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My husband has known for a long time that he wants to be career military and do his 20 years. With the drawdowns and everything else happening lately this plan is becoming harder and harder. He is doing all he can to be at the top of his game and stay in. Hitting his eight years in the Marine Corps last month has been prompting him to do more considering he only has two years left on his current contract. For the past six months he has been trying to put together a package for his SDA (Secondary Duty Assignment) which is similar to a B-Billet but can only be certain things. Like squares and rectangles, all SDAs are B-Billets but not all B-Billets are SDAs... yea I had no idea either. His options were MSG/Embassy Duty, Drill Instructor, Recruiting Duty or Security Forces.
MSG/Embassy Duty was our to die for wish when we first got married, but to go accompanied you need to be a Staff Sergeant or higher. Since Ryan needs to do his SDA to have a chance of picking up SSgt this is sadly not an option for us. He could do it unaccompanied but we have no desire to go through that. My husband would also rather jump off a bridge than be a Drill Instructor. He has flat out said he'd almost rather do unaccompanied MSG than DI. To each their own! Recuriting Duty wasn't too appealing but Security Forces was the gleam in my husband's eye. It was his original MOS when he entered the Marine Corps and he loved every minute of it. So that was where he decided to put his package together and submit for.
The monitor said they were not accepting for the next fiscal year until May 1, so Ryan was determined to have his package ready for then. He went and spoke to the career planner and got things going. For weeks he ran all over base getting physicals, signatures and all sorts of things. We had a bit of drama with some signatures but the package was complete well in time to get sent up to Headquarters by May 1. All we had left to do was cross our fingers and wait. We knew Ryan's 2 NJPs from back in the day could be an issue, but the monitor for Security Forces when asked heard that Ryan had them but had been prior Security Forces he said, "Send in the package".
Time goes by.
Last week, over a month after the package is sent in, the career planner calls my husband. He asks, "What's up with your package?" My husband replies, "I would ask you the same thing, did you hear anything?"
It was sitting on his desk.
The damn thing sat on the career planner's desk for a month. It went up that day.
It was denied within two days because there were no spots left.
When Ryan told me it was like a punch in the gut. What now? I was thinking at work that he'd maybe try for Recruiting Duty next, unappealing as it was, when my phone started blowing up. Ryan over and over again to call him.
So I step outside and call him and he informs me the monitor for Security Forces is also the monitor for SOI (School of Infantry) and if Ryan was interested he'd want him as an instructor at the school. Were we interested? Ryan and I talked on the phone for less than a minute but in the end he, with my support, decided to go for it. At this point we do not have many options left. So Ryan hastily scrambled and submitted yet another package, as instructed, and we are waiting again.
What if he gets it?
Well.... we will be in the Camp Lejeune area for another three years... damn :P I was sort of looking forward to moving. I can live with it though. I finally have a full time job, we have a house, and it's doable. 86 hour work weeks... yikes. Things will definitely be changing with those kinds of hours. SOI is on Camp Geiger, near New River, so the commute is doable for Ryan especially since most days he will be there by 0430. There will be more overnight duty, up to three times a week possible. All of that seems pretty intimidating since we were thinking of maybe starting a family. Eventually. You know, definitely in the next three years! So 86 hour work weeks with possible three nights away from home with me pregnant then with a newborn? Oh, yikes.
But what choice do we have? If he submits a package for something else, it could easily be denied. All someone needs to see are 2 NJPs (from six years, two ranks and two deployments ago) and that could be it. This is a big opportunity that unfortunately we cannot turn down.
Once again, we wait.
The career planner has the second completed package ready to go. Hopefully we will hear something affirmative soon.
And yes, my husband is calling the planner every day to make sure it is getting sent in.
Now, we wait. Cross your fingers friends!