My son Kevin does not live with me, he lives with his mother and step father about 90 miles away in Harlem Georgia, home of the Laurel and Hardy Festival due to being the birthplace of Oliver Hardy hey small towns need some reason to exist rofl.
He has been throwing hints out for the past few weeks that he was thinking about going into the Army after he graduates in May 2010. I have been trying to talk him into going to college under the college scholarship that he is entitled to as a child of a 100% disabled veteran South Carolina resident. He will have his tuition and books paid for by the state, due to my medical problems caused by my own military service. On top of this he will also be entitled to Chapter 35 benefits from the Veterans Administration of about 930 dollars a month while attending college.
But as he and the recruiter sat there and squirmed, the recruiter knew I was not impressed with his badges and combat patches, I have my own. I just made sure the recruiter knew that my son was not enlisting for the college benefits, since he already has a full scholarship due to my service. I made the recruiter tell my son that if my son did 3 or 4 years and got out that he would then be better off using my benefits first and then using his own benefits if he wanted to if he wanted to pursue a graduate degree of some type, that his own benefits would enhance the scholarship he already has access to.
That under the rules he can use the South Carolina and Chapter 35 VA benefits before he is 26, and he has 10 years after leaving the Army before he has to use the GI Bill benefits, so he could use them in tandem to get the most out of them all.
I made sure the recruiter knew my son has a long tradition of military service going back to 1775 in the family, all Army and that he would be supported in whichever decision he made, but that I would prefer my son would become an Army Officer and that the retirement for officers is much better than it is for enlisted personnel, and I made sure the recruiter told my son that in front of me, the recruiter admitted he will get about 2,000 a month after spending 20 years in the Army and and Army officer after 20 years is usually either a LT Colonel or higher and their retirement checks start about 5,000 a month. If you are going to spend a few decades in military service find a way to get the most out of it that you can, it's the American way.
The recruiter was talking about the fact my son wants a military job that will require a Top Secret clearance and that after he leaves the service how employable the TS will make him, yes employers with military or government contracts need employees with TS clearances, they are not easy to get, nor to keep, you have to live a clean life, no felonies, bo credit problems, etc. Employers can hire lots of people, it's getting that Top Secret clearance that is difficult, it would open career paths for him if he decides that he doesn't want to spend decades in the military.
I think military service is good for anyone, hell I and all of my brothers have done it, all in the Army, and I have had a good life, yes I know I have medical issues, and most of them would not have happened if I had not been some of the places the Army sent me, but that is just part of life. If I had not been there, I might have got shot on the streets of Riverside back in the 70s or 80s. Lord knows all I see is Riverside on the national news enough that I don't get homesick, I saw this morning that it is at the top of the worst places for unemployment in the nation, 47 or 48 close to the top of the 50 worst cities.
He turns 18 on February 2, 2010, they could have avoided coming to me to sign the approval forms just by waiting to process his papers, but my son wants to get a class approval and a contract guaranteeing him the job he wants, and he wants to go in the Army as soon as school gets out in late May, so by processing the papers now, he can lock in what he wants, the recruiter can get credit for getting him to sign the papers NOW, with my signature today, it is done before the end of Dec 2009 which I am sure helps the man with his boss, I honestly would not want to be a recruiter in a time of war and having to go to the homes of military retirees or disabled veterans asking for the parents signature to put their only son in the military.
But this is what my son wants, and the only thing I asked him was to do not even attempt to lie to me and tell me he was doing it for the GI Bill, I knew he was tired of school and he just wants to do what I did in 1973 and get the hell out of town and do something exciting. That he feels grown and he wants to do it his way, and on his own. Just be honest with me and I would have a lot more respect for him.
He sheepishly smiled at me and just asked "you aren't mad"? I shook my head and said No I can't be mad at you for doing the same damn thing I did at 18. Oh to be 18 and feeling invinceable again.
So my mind is off and wandering now, and just hoping I did the right thing in signing those papers........
update 60 minutes is doing a segment on the VA and how they are one million claims back logged as of now should be interesting