Need some help from the monekys in the tree

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Beano, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. Beano

    Beano Monkey

    Hey guys, I need some advice or at least some food for thought. Bear with me, please....

    Folks, I am at a crossroads in my Army career, and probably my life. Almost fifteen years on Active Duty, and my next reenlistment will put me on indefinite status, meaning that they have me until retirement. I could get out November of 2014, which is when my current term is up. Problem is, I am recently divorced and under crushing debt that I got stuck with, in addition to child support, alimony, and a slew of other obligations I was stuck with because I could not afford an attorney.

    I'm not worried that I couldn't get a job; I am well-trained in a highly-technical and sought-after field of work. My problem is that my beliefs are very much at odds with the road the country is on and the military's role in it. I was a young and dumb 23 year-old when we invaded Iraq, and I thought killing the enemy was awesome and I was all stoked on it. Looking back, those Iraqis didn't want to be there, but our government and our chain of command declared them the enemy and some behaved as such, because they fought for their lives, as were we when we killed them. Stuff that I am not proud of anymore. If I were called on to take part of such things here at home, I know what side of the fence I would land on, but I just don't want to be asked.

    Everyone I know, friends, family, wife....they're all telling me to stick it out, that it will be worth it, that life is tough out there right now. Conventional wisdom validates their advice; for someone with fifteen years time in service to bail is forfeiting a healthy pension and healthcare and all that.....but my take on that CURRENTLY, is that those benefits are administered by a government which I no longer trust. These people close to me do not share my deep thoughts about the state of our country and that of the world in which we live. My wife is a very good person; she believes and mildly understands what I believe in, but has chosen to remain on the same side of the line with the rest of the sheep. She simply cannot fathom the idea of the life she knows completely falling apart and the entity/structure she has come to know and trust being the perpetrators.

    Point being, no one understands.

    Given my circumstances, what should I do? I hate my life being dictated by circumstances, but it is what it is. Do we have five years left, to where I can finish and then split the scene? I don't want to be stuck in some shitty country "planting the seeds of democracy" while stuff falls apart at home and the only thing I can do is read about it in Stars And Stripes. I do know that if I get out, I might have a more difficult time without that steady income. The uncertain future, coupled with the signs of the times, with a dash of my own obligations thrown in, makes me more uneasy than I have ever been in my life.

    Thanks to those who have read this.

  2. Silversnake

    Silversnake Silverback

    I understand completely (better than you would believe, probably). I would say stick it out. The ex wife will get a chunk of your retirement probably, but the healthcare will be worth it, even though it isn't perfect. Deployments are going to decrease significantly, so you are less likely to deploy. Depending on your rank, you may get offered voluntary early retirement or even separated with severance pay (annual pay times your years in service if you aren't flagged, if so, it will only be half that). Things will be tough whether you are in our out. I'd take the re-up, ensure you are completely ready to transition out including education, networking in your field, lining up the job, getting solid with the VFW and American Legion, etc. If your MOS is what I think it is, you likely have a clearance, which may be in jeopardy with your debt. That may get you a discharge rather than retraining after you re-up (with severance pay). I'd live as minimalist as I could while working on debt. As far as being overseas while things fall apart at home and you can't do anything about it, well, things are falling apart, and you still can't do much about it. Your in a tough spot no matter what you do. When in that situation, I envision and prepare for the worst and remind myself it's very much like a roller coaster. Ups, downs, turns and you aren't going to be able to steer much of it.

    Remember, they can't kill you (probably). Don't break the law and the won't put you in jail (probably). You haven't got much else to lose. Bankruptcy is an idea if your debt is that bad. It would take 10 years to get it off your credit report, but you would spend the next 5 in the service anyway.

    Lasty, if your user name is your initials and your MOS, I would politely ask the administrators to change that to something else for OPSEC. If that isn't, then that's pretty good OPSEC.
    melbo, tulianr, tacmotusn and 2 others like this.
  3. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    Well, deep subject. I made a similar decision nearly 20 years ago - 13+ years active, but Clinton was gutting the military and I disembarked from the Corps. Child support, catching up on bills (related to the support also) but the future is always cloudy until you are there...
    After all was said and done, I had my own business, a fantastic supportive wife...and was back on track, building our preps a step at a time. Do I think about how things may have turned out if I had stayed in? Yes, on occasion...but then I realize that I would not be living the life I am today - one that I am happy with and can be proud of.
    Ultimately, it is your decision, but that is how things panned out for me in a similar situation.
    Good luck and God Bless! Semper Fi!
    melbo and Silversnake like this.
  4. tulianr

    tulianr Don Quixote de la Monkey

    Trust me, I've been exactly where you are. I even got out after my first tour for a while, before going back in for a career. Over a twenty-three year span in the Marines, I had two marriages disintegrate. My finances fell into extreme disarray both times - bank accounts being wiped out while I was overseas, bills not being paid. Later came the seemingly endless assistance and child support. After my "permanent wife" and I married, things were tight for quite a while.

    At about my fifteen year mark, a contractor offered me a very lucrative job. Trying to decide what to do was torturous. Stay in - get out. I tried to look at the pros and cons, but so many things simply didn't equate. What helped me was some advice from the man who actually offered me the job - a retired Warrant Officer. He told me that the one thing in his life that he never regretted was staying in until retirement. He realized the internal struggles that I was dealing with, trying to decide, and told me that I could get the job he was offering any time; but once I got out, there was no going back to seize the retirement that I had turned my back on. I stayed in.

    I offer you the same advice that he offered me - "Staying in until retirement is one decision that I have never regretted." I can't tell you how many former military that I have known who have lamented not staying in until retirement. Don't get out when you're this close.

    I can relate to your problems with the government. Believe me, Clinton and his crew made me seriously consider whether I really wanted to serve that government; but in the end, you're not serving the government, you're serving the nation. The fact that a lot of your fellow citizens decided to be idiots and vote into office a crowd of jacka$$es that temporarily became your bosses does not change the fact that you serve the nation. Commanders in Chief come and go. Don't let them cause you to make a poor decision regarding you and your family's future.

    Retirement pay and benefits isn't anything to sneer at. Seriously consider it. You won't get rich off of military retirement, unless you're in the high O-grades, but not having to worry about your mortgage and utilities is a serious stress reliever in these uncertain economic times. Any job that you can get now, you can get five years from now, and having your mortgage and utilities paid for can let you be a lot more choosier about the job that you take.

    We need good people in the military. We need patriots in the military. If the good ones all get out and leave only the spineless order followers who are only there for a pay check; I fear for our military and our nation. Not everything that you do in the military is pleasant, as you well know, and sometimes you have to walk a tight-rope between your orders and your conscience, but I never did anything during my career that I was ashamed of. I always tried to make my little corner of the world as good a place as it could be, and I took care of my people. The next five years will give you the greatest opportunity to do that. Stay in.
    melbo, kellory, jms21y and 6 others like this.
  5. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    Sorry to hi-jack the thread, but, I think there's a moral to this story regarding deployments, credit cards, and chix.


    I agree with these guys: stay in. If SHTF, you will be in a better position to help people while serving having the outlook that you do.
    Brokor, melbo, tulianr and 2 others like this.
  6. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    There is definitely something to be said for a guaranteed (as long as the present federal financial charade goes on) retirement retainer check from the government. If you only had 8 or 10 years invested and you really have A highly in demand at present time skill set, it would be much more of a toss up decision. I retired from the service in 1994, with very little in the way of an in demand skill set. I did not have the negative financial anchors dragging my ship down that you have mentioned either. I worked a blue collar semi skilled construction job for 18 years after retirement (electrician). I wasted too much money during that 18 year period. I am in pretty good financial shape now, but that includes a 20 acre purchase of land in 1985, and some stock investments that worked out for me before I got the rug pulled out from under me along with tons of other people around the year 2000 or so. Now with a rental housing unit providing some income and social security as well, I would say I am pretty well set and things should be rainbows and lollipops, however, I suspect our federal economic system is going to burst a bubble worse than the dot com, housing, or banking fiascos. I exspect total economic collapse before 2016. Bottom line, whatever decision you make may make no real difference what so ever to speak of. The decision is yours and yours alone. I wish you the best with what ever you decide. Did I mention I strongly believe in God, so, It's all in his hands anyway? LOL, follow your heart, do your best, believe, and all will be alright somehow.
  7. Beano

    Beano Monkey

    That nice, cozy feeling you get when you're camping and you down that nice plate of Hormel chili and Minute rice.....that's what I have right now. Thanks guys.

    Regarding the moral of the story, that is partially the case. For me, it is simply to be more scrutinous when selecting a mate; and if you aren't compatible, realize it and action on it before the kids and the debt come along. The train wreck that was my first marriage is equally as devastating as the financial quagmire I'm stuck in; it was a lesson which slammed me on the sidewalk and curbstomped me to no end.
    Yard Dart, melbo and tulianr like this.
  8. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    I absolutely agree with the others- wise advice to stay in, when you are this close. You can stand on your head for five years and suck it up. In that time you can develop your career and take the debt and make it manageable. It is very important during this time to focus on your education and professional development. When you retire you will have that income and hopefully are prepared to walk into your civilian life with a good job set-up due to your efforts while wrapping up your career.

    I ETS'd out of the Army with 11 years, after a bitter divorce where I was saddled with a similar financial burden with child support and bills that I could barely pay. I decided I wanted to hang my hat up a try something new and just go. You make strange choices when you are pissed off at a woman and the world in general for the woes you are having.... In hindsight I was a little brash, when I should have settled down and do what I am suggesting you do. It has been 15 years since I got out and still wonder if I should have "sucked it up". It took me all of 10 years plus to get back on the right track. I was continually dealing with lawyer cost for follow up battles with her and sporadic work for a period which put me behind on all including child support- you dont want to go there.....

    This is a difficult time for all in the civilian and military communities when it comes to job potential. Many are struggling to make ends and maintain the jobs they have. Regardless of media coverage, business's are having a hard time hiring new employees with these assaults on businesss revenue in the form of taxes, obbumer care cost and the many local and state cost being incurred on top of that. When I hire new electricians most have been sitting for 4 to 6 months on average before coming out for a new gig. It is a tough work environment and you do have a steady source of income, medical, dental and time to fix some of your financial issues.

    We do need Patriots within the service and I amongst the others encourage you to continue that endeavor. Good luck and God bless whatever decision you make!!
  9. Beano

    Beano Monkey

    Your prognostication doesn't help lol.....I expect the same thing, very soon, but I just don't know what will happen to me and mine. It's a hard picture to paint when we don't know all the details.
    tacmotusn likes this.
  10. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    As you well know the youngsters look to many of the senior NCOs for behavior to model and emulate. The moral leadership to refuse an illegal order in upholding your oath would likely influence many younger soldiers do the same. Can you think of a better way to more directly protect the citizens of this fine country from the dangers within and without firing a single shot?

    There are some full time positions in the National Guard which might help keep you stateside. The Army is closing 2 of the 5 guard and reserve mob/demobilization sites this year as they wind things down so we know they are cutting guard and reserve deployments. So, there may be some other options to checkout that could still get you to a retirement.

    We need you. And we need more like you.

    melbo, tulianr, kellory and 3 others like this.
  11. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    Do the 5. Several others here said it better than I did. We need the Patriots in the service. Make that eagle crap just a bit longer.
    melbo and jms21y like this.
  12. Silversnake

    Silversnake Silverback

    I'd consider calling branch and asking for a short tour to Korea with follow on assignment of choice. Your rank and MOS may not be eligible for a short, however. The USA will likely still be here in 12 months. Being away from the wife will suck, but you get to steer your life a little by paying the price. While there, polish your civilian resume with education or other certificate qualifications. Choose the follow on assignment where you want to retire, and have the Army move you there, then homestead until you hit 20. The family separation pay will get you a couple hundred bucks or so a month, which you could use. Since they fly you back for 30 days leave for mid tour, it really is only 11 months apart. Also, getting overseas should qualify you for benefits under the Soldier and Sailor Relief Act to soften your debt burden. When you get to your follow on assignment, your Korea time will get you put at the top of the housing list. You may not be interested in on base housing, but you aren't likely to buy a house anytime soon. I wouldn't buy anything except a homestead at the location of your civilian career location. If the wife can stay with family, you can get paid full housing allowance for her regardless of what she has to pay a family member for rent.

    @tacmotusn made a comment about God. I don't preach, but I would not have made it through some very hairy stuff (both personal and operational) if it hadn't been for my faith and what I believe was the protecting hand of God.
    melbo, tulianr, jms21y and 2 others like this.
  13. Beano

    Beano Monkey

    That is some sound advice there....I have been loathesome of Korea, but I am due for an overseas tour (all of mine have been deployments, which may be how I have avoided it thus far). If I handled four year-long stints in the sandbox, Korea shouldn't be an issue, and as you said, follow-on of choice ain't a bad deal. I could go back to Kansas and set up my retreat.
    melbo and tulianr like this.
  14. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    Take this from and Olde Phart: five years is just a blink of an eye in life.

    As stated, you serve your nation, not the ,gov.

    Your Oath is to the Constituition.

    If it'll take more than five yeaars to pay off your debt, consider that BK and get a fresh start.

    Best wishes
    Brokor, ghrit and jms21y like this.
  15. bfayer

    bfayer Keeper Of The Faith

    TERA is going to be spooling up exponentially in the next 2 years so you might want to stick it out. Depending on what the new SecDef decides to authorize, that may be a good option.
    jms21y likes this.
  16. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Dude, stay in if you can bear it. Keep it tight, do what's expected, and it will be over soon enough. This close to retirement, you can swallow your doubts.
    I had the fortune of not having debt, no wives or kids, and no reason to stay in. I also had conflicts with the whole concept of being a part of an illegal and unconstitutional occupation, and no sensible reason to continue. The thing is, YOU are one of the many who help make the military better. If you can manage to hold out, every minute you are active we have one more soldier who won't turn against the citizenry. That is something to be proud of.

    Five years is a cake-walk. [winkthumb] Best of luck.
    jms21y and tacmotusn like this.
  17. DMGoddess

    DMGoddess Monkey+++

    I'm not in a position to judge, having never been in the service (through a bit of teenage stupidity called rebellion), but I'm with Cato on this, especially about SHTF.
    On a lighter note, think about the great goodies you'll have access to, and can tell us about!:D
    jms21y likes this.
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