|Quote, originally posted by "R" Kelly »|
Not only that, I can't be fired, get full medical for my family, and I get to retire at 39 with a pension and full medical for life. At which point I'll get a nice $100K/year defense contractor job and retire from that at 59, drawing on a second pension.
Actually, you can get fired (the AF prefers to call it "rightsizing" or "restructuring" - just like the civilian world). We're in the process of cutting a lot of troops in certain specialties, enlisted in officer. Plus, as an officer, you're in an "up or out" world - If you don't get promoted to Major, you can be on your can at ~12 years of service. Miss LtCol, and you could be gone at 16 or 17, with a small separation payment, no pension/benefits. Some (actually these days, a lot) are allowed to select continuation to 20yrs, but not all.
That said, I'll piggy back on your recommendation. I'm doing right well financially - in addition to my basic pay, I've got flight incentive pay, allowances, and overseas pays, not to mention the benefits. I'll be eligible for retirement at the ripe age of 42, and be quite employable in a variety of areas should I leave then.
Of course, there are significant costs to this choice (dying in Iraq certainly is one potential, as is dying during peacetime duty as some of my friends have done), but aren't there such costs in all choices?
I'm don't think that everybody needs to serve in the military, but I do highly recommend that individuals should put a few years (at the least) into something bigger than themselves. Join the Peace Corps, Drs without Borders, a missions team, Habitat for Humanity... whatever. Just get off the "what's in it for me" train for a while. Don't worry, it will be waiting for you when you get back... if you want to get back on.