Should I deploy to Afghanistan?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by phas3, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. phas3 macrumors 65816

    Oct 5, 2008
    A little background about me, I am a Corporal in the Unites States Marine Corps, my job(MOS) is a 1371 Combat Engineer, this involves construction skills as well as demolitions, specialized demolitions for urban breaching and land mine warfare, also we sweep for IEDs depending on our mission. I have been to Iraq two times already one in 2006-2007 and 2008. I have less than 9 months left on my contract and I am done. I have already made up my mind that I want to go to school after my 4 years serving in the Corps.

    Recently we where informed that we will be deploying to Afghanistan, and the current word is we will be deploying in May coming back mid November or early December.

    Now for the first time in my career that I am in the position to have a choice to either do another deployment which means to extend my contract an extra 3 months or to not deploy and just stay stateside. But I do not know what to do at this point, I owe a total of $22,000 on loans, bills, credit cards etc..

    If I choose not to deploy, this will give me the chance to start applying for colleges and get my disabilities from the VA after my contract ends in September and possibly get out a little earlier to start school in August. If not in august I will have to wait till spring semester to start college. And have the time to start going to bartending school which will be my part time job. But it also means I will be free from the Marine Corps and will have to get a part time or full time job while I wait for the semester to start. The G.I Bill will pay 100% tuition to any college I get accepted to, included the cost of books, and since I will be going to school somewhere in Los Angeles they will also be giving me an extra 1600+ for room and board wherever I choose to live in LA.

    Now if i choose to deploy in May, I go to Afghanistan, alot more dangerous than Iraq, serve 7 months there or if I do not want to extend my contract I will serve only 5 and be back in September instead of November-December. I will have to go over and do what I have come to hate doing! But also be making twice as much as I am making now that I am back in the states with a 7 month deployment I am looking at coming back with $28,000 if I don't spend any money at all, so I'm thinking I will come back with $23000-24000. Now this would give me the apportunity to pay off if almost if not all my debt, and since I already have bad credit from an issue awhile back with my dad getting a credit card under my name while I was deployed, thats a + to my credit score. And instead of starting school in August-September I will be starting in the spring. Another downside to this is that I will be leaving my loved ones behind once again for the 3rd time and everytime I come home from a deployment it's always been all over the place and I'm never happy on how things turn out.

    So I come to you my fellow Macrumors with this dilemma in hopes that you can help me decide on what I should do.
  2. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    Am I correct in inferring that it's only a matter of money?

    Money can be found in other places, but your happiness is priceless, as is your life.
  3. dmr727 macrumors G3


    Dec 29, 2007
    Out of debt would be nice, but holy crap, I'm not even remotely qualified to give you advice about whether it'd be worth deploying for.

    That said, thank you for your service. Seriously, thank you.
  4. robanga macrumors 68000


    Aug 25, 2007
    Thanks for serving, whatever you decide. I agree that money should only be part of that decision. With that important job as with all, you have to do what you feel led to do.
  5. phas3 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 5, 2008
    mostly about money, but at the same time I feel like my guys need me, of course they are all going up the ranks and by the time we deploy they will be where I am at as Corporals, which ill give them better authority. I already feel that I will miss alot of things in the Marine Corps, mostly the camaraderie and the friendships I have developed in the past 4 years. These guys are like my brothers and I would do anything for them, and alot of them want me to go back with them overseas because they know that I will always have their backs when the **** hits the fan wether on missions or with higher ranking marines.
  6. furious macrumors 65816


    Aug 7, 2006
    You have already made up your mind about not going. You do not want to go. you are looking for validation in your choice. I say you have made the right choice.

    Your family are much more important than a few thousand dollars debt.
  7. r.j.s Moderator emeritus


    Mar 7, 2007
    As someone in the Army, what I tell any Soldiers I come across looking to get out is that 'you need to make sure you've thought through your plan.' A few of them say they're going to 'wing it,' and, well, things don't work out for them.

    Since you have a plan, and you really don't like what you do for the Corps, I'd say get out - if you can actually carry out your plan.
  8. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    Thank you for serving.

    Mixed emotions to your question.
    Having nearly 5 years underwater its nice to come back to a little money.

    With that said, I was given an option at my 14 year point. Due to an service related injury I was no longer qualified to serve on subs and would have been assigned to a ship which was hading out for a 8mo deployment.
    Or get out move back home and be with my wife and 12yo son.
    Extremely difficult decision but I elected to return home.

    Benefits until I die or be home for my sons high school years.

    I would say early out as long as school is your priority.
  9. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    You have a choice? In 20 years, 4 months, and 17 days (I know, but who's counting ;)), the only choice I has was whether I wanted to get some chow or spend that five minutes sleeping.

    My unit was rotated out of theater in the first Gulf War while it was still in progress, and I had over 80% of the guys (officer & enlisted) come to me--privately--and ask if there was any way they could get back in. To us, it was a simple matter of not leaving a job unfinished.

    I'd say that with two tours under your belt, you've paid your dues. I also know that walking away while your buddies are heading back is tough to swallow (but remember, they'd walk too, given half the chance. The sane ones, anyway).

    Looking at the big picture though, I think a bit more financial stability against the risks don't balance, especially given your MOS. You sound like you've got your stuff in one sock, I think you'd be fine bailing now and getting on with your life while everything's still attached. Yeah, debt sucks, but you'll get out of it sooner or later anyway. Also, starting school in the Fall semester puts you in the normal cycle of things.

    Let us know how it turns out for ya'.

    Semper Fi, shipmate.
  10. DZ/015 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 23, 2003
    New England
    This is a no brainer. Get out on time. Don't extend is my advice. As JNB stated, you've already done 2 tours in Iraq, paid your dues and have a plan. Which is way more than I had when I got out. I was clueless.

    Don't worry so much about your debt. It will be taken care of eventually. Your own life and sanity are worth way more than a clean credit rating. Get a good education and enjoy the rest of your life. You've earned it, grunt.
  11. StealthRider macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2002
    Yokosuka, Japan
    If you're unhappy with a third deployment and you have a way to repay your debt without combat pay, then by all means do it (I know bartending can be lucrative, but I feel like you shouldn't rely on tips to pay $20k in debt).

    I know it's a little more than just "get out now" though. Is your unit going to be able to train another fireteam leader to your skill level in five months, and can you trust that person to oversee your team to the level that you would have been able to? If the answer's yes, don't deploy. Two tours in combat is enough for any sane individual.
  12. leishan macrumors 6502

    Jan 29, 2005
  13. Sesshi macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2006
    One Nation Under Gordon
    I've never 'served' as such but I have had occasion to cross paths with many servicepeople.

    JNB's example of the Gulf War #1 may be somewhat fatuous. Any idiot could have talked about 'not leaving a job unfinished' then. The Bahraini bars were full of talk like that in a way that you won't find now. But in other respects I'd say he's right.

    I'd say from what you've written you satisfy a number of conditions for a frame of mind that will probably mean you have a higher chance of getting into some sort of trouble during deployment - which may most likely not be fatal because more often than not it will be your own fault, but something which may affect your life permanently.

    Ultimately it depends on how much real-life difference the extra money will make, versus your confidence in yourself to complete your deployment.
  14. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    i think any civilian simply isn't qualified to answer b/c we don't know the ins and outs. I should clarify, any civilian who hasn't served before that is.

    You mention comraderie as being important and i bet it is.

    you also mention being an engineer. my cousin is in a specialized unit of the Canadian forces and he says the engineers have the crappiest job right now b/c of the many IEDs. The afghan war is a tough one and will be drawn out for a long time.

    JNB said it best: you did your duty, you have a plan. You sound like you're a good head so I would leave if it were me.

    In these tough economic times, having a paid ride to university is a big check on the life checklist for me. I know that would still happen if you sent to Afghan land, but get out now, go to school and work part time to pay off those loans.

    BUT, as I said, I'm just a civilian with NO military experience.

    Thank you for serving btw.
    I know some folks don't support either theatre, but they don't realize you're just doing a job and you folks do it the best.

  15. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Just a civilian, so I am not qualified to give advice. But I have a question that may help.

    If you don't deploy to Afghanistan, presumably you would still need to serve your time until the end of the contract. Would that time be spent helping to train others who haven't yet deployed overseas? Would it help the decision making if you knew that your hard-earned experience was helping others stay out of harm's way, even if it you weren't with your current team?

    Good Luck, whichever way you decide.
  16. phas3 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 5, 2008
    thank you for all your replies, I know right now I have my head set on getting out and getting my education, but I still have thoughts about going back to afghanistan. We had a class today on a group of EOD(explosives and ordnance disposal) guys, and they just came back from afghanistan. They it was a pretty long class but in the end they where basically saying if we go to afghanistan we pretty much better expect to get into some ****. They where getting into firefights twice a week and getting IEDS every day. Given the fact that they are only out there when marines call them in to dispose and IED. Our mission over as 1371's we are pretty much outside the wire(base) everyday just like we did in Iraq. And I love my guys and I want to be out there with them so much..but there are so many more factors that are holding me back from deploying.
  17. leishan macrumors 6502

    Jan 29, 2005
  18. bassproguy07 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 13, 2008
    Katy, TX
    did you like your last two deployments? some people hate it and some people love it over there haha. I will most likely make the Corps my career, unless I totally hate it. I almost chose combat engineer as my MOS but decided I would like Air delivery specialist better. Glad to see another Marine on Macrumors!! SEMPER FI TILL I DIE!!

    EDIT: sorry I couldnt help with your decision haha just dont feel like as a new recruit I am at a position where I know what you will go through. Good luck though!
  19. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    If you decide to go, file on the credit card bill that isn't yours.

    Talk to somebody in the Corps about it, they should have help that'll give you some options.

    --- If it is in default...

    Most people are loathe to deal with it, but it becomes a 3 year fight to keep the credit card companies off the back if you do end up spending the money. Or the hole gets deeper -- and it will at 25% interest + lawyers/collections fees the scumbag collection agencies will use.

    By the time you get back the credit card company won't own the bill, and if you take the 33-60% offer to pay they'll take the money and sell the debt to someone else -- plus, the debt restarts the statute of limitations the minute you pay a single dollar, restarting interest and lawyers fees also. It quickly snowballs back to the original amount.

    To pay it. you'll need an actual lawyer to handle it, and not most of the credit consultants. Since you need to buy the entire debt, write a contract that they won't sell it on to another agency, and not report anything but the least problematic account closure possible with the credit score.

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