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Thread: Enlisted w/ a degree?

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    Confused Enlisted w/ a degree?

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    DH is at boot camp right now. He has a degree which I didn't think was anything too exciting but I've talked to other people in the military (not Marines) that say he should have gone straight in as an officer.

    I figured cuz he's got a business degree it didn't mean much to the Marines, but I am really wondering why he is starting out as an E-2. I guess it didn't seem that odd to me until his recruiter told me he was 'the most edumacated person in his platoon." Why aren't there any other people there with a degree?

    I have heard that officers that started out enlisted make better officers because they can relate better, but still confused.

    Does anyone know why this is?

    ETA: I guess I am just looking for a concrete reason if there is one. I am cool with him enlisting, just fon't get what the distinction is since the option wasn't presented to him. And, for what it's worth, he's going to be in the legal MOS. Not sure if that has anything to do with it.
    Last edited by llove12; 03-10-2009 at 10:11 PM.
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    I think it's different with the Army, but my husband enlisted instead of trying to become an officer, even though he had a 4 year degree. He was able to enlist at a higher rank because of his school time. He just didn't want to be an officer. He had the test scores to go that route if he so chose, but it's not his thing. I can understand that, and support him in his decision.
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    hey. my DB did the same thing for the marines, enlisted and went in to boot camp with a degree. he chose to do this rather than go to OCS, which is officer candidate school, which is an option that one would have with a college degree. he did it specifically because he felt like he didn't want to go in as an officer without working up the ranks. he's stubborn that way. some folks think that it makes for better officers, but i have friends in other branches who commissioned in who i think are still pretty swell officers, so i guess it's a matter of opinion.

    that's what people mean when they say he "should" have gone in as an officer - he had that option, and it's one he would have had recommended to him by his recruiter. he'll start out as a slightly higher rank than he would have (E-2), but that'll be the only difference the degree makes unless he chooses to go to OCS later. now that your DH enlisted, he'll have the option of doing a year of service and then going to OCS after that year because of the degree - or at least, my DB does, i'm not sure if it's different based on MOS.

    i hope that helps the situation make more sense. it's rare for folks who already have a degree to go through the regular enlistment process, which is why people would respond that way. i know my DB got a lot of teasing/grief from one of his DI's for having a college degree in boot camp.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jen1982 View Post
    I think it's different with the Army, but my husband enlisted instead of trying to become an officer, even though he had a 4 year degree. He was able to enlist at a higher rank because of his school time. He just didn't want to be an officer. He had the test scores to go that route if he so chose, but it's not his thing. I can understand that, and support him in his decision.
    That's understandable and respectable but it was never presented to DH as a option. His recruiter is so nice, I don't think anyone did anything wrong, I just don't understand what the distinction is.

    Lamont told me it's because he wasn't in good shape, but he doesn't listen well and doesn't ask enough questions so IDK if that's why or not.
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by llove12 View Post
    DH is at boot camp right now. He has a degree which I didn't think was anything too exciting but I've talked to other people in the military (not Marines) that say he should have gone straight in as an officer.

    I figured cuz he's got a business degree it didn't mean much to the Marines, but I am really wondering why he is starting out as an E-2. I guess it didn't seem that odd to me until his recruiter told me he was 'the most edumacated person in his platoon." Why aren't there any other people there with a degree?

    I have heard that officers that started out enlisted make better officers because they can relate better, but still confused.

    Does anyone know why this is?

    Most people with a degree will go in as an officer. However, some choose to go enlisted because there are some jobs you just can't do as an officer. Different responsibilities and job descriptions and stuff.

    The Marine Corps gives an automatic promotion to E-2 to anyone who has a certain number of college credits (I think it's 15 or 20). I guess that is their way of recognizing education within the enlisted ranks. When it comes to being an officer, the type of degree he has doesn't really matter. There are officers with degrees in marine biology, english, communications, exercise physiology, etc. that are in jobs that have nothing to do with their degree.

    For the most part, the general attitude is that officers who started out enlisted (they are called mustangs) are "better" at their job than officers who were never enlisted, especially if they stay within the same career field. For example, if your husband is infantry while he is enlisted then becomes an infantry officer, he will probably be more respected than an infantry officer straight out of ROTC or the Naval Academy. This is just because he knows what the enlisted guys are going through, and because when he was enlisted he saw what he did and did not like about how officers did their job. Therefore he knows his place and what is not a part of his job description.

    That is just a generalization though, ultimately it comes down to the specific person and how they do their job.
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    Quote Originally Posted by llove12 View Post
    That's understandable and respectable but it was never presented to DH as a option. His recruiter is so nice, I don't think anyone did anything wrong, I just don't understand what the distinction is.

    Lamont told me it's because he wasn't in good shape, but he doesn't listen well and doesn't ask enough questions so IDK if that's why or not.
    Ugh, I am sorry to hear that. If he knew there was an option, and would have chosen to become an officer, I think it should have been offered to him. Maybe he can do some time enlisted and then go officer. My dad was an officer for 26 years in the Army and loved it, but was not enlisted first. I hope he's able to find something that works best for your family.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktinnc View Post
    i know my DB got a lot of teasing/grief from one of his DI's for having a college degree in boot camp.
    The DIs have Lamont clean the toilets in their house every night. He said, "I guess they think smart people can clen a toilet really well." His recruiter said it's actually a good thing to be the scribe and it has it's benefits in the end.
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    #8
    Any other ideas?
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by llove12 View Post
    Any other ideas?
    It could be because of his grades? I know that to be a reason for the Navy when people come in Enlisted with Degrees. He should be an E3 out of Boot Camp though.

    Just have him keep applying over and over till he is accepted.
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    #10
    iirc, my national guard friend told me you go in as e-4 if you enlist with a degree.
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