Officer or Enlisted - Need some Guidance, Please Help

November 17th, 2004  

Topic: Officer or Enlisted - Need some Guidance, Please Help

I have some questions, for some of you seasoned US Army Veterans.

I'll give you some background first. I am currently enrolled in an MBA program, scheduled to graduate in August. I have a 4.0 in my master's, a 3.4 in my undergrad (3.8 in my major), I scored a 95 on the ASVAB and a 120 something GT score. I have had my physical at MEPS, everything checked out, but I haven't signed a contract for anything.

I was originally wanting to go to Basic Training and then OCS and achieve a commission, but herein lies my dilemma. I want to go to law school, and the GI bill and all of the extra bonuses are only available to enlisted, so I decided to go in as a Spec 4 with the plan that after a year or two, I would be applying internally for OCS. HOWEVER, I heard somewhere that if I go in as enlisted and then become an officer, that that will invalidate my bonuses and all other enlisted benefits. Of course my recruiter tells me otherwise. So my first question is: does anyone know this to be true or not?

So, then I find out FLEP available (Funded LEgal Education PRogram) offered to officers that are highly qualified and though it is a very competitive program, it is available. High LSAT scores are a must, but I'm not sweating it. However, I was going to to enlisted anyway and then OCS, then apply for FLEP once I became an officer. I figured that if I didn't make it, I'd still have my GI BIll when I got out and could still go to law school. However if the answer to my question in the previous paragraph turns out to be true, then this is no longer true either and I might be better off commissioning from the get-go anyway.

So today I was at the gym and I met a fellow who happened to have served in the Army for 10 years or so. We got to talking and I told him I was planning on going to he Army as well. And he said, "oh so you are going in as a captain on direct commission?" I said, that as I understood that was only available to doctors and lawyers. He said that it was available to people with master's degrees, and if not captain, at the very least an O-2. Of course my recruiter knows nothing of this. So there's my second question. Is this true or is it misinformation?

Serving in the US Army has been something I wanted to do since high school, but I decided to go to college first. I want to do something good for my country, but I've sacrificed many years of studying and being a student leader and I need something to show for it. This is the next four to six years of my life or even beyond, and I want to make the best decision possible.

If anyone out there has any straight answers and/or information, please post it or e-mail me at I appreciate your help.

Thank you.
November 17th, 2004  
This is how I understand it. In order to qualify for enlisted bonuses you need to serve a certain amount of time in the enlisted ranks before you get your bonuses. I believe it's 3 years enlisted, 4 years if you want to max out all of the bonuses. You also need to achieve a certain rank while enlisted before you can apply for OCS. But entering as an E4 means you have plenty of time to get promoted, so don't sweat that part. You need to find and speak to an Officer Recruiter about entering with a Masters. I know the Army has some, you just have to look for them. If not maybe an ROTC recruiter at your college may have more information. The enlisted recruiters don't know that much about the officer programs.

I'm kind of in the same boat, I'm still in college (2nd year). So anything you find out would be helpful for me too But good luck with your choice, hope this helped.
November 23rd, 2004  
No Direct Commisons for anyone other then specified areas. When in doubt, ask.

I just joined up. I have my BA and I chose to go enlisted, for bonus' and other incentives. Then do OCS later if I feel so inclined.

As I was told that the education loan repayment(I assume this is what you are going in for) if you are in for your 3 years(they pay in 1/3's) and you finish those three years, you can go for OCS with loans paid for.

One thing I know for sure, you'll get a greater amount of respect from the soldiers under you by going enlisted then Officer. Instead of going straight to officer.

Not to mention, just because you THINK you will like the army, doesn't mean you will. Try it out as enlisted before you take the leap as an officer.

Hope I helped and good luck!