Grad School and Guard Support

septicshock

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BLUF: Would serving in NGSF Support as either a 68W or 35-series (possibly SOT-A if a 35P) be incompatible with simultaneously being in any kind of STEM graduate school? If any of you have attempted it, do you regret anything, have any suggestions, and/or know of any pitfalls to avoid?



Howdy gentlemen,

I am currently a pre-med junior with the goal of attending an MD/PhD program (7-8yr combined program for research-oriented students). However, I have a strong desire to serve in the military and have been seriously considering enlisting after college and pursuing the non-medical portions of graduate study while in NG Group Support. Is this feasible? I am currently a volunteer EMT in my free-time and am planning on getting my NRP before I graduate. I understand that I am almost guaranteed to be delayed by several years in graduating due to deployments. However, serving in NG Group Support seems like a way that I could both serve my country while I am young, healthy, and don’t have any dependents, and also move forward in my long-term career, even if it is not at the fastest pace possible. Is that the case?

Below are answers to questions that I believe that y’all would likely have for me. All of my answers are based off of information that I have read or seen/discussed, and if any of it is wrong or misinformed, please let me know.


Why not active duty?

No guarantee of slots in a particular unit or deployments. Peace-time army, much higher chance of spending 3-4 years with no real use of my MOS skills.

Why special operations?

Special operations seems to attract high quality soldiers who are focused on the mission, deploy regularly, and hold themselves to a high standard of performance, both in their skills and physically. Those are the kind of guys I want to work with.


Why not go SOST or other similar units if you have a medical interest, once you get your MD and PhD?

Two reasons-

OPTEMPO vs. Research
  • SOSTs, SORTs, etc. are high-demand, low-density asset, and I would probably not be able to run a functioning research lab and be in those units, even in the Guard/Reserves.
Family Concerns
  • Will hopefully/likely have a family by 32 years old, and the stresses of a high deployment rate would likely not be conducive to the healthiest marriage or family life (divorce rate in SOF community is as high as 90%, I have read).
Why not go in as an officer?
  • Limited officer opportunities in SOF support from my reading.
  • Interested in doing a particular job rather than being the manager of the guys doing the job
    • No disrespect meant to officers, I know they are a very valuable part of the military system, just doesn’t appeal to me at this time, especially for the fields that I am interested in.
Why not just do the National Guard in a normal unit, or do the med student option?
  • Lots of hard-chargers in NGSF community, want to work with guys like that
  • No effective guarantee of deploying/using MOS in normal Guard units.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post,

septicshock
 

Cookie_101st

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BLUF: Would serving in NGSF Support as either a 68W or 35-series (possibly SOT-A if a 35P) be incompatible with simultaneously being in any kind of STEM graduate school? If any of you have attempted it, do you regret anything, have any suggestions, and/or know of any pitfalls to avoid?



Howdy gentlemen,

I am currently a pre-med junior with the goal of attending an MD/PhD program (7-8yr combined program for research-oriented students). However, I have a strong desire to serve in the military and have been seriously considering enlisting after college and pursuing the non-medical portions of graduate study while in NG Group Support. Is this feasible? I am currently a volunteer EMT in my free-time and am planning on getting my NRP before I graduate. I understand that I am almost guaranteed to be delayed by several years in graduating due to deployments. However, serving in NG Group Support seems like a way that I could both serve my country while I am young, healthy, and don’t have any dependents, and also move forward in my long-term career, even if it is not at the fastest pace possible. Is that the case?

Below are answers to questions that I believe that y’all would likely have for me. All of my answers are based off of information that I have read or seen/discussed, and if any of it is wrong or misinformed, please let me know.


Why not active duty?

No guarantee of slots in a particular unit or deployments. Peace-time army, much higher chance of spending 3-4 years with no real use of my MOS skills.

Why special operations?

Special operations seems to attract high quality soldiers who are focused on the mission, deploy regularly, and hold themselves to a high standard of performance, both in their skills and physically. Those are the kind of guys I want to work with.


Why not go SOST or other similar units if you have a medical interest, once you get your MD and PhD?

Two reasons-

OPTEMPO vs. Research
  • SOSTs, SORTs, etc. are high-demand, low-density asset, and I would probably not be able to run a functioning research lab and be in those units, even in the Guard/Reserves.
Family Concerns
  • Will hopefully/likely have a family by 32 years old, and the stresses of a high deployment rate would likely not be conducive to the healthiest marriage or family life (divorce rate in SOF community is as high as 90%, I have read).
Why not go in as an officer?
  • Limited officer opportunities in SOF support from my reading.
  • Interested in doing a particular job rather than being the manager of the guys doing the job
    • No disrespect meant to officers, I know they are a very valuable part of the military system, just doesn’t appeal to me at this time, especially for the fields that I am interested in.
Why not just do the National Guard in a normal unit, or do the med student option?
  • Lots of hard-chargers in NGSF community, want to work with guys like that
  • No effective guarantee of deploying/using MOS in normal Guard units.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post,

septicshock
Would you need to work full/nearly full time while in your Grad program?

I'm finishing my senior year of my BS right now, and between work, school, and being a PSG/other military commitments, i pretty much have no personal time. Is that something you can/would legitimately be able to do?

How willing are you to delay your schooling? I got to my unit around May 2017. A guy who was in my section left two weeks before I arrived to go reclass to 35P and learn Russian; he's still in training, as far as I know.

As far as having hard chargers in support units; that's not always the case. I can't speak for the other units around the country, but I can tell you that my FSC/BSC has it's fair share of duds, about on par with the regular units I was with when active.
 

policemedic

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So, you want to be a doctor and be in the military. Here’s my advice on that, and that alone.

Contact America’s medical school. See what you’ll need in order to apply; eligibility to commission as an officer is required. You’ll get paid to go to medical school, pay for nothing, and only owe a service commitment afterwards. Perhaps one day you’ll become a Group surgeon.

As for the Group stuff, I would listen to those like @Cookie_101st and others with SOF/SOF support tags who may chime in with advice.
 

AWP

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BLUF: Would serving in NGSF Support as either a 68W or 35-series (possibly SOT-A if a 35P) be incompatible with simultaneously being in any kind of STEM graduate school?
Yes, without a shadow of doubt.
 

septicshock

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Would you need to work full/nearly full time while in your Grad program?

I'm finishing my senior year of my BS right now, and between work, school, and being a PSG/other military commitments, i pretty much have no personal time. Is that something you can/would legitimately be able to do?

How willing are you to delay your schooling? I got to my unit around May 2017. A guy who was in my section left two weeks before I arrived to go reclass to 35P and learn Russian; he's still in training, as far as I know.

As far as having hard chargers in support units; that's not always the case. I can't speak for the other units around the country, but I can tell you that my FSC/BSC has it's fair share of duds, about on par with the regular units I was with when active.
I had anticipated working part-time to near full time and going to grad school part-time, and I have had that kind of grind before. Not my favorite option but not something that would dissuade me, especially if I feel like I am doing something worthwhile.

As to schooling delay, I anticipated an anywhere from 3.5 to 6 years delayed graduation, figuring IET + 12 month deployment every other year (3 years of 6 year contract deployed). Definitely good to know as well about the composition of the FSCs and BSCs.



So, you want to be a doctor and be in the military. Here’s my advice on that, and that alone.

Contact America’s medical school. See what you’ll need in order to apply; eligibility to commission as an officer is required. You’ll get paid to go to medical school, pay for nothing, and only owe a service commitment afterwards. Perhaps one day you’ll become a Group surgeon.

As for the Group stuff, I would listen to those like @Cookie_101st and others with SOF/SOF support tags who may chime in with advice.
Good info, thanks.


Yes, without a shadow of doubt.
I will weigh my options accordingly.

Thanks for all of the information gents.
 

Cookie_101st

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12 month deployment every other year (3 years of 6 year contract deployed).
Clarifying statement: not about to be speaking for all units or individuals in or supporting 19th or 20th.


That deployment schedule would be out of the norm for most support guys. If you're lucky/have the right MOS you might get two during a six year window. I've seen guys here who haven't deployed in 3+ years, either because their MOS isn't needed, or the team only needs one cook(for example) and there's three of you who could take it.
 

septicshock

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Clarifying statement: not about to be speaking for all units or individuals in or supporting 19th or 20th.


That deployment schedule would be out of the norm for most support guys. If you're lucky/have the right MOS you might get two during a six year window. I've seen guys here who haven't deployed in 3+ years, either because their MOS isn't needed, or the team only needs one cook(for example) and there's three of you who could take it.
Good to know. This thread has helped with some future plans, so thank y'all.
 

compforce

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Clarifying statement: not about to be speaking for all units or individuals in or supporting 19th or 20th.


That deployment schedule would be out of the norm for most support guys. If you're lucky/have the right MOS you might get two during a six year window. I've seen guys here who haven't deployed in 3+ years, either because their MOS isn't needed, or the team only needs one cook(for example) and there's three of you who could take it.
7 years in 20th 3 deployments (1 was dropped so I actually did 2 of them, but I was on orders for 3). Bear in mind that they tend to be about 15 months each because of certification for active duty and trainup in advance and then demobilization after you get back. Every other year is about right, but you're not counting all the training time and the mandatory stuff that you have to do on your own time. For me, it worked out to about an average of 4-5 months active duty each year. I didn't have to do IET due to prior service so add that in on top.

BTW, that is the minimum. Theres a class of people referred to as "Guard Rats" that make a full career out of getting on Active Duty orders every chance they get. Those folks end up getting more like 8 months a year on active duty and active duty for training orders.

My advice, pick one or the other and be the best you can at it. @policemedic gave you a third option that may work out.
 

Cookie_101st

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7 years in 20th 3 deployments (1 was dropped so I actually did 2 of them, but I was on orders for 3). Bear in mind that they tend to be about 15 months each because of certification for active duty and trainup in advance and then demobilization after you get back. Every other year is about right, but you're not counting all the training time and the mandatory stuff that you have to do on your own time. For me, it worked out to about an average of 4-5 months active duty each year. I didn't have to do IET due to prior service so add that in on top.

BTW, that is the minimum. Theres a class of people referred to as "Guard Rats" that make a full career out of getting on Active Duty orders every chance they get. Those folks end up getting more like 8 months a year on active duty and active duty for training orders.

My advice, pick one or the other and be the best you can at it. @policemedic gave you a third option that may work out.
Yea, the 25, 35, and 91 series guys tend to get brought along oh most every deployment. Occasionally some 92 series A/F/G/R) or 88 series will go as well.
If OP went the 35 route, he have a better chance of deploying than a 68W, at least in regards to my unit.
 
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