Career as a military officer

Definition: A military officer, a member of the U. S. Armed Forces, is responsible for the protection of U. S. citizens. This is a broad responsibility however and each officer has a distinct role that (s) he plays in the maintenance of national defense. As a member of the military, an officer signs a contract and must serve a number of years before retirement is possible. There are five branches of the U. S. Armed Forces. The Army is the senior service and fight mostly on land. They had around 572,000 personnel in 1993.

The Navy is seaborne the force of the U. S. Naval officers and enlisted spend long periods at sea and travel all about the world. In 1993 the Navy had about 510,000 personnel. The Air Force is the newest of the five branches and specializes in aviation and mechanical trades. Over 440,000 people were serving in the Air Force in 1993. The Marine Corps operate on both the land and the sea. They are “first to fight” and establish a front for the other branches to run their campaigns from. The Marines are quite close with the Navy and provide security on ships and bases. They also guard U. S. embassies. There were approximately 178,000 Marines in 1993.

The Coast Guard is the smallest of the military services and is in charge of the enforcement of maritime law. They are also responsible for the rescue of those in distress at sea. Unlike the other branches, the Coast Guard is a service of the Department of Transportation except during a war, when they operate as a part of the Navy. (Career Information, 1996, 268, -270) History: America’s first forces of defense were militias of the colonies. The first was Virginia in 1611 Followed by Massachusetts in 1636. The Continental Army was established in 1775 to prepare for the Revolutionary War.

Its commander was George Washington. The first Marines were attached to the Army in 1775, but were attached as an independent part of the Navy in 1798 when it was official established. The Marines were made a separate branch of the military in 1834. The Coast Guard was established in 1790 to combat smuggling and remains the oldest seaborne force of the U. S. The Militia act of 1792 pooled the state militias into what would become known as the National Guard after World War I. The war of 1812 started after a series of skirmishes with the French and was the last time the U. S. had to protect itself from foreign invaders.

The Civil War was by far the worst war for the U. S. ’s Armed Forces. More American soldiers died in the Civil War than any other war. Balloons were used during the Civil War, which was the first use of aircraft by the U. S. military. In 1892 a Balloon Corps was established as part of the Army’s Signal Corps and in 1907 a separate Aeronautical Division was created. The U. S. showed its true military prowess in World War I. Air power had proven itself extremely important and brought about great strategic changes. The Army Air Service was established in 1918 as a separate service though it remained under the Army’s direction.

The National Defense Act of 1920 made an order far as standing army of 300,000 men, with additional reserves, but a shortage of funds and social influence led to an era of isolationism for America. At the time Europe entered World War II, America’s Army was only 150,000 active personnel. America was forced to enter World War II after the surprise attack as Pearl Harbor and at its height there were 13 million Americans between all the branches of the Armed Services. Air superiority played a major role in the allied victory of World War II and following the war, in 1947, the Air Force was created.

All five branches were unified under the Department of Defense 2 years later. The Coast Guard was placed under the Department of Transportation however, except during wartime when it operates a part of the Navy. Post-World War II America was far from isolationism and was quite involved in foreign affairs. The Soviet Union’s power over central and Eastern Europe and the potential spread of communism around the world led to a new kind of war, the Cold War. The U. S. deployed troops around the world to counteract the Soviet threat. A race to build nuclear arms started as well as a race to get into space.

Anticommunist tensions led to involvement in the Korean Conflict in the 50’s and the Vietnam Conflict in the 60’s and 70’s. Antiwar sentiment grew and a reevaluation of the American military policy of American military presence in foreign countries became needed. In 1973 the draft was abolished and the military became a volunteer organization. The Armed Forces started work to improve their image and make the military a more appealing career option in order to attract talented people. Military spending greatly increased in the 1980’s in an effort to bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Military actions occurred in Grenada, Panama, and the Middle East. In the late 80’s many communist nations began to press for independence. In 1991, under pressure from political and economic crisis the Soviet Union fell, ending the Cold War. Also in 1991, Iraq invaded Kuwait. U. S. forces along with other nations worked together in the first United Nations. Once again air power played a major role and U. N. air forces crippled most of Iraq’s military before the ground war even started. The Gulf War was important for not only showing the power of American military technology but also the cooperation shown by the members of the U.

N. With the end of the Cold War a redirection of purposes of the military has arrived. Defense spending has declined with the loss of the other super power and the military has become more of a peacekeeping force. (Career Information, 1996, 268-270) Nature of work: The maintenance of National Defense includes many diverse tasks, such as Running a hospital, commanding a tank crew, programming computers, operating a nuclear reactor, and repairing and maintaining a helicopter. There are literally hundreds of occupations in the armed services.

There is managerial, administrative, technical, clerical, construction, electrical, electronic, mechanical, and repair jobs. There are over 360 basic and advanced military occupational specialties for enlisted alone. There is almost this many for officers too. Over 75% of military occupations have civilian counterparts. Brief descriptions of the major military occupational groups follows. Infantry, gun crews, and seamanship specialist are the personnel on the front lines. Officers in this field plan battle strategy, oversee security activities, and serve as combat leaders and pilots.

Personnel in this category learn how to work in a team and develop leadership skills. In electronic equipment repair occupations people are required for the maintenance and repair of many sorts of equipment. Officers oversee the maintenance and repair of avionics, communication, radar, and air traffic control equipment. Most skills in this field are directly transferable to civilian jobs. Communications and intelligence personnel are similar to scientist, engineers, and investigators. Officers serve as intelligence gatherers and interpreters, cytologists, information analysts.

Translators, and in related intelligence occupations. Those assigned to medical and dental occupation certainly have civilian counterparts. Health care officers include physicians, dentists, optometrists, nurses, therapists, veterinarians, pharmacists, and others in diagnosis and treatment. Training acquired in the military in these fields is most often transferable to civilian jobs and certification. Other technical and allied specialty occupations are typically transferable to civilian life, also. Officers in this area work as meteorologists, mapping directors, television and motion picture directors, and band directors.

Functional support and administrative occupations in the military require the same skills as similar jobs in private business and government agency. Officers in this field work as directors, executives, adjutants, administrative officers, personnel managers, training administrators, budget officers, finance officers, public affairs officers, accountants, hospital administrators, inspectors, computer system managers, and lawyers. In electrical and mechanical equipment repair occupations, personnel maintain aircraft, motor vehicles, and ships.

Officers supervise the maintenance of missiles, conventional and nuclear-powered ships, trucks, earth-moving equipment, aircraft, and other vehicles. This is another field with skills easily transferred to civilian jobs. Another area of military work is that of craft occupations were workers are skilled in an assortment of crafts. Some of these crafts for officers include civil engineers, architects, and managers of enlisted personnel in carpentry, construction, plumbing, metal working, machining, welding, electrical work, and ventilation systems.

Those in service and supply handle food service, security, and personal services and supply. Officers work in logistics, supply, transport and traffic management, and procurement. Skills in this field are also often transferable to civilian counterpart occupations. (Occupational Outlook, 1998-1999, 482-483) Qualifications, education, and training requirements: There is not just one way to become an officer in the United States military. The most prestigious route to a commission is at one of the federal service academies.

These academies are 4-year colleges that grant Bachelor of Science degrees. Graduates have a 5-year commitment after graduation but may have a longer commitment if entering flight training. Another way to earn a commission is through ROTC or Reserve Officers Training Corps. There are about 950 Army, 60 Navy and Marine Corps, and 550 Air Force ROTC programs at schools across the nation. Trainees take between 2 and 5 hours of instruction per week along with normal college courses. After graduation, they may serve in the active military, in the reserves, or in the National Guard.

The last 2 years in ROTC, students receive a monthly allowance while attending school and summer training. ROTC scholarships are available on a competitive basis for 2, 3, or 4 years. These scholarships pay for tuition and have allowances for subsistence, textbooks, supplies, and any other fees. College graduates can earn a commission in the armed forces by going to OCS (officer candidate school) or OTS (Officer Training School). Those who earn their commissions this way must go on active duty. People with experience or training in certain health professions may fulfil requirements for a direct appointment as an officer.

Those in health professions may also receive financial aid and internship opportunities from the military in exchange for a period of service. Prospective medical students can apply to the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences for free tuition toward a M. D. degree. However, after graduation they must serve 7 years in the military or the Public Health Service. People in other positions such as judge advocate general (legal) or chaplain corps may also be eligible for a direct appointment. Flight training is available only to commissioned and warrant officers. (Occupational Outlook, 1998-1999, 485-486)

Working conditions: Military life is much more structured and disciplined than civilian life. Military service is also an obligation once contracting and one must serve their full term. Dress and personal appearance are regulated heavily and everyday life is full of formalities. Officers and enlisted men do not socialize and officers are saluted and called “sir” or “ma’am”. These rules help encourage respect for superiors and make the obedience of commands immediate and without question. The military always come first in military life. This affects hours and working conditions.

However, most military personnel work 8 hours a day and 5 days a week when not deployed on a mission. When off duty military personnel do not have to wear their uniforms and participate in family and recreational activities like most civilians. At some points in time military service requires weekend, night, or 24-hour call work. Multiple relocations and great deals of travel are quite common for the military also. Depending on the branch of service, assignments could be extended periods at sea in cramped quarters or overseas assignments in undeveloped countries with few amenities.

Some assignments are in parts of the world with extremely high or low temperatures or in hostile areas where fighting could erupt at any minute. Some peacetime jobs are even hazardous, such as sailors on the deck of an aircraft carrier. During wartime, military personnel could be in an extremely high-risk position. Engaging in combat with life and death situations and depending on countless hours of training to attain teamwork. With today’s technological battlefield, teamwork is a very important factor. Noncombatants may face danger during war if their duties bring them close to the front.

Even in peacetime, hazardous training exercises present a risk to military personnel. Air and ship crews travel a great deal, as others are stations on bases around the world. Most personnel are reassigned anew place of operations ever few years. (Occupational Outlook, 1998-1999, 483) Earnings: The base pay of a 2nd Lieutenant or O-1 is $1,725 per month. Salaries go up with rank and time served at that rank. (Occupational Outlook, 1998-1999, 486) Advancement possibilities and employment outlook: There are many possibilities for advancement in the armed services.

Working hard and showing leadership earns advanced training and advanced positions. The military is in constant demand of personnel since personnel are continuously retiring and reaching the end of their service. The military offers some of the greatest job security out of all occupations. (Encyclopedia of Careers, 1997, 38) II. College catalogues 1. University of Alabama Admission requirements: The University of Alabama requires students to have a 2. 0 GPA from high school and “acceptable” ACT or SAT scores. If one’s GPA is above 2. 5 on a 4. 0 scale, test scores may not be required.

Alabama also requires an advance diploma or the completion of the following classes: 4 units of English 3 units of mathematics beginning with algebra I 4 units of social studies including world history 3 units of science including 2 units with a laboratory 1 unit of foreign language 5 units of other academic courses, with 1 year of computer literacy, 2 years of foreign language, 1 year of fine arts, and at least 4 years of mathematics and sciences Expenses: Alabama’s cost per semester for an Alabama resident is around $3,700 dollars per semester. This includes: Tuition$1,342 Room$1,080

Dining Dollars$200 Meal plan$700 Telephone$53 Books and supplies$305 Plans to pay: There are numerous scholarships, grants, loans, and other sources of financial aid. To apply for financial aid, an application must be submitted by March 1. Curriculum: For a student in aerospace engineering the following courses on the freshman curriculum: Introduction to Aerospace Engineering (AE 125) General Chemistry for Engineering Students I (CH 131) Engineering Graphics (DR 125) English Compositions I (EH 101) English Composition II (EH 102) Calculus I (MATH 125) Calculus II (MATH 126)

General Physics with Calculus I (PH 105) Humanities or Social Science electives Graduation requirements: To be eligible for a baccalaureate degree in any school or college of The University of Alabama, a student must earn in residence at least 14 of the semester hours required for the degree, including 9 of the last 18 hours. Advanced work in the major and minor fields may be specified to be taken in residence. A 2. 0 GPA is required to earn a degree and a C average or higher must be earned in the area of major. Some areas of major may have higher grade requirements than this.

Reasons for choosing this college: One can still get a commission as a military officer but in a more laid-back civilian college. It is also a lot closer to home for the author. 2. United states air force academy Admission requirements: Admission to the Air Force Academy is very competitive. Grade point average, standardized test scores, physical fitness, citizenship, and extracurricular activities all play a role in acceptance. First one must fill out a precanidate questionnaire and write letters to the vice president, congressmen, and senator requesting nominations ot attend the academy.

When an application is received from the academy it must be filled out and returned. A physical is required as is a physical ability test involving pushups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and a 300-meter shuttle run. Average SAT scores are 1290 and average ACT scores are 29. Eighty-eight percent of the students were in the top quarter of their class and 10% were the top of their class. Expenses: There are no expenses. The Air Force pays for everything and gives a $600 a month allowance. Plans to pay: The Air Force pays for everything. Curriculum: As a fourth-class cadet (freshman), one would take the following classes:

CLASSHOURS Basic Cadet Training and Basic Physical Training (over the summer)N/A Principles of Chemistry (Chem. 141,142)6 Introduction to Computer Science (Comp Sci 110)3 Freshman Composition (English 111)3 Basic Foreign Language (For Lang 131/132)6 Modern World History (History 101)3 Calculus I and II (Math 141/142)7. 5 Air Force Officership and Operations (AFO 110)1. 5 Physical Education1. 5 Graduation requirements: To graduate you must a) demonstrate an aptitude of commissioned service and leadership by having a minimum 2. MPA (Military Point Average), b) be satisfactory in conduct, c) be proficient in physical education and military training, d) complete the requirements for the core curriculum and for an academic major, and e) have a minimum cumulative and core GPA of 2. 0. Reasons for choosing this college: This is a very prestigious college and would better prepare one for the military world. Graduates from the academy (zoomies) often go farther in rank than those from ROTC programs. III. Interviews 1. CPT Jeff smith, USA (retired) 1. What did you do on a normal day? What were your job responsibilities?

A normal day? There really weren’t any normal days! Basically we spent a lot of time training, so it was pretty much out in the field. PT (physical training) in the morning, then paperwork, and then we headed to the field to do some training. I was an armor officer so we worked mostly on the tanks with our training. I had an armor company and it was a plus up Armor Company so I was responsible for about 213 guys. Taking care of training and practicing what w e had gone over, and just the day-in/ day-out responsibilities similar to your company commanders down their.

Getting guys from point A to point B, making sure they were meeting their educational needs, taking care of our equipment. Every thing is geared toward training and the next step. I had to take of some legal things for guys. Help with family matters. I would say it was the day-to-day jurisdiction of helping my guys get their basic needs. 2. What benefits did you have? What was your salary? The military took care of all our medical needs. Health and retirement was taken care of through the military. I was making about $1850 a month. 3. What is an employer looking for when hiring in this field?

I looked for guys that were self-motivated and that were going to go the extra mile. Maybe not the smartest apple in the bunch but those with a lot of heart. I wanted guys to give the effort for me and stay late and get there early. 4. Would you choose this career again? Yeah, yeah I would. I went places and saw things I never would have in the civilian world. 1. LTC Jamie Clark, us air National Guard 1. What do you do on a normal day? What are your job responsibilities? I’m a full time physician for them. I’m a flight surgeon, which means my job entails doing physicals on the pilots.

They have to have a physical every single year and one year they do a real detailed physical then the next couple years they have a real abbreviated physical. These physicals consist of height, weight, blood pressure, and maybe a little lab work. Aside from that my job, as long as we’re in peace time, giving the physicals, giving safety briefings, medical related type deals, safety issues that might be a problem when they go somewhere. Foodborne disease when they get deployed some where, so I participate in those types of briefings. I also fly with them.

I have to fly at least 2 hours month with them just to stay current. The flight has to be in the back seat of whatever aircraft the unit flies, and my unit happens to be the F-16 unit. 2. What benefits do you have? What is your salary? We have a retirement you’re eligible for at age 65 but you must spend twenty years in and you don’t start getting retirement like a regular retired full timer gets retirement the day he retires, and a reservist doesn’t start getting his until he is 65. So you have to put in twenty years of service and then at age 65 he starts getting retirement that is based on how much time he put in.

Number of year’s service and number of day’s active duty, number of drills or training periods he’s done. Other benefits are things like, you don’t have health insurance, but you have a life insurance policy and the only time you have any kind of health insurance is when you get activated to go full time or you get deployed somewhere for 2 weeks or get activated for wartime scenario. Salary is, I’m a lieutenant colonel, so for a weekend I make around 400 something dollars, 600 something before taxes. They also paid a large portion of my school loans when I was in medical school. 3.

What is an employer looking for when hiring in this field? As a flight surgeon you have to not only do physicals you have to take care of them if you get activated. It would be more like being a general practitioner. 4. Would you choose this career again? Yeah, yeah, I would. I might have done ROTC and been a full time pilot though. Iv. why choose this career? This paper has helped me in many ways. I am having second thoughts about going into the military, not only because of the daily rigidness but it truly doesn’t pay that well. I am seriously considering an occupation I believe I have denied myself interest in.

My father is a doctor and in some deep chasm in my mind I feel I told myself I didn’t want to do what he does. The research in this paper has made me want to go to a civilian college, such as the University of Alabama, and take premedical classes. A compromise between going to the academy and getting an Air Force commission or going to a civilian college and doing premed is going to a civilian college and doing premed and ROTC. I must now look at all my options, and dig deep in an attempt to find what I really want to do with my life. This paper has helped a great deal.


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