Hello, I am looking for information on enlisting as a 35P Cryptologic Linguist. I have read nearly everything there is to read online about it, but am looking for someone who is actually doing it for a bit of advice.
I'm 26 with a master's degree. Most people are telling me not to enlist, but I was offered a good LRP, I'd love to learn a new language and get a TS clearance (as opposed to going to OCS and possibly getting something I don't want). My fear of enlisting is that I'll get stuck in a mail room or cleaning vehicles for months and won't be able to fully use my abilities on the job. Could anyone give me an accurate description (either here or in a PM) of how 35Ps are treated and what they generally do after DLI and Goodfellow? Are there opportunities for smart, hard-working people to move up and take on more responsibility?
Thanks a lot for your help.
Posts: 1 | Location: Upstate New York | Registered: 11 June 2013
I'm really late on this, but in case you're still around:
I'm currently at DLI studying a CAT IV language. I enlisted at the age of 26 with a bachelor's degree.
DLI is a great opportunity, and one of the best ways you can learn a language.
That's the good part.
Now here's the bad part. You're 26, so you're a bit older than the average recruit(although you'll see plenty of other soldiers in their mid to late 20 signing up as linguists, many with college, some with master's degrees.) Well, I assume you have been living as an independent adult for a while now.
As of the last few months, IET soldiers have had some very strict rules imposed on them. 9 O'clock curfew, no alcohol, battle buddy required at all times(you would encounter this in basic...you basically need someone practically holding your hand wherever you go, or risk getting an Article 15).
This is all fine and well, since most AITs are several weeks to a couple months long. But as a linguist, you will find yourself as an IET soldier for up to 2 1/2 years..a good chunk of your contract. Needless to say, morale for Army IET soldiers at DLI is pretty low right now. Things used to be more relaxed here considering the already present stress levels and the length of the training, but that's not the case right now. Being an IET soldier at DLI is a pretty bleak..especially if you're in your 20s. It's a big culture shock to go from being an adult to not being able to drink a beer on a friday night, or even stroll down the sidewalk on your own without risking some trouble.
I couldn't think of joining any other branch besides the Army, no regrets enlisting. In this joint service environment, I'm proud to wear the Army uniform! But for DLI, the Army's not the best place to be in...at least right now.
Negative stuff aside, DLI is still a great opportunity. Just be prepared for what you're getting into. You need to be focused, and a die hard student, and you need to be prepared to give up your life for a couple years, and accept that you're going to have a very G-rated lifestyle. As an DLI Army IET soldier, you will pretty much be a basic trainee for 2 1/2+ years.
Oh, and to answer your actual question a little better, I hear the actual job is pretty great. Once you get through DLI. If you like academic challenges, this is the place for you. It's a humbling experience to say the least.
As far as the DLI rules are concerned....they are in place because units are tired of getting subpar soldiers who get pushed along with half-assed knowledge to their next place of duty without even the basic knowledge of what it is they should be doing...especially subpar linguists who barely scrape by on DLPT. The curfew is imposed as so to hit IET soldiers with the reality check that "they are still on "Training" status and that they need to focus on learning what the government is paying the nearly six-figure amount for you to learn.
When I was there (DLI) 7 years ago, the IETers were all in that "party colllege" mentality and a lot of times forgot that they were still IETers. Then they got pissy when NCOs or Officers had to correct them....even worse with the civilians and contractors. They were also hit with a big reality check when all the fun and games were over after moving on to Goodfellow.
As for you worries about your MOS....depending on your language and your duty station, you will be doing your job. Our Korean 35Ps down at CP Humphreys do their jobs for the most part. Occasional 35P will be placed somewhere doing a "different" job...something officey usually. If you have one of those languages in which you can really only use in the warzone (i.e. ~ Arabic, Pashtu, Dari, Farsi, French, etc.), then you may be stateside somewhere doing non-35P style work. You will still receive training in your language, however, or at least you should.
"There's no such thing as a painless lesson-they just don't exist. Sacrifices are necessary. You can't gain anything without losing something first. Although if you can endure that pain and walk away from it, you'll find that you now have a heart strong enough to overcome any obstacle. Yeah... a heart made Fullmetal."
Posts: 224 | Location: JBLM | Registered: 05 May 2004
Good point. I can see how that kind of arrogance is annoying to careerists/cadre. And mass punishment is a fact of life.
Still something one should consider when selecting an MOS upon enlistment. Especially someone who's more mature.
Maybe it's worth it in the end, but if I could do it again, I would've probably selected a different MOS, and tried to re-enlist to come here as a reclass. At least if one is joining the Army wanting to be a soldier. Otherwise, you find yourself spending near half your contract as a sh*tbag IET trainee, not a real soldier, etc. Basically, a DLI student is"fresh out of Basic" for almost 3 years, more if restarted at any point.
And with no disrespect, the rules aren't DLI specific...they are TRADOC wide for IET soldiers. DLI students just have the misfortune of dealing with policies intended for AITs that are only a few weeks or a couple months long.
There are definitely many with bad attitudes here, and some who think they're in college and not doing military training. Lots of kids fresh out of high school with an arrogant attitude because they know theyre smart. Should definitely be corrected.
Sorry for the negativity, and no doubt this is a lot of whining, but it's the perspective on the ground from this trainee. It's no secret that the morale of Army IET soldiers is pretty low on DLI compared to other branches, something worth noting when considering the Army has the highest washout rates at DLI.
On the bright side, there's lots of great (IET) Soldiers out there who keep their head up and make the best of their time here, participating in what they can.