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Old 01-11-2011, 08:43 PM   #1
Mrs. Darcy
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Question about an officer leaving the military

Hi,
my husband is a 1st Lt. in the Marines. He signed an 8 year contract when he was commissioned 5 years ago. He also has a Master's degree in Civil Engineering and is working on his PhD in addition to his regular duty. He was deployed twice to Afghanistan before we were married but now he will be stateside for 3 years. He's about to be promoted to Captain.

Ok here's our dilemma. He was offered a position by a very large engineering firm with good salary, benefits and pension. Of course he couldn't accept because of his military contract, and he wouldn't leave anyway without fulfilling the contract even if he easily could. He loves the marines but I'm pregnant with our first child and he's re-thinking his future. The engineering company said to contact them when his contract is up and if he doesn't re-sign, they would still want him, especially because he'll have his PhD by then.

Do any of you know how common it is for officers to leave the military when their contract is up? I don't want to ask the people here as we live on base and i don't want anyone knowing that my husband is even thinking about possibly leaving. It would put him in an awkward situation with his command, as he commands 30 Marines and he thinks he would not be a good role model if they knew he was thinking of a career change.

Does anyone here have an opinion or advice about this? Thank you!
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Old 01-11-2011, 09:52 PM   #2
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My husband retired after 25 years as an AF officer. Through the years we saw many fine officers leave. You have to make up your mind if military life is what is best for your family.
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:08 PM   #3
Mrs. Darcy
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My husband retired after 25 years as an AF officer. Through the years we saw many fine officers leave. You have to make up your mind if military life is what is best for your family.
I'm concerned that when the time comes and if he does leave, he'll be called unpatriotic. He loves his country and has fought for it, his combat experience being defensive rather than offensive, though, due to his job in Afghanistan. Do you think he'll be harassed or looked down upon if he leaves?
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:18 PM   #4
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I see no reason for him to be looked down on. He may receive some good natured ribbing by some of his buddies. He should be proud that he served in the first place. It will be a difficult decision for him though. Remember he will always be a Marine.
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Old 01-11-2011, 11:26 PM   #5
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I see no reason for him to be looked down on. He may receive some good natured ribbing by some of his buddies. He should be proud that he served in the first place. It will be a difficult decision for him though. Remember he will always be a Marine.

Yes, it will be difficult. And thank you so much for saying he'll always be a Marine! I appreciate your replies!

Susanna
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Old 01-12-2011, 12:21 AM   #6
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I know plenty of officers who chose not to stay in, we are AF though, and it is not a big deal merely ones personal choice. That being said when DH was at the 6yr point, we are approaching yr 17 now, he was offered a very very good job with a well known company. They really wooed him, flew him in for an interview and put him up in a 5 star hotel, etc. But when we sat down and compared apples to apples, meaning compared our Military pay but added in our tax savings plus housing etc compared to the civilian offer it was as big a a raise as it looked. Then we looked at retirement savings, when we figured what we would need to save every month to guarantee an equal monthly retirement we would have actually had less spendable income in the civilian world without any job security.

For us, even with frequent moves, deployment and lots of TDY time, staying in was the right choice and I will miss the military lifestyle when it is over but the Military is not the best choice for every family and there is nothing wrong with making with getting out.
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Old 01-12-2011, 01:18 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mrs. Darcy View Post
I'm concerned that when the time comes and if he does leave, he'll be called unpatriotic. He loves his country and has fought for it, his combat experience being defensive rather than offensive, though, due to his job in Afghanistan. Do you think he'll be harassed or looked down upon if he leaves?
I've never seen that happen. We know many Officers who have gotten out after their first contract is up, normally around the 1st Lt./Capt. timeframe. It's been pretty common, in my experience. My husband considered other job opportunities last time he had a chance to get out, but they wanted more experience - so we're staying in for at least a few more years.

Longsx3, I know what you mean about the military benefits. It's crazy to realize what we sometimes take for granted.
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:43 AM   #8
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I agree with counting in paying for housing and paying for insurance plus what you will pay in taxes if he gets this contractor job and seeing if it's even.

Notice I said "if" so many contractors wooo you and tell you that you will have this great job when you get out and for most of the people I know, it's a lot of empty promises. Many of them also still go overseas for just as long.
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Old 01-12-2011, 02:21 PM   #9
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My DH was active duty Navy for 8 years and left about 18 months ago and joined the Reserves (he is currently deployed in Afghanistan). No one questioned his patriotism or looked at him in a bad way for getting out. We did have several people ask why- but I think that's just because he stayed in the Reserves, so clearly liked his military service, and because he had been in for so long. It sounds like the Marines are different, but when DH joined, he did sign for 8 years- only 4 of which were active, the remaining 4 were on the IRR (inactive reserves). After the first 4 years, he could get out any time he wanted, he just had to submit a resignation letter and then enter the IRR.
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Old 01-12-2011, 03:56 PM   #10
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I don't see why anyone would question him as being unpatriotic unless he did something that would fall under "conduct unbecoming" and deciding that your time in the military is over after your obligation is fulfilled is anything BUT that. He should be proud of the opportunity to serve his country.

DH has had many fellow officers leave and take jobs in the civilian world - mostly at the same time frame 1st LT/CPT. Several of those lost their jobs in the last few years due to cutbacks and are job hunting once again. The military provides a stable income with solid benefits but the lifestyle is a tough one. You need to take into account all of the benefits - the BAH, BAS, insurance, tax advantages, etc... plus the longevity pay increases and see if this is the right decision for your family. Don't let someone else decide what is best for your situation.

At this point we are too far in to look back - DH hits 16 years of service in a couple of months and is up for promotion as well. We're hoping to coast through the next 4 years and retire so he can take advantage of the full pension and insurance benefits from the military then find a civilian job as well. He has been approached many times already but has made it clear he isn't interested until after his 20. We'll see how many of those jobs are still out there when that rolls around.

Good luck on your decision - and good idea not discussing this with anyone on base. News travels like wildfire there as I am sure you know and the last thing you need is something getting out that could affect your DH at work.

Also - congrats on the new arrival!
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:01 PM   #11
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Old 01-13-2011, 12:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trip View Post
I see no reason for him to be looked down on. He may receive some good natured ribbing by some of his buddies. He should be proud that he served in the first place. It will be a difficult decision for him though. Remember he will always be a Marine.
I agree! We know many people that did not stay for the full 20 years and they are well respected for the time that they did serve!


We are very grateful for him and for YOU too! Thank you for your service to our nation!
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Old 01-21-2011, 11:06 AM   #13
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My DH was comissioned last year (Army) and I would say at least half of the guys in his Plt. are planning on doing their "3 year contact" and getting out. Most are just in it for the experience and how it will look to future employers. My DH is going to be a "lifer" He's already done 10 yrs enlisted, so we are half way there. I think if your DH can find a job he'd be happier at then go for it! Just a note though, if he does change his mind and want to get back in it might not be as easy as getting out, so make sure if he gets out , its for good. Good luck in everything you do ! I miss those days when my hubby could just call out of work Definitely some perks of being a "civilian" again!!
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:23 AM   #14
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Thank you for all the replies!
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:44 AM   #15
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My DH went in active duty Army right out of high school in 1998 and did 3 years active, 5 years active reserve and got out in July of 2005. He came to me in Sept 2010 and asked what I thought of him going back into the active reserves and this weekend was his first drill in 5 1/2 years and he is very glad he went back in. He only has 12 more years before he can retire, but he will still be young then.

He even talked to his platoon sargeant about trying to get a job with the unit full time, don't know how that will work out, but we will see. The benefits we have been able to take advantage of the last 6 weeks has been well worth it.

No one ever looked down on Dh when he left, he was still even thanked for the service that he did. I am proud of him no matter what choice he makes and I am glad he went in in the first place or we would have never met.

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