Reserve or Active Duty Marine?

Bec771

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Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Messages
8
#1
Hello all,
Im 22, a full time firefighter, and I’m currently in the process of enlisting as a reserve under an 0311 contract. I’ve wanted to be a Marine since I was a kid, and right out of school fell into my career as a fireman. I’m very fortunate to have my job and worked hard to get here, so I figured the reserves would give me the opportunity to continue my work and experience the Marines. I was under the impression going active duty from a reserve status was relatively simple. Through my research I found that it’s almost impossible to do so. I’ve also read that deployments and extra training outside of normal drill is hard to come by as a reservist. I’m afraid if I sign a reserve contract I’ll regret it. I’ve always had the itch for combat, and have always sought out the busy stations, or “the shit,” in the fire world (I know, not comparable.) What kind of opportunities will I have as an 0311 for further training? And how frequent are combat deployments for Active Duty 0311s in today’s war?
I understand this a personal decision that I have to make myself, but if I have any Marines willing to give some advice on active duty Vs reserve life in the state our country is in now, that would be great.

Thanks in advance.
 

J.

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Oct 18, 2015
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Some Beach
#2
I’m an active Marine so I will only speak for my side of the house. Being active is your entire life when you are, and I love it, it’s the worst and best part of my life.

“Combat deployments” are very hard to come by for anyone serving in ground combat MOS’s. As a grunt you’ll have a lot more opportunities to go oversees but the mission of today isn’t what it was before 2014. Some guys get lucky and go to Afghanistan and Iraq for advisory roles. You’re more than likely to go on a MEU or two.

You will never stop training when you are active, if you’re not deployed the only thing you’ll be doing is training. Ranges, schools, field ops, classes, 24/7, 365. Everything you do when not deployed is to prepare you to deploy.

I can only guarantee you this, active or reserve, you will never regret becoming a Marine.
 

Bec771

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Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Messages
8
#3
I’m an active Marine so I will only speak for my side of the house. Being active is your entire life when you are, and I love it, it’s the worst and best part of my life.

“Combat deployments” are very hard to come by for anyone serving in ground combat MOS’s. As a grunt you’ll have a lot more opportunities to go oversees but the mission of today isn’t what it was before 2014. Some guys get lucky and go to Afghanistan and Iraq for advisory roles. You’re more than likely to go on a MEU or two.

You will never stop training when you are active, if you’re not deployed the only thing you’ll be doing is training. Ranges, schools, field ops, classes, 24/7, 365. Everything you do when not deployed is to prepare you to deploy.

I can only guarantee you this, active or reserve, you will never regret becoming a Marine.
Awesome, thanks for the insight.
 

AgroLion

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Joined
Jul 27, 2017
Messages
7
#4
Hey Becc771

(Rather lengthy post so scroll down for TL;DR or continue for specifics on my thoughts)

I’m currently a reservist with the USMC. So I can help shine a bit of light on our side of things. First off I love being a Marine, and spending time with other Marines. I do not like being a reservist, I regretted my decision after 4 drills or so. Regardless of the circumstance that made me choose the reserves, I live with the decision that was made and I look for an opportunity to try out for A&S (when I feel I’m physically capable or close to).

1. Extremly difficult to go into Active Duty if you so desire so.
2.Adiquette training, (MOS dependent) but AT’s will be a good training excercise/learning experience if you apply yourself and learn. I’m a 3531 (Motor T). I’ve learned a lot on IED’s and sub categories, Crew Serve weapon systems(.50Cal legacy, M240B, MK19) and basic security team role/responsibilities and S.O.P.’s.
3.Deployments possible, they recently had a “who wants an advisory role” opportunity come up for Cpl’s and above (only 4 selected) to go to the sandbox.
4.One of my major annoyances with reserves(Civillian Job specific) I hate going to drill and missing time from my Civillian job. I make decent money at my Civillian job and In my current financial situation I have a hard time wanting to be at drill when I only get paid $200 or so.

Key Note***I have to be at work to make money, it’s a sales job, am looking into law enforcement while I continue to train so I can hopefully make it into A&S and not struggle as much financially(For the consistency)***


TL;DR
I love being a Marine, but not a reservist.
Hard to switch to AD.
Good training if you apply yourself.
Deployment opportunity’s available but not likely.
Civilian job is usually more money than reserves (not that it’s always about money but one does need to pay bills still)

At the end of the day do what you’d like to, I can only speak on my own experience. But if you already have a sense of regret than I say go Active Duty. I learned recently how my own personal happiness, goals, and decisions should’ve been my number one priority, but I am actively setting out to accomplish my previous goals and catch up on time spent not doing what I set out too.

Be great,
AgroLion
 

Devildoc

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Messages
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#5
So the easy answer is "it depends", right? You have heard two POVs. Active duty, they own you, 24/7, 365, for the duration of your contract. Then there is "needs of the service," so if you have 'X' planned, orders get changed, etc. Of course it's hard to go AD-->MARFORRES/MARFORRES-->AD; it should be. You sign a contract, and they expect you to do your part.

As a corpsman with AD and reserve duty with both AD and reserve Marines, I will say that if you want the Marine 'experience' (i.e., the suck), go AD. The Reserve experience is not even close, not by a long shot. Not to say it is not rewarding, or you can't get schools, etc., but it is night and day.
 
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Ocoka

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#6
Like @J. says, there's not a lot of combat going on right now for active duty rifle companies with a few notable exceptions. However, if things heat up somewhere, like they are prone to do, even Reservists have chances to deploy.

And there's a lot to be said for having employment and a career as a firefighter.

Search your heart, find the answer and full speed ahead.
 
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Marauder06

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#7
I’m not a Marine and have nothing to add to the discussion other than the observation that this is a great thread and exactly the kind of helpful and detailed discussion that makes this site so important and useful.
 

Marine0311

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#8
Former AD infantry NCO Iraq 2003.

I worked with and around Resevists who basically wanted to go Active.

So go active
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Messages
19
#9
BLUF: Go AD.

I'm was an active duty Marine and my son is currently a reserve Marine 0311. My father and uncle were Marines and my son was determined to carry on the tradition. He decided on a reserve contract because he had a serious girlfriend all through high school and she was very firmly rooted to a particular location. It looked like he might jettison enlisting altogether, so I explained that a reserve contract would give him more control over where he could live. The plan was that he'd go 0311 to 0321, get as many schools as possible and then have the option to assess for active duty as a Raider in a few years.

The girlfriend broke it off via letter while he was in 1st phase of boot camp. Nevertheless, he did well at MCRD and ITB and was generally impressed with the Marine Corps and determined to pursue the 0321/0372 plan.

In less than a year, his reserve unit has rendered him completely unmotivated and counting the days until he can get out, almost 5 years from now. I won't get into specifics because the unit cannot defend itself and I'm getting only one side of the story. But I do believe that much of what he tells me is true. The inescapable junior enlisted BS doesn't bother me. What bothers me is that it seems his peers and leaders are not the least bit focused on preparing for combat.

When you only have 2-3 days per month to train, those days get consumed by a plethora of minutia that has nothing to do with preparing for war. His AT was two weeks of mostly the same.

If you want to be a Marine Infantryman, go all in. If you want to serve part-time, choose a support MOS where your lack of job proficiency won't get yourself or too many other people killed.

Now I'll continue to beg and plead with my son to PT with me and find ways to give him skills to stay alive if deployed. I hope I'll be able to pull his head out of his ass and he'll start preparing for Recon and MARSOC.

Best of luck to you.
 

Devildoc

Verified Military
Joined
Nov 3, 2015
Messages
2,835
Location
Durham, NC
#10
BLUF: Go AD.

I'm was an active duty Marine and my son is currently a reserve Marine 0311. My father and uncle were Marines and my son was determined to carry on the tradition. He decided on a reserve contract because he had a serious girlfriend all through high school and she was very firmly rooted to a particular location. It looked like he might jettison enlisting altogether, so I explained that a reserve contract would give him more control over where he could live. The plan was that he'd go 0311 to 0321, get as many schools as possible and then have the option to assess for active duty as a Raider in a few years.

The girlfriend broke it off via letter while he was in 1st phase of boot camp. Nevertheless, he did well at MCRD and ITB and was generally impressed with the Marine Corps and determined to pursue the 0321/0372 plan.

In less than a year, his reserve unit has rendered him completely unmotivated and counting the days until he can get out, almost 5 years from now. I won't get into specifics because the unit cannot defend itself and I'm getting only one side of the story. But I do believe that much of what he tells me is true. The inescapable junior enlisted BS doesn't bother me. What bothers me is that it seems his peers and leaders are not the least bit focused on preparing for combat.

When you only have 2-3 days per month to train, those days get consumed by a plethora of minutia that has nothing to do with preparing for war. His AT was two weeks of mostly the same.

If you want to be a Marine Infantryman, go all in. If you want to serve part-time, choose a support MOS where your lack of job proficiency won't get yourself or too many other people killed.

Now I'll continue to beg and plead with my son to PT with me and find ways to give him skills to stay alive if deployed. I hope I'll be able to pull his head out of his ass and he'll start preparing for Recon and MARSOC.

Best of luck to you.
Safety stand downs, medical stand downs, admin, training (PME), PT....never ending checklists of chores to satisfy "requirements." You get the same thing AD, but it's so much more a fraction of your overall time....
 

Teufel

Force Recon
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Mar 15, 2008
Messages
4,383
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Tun Tavern
#11
Hello all,
Im 22, a full time firefighter, and I’m currently in the process of enlisting as a reserve under an 0311 contract. I’ve wanted to be a Marine since I was a kid, and right out of school fell into my career as a fireman. I’m very fortunate to have my job and worked hard to get here, so I figured the reserves would give me the opportunity to continue my work and experience the Marines. I was under the impression going active duty from a reserve status was relatively simple. Through my research I found that it’s almost impossible to do so. I’ve also read that deployments and extra training outside of normal drill is hard to come by as a reservist. I’m afraid if I sign a reserve contract I’ll regret it. I’ve always had the itch for combat, and have always sought out the busy stations, or “the shit,” in the fire world (I know, not comparable.) What kind of opportunities will I have as an 0311 for further training? And how frequent are combat deployments for Active Duty 0311s in today’s war?
I understand this a personal decision that I have to make myself, but if I have any Marines willing to give some advice on active duty Vs reserve life in the state our country is in now, that would be great.

Thanks in advance.
The reserves are great but I always advise people to go active duty first. It’s easy to drop into the reserves, almost impossible to go active from the reserves.
 

Bec771

Unverified
Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Messages
8
#12
Thanks everyone for the responses.
I’ve been reading through threads on this site for over 8 months now contemplating my options. I finally made the decision to go Active Duty. I signed an infantry contract a few days ago and leave for boot camp January 28th. HR agreed to keeping me on the payroll for the extent of my contract, so my job will be here if I decide to get out at my 4 years. (This was not a deciding factor, only icing on the cake.)
I appreciate everyone’s advice. Please keep it coming, I’m certain there will be someone out there in my exact position that will find this thread helpful.
 

Ocoka

Combined Action
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Joined
Jun 29, 2014
Messages
5,709
Location
Decisive Terrain
#13
Thanks everyone for the responses.
I’ve been reading through threads on this site for over 8 months now contemplating my options. I finally made the decision to go Active Duty. I signed an infantry contract a few days ago and leave for boot camp January 28th. HR agreed to keeping me on the payroll for the extent of my contract, so my job will be here if I decide to get out at my 4 years. (This was not a deciding factor, only icing on the cake.)
I appreciate everyone’s advice. Please keep it coming, I’m certain there will be someone out there in my exact position that will find this thread helpful.

Awesome. Hit it hard, man.
 
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