Looking to join the Army at 40 years old

Hello to Everyone,

I am 40 years of age, and looking to join the Army. I worked in a Paper Mill for 15 years and lost my job due to foreign trade.

I will receive my associate degree this December in criminal justice, and wanted any and all insight to your thoughts on a 40 year old joining and going through boot camp, along with serving beside much younger people at the same low rank. I don’t mind being yelled at by a superior nco.

Thank You in advance
Robert Phelan
Original Post
I would not want to dissuade you about joining. I am a 43 year old who joined in 1987 and served 8 years. Left in 94 and joined the police department. I was in the national guard. I came back on active duty in 2007, I can tell you it is possible, it is hard work, and you have to want to be there. You wake up early, do physical training, sometimes orders do not make sense, but you follow them because for the biog picture they do. You might get some grief from the younger men and women based on your age but its usually in jest. I went through it all. I pull a 265-270 on my pt test and promoted rather quickly through the ranks. Now I am a sqd leader with 10 soldiers in my charge. It reminds me of earlier days when I was a platoon sgt in Hawaii. If it is something you want to do, then I say do it, just start preparing yourself physically and mentally. If you can keep an open mind and remind yourself daily that you volunteered to be there, you should have no issues. Remember it is a volunteer Army, but once your inside it is not a democracy. You obey the orders of those appointed over you.

Good luck
quote:
Originally posted by bob1969:
Hello to Everyone,

I am 40 years of age, and looking to join the Army. I worked in a Paper Mill for 15 years and lost my job due to foreign trade.

I will receive my associate degree this December in criminal justice, and wanted any and all insight to your thoughts on a 40 year old joining and going through boot camp, along with serving beside much younger people at the same low rank. I don’t mind being yelled at by a superior nco.

Thank You in advance
Robert Phelan


Mr. Phelan,
If you are physically and mentally able to join, go for it. I am a 39 yr old female going to basic training in October 2009....Yes I am nervous as well as excited for this new adventure/challenge. I made up my mind this was something I always wanted to do and I am not going through the rest of my life wondering why I didn't. I have been getting my body in shape since May and doing alot of research on what to expect in the Army. I must say that I am forever grateful of my decision. I may be older/mature than most of the recruits in BCT but I will make this a tool to make it through the tough times. I WILL DO WELL IN MY CAREER....HOOAH
Best of luck to you....Go for it.
Get in shape NOW!
It will make it all the easier if you start doing some pushups/situps and running/fast walking now.

Look at all the jobs and find a field which interests you- you PROBABLY can switch 3-4 years later if you find you prefer something else.

The more mature people don't get yelled at much. Wink It's the ones that can't follow instructions or act like an adult that struggle.

HOWEVER, you just have to ignore some of the juvenile goings-on around you during basic and AIT. You WILL be promoted fairly quickly if you keep the PT up, and act your age. Smiler If you don't act like a know-it-all and avoid the 'superior' attitude, smart leaders will ask for your help and advice, even as a Private.

Good luck with your decisions!

(AIT Instructor/ Squad Leader)
I remember when I went through basic we had two prior service guys in our platoon, both in thier late 30's. Physically they were right up there with the 18 year old guys, and where definitely way more mature than the gaggle of teenagers (to include myself) that surrounded them. The DS's didn't really give them too much grief, probably because they did what they were told, and could catch on to the concept of a mission much better than the younger Soldiers. It will be difficult not to choke the "fresh out of highschool" to death at times, but in the end you'll get used to being called grandpa, and whatever else they can come up with. Just keep remembe why you're there and try to keep you battle buddies squared away as they will often be the cause of many push ups and flutter kicks.
when I joined I was 23 and i was the oldest in my BCT for me the ardest part was teh mass punishment due to others acting like children so be preared for that. Other than that if this is something that you really want to do I'm sure you will do great

Best of luck
Very good information by everyone, and because we are all different in our ways and attitudes it will be a difficult choice to make.

As stated by njarmygirl I too have been mulling this idea over for years, and have come to the conclusion that if I don’t try and succeed I may regret it for the rest of my life.

One thing that I do struggle with is the fact I am a divorced parent, and worry about getting my time with a ten year old daughter we have, but I also struggle with the idea of relocating after I graduate from college this December.

If anyone can advise me to what I will face on base if I do go for it, how will this effect my life as a long distant parent, and what is the closest I can get to being stationed near Maine as an MP as this would be the field I want.

Thank You in advance
Robert Phelan
bob1969 and njarmygirl09 I wish you the best I'm also planning to enlist in the Army in January 2010 before my 40th birthday. I also my have a degree in Criminal Justice. Going into the military has always been a life long desire but being a mom and wife came first. The kids are grown the husband is gone so it's time for me to live out my dreams. I'm working out 5 days a week to get myself physically fit for this new endeavor. I wish both of you the best.

Ms. Keeley
quote:
Originally posted by bob1969:
If anyone can advise me to what I will face on base if I do go for it, how will this effect my life as a long distant parent, and what is the closest I can get to being stationed near Maine as an MP as this would be the field I want.


-Ft Drum in NY might be the closest you could manage.
-You might check into getting custody during the summer and/or Christmas or whatever.
-Until you get promoted (to Sergeant or more: at least 2yrs or so..) you'd be stuck living in Barracks, which wouldn't allow you to keep your child overnight.
-You WOULD get 30days paid vacation per year, you could fly back to Maine for a few weeks.
Bravo to you! The military is an excellent place to put your life experiences, professional skills, and wider perspective to good use, all while getting a stable income and a great benefits package. AutobahnSHO is right: you won't get yelled at as much and you are more likely to be promoted faster. The "kids" will certainly dog you out about your age but they will also look up to you for advice and as a leader. Good luck and thank you for serving!
I went through basic at 33. No one thought I could do it but I made it and did better than most of the younger kids. Yes, mass punnishment is the worst. I hated getting dogged for stupid people but my fellow 3rd platoon Patriots became like family in the short 9 weeks we were together and I loved each and everyone of them. I wouldn't change a thing and have never regreted it. They called me Mama Patriot and I was chosen by my younger peers to represent them at the Soldier of the Cycle Board. I am 40 now and would go back and do it all again at this age in a heart beat. Have fun with it. As for being away from your child...you can travel. The army can provide so much for you to give your child so don't let distance stop you. She is old enough that if you explain it to her she will understand. My kids did when they were with their father. Good Luck!!!
I retired from the Army 10 years ago (at 38 years old). My kids were brought up in the military. They travelled the world, learned foreign languages and are now serving. I'd go back thru it all again. GO FOR BROKE!! Enjoy the good times, learn from the bad times. I don't think you'll regret it, when you look back.
well i feel better im 34 and looking to re-up. the job market is that bad trust me, im a union commercial electrician. been laid off for over 8 months now. i have applied every where and i mean every where.

the military served me well when i was younger and the way it is looking now it will once again serve me well.
No completely true about the barracks thing. If you claim your child(ren) you will get off post housing if you have any sort of custody. Since you have a degree you might want to think about going OCS (Officer).
quote:
Originally posted by AutobahnSHO:
quote:
Originally posted by bob1969:
If anyone can advise me to what I will face on base if I do go for it, how will this effect my life as a long distant parent, and what is the closest I can get to being stationed near Maine as an MP as this would be the field I want.


-Ft Drum in NY might be the closest you could manage.
-You might check into getting custody during the summer and/or Christmas or whatever.
-Until you get promoted (to Sergeant or more: at least 2yrs or so..) you'd be stuck living in Barracks, which wouldn't allow you to keep your child overnight.
-You WOULD get 30days paid vacation per year, you could fly back to Maine for a few weeks.
I've been wishing I had joined for years. However I was told by recruiters that they will not enlist over something like 28 or 34 (don't remember the exact age).

If that's not the truth, how does one go about enlisting at the age of 40 of the recruiters tell you you're too old???
Way to revive an old post, lol. To answer the question I believe the max age to enlist is 42. I know they give enlistees in their 40's some additional medical screening but if you're healthy, you should be able to join. If the recruiters tell you that you are too old to join, ask to speak with the station commander and have him/her show proof in writing.
I met a guy who was 40 and enlisted...he told me that the DI's left him alone as long as he put in effort. Being even 5 years older than your average gaggle of children that go to basic makes you just that much more mature and able to follow orders. If you have the mental drive to do something like this, the physical will fall into place. I haven't gone yet, but I am 25 and I will most likely be the oldest. I know what it is I need to do and the goals I have and what I want to achieve. I am not going to let anything stop me and I will do whatever it takes. Good luck to you! If you do wind up doing this, you could very easily get your bachelors and go the officer route. Keep your mind open to that, if you think it's for you.


EDIT: just realized how old this post is. hope you got in!
If you havent joined allready...good luck! The army is downsizing and the max age to enlist...which was raised and waiverable...has been lowered. Not to mention there are regs on single parents joining up...family care plan, and other considerations.

Here is the truth, the Army wants young, trainable, single recruits. Being a private is hard...since you have an AAS you get bumped to e-3/pfc..but even so, the Army wants soldiers not set in their ways who they can tear down...then build back up. Its easier for the army and less costly, to train younger recruits than older. A Soldiers life is a hard life, in the Stan, you will be ground pounding up hills with 50-60 pounds of gear for miles. It is very tough on the body and scores of young healthy soldiers get hurt with life long injuries...especially in their necks and spines.


You want to be close to where your daughter is...good luck...you are needs of the Army, and you will go where ever they send you. If you want to be a MP, you will deploy to a combat zone before you stabalize. You might be able to get a post of choice in your enlistment contract, so ask...but i doubt it.

Is it possible...of course...can you do it...i dunno..consider that MP's have a 5 year contract, and retirement at 20 years. If you are a one termer...is it wise to be 45 and getting out to start a new career.

good luck!

PS: every soldier I have come across that was at ft drum...hated it!!! COLD COLD freezing miserable cold

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