I had a great military career. I’ve traveled the world, led Soldiers in combat and become a better person, patriot and leader because of my military service. Even though I don’t have any major regrets per se, if I was to do it all over again, I definitely would have done things differently. In the paragraphs below I want to share what I would do differently if I was to start over again in the military.
# 1 I Would Have Went to College First
I enlisted right before high school graduation and then went to college for one semester. After that semester I went to basic training. Upon graduating from basic training I returned home and decided I wanted to go Active Duty. While on Active Duty I earned my Associate’s Degree at night. After getting my two year degree I was selected for the Green to Gold Program, where I attended SUNY Potsdam and Clarkson ROTC for three semesters.
Knowing what I know now, I would have went to an expensive and fun college first. I would have taken out college loans and lived the “college experience” for four years. After graduating college, I would enlist with the college loan repayment plan for a few years and then switch to Officer/Warrant Officer (more on that later).
# 2 I Would Have Joined the Marines Instead of the Army
As I get older, I appreciate the United States Marine Corps more and more. As a young guy, I thought they were all a bunch of meat heads. But knowing what I know now, what I admire most about the USMC is their self respect and pride in service. That’s something that is definitely lacking in the Army. I’ve never met a Marine that looked weak, made the uniform look bad, or didn’t have self-respect. All of those things are very common in today’s Army.
# 3 I Would Have Served as a NCO First, Then Officer
I’m proud to have served as an enlisted Soldier before I became a commissioned officer. But if I had to do it all over again, I would have waited a few more years and earned my NCO stripes first. This extra few years of experience would have helped with my maturity and leadership skills.
# 4 I Would Have Chosen a Combat Arms Branch
As an enlisted man I was an Administrative Specialist (71L) and as an Officer I was a logistician (92A, 91A and 90A). While I enjoyed those officer jobs, if I was to do it all over again, I definitely would have served in a combat arms role instead. I have so much respect for the infantrymen, tankers and artillery guys that I feel like I really missed out by serving in a combat service support role.
# 5 I Would Have Been a Warrant Officer
I enjoyed my time as an officer, but I never really felt like I fit in. I am good at leading troops and getting the job done, but I am definitely a hands on guy. I always admired the Warrant Officers, the respect they were given and the way they treated each other. I truly regret not going the Warrant Officer route.
Thanks for reading my biggest regrets during my military career. Please know that I don’t regret the career path I chose. These are simply things that I would do differently, knowing what I know now.
What are some things you would do differently in your career, knowing what you know now? Post your comments and questions below. Thank you.