Hi, I'm new here and new to all of it! My son is about to finish his junior year in high school and wants to enlist during his senior year, so he's all set after graduation. We're meeting with a Navy recruiter in 2 weeks - my son has already talked to him a few times during his JROTC class. What kind of questions should we be asking? I am thinking the recruiter will tell us what we want to hear to get him so sign, but I believe he cannot sign until he's done with his junior year. We are 100% supportive of his choice to enlist, just want to make sure we're all aware of what happens moving forward. Thanks in advance for any advice!
My son became interested in military service at age 14. We made a conscious decision to make sure he had very real, concrete experiences of what military training and life was like before he went in. He joined Civil Air Patrol, and participated in that for a year, and then switched to the Navy Sea Cadet Corps program. I cannot say enough about how much his participation in that program helped him prepare mentally and physically, and how much it helped us as parents to deal with the realities of the situation. He signed his early enlistment before completing his senior year of high school. Having the contract was a great "carrot" to keep him on track to graduate high school, (which he hated.) He's a bright kid, his ASVAB score was a composite of 93. He just hated school. The Navy Sea Cadets was a life saver for our family, he went all over the country in the summers for training in Urban Counter Insurgency (17 days of starvation and hell.) he went out on the Pride of Michigan on the Great Lakes for a a 10 day program, and he also went to Ft. Drum for Corpsman training as part of the program. Because of the participation in NSCC he entered as an E-3 when he went in. He is now finishing up his first deployment on the USS Eisenhower, and he has faced a lot of challenges, but it will be 3 years of active service this summer and so far, (knock wood)...so good. We did not have much interaction with his recruiter... they can't guarantee you anything. It can all change in a moment. Hope this helps.
There are good recruiters and there are even more bad ones. Understand you are working with a salesman who got little training but has requirements to fill.
Don't let them push your son into a job he isn't interested in. He should be able to take a practice ASVAB test to give you an idea what jobs he would qualify for. Then the requirement falls on your son to research what the various jobs entail and decide his career.
Buy a study guide for taking the ASVAB. Consider this test every bit as important as taking the college SAT, in fact even more so, because this will directly affect your son's career in the Navy.
Understand that as much as you want to help your son, this needs to fall on him to do his own research and study.
I know this wasn't what you asked, but it's what you should know going in. Also, I believe as JROTC, he enters as an E2 or E3? Learn what you can do so he enters as an E3. Same exact Boot Camp, but he'll be earning more and with a quicker opportunity to get a promotion once in.
And, as Judy mentioned, make sure everything is stated in his contract.