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I want to serve, but I need my questions answered

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Hi there.  I'm cross-posting this from the Ask A Recruiter forum, as I haven't had a reply there yet.  My thread is fairly long, so I will understand if it takes some time to get to, but I also understand that it just might be too long for recruiters to give the attention needed. 

I hope to begin serving the CF in an infantry position in the near future, but I have a lot of questions that I need to know the answers to before I would consider it.  I'd be giving up a lot of things in my personal life if I were to do so, but so long as I can clarify that the military has a path for me in line with my goals, I would have no regrets.  Current and former CF soldiers are very encouraged to reply, as these questions are eating me up! 

Thanks very much in advance; I now present my original thread below.



I'll leave it to numbered questions so as to not waste your valuable time, but I do want to preface with just one snippet about my personal life.  I always wanted to serve in the infantry during the Afghanistan conflict, but was pushed straight into university by overbearing parental control and away from my goals.  It's eaten away at me ever since, now as a nearly 27 year old man.  I feel that I missed my opportunity to truly do something of meaning and value in the name of my country and the value of human life itself.

The idea never left my memory, and indeed the job market has been rough for a uni graduate. What has been different, however, is that I have a strong social circle now and a girlfriend I love very much and have been with for a couple years.  I would sacrifice a great deal if I were to enlist now -- isolation from friends and family, and my better half has essentially made it clear that she wouldn't wait for me if I were to enlist and deploy.

We've had a rocky patch lately, however, and a lot of it comes down to that we need to be pursuing our own goals independent of one another; if the Canadian Forces truly can offer me the path I need and have wanted, it would be worthwhile (although difficult) to end this relationship.  If I were to simply serve out a term of years of training exercises and in garrison, however, I'd always have regrets that I didn't stay behind and see if we could work through things.

Essentially, I need to clarify some things and ensure that the personal sacrifices I intend to make will be worthwhile in the end, if the opportunities for me to serve my country in the way that I intend are available.


1. I want to fight.  That isn't to say that I want to kill.  I have no desire to take a human life, but I have no illusions about the possibility, either.  With that said, an important goal of mine is to see what I am made of.  In the future, I hope to go into law enforcement, and I feel that undertaking combat in the name of my country will allow me to test myself and develop the skills necessary to be truly brave, and truly strong.  The current atrocities going on in Ukraine and with ISIS have been stirring me up inside for a year now in much the same way that going through high school watching NATO battle the Taliban and al-Qaeda did.  I'd give anything to stand up for the victims at home and abroad of these types of horrors, including the aforementioned elements of my personal life that mean a great deal to me.  The lengthy training process for infantry soldiers, coupled with the fact that our current engagement in Iraq will be up for a vote on extension in a year (and likely under a new Prime Ministerial regime) worries me as to this possibility.

2. With that said, doing my part doesn't necessarily have to mean overt combat.  While that would be my preference, peacekeeping in areas that truly are in need of our armed forces would be a more than acceptable substitute, engage my passions, and even provide me with invaluable experience for policing.  Guarding the delivery of humanitarian aid to wartorn, unstable, and environmentally devastated locales (such as Haiti) would also fit the bill.  I simply want to feel that my personal sacrifices have meant something, something more than merely spending a number of years in the military being ready just in case the need arises for me to actually do something.  Deployment, of some kind, is a must.  Insights into what I can expect as far as questions 1 and 2 are what I seek.

3. How long does the recruiting process take?  I'm quite strong, as I've weight trained off and on since high school, however I have let my cardiovascular fitness slide.  I want to get the ball rolling on my recruitment as soon as possible while leaving myself ample time to train (currently looking at a couch to 5K program and then simply becoming a regular runner, in addition to diet and my typical weight training).

4. NCO or officer?  I have a degree in Criminal Justice, and as such the recruiter I spoke to noted to me that I would be eligible for an officer's position.  He noted that infantry officers do get their boots wet in the field, to ensure that they truly understand the struggle and capability of an infantryman, and I suppose I do have some leader tendencies.  However, I do not think more highly of myself as a potential soldier simply because I am educated (in mostly unrelated matters, at that).  I would prefer to go with NCO if that would increase my chances of deployment, as I have zero issue taking orders.

5. Although a longer path, I would be willing to see my way through a term of primarily training exercises and the like if serving with JTF2 (and presumably realizing the goals of #1-2) would be a possibility in my future.  I've tried to research the requirements, but been unable to find anything other than their physical fitness test.  What length of service contract would I want to negotiate for the regular forces to make this a possibility?  If I end up not seeing a deployment, I'm also wondering what additional training I could volunteer for that would increase my chances of making the cut (sniper, etc), and what else I could do to make myself an appealing candidate.

(I'd like to say that I know far too many wannabes probably say things just like this, but I can have a very singular mind when I eliminate distractions and set out to do something, and really do have faith that I would be mentally strong enough to see it through.)

6. I have some minor issues with my eyesight and depth perception, and was wondering if I should be looking into corrective surgery before applying.  I've also experienced some hearing loss due to years of security work in the bar industry, but I don't think it was significant.  Still, I'd hate to

7. A minor aside, but I understand that there are often a great number of recreational combat training opportunities such as martial arts available to the Canadian Forces.  I've always had a passion for the sport of boxing and wanted to take it up, but could not afford it, and was wondering if this would be an example of the opportunities available, or if the old saw about military boxing training and leagues is just something made up for hollywood films and the like.

8. This should about cover it, but I suppose I'm just looking for a basic idea of what I can realistically expect if I were to enlist, in the here and now, this summer.  I have obligations that restrain me in my current place of living until late August, but after that, if I can truly find a path in line with my goals, nothing would make me happier than to enlist with the Canadian Forces.

Thanks very much for any guidance and support, and I apologize for the fact that presumably at least some of my questions are repetitive and dime a dozen.
 

mariomike

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River City Roughneck said:
I would sacrifice a great deal if I were to enlist now -- isolation from friends and family, and my better half has essentially made it clear that she wouldn't wait for me if I were to enlist and deploy.

How to get family on board 
http://army.ca/forums/threads/13678.425

River City Roughneck said:
In the future, I hope to go into law enforcement, and I feel that undertaking combat in the name of my country will allow me to test myself and develop the skills necessary to be truly brave, and truly strong. 

River City Roughneck said:
While that would be my preference, peacekeeping in areas that truly are in need of our armed forces would be a more than acceptable substitute, engage my passions, and even provide me with invaluable experience for policing.

CF experience relevant to RCMP, civ policing? (merged)
http://army.ca/forums/threads/32733.0/nowap.html

River City Roughneck said:
How long does the recruiting process take? 

SELECTION PROCESS ESTIMATE
http://milnet.ca/forums/threads/118428.0.html

River City Roughneck said:
NCO or officer? 

Officer/NCM differences 
http://army.ca/forums/threads/171.525.html

River City Roughneck said:
Although a longer path, I would be willing to see my way through a term of primarily training exercises and the like if serving with JTF2 (and presumably realizing the goals of #1-2) would be a possibility in my future. 

Joint Task Force 2 (JTF 2) - Canadian Special Forces 
http://army.ca/forums/threads/19990.650

River City Roughneck said:
If I end up not seeing a deployment, I'm also wondering what additional training I could volunteer for that would increase my chances of making the cut (sniper, etc), and what else I could do to make myself an appealing candidate.

Becoming a Sniper (merged)
http://army.ca/forums/threads/455.150

River City Roughneck said:
I have some minor issues with my eyesight and depth perception, and was wondering if I should be looking into corrective surgery before applying.  I've also experienced some hearing loss due to years of security work in the bar industry, but I don't think it was significant. 

Vision Questions Megathread, Categories, Problems etc.
http://army.ca/forums/threads/432.0

Laser eye surgery 
http://army.ca/forums/threads/13032.325

Hearing
https://www.google.ca/search?q=site%3Aarmy.ca+ncm+officer&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-CA:IE-Address&ie=&oe=&rlz=1I7GGHP_en-GBCA592&gfe_rd=cr&ei=FFw-VfKaKYyN8QfspYCgDA&gws_rd=ssl#rls=com.microsoft:en-CA:IE-Address&q=site:army.ca+hearing

River City Roughneck said:
7. A minor aside, but I understand that there are often a great number of recreational combat training opportunities such as martial arts available to the Canadian Forces.  I've always had a passion for the sport of boxing and wanted to take it up, but could not afford it, and was wondering if this would be an example of the opportunities available, or if the old saw about military boxing training and leagues is just something made up for hollywood films and the like.

The Martial Arts Superthread 
http://army.ca/forums/threads/706.0/nowap.html

Boxing clubs on or near base 
http://army.ca/forums/threads/113821.0

 

Loachman

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Do NOT cross-post. Post once, in the appropriate forum, and wait for an answer.

Do not post so much that nobody is going to bother reading. Few of us have enough time in our busy little days to do what we need or want to do, let alone carve through that much.

There is a ton of information on this Site already, as mariomike (who stands an excellent chance of being beatified by the next Pope, if not this one) has kindly pointed out. It is hard to ask an original question here, but it does occasionally happen. If you cannot find an answer by reading through older threads, or by using the Search Engine - and I mean putting some time and effort of your own into it - go ahead and ask. Read the stickies in each forum before posting. They are stickied for a reason.

We do not like answering the same question again and again and again and again again and again and again and again again and again and again and again.

If you really need assistance with something, we will go to great lengths to help you, but we expect you to do your own work first, to the utmost of your ability.

As it is here, so is it in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Happy reading, and good luck.
 
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Yes, I'd like to apologize for that.  I received a verbal warning through PM and would like to explain myself here as I did there.  I had the best of intentions in making the cross-post, as I hope I established in the OP, even if they were misguided.  It can be tough to find the most relevant, most helpful board on this forum as it is so large.

I actually have read threads related to my primary concerns (they're essentially structured in order of most to least pressing).  I admit, the lesser concerns do indeed seem easily answered and I should have put some time into looking them up as well.  The threads I did read provided me fairly murky answers that fell all over the map, with some saying to expect a lot of time in garrison playing cards and others that seemed to imply that peacekeeping missions aren't the safe picnic they're made out to be and would fulfill the goals of a well-intentioned soldier that wants to "see the action".  Mariomike's information was invaluable and I regret that it was so easily found, especially when he provided answers to some questions I had on my mind that I wasn't asking in the first place, but I do find it a bit telling that he didn't have any real answers (or at least, any that could be solved with a simple hyperlink) for my first concerns/questions.

I posted the thread because I was hoping for something of a personal touch from those in the know given the nature of my life at present and what I stand to give up if I enlist -- were it not for that, if I was still an 18 year old with no ties and nothing to lose, I'd simply enlist and worry/ask questions later.  I was also hoping for a bit more of a topical/current mind to give insight to my concerns given the impermanent, shaky nature of Canada's current engagements. 

I'd be happy to pare down the OP if it hasn't already worn out any patience I might've been afforded already.
 

Teager

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Just throwing this out there but why not go the reserve route? Then you may not have to give up anything and still have a lot of opportunities. Many Reservists have served oversease. If you honestly enjoy it a lot and want to pursue it further go for Reg force. No one here can say anything about future deployments because no one knows what's going to happen next in the world. All the CAF can do is be ready for whatever comes next.

On a side note nobody cares about your personal problems and what you have to give up to do what you want.
 

Loachman

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The best that you can do is to read more here, and get a "flavour" of the profession. No two people's experiences are going to be the same. There are too many variables for that. Nobody can predict what crises may or may not occur in the future.

If your girlfriend is not willing to support you in this, then perhaps you should carefully and honestly examine that relationship before it is too late for a simple and relatively cheap split.
 

mariomike

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River City Roughneck said:
if I was still an 18 year old with no ties and nothing to lose, I'd simply enlist and worry/ask questions later.

That did not happen due to what you described as, "overbearing parental control".

Life moves pretty fast. Good luck!
 
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