DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My daughter’s older step-brother went into the Air Force through the delayed entry program last fall. We wanted him to finish his associate degree before going into the service, because we found out that he would have a jump on getting ahead.
Now my daughter has been talking to Marine recruiters about going in after she finishes high school next year. She too would be putting in time in the DEP program, but she keeps telling us she has no intention of going on to college before entering the service. She hasn’t enlisted yet, and since she’ll be 18 in January, there is nothing we can do to prevent her from enlisting.
Not only am I worried sick she wants to become a Marine, because they are always the first into any fight, but with no college credits, she will be going in at the lowest rating and will have a long way to go to get anywhere.
What can we say to persuade her that if she is determined to join up, there are some things she can do to make her life better once she is in? --- MOM OF A FUTURE MARINE
DEAR MOM OF A FUTURE MARINE: I’ve known some young people who went into the delayed entry programs of their chosen service. It gives them a taste of military life and helps prepare them for bootcamp, as you’re well aware since you already have a family member who went that route.
While going into the service with some college credits, and especially a degree, can certainly help give recruits a foot up, it’s not the only way to get ahead. Although she may not be thrilled about it, you can go with you daughter to talk to the recruiters and raise your concerns. While they’re the military’s salespeople, you may find the way they respond to a parent is different than you might expect. They can also point you towards resources for military parents, including social media groups that provide discussion forums and perspectives beyond the official line.
Doing some homework on your own may either confirm a few of your fears, or perhaps set your mind a little at ease.