To Re-enlist or Not?

Million-Dollar Question

Oddly enough, I was up for re-enlistment twice and I declined both times. As stated before, I joined at 17 and was looking for an adrenaline rush, probably due to watching too many action movies as a child. Much to my disappointment, military life is nothing like a Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, especially in garrison.

I chose Airborne after it was offered to me when I first enlisted, and that was an absolute blast. I have never experienced a closer camaraderie than that formed with your brothers, whether it be at home in training or deployed to a distant battlefield.

After my first three years, I wanted to get out because I wanted to make more money and start a family. After nine months of civilian life and having no success at either making more money or starting a family, I could not wait to go back in. I re-enlisted and spent two more years back in the Infantry. I chose the grunt life, the grunt life didn’t choose me.

By the time my second term of enlistment was over, I was 23 years old and a clearer grasp of what I wanted going forward with my future. I had the GI Bill and the Army College Fund at my disposal. I got out of the Army, got my first civilian job in the oil field, and started a family. My wife was the one who encouraged me to start down this path of earning my degree, upon which I am almost to the end. I have never regretted the decisions I have made because I would not be here without them, but given the benefit of hindsight I probably should have chosen to re-enlist the first time it was offered to me.


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