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Greg Vaughn February 10th, 2003 02:19 AM

Video Training From The Military
My 21 year old nephew is considering enlisting in the military (not sure what branch yet) in order to receive training in the broadcasting field. Besides the fact that he might end up in the middle of a war soon, do any of you know about the quality of training offered and the pro's and con's of military training vs. traditional college training? It sounds like a good idea to me, he'd be getting paid while learning, and I'm sure he'd get a lot more experience working with the military then as a college intern. Any feedback would be appreciated.


Frank Granovski February 10th, 2003 04:14 AM

He'll probably receive a better education via the military. Plus it's free, and he gets to serve his country. Why not?

Don Bloom February 10th, 2003 06:04 AM

Being an army veteran (airborne infantry, 2 tours RVN) I can tell you there are some things to look at. 1) will he actually get into the MOS (military occupactional specialty) that he want's? 2) Remember EVERYONE in the army is an infantryman 1st and foremost regardless of MOS.
Now, having said that, yeah, the training is superb, you learn stuff and about life. You get to grow up quickly and if you keep your head screwed on straight, you come out with a wonderful education and an attitude that can not be duplicated anywhere, anyhow in life. You learn to persevere, to get the job done and to do it right the 1st time. It can be a great move. 3 years in the service of our country can do alot to mold the man. Many of the greatest leaders of our country, business and political have military background. Tell your nephew, go for it and be proud to serve!

John Locke February 10th, 2003 06:31 AM

I spent seven years in Korea watching AFKN (Armed Forces Korea Network) and during that time I saw a lot of military journalists come and go. We'd always joke about how bad they were when the first started, but before long they'd do a pretty professional job. As they got better and better, they tended to disappear. Maybe their tour of duty was up, or maybe they moved on to greener broadcasting pastures.

I think that would be an ideal place to cut your teeth. Get your awkward period out of the way in an isolated market.

Jeff Donald February 10th, 2003 08:23 AM

As a former employer of many recent grads I never hired any military trained personnel. In my experience with hiring them they were taught one way to do things and only one way. They lacked a flexibility that is required in many production environments. The second big factor, was they lacked a creative side to their work. I'm sure they weren't allowed a great deal of flexibility and creativity in their daily work and it showed.

In the employment market today, many employers will only hire college graduates. Unfortunately the broadcast field (at least in larger demographic markets) is one of those markets. If he really wanted to succeed and get ahead in his field he would still need a four year degree after his military duty. Even with a degree it is hard to get hired. Many have to start as part timers, or work the 3rd shift or weekend shifts to get a start. It might be a year or two to get reassigned. It's a tough business.

Don Bloom February 10th, 2003 08:44 AM

not to start anything but you need to be very careful about saying you never hired any former military folks as that is decidedly illeagle, per the EEOC and congress. Besides, where else can you get say an editor that can not only edit, but use the software as a weapon of mass destruction?

Jeff Donald February 10th, 2003 09:09 AM

They weren't discriminated against in any way. They were given equal access to interview opportunities and notices of employment. I indeed interviewed around a dozen veterans and there demo reels did not meet both our technical and creative criteria for employment. My experiences are not a valid sampling of actual employment of veterans in the broadcast field. But, rather, my personal experiences in interviewing and evaluating a limited number of veterans for employment. I do know that many employers will not hired non degreed people in the broadcast field. While it was not a requirement of mine, I think employers are within their rights to require a college degree for employment.

Robert Knecht Schmidt February 10th, 2003 09:17 AM

[Disclaimer: I don't have any military service so my opinion possibly counts for less than those who've served in the armed forces.]

Given the aptitude and the means, I think college experience beats military experience for learning value, to say nothing of employability. No doubt military service has the effect of inculcating can-do attitudes and disciplined drive, but being exposed to many differing ideas and perspectives is an atmosphere unduplicatable outside of a campus of a large research institution. Also, college at a major university gives opportunities for networking and forging contacts and meaningful relationships that last a lifetime. Old army buddies may not be able to open as many doors down the road as university colleagues might.

Then there's always the "you might get your head blown off" risk factor. The fact that we in the US are in midterm on the most bellicose administration since Monroe's should not be discounted. Two years ago entering the US military meant almost certain deployment to peaceful zones, now the opposite is becoming the case. There's no telling where an enlisted soldier will end up being stationed, and, as Don Bloom already mentioned, there's not the guarantee of specializing in video production.

Death and combat syndromes aren't the only serious risks of military service. My father served in the Army Corps of Engineers and spent most of his military career fixing boilers in Stuttgart even as Vietnam was coming to a close. He never saw action, but that didn't prevent him from losing his high-frequency hearing sensitivity from munitions/firearms training. Annoying but innocuous to most, perhaps, but definitely not a good disability to have if you wanted to become an audio engineer.

Don Bloom February 10th, 2003 10:16 AM

I understand all that is said and meant and all I'm saying is there are folks who will take what is said and might turn it ariund to use against you, IE lawsuit. Gee, he didn't hire me because I'm a veteran. Now we all know that that does exsist to a certain level as does I didn't get hired because I'm a woman, because I'm over 50... put your own words in there. I'm just trying to say be careful about how you handle that situation. As for death & combat syndromes, I knew a still photog some years ago, went to do a wedding and I guess the groom took offence to either getting married or having pictures taken. He killed the photog, who by the way was also a veteran of 2 tours RVN infantry, and then the guy killed himself. Oh well agree or not with whats going on I know we all support the guys and gals doing their job. Honor the warrior, not the war.

Dan Holly February 10th, 2003 01:05 PM

I originally went in with the premise that I could move over to helicopter mechanics upon re-up.
I had several friends at Hughes helicopters in Mesa, AZ. that could get me "in" if I had the training from the Army.
Needless to say when my re-up came....that MOS was not available at my re-up time......
I found out real quick that this was a typical type story of a recruiter telling someone what they want to hear to meet their quotas, which happened quite often.
I would say that there is truth to the "mold the man and you learn stuff and about life. You get to grow up quickly and if you keep your head screwed on straight" statement.....minus the education.

After entering the workforce (didn't have any trouble landing any "foot in the door" positions), I realized that it was go back and finish college, or work for the years of experience (to go a whole lot of no where and a lot less money).........
The Army training that related to my future employability was zilch in all reality......

If I had to go back and do it again, I would have to choose college hands down.

I'm proud to have served my country.....there is no question of that, but the question asked was revolving training you receive that can be applied into the workplace.

FYI, I've recently hired 2 individuals at my day job who are retired Airforce. Both of them were hired into Operations/Logistics type positions..........
Very good disciplined individuals who can work hard and smart. The biggest glaring issue I have with both of them is that if they grow with our company they will need to be re-trained. All of the logistics standards that the Airforce trains individuals to is VERY outdated. Both of these gentlemen are at least 10 years behind anything being taught at logistics colleges today. I'll update their thinking, and get them some official training, but a lot of companies won't make that investment..........

Rick Spilman February 10th, 2003 02:02 PM

My advice, for what it is worth, is for your nephew to join the military if he wants to become a soldier, serve his country and/or all the other good reasons for a young man to enlist. If in addition to this he wants to learn a particular trade, he might get the opportunity. No guarantees. He might and he might not.

Especially in these times, the military is not a junior college or a training school.

Joe Carney February 10th, 2003 02:34 PM

Don, in todays Army, you get the MOS you signed up for. The only way you don't is if you fail AIT. I was in for 4 years and here is some helpful hints.

If he goes into Broadcast, that means not too much time in the field. That means he can take night courses at the local University Extension for about 20.00 per class (lots of options here on that one, Univ. Maryland usually offers local on post courses, there is also mail order and on line).
There are also free clep test for both general and subject. You get full PE credit in college for military service. There are certification programs that can make you Union qualified in several areas. Even in a line unit, there is an education cycle every year. The Army gives extra promotion points for education. In a field like he is going, the points needed to get promoted will be high. So, go to college while in. (Non Combat MOS are usually filled up and harder to get promoted in).

In a four year hitch, he could get up to 2 years of college before it's over. With the new GI bill, he can get lots of money to finish up his degree.

If he has the self dicipline to take courses while on Active duty, he will have the self dicipline to go back to college and finish up.

With experience and a recent degree, both will help him land a job in Broadcast (unless it's at a place that is anti Military).

If he does not want to go to college after getting out, well, at least you saved yourself a bundle on tuition.

All the points here are valid. Qualifiying for the GI bill, means the gov pays the tuition, not you. going back to college after service will help him readjust his thought processes and as Jeff said, be better at creativity and adapting to different circumstances.

Anyway, thats what I did. I don't have a degree, but I did get 3 years of college paid for before I figured out I hated what I was doing. Then those business courses paid off when I decided to to go into programming (self taught). And my military experience paid off when the person who did the hiring was a vet themselves. Other than that, just some incredible memories I wouldn't trade for anything. I still sprechen eine kleine Deutsch.

P.S. the local eductional channel here in Boca re broadcast AFRTS news a couple of times a week and the production quality is excellent.

As far as Korea, John, when you left... how long did it take you to relearn how to polish your boots and clean your room? hehehe.

Ken Tanaka February 10th, 2003 03:35 PM

Just as a postscript to Joe's remarks, the services have had to become much more reliable on specialty selections to maintain peacetime enlistment. But if war is formally declared all such specialty assignment commitments would be purely at the discretion/convenience of the service branch. If they need (ballistic) shooters and you're enlisted you're probably going to be shouldering a rifle instead of a camera.

Don Bloom February 10th, 2003 04:31 PM

Hey I got what I signed up for. Infantry and jumping out of airplanes. Boy, where was my head. Of course, it was better than being a helicopter pilot. Oh well, the bad old days! Actually very similar in nature to wedding work today. Hours of boredom, moments of terror.
I agree with all that has been said, I still think it's a pretty good place to get your feet wet in a trade or vocation and regardless of whats going on in the world , it actually is like a junior college or trade school. I say that because regardless of your education, you'll still go thru the ARMY school of whatever the MOS is. I agree, that may not be right but it's the way it is and lots of folks have learned trades, crafts and professions from the US Armed Forces. Maybe not to the level that some companies want or would consider to their standards and thats OK. It's their right not to hire for that reason. I just think it a good way to get started in certain arenas and serve your country as well. Not everyone HAS to be a schooled infantryman but as was pointed out everyone is an infantryman and I can think of no higher honor than serving your country.
I think we've pretty well talked this one out so now, lets get back to video!

Greg Vaughn February 10th, 2003 04:59 PM

Thanks everyone for your responses! I hope I didn't open up a can of worms here and I know it's a touchy subject with some right now. I'll pass on the info to my nephew. He's crossing his fingers that he'll get the MOS he wants, but his main reasons for entering the military is to serve his country and get some structure in his life. The other reason is to get money for college so he can continue on with his education after getting out regardless what MOS he's trained for.

I guess if I had it all to do over again, I'd have to seriously consider the same options that he is. I had to give up my dream of medical school all because of being denied a student loan.


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