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  • Enlisted or Officer? And best military job for law enforcement

    So lately I've been thinking about going into the military upon graduating college in a year. Serving for what ever reason all of a sudden became appealing to me. Just a few questions especially for any vets turned LEO out there.

    Officer or enlisted? Obviously it would depend on whether or not I could even get into OCS, but I've heard recommendations both ways. I've heard if you have a degree go officer, more money, but I also heard you push more papers (which is not something I really want to do at 21 years old). Then again I know officers seem to have a better quality of life which I believe is an important factor because I would like to enjoy my time in.

    Also, what job would best be suited for someone looking to get into federal law enforcement when he gets out? I heard MP's don't even do much police work anymore, but would that still be the best route to go?

    I'm thinking of either the Air Force or Navy (enlisted or officer) and maybe even the army (but only as an officer)

    I am planning on talking to a recruiter as well, but I know they are known to have their own agendas so I was hoping I could get some input here first

    Btw my degree is going to be in Accounting

  • #2
    Officers have an easier life, but they are still accountable. I went in as enlisted due to the commitment to active duty (3 vs 6 years) being less. There are many arguments for either; it comes down to your personal goals.

    “Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie.”

    Miyamoto Musashi

    “Life Is Hard, But It's Harder When You're Stupid”

    George V. Higgins (from The Friends of Eddie Coyle)

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    • #3
      Originally posted by NoFlo Boy View Post
      Serving for what ever reason all of a sudden became appealing to me. Just a few questions especially for any vets turned LEO out there.
      The decision to join the military has to be well thought out and for the right reasons, not spur of the moment. You have to want to serve and fully understand the life you are committing yourself to, otherwise you will be miserable.

      As far as going into LE afterwards, it doesn't matter if you're an officer or enlisted, nor does it matter what job you had. Just do your job well and stay out of trouble. Choose something that interests you. Regardless if you go officer or enlisted, the higher up you go, the more paper you will be pushing. Why did you say Army officer only?
      Last edited by ArmyVet; 06-02-2014, 07:13 AM.
      "Respect is earned. Honesty is appreciated. Trust is gained. Loyalty is returned."

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by slamdunc View Post
        Officers have an easier life
        Who says???

        Okay, admittedly, officers probably have an easier life in some aspects, but you will definitely have long hours, calls at all times of the night, and more responsibility right away.
        "Respect is earned. Honesty is appreciated. Trust is gained. Loyalty is returned."

        Comment


        • #5
          What I recommend is that you read the four previous replies. They make all kinds of sense. I was enlisted. If I had that part of my life to do over, I'd have continued my education (you have) been in ROTC/PLC and gone commissioned. That's me.

          Once more, read the replies, and use them to formulate a sound decision. Best of luck to you.

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          • #6
            . I've heard if you have a degree go officer, more money, but I also heard you push more papers (which is not something I really want to do at 21 years old)
            Officers get paid more, and have more perks, and do push more paper.

            However, that's not the difference between enlisted and officer.

            This is the enlistment oath:

            "I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
            This is the commissioning oath:

            "I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God."
            Do you see the difference?

            A commissioned officer does not swear to obey the orders of those above him. He is legally bound to do so, and can go to prison or face other punishment, but not morally bound.

            This is because enlisted are expected to obey ALL orders except obviously illegal orders. They obey bad orders, immoral orders, stupid orders... everything except illegal ones.

            Commissioned officers are expected to question or disobey really BAD orders... at the risk of being prosecuted and going to prison. A commissioned officer's existence begins and ends with responsibility. Ultimately THEY are responsible for everything, even things they didn't know about or people they've hardly met. That's why they write the letter home to the parents of dead Soldiers. That's why they get paid more. They have far more responsibility.

            If you WANT that responsibility, then apply for OCS. If you want a bigger paycheck, look elsewhere.
            "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

            "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ArmyVet View Post
              Who says?
              I probably should have qualified my statement LOL.

              “Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie.”

              Miyamoto Musashi

              “Life Is Hard, But It's Harder When You're Stupid”

              George V. Higgins (from The Friends of Eddie Coyle)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ArmyVet View Post
                Why did you say Army officer only?
                Because I know a guy who went enlisted and claims that the quality of life is pretty poor, but I guess that's just an individual experience and it can be hit or miss on either being the best or worst days of your life.


                Does anyone know how competitive entry into OCS is now for the individual branches?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ArmyVet View Post
                  Who says???

                  Okay, admittedly, officers probably have an easier life in some aspects, but you will definitely have long hours, calls at all times of the night, and more responsibility right away.
                  From the day I got promoted to E-5, and ever since, it has been my mission to ensure that every one of the officers appointed above me was of the highest quality. If they put myself or the personnel under me in jeopardy, I would speak up and ensure that the situation was rectified ASAP and it happen again. There were several occasions where we sent substandard officers packing.

                  Now, with that said, I've served under many highly respectable officers. True leaders that have taught me volumes. In every case though, it has been the officer's responsibility to earn my respect. Otherwise, all they got from me was a salute to the rank on their collar.
                  Getting shot hurts! Don't under estimate the power of live ammo. A .22LR can kill you! I personally feel that it's best to avoid being shot by any caliber. Your vest may stop the bullet, but you'll still get a nice bruise or other injury to remember the experience.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by HI629 View Post
                    From the day I got promoted to E-5, and ever since, it has been my mission to ensure that every one of the officers appointed above me was of the highest quality. If they put myself or the personnel under me in jeopardy, I would speak up and ensure that the situation was rectified ASAP and it happen again. There were several occasions where we sent substandard officers packing.

                    Now, with that said, I've served under many highly respectable officers. True leaders that have taught me volumes. In every case though, it has been the officer's responsibility to earn my respect. Otherwise, all they got from me was a salute to the rank on their collar.
                    Agreed 100%. Hence my signature line. This really became apparent in how certain situations played out over the past year.
                    "Respect is earned. Honesty is appreciated. Trust is gained. Loyalty is returned."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have been both enlisted (Marine Corps.) and officer (Navy).

                      Officers have a "better quality of life"... IF they buy into a tradition begun long ago, by those with a sense of entitlement. This tradition is held on to by many officers who don't realize that the everyday welfare of those they lead is their responsibility and that they should be putting it before their own.

                      As a GOOD officer, you should be awake before your troops, planning their day, making sure they get whatever they need to do their job, that they get fed, that guys who are hurt or ill get to sickbay, etc. You're also still working when they've called it quits for the day, dealing with any issues which may have come up, and looking forward to the next day...and beyond.

                      Yes, you're financially better-off. You may get some other bennies, like a private (or a two-man) berthing on board ship. But in the end, if you're not the kind of person who sees it as their duty to care for those in their charge, being an officer is not for you.

                      Yes, you can (and should) delegate some of that to the platoon sergeant or section chief, but the ultimate responsibility to make sure it all happens is yours and yours, alone.

                      So if a would-be officer doesn't have that in them - that desire to put others first - then the knee-jerk "I-want-to-join-X-as-an-offficer" that is almost always seen from people contemplating military service might not work out to everyone's advantage. I'm not saying this is you, obviously. It's just that this seems to be a big motivator among some younger folks these days. My opinion only, of course.

                      That and, yes, you'll push a s&^%-load of paper as an officer. But if your ultimate goal is to be a fed, that's what 99% of your job will be, anyway (no, seriously...)

                      By the way, officer or enlisted makes no difference for federal law enforcement that I have seen. Not unless you were in a specific, desirable job for so long (i.e. more than one hitch/enlistment) that you became a freakin' expert at some skill that's vital to the agency to which you're applying.
                      "Sir, does this mean that Ann Margaret's not coming?"

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                      • #12
                        Do you want more pay, better living conditions, and more responsibility? Officer
                        Do you enjoy painting shovels, mopping floors, and picking up cigarette butts? Enlisted

                        You know what retired 1st sergeants do? Drive taxis, run trailer parks, and manage used car lots outside of base.

                        You know what retired colonels do? Enjoy their pension or work in corporate management.
                        I miss you, Dave.
                        http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CruiserClass View Post
                          You know what retired 1st sergeants do? Drive taxis, run trailer parks, and manage used car lots outside of base.

                          You know what retired colonels do? Enjoy their pension or work in corporate management.
                          I'd argue that....especially now days when lots of Senior NCOs have not only BA's but Master's degrees....

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by GreenLine View Post

                            By the way, officer or enlisted makes no difference for federal law enforcement that I have seen.
                            I've seen E-4s to O-6's work in local, county, state, and federal LEO gigs......

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thank you GreenLine, that was a very insightful response. I still got a decent amount of time to think about everything which I intend to do. I've never had any sort of leadership experience or responsibility like an officer would have (I'm only 19) but I feel like that would be all the more reason to pursue something like a commission. That experience is invaluable, even if it doesn't particularly help me with my future federal LEO goals.

                              And I know the feds tend to push a lot of paper, but that's also why my top choice would be the USMS. But I know that position is tough to come by nowadays which is why I'm trying to figure out what I want to do immediately after college since there is a 99% chance I won't land a position there as a fresh college grad at age 21.

                              Comment

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