Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Good Old Fashioned Fuck Fuck Games

I am absolutely pissed right now so bear with me if I jump around.

So back in January I contacted my monitor to get orders to a new unit when my time is up here. I was surprised to learn that I was selected by the Headquarters Marine Corps Special Duty Assignment Screening Team (HSST) to serve on a special duty assignment (SDA). The HSST is a team of senior Marines who screen all Sergeants and Staff Sergeants to see who are eligible to do an SDA. The Marine Corps has five SDAs (Drill Instructor, Recruiter, Security Forces, Combat Instructor, and Embassy Security).

Well, long story short, I was selected for recruiting duty. I was given a recruiters school class date of 4 September. All SDAs require an obligated service time frame which is usually between 24 and 36 months. This ensures that the training and effort they put into you is worth their time. If you get selected to do an SDA, they will expect you to extend your current contract to fulfil the SDA service obligation. If you don't do this, it obviously exempts you from having to do the SDA, but they will force you out of the Marine Corps at the end of your current end of active service date (EAS).

For me this obligation was 24 months that I had to have on my contract once I finished recruiters school. My  EAS was December 2013 before all this went down. From the end of the class date I would have to extend my contract 10 months to meet the 24 months obligation. I was told this in June and I had serious reservations about staying the the Marine Corps and doing recruiting duty. For one, it's well-known that recruiting is probably one of the top two shittiest jobs in the Corps. You work from 8am to 9pm or later every day. For two to three years.

I've always wanted to be a cop. Ever since I knew I had to have a job, that's the only thing I've ever truly wanted to do. My whole life up to this point has been spent preparing myself for it. It's why I joined the Marines in the first place - so I would have something to do until I was old enough and so it would give me a leg up on the rest of the police applicants. I never planned to do more than my original five year contract but I was offered 80 grand and a three-year tour in Europe. There was no way I could say no.

So back in June I was staring at these extension papers and I got cold feet and decided that getting out would be the best option. I could finally go be a police officer like I've always wanted. But the thing was that I didn't want to get forced out of the Marines if I didn't do the SDA. I wanted to get out anyway but I wanted to leave on my own terms. I'm very confident that I'll have no problems getting onto the police department but in the back of my mind I was freaking out because there are only two things I know I will be good at; being a Marine, and being a cop. If for some reason the cop thing didn't work out I wouldn't have the Marine Corps as a back up and I would be completely devastated. There is nothing else I want to do. I would be totally lost in the civilian world if I didn't have option A or B. I would be starting out at whatever company at nearly 30 years old over a decade behind the power curve.

I decided to suck it up and do the 10 month extension and recruiting duty. It was a tough decision but I did it. I gave them an extra year of my life to avoid being forced out.

The last few months I've been prepping myself for school. It's a two-month Marine Corps school which are usually pretty miserable - at least they are for me anyway.

So I've been trying to be optimistic about the whole thing. Trying to take it all in stride when BAM! FOUR DAYS before I get on a plane for San Diego I get an email saying that the obligated service for SDAs changed. Before I can detatch from my present unit I have to sign ANOTHER extension, this time for 13 months because my SDA now requires 36 months after school.

My EAS went from being December of next year to being almost the beginning of 2016!!

I was already iffy about this when it was ten extra months, now it's two years.

Going from planning on getting out in less than a year to fulfil my dream of being a cop to being forced into doing an extra two years AND a shitty duty has me pretty upset right now.

If I deny this extension I don't exactly know what will happen. I will probably be sent back to North Carolina and have to keep the extra ten months, then have to do a year in Afghanistan (which I would actually be pretty happy about), and then get forced out in 2014.

An alternative ending is that I go back to NC, get to go back to my original EAS and they'll force me out  next year.

Or, the most unlikely option is that I fight this and get to keep my current extension and still do the SDA and not get forced out.

At the moment I think I will try to fight it. If that doesn't work I may just throw in the towel and call it quits. "Thanks for playing Marine Corps, you didn't win but better luck next time!"

Thanks for reading. I'd really like to hear what you all think.

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