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Author Topic: Orthodoxy and military service  (Read 1269 times) Average Rating: 0
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kansas city
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« on: August 14, 2005, 04:46:25 PM »

I'm a catechumen in the Serbian Orthodox church in Kansas City, MO. Its nice to meet everyone and i imagine I'll have plenty of questions for everyone to fight over answering.

For now, I've only got one.  I want very much to go out and get a nice education, learn linguistics, maybe one day be in a position to even support a family.  However if i went to college, there's not a whole lot of ways around the price I'd pay. 

I've always been outspokenly opposed to violence in most contexts, the military, and a good amount of what the government does in general.  Alas, I have few enough options.. I'd be willing to work for the army, give them my time, if they were willing to work for me. 

I know to pray about it, talk to my priest, and that advice is basically all i need anyway, but others' experience and knowledge would help me as well, so thats what I'm looking here for.

I'd like to hear some other perspectives that might encourage me or make me see the evil truth.. whichever way it goes.  I know that Orthodoxy has as many military and ex-military men as other Christian... things.  So if any of them happen to be on this board and find my inquiry I'd appreciate their insight.

my appreciation in advance,
and please pray for me,
michael

p.s. no smileys necessary.
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Jennifer
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2005, 05:17:21 PM »

I've read some things on-line about how few soldiers can actually take advantage of the promised education in the military.  I'd do some investigating about them (and not from biased sources) before I committed to anything. 

Higher education is expensive but generally it's worth it.  State schools and community colleges are affordable alternatives.  You can borrow money.  The numbers still show that for most people, taking out educational loans to pay for college makes financial sense.  (and I say this as someone with a lot of student loans) 

I generally advise people to strongly consider a career in healthcare.  There are many healthcare tech positions that pay well.  You don't need to go to a traditional college either.  Community colleges often offer programs in radiology technology, etc. 

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Mo the Ethio
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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2005, 06:19:22 PM »

Dear Michael:
ÂÂ  Maybe you should get a job at a nice vegan restaurant. Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley
« Last Edit: August 14, 2005, 09:55:27 PM by Mo the Ethio » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2005, 06:26:45 PM »

If you're looking for a military paid education, you might want to try ROTC, you actually get a degree while you're in the programme, and after you get your degree, your only commitment is to the reserves, perhaps allowing you to pursue another degree. But do keep in mind, the Military is not a financial aid programme, you're essentially signing up to go to war, so if you get shipped off, no complaining Wink
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« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2005, 06:43:48 PM »

If you're looking for a military paid education, you might want to try ROTC, you actually get a degree while you're in the programme, and after you get your degree, your only commitment is to the reserves, perhaps allowing you to pursue another degree. But do keep in mind, the Military is not a financial aid programme, you're essentially signing up to go to war, so if you get shipped off, no complaining Wink

Actually, your commitment is to four years of active duty and a further four years in a reserve component.  The only way you get a full eight year contract with the Reserve or National Guard is under a Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty (GRFD) contract.  Those, however, are limited in number compared to the overall number of ROTC scholarships (which have been decreasing overall, as well).

To combine that with what Jennifer mentioned earlier, though, Army scholarships are actually increasing for the Nurse Corps programs, as the military's having to compete with the civilian world for qualified medical personnel.  Either way, though, if you stay in long enough (on active duty), the Army will generally pay for at least a master's degree and sometimes further education.  Military scholarships are also available for professional schools such as medical or law school.
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Thomas
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« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2005, 12:59:25 AM »

Dearest Brother-n-Christ,

I was in the military for 20 years and much to my own surprise was never assigned to a combat unit or had to do any major work in the field.  I was able to complete a bachelor of Arts and a Master of Social Work in the military, raise a family of five children and maintain my marriage without many issues.  I must admit to you that this is a rarity in the military.  My wife and I always said that I had a Guardian Angel who worked overtime keeping me safe and helping my family to be able to stay together.

I believe it is important that  practicing and believing Orthodox Christians be a witness within the military to other young men and women who are struggling with what can be a very spiritually challenging environment.  I can remember the witness that just a few believing Orthodox Christians had on some of the most vile and hardbitten  men I ever met.  Their Orthodox Christian Life style example and prayer softened them and gained an admiration and a change in their vocabulary (cussiness) and attitude resulted in a more wholesome environment for the young men and women in my unit.

The questions that you must ask yourself are these:
1) are you ready to be the sole Orthodox Christian Witness in your unit or even on your post or base?
2) Do you have a good spiritual father you can write to and talk with to help you through the hard times?
3) Do you know how (and are you willing) to do readers services wherever you are stationed?
4) Are you willing to have limited access to the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ as you may not have a priest available to serve the Divine Liturgy except on a quarterly or even yearly basis in some areas.
5) Are you morally strong and committed to the Orthodox Christian Life?

If you can answer yes to these questions  you may well be the right person to go into the Military---If not, I would not recommend you volunteering for military service as it could lead you to problems in your own faith life not to mention your Christian witness to others.
May the Lord guide you as you prayerfully address this important  life decision.

In Christ,
Thomas
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« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2005, 01:51:27 AM »

Actually, your commitment is to four years of active duty and a further four years in a reserve component.ÂÂ  The only way you get a full eight year contract with the Reserve or National Guard is under a Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty (GRFD) contract.ÂÂ  Those, however, are limited in number compared to the overall number of ROTC scholarships (which have been decreasing overall, as well).

Interesting, it's been a while, but I know that when I was considering ROTC I was told that afterwards you would be a reserve officer, and probably not even have the opportunity at an active duty post unless your speciality was in great need, for more ROTC officers wanted to become active duty than there were jobs for them; but I guess things have changed.
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« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2005, 05:55:43 PM »

For now, I've only got one.  I want very much to go out and get a nice education, learn linguistics, maybe one day be in a position to even support a family.  However if i went to college, there's not a whole lot of ways around the price I'd pay.

I hope you won't use the military as a way to get a linguistics education. While in the United States Navy, I attended Defense Language Institute and studied Mandarin Chinese. However, I later came to ask for and receive honourable discharge as a conscientious objector. The work that military linguists do--massive violation of privacy for lots of economic motivations and no real legitimate defense purposes--is appalling and I don't see how anyone could be happy with it.
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donkeyhotay
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« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2005, 09:26:52 PM »

I am a Navy veteran.  My military experience was very good, but it was what I wanted to do, I was enthusiastic about the job, and paying for college was not something I really worried about.

My advice is this: unless you are enthusiastic about joining the military I recommend that you DON'T.  Otherwise, at best you will find yourself in a miserable situation, and at worst, a miserable situation where you are also being shot at or bombed.

There is no reason why anyone with a little bit of intelligence cannot finance a college education these days.

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« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2005, 08:23:20 AM »

 Smiley As a retiree who spent 28 years in the Army, I would think also as another responder replied about linguistics and I had the two best years at the Defense Language Institute at Monterey leaning Bulgarian and later Czech.  This training gave me accumulated college credits towards a BS degree, I mean bachelor of science.  But be very selective in what languages you ask for because your future assignments will be determined by your language.  You might even consider the USMC.
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