, etc. If I join the Reserves and go to Basic this summer, I don’t have to worry about ANY of that AND I get In-State Residency for next year.

That alone should be reason enough to join. However, I like to run the numbers to make sure. So here goes. Each year at Mines at current tuition rate costs me about $33,000/year. If I were to pay In-State, that would drop to about $16,000/year, or half as much as I’m paying now. Considering that only about 17% of students at Mines graduate in 4 years, I’m looking at at least 4 more years of college just to get by BS. Being In-State saves me at least $60,000 over those four years. If I get my Masters, I save another $16,000 to $30,000, however that doesn’t really count because I should be considered In-State by then anyways. So there’s that. Then figure the cost of living for the next two summers. I haven’t done this before, but I would guess I would spend $400/mo for room and board, another $300-$400 for food, $100/mo for public transportation, $100/mo for entertainment, $60/mo for telco and cable hookup, and maybe $100/mo for utilities. That’s just a guess and it adds up to over $1000/mo for living expenses. And that assumes I get a job.

So when it really comes down to it, it makes quite a bit of sense. I get just about everything I want, I get some good benefits to start, I get help with school, I have the oportunity to get a better civilian job. The only downside is that it actually takes some work.

So I would ask for your prayers and comments about it. I am always open to any ideas you might have, no matter how foolish they seem. This isn’t a decision I plan on making in the near future, so don’t feel hurried to comment…or pray.