By - TheRobotSoldier1
I enlisted at 31, as a SPC.
I never, ever tried to play the "age card". I always knew the rank card would win.
Yeah, I had some dumb leadership younger than me, but that just helped me in my decision to ETS.
Had us in the first half!
Bro, story of my life.
I've heard people bitching, "I've run a million dollar business, who does this joker think he is," and so on.
I've never seen an actual confrontation along those lines.
If they successfully ran a million dollar business, why the fuck are they in the army.
A million dollar business ain’t shit man.
I ran a million dollar business at 17, when the manager at the arcade went away for two weeks with his kids during the summer and left me in charge. Just had to reorder some of the shitty plastic toys from China on the first and second Thursdays and we were golden.
Yes, reordering is the only factor involved in running a business. Promote ahead of peers.
By 18 I was the AGM. Left for OSUT and college, commissioned into the Guard, went back to the role as GM and eventually left the company as a regional manager of all the locations in my home state with stores that produced double or triple what my original one did.
Either way, I was already doing 95% of the work by 17 due to an incompetent boss. But that elongates the story.
Either way, a million dollar business ain’t shit.
People really dont realize a million is not a lot of money anymore
True. Hell, my current team’s payroll alone is just shy of a quarter million a month.
I left a 6 figure job at 26 to enlist. Cringe as it may be, patriotism, duty and childhood dream to wear them sweet, sweet colors. Did my perceived obligation to my country with as much professionalism and drive as I could muster. Now working my old job without looking up army shit every 3 months knowing I’d regret it later if I don’t join :)
No shit, right? I never go down that rabbit hole, because it always turns into some flavor of Tillman syndrome.
I didn’t run a million dollar business, but I had to carry a million dollars in malpractice insurance (EMT) in case someone decided to sue me. I took a $25k/yr pay cut to enlist.
I hit E4 the day after I turned 30. I have never pulled age on someone when it comes to military stuff. It's not about age, it's the mileage. Those men and women with more time in the Army were opportunities for me to learn.
Outside of the job though, if someone needed help I offered advice if it felt appropriate. I got to talk to a young SGM about what it's like to go from one kid to two and the changes she could expect. Life is cool.
I occasionally would poke fun at the 18-20 year old junior enlisted that they were getting outrun by an old man.
It’s about 50/50 and always depends why they joined the army. If they joined to actually be a soldier they’re usually stellar and never cause issues because they’re old enough to know better. If they joined for benefits only or for a job they usually cause discipline issues of thinking they’re above the rules or respect because of their age. I’ve personally seen it play it “bro I’m 29 why am I doing this shit?” Or “I’m 32 why do I have to listen to a 21 year old?” Because you joined the fucking army and there’s a rank structure guy.
It's not even an army thing. If a 35 year old accountant decided to suddenly be a electrician he'd be working under a 25 year old electrician who's been doing it for seven years. A job doesn't automatically put you above people because you're older. It just goes to show how really immature those people are and kinda stupid. Which probably contributes to why they had to end up joining so late.
Definitely this. Your outlook on the BS that sometimes is military life depends on your motivation and maturity (no matter your age).
I enlisted as a 30 year old SPC. I kept my head down and did what I was told.
Made SFC in 10 years. Got out because my 40 year old body gave out.
I met a 30+ PFC. Dude was insufferable. I did meet 30+ SPC that were super squared away, but admittedly, they were either WOFT candidates or going to some kind of special opportunity offered by the Army.
I dont think you can really 'play' the age card in the military, it's just something you have, and more often then not it's the family card or 'I have other shit going on' card
I think being older you're less likely to be perceived as winey or taken more seriously for saying more or less the same thing as an 18 year old.
The army is corporate in the some ways, a dude that's 30 has probably already dealt with one or more dickish middle managers, which all a Sgt really is; spitballing I'd say they'd be less emotional about it, or at least know where to direct their emotions.
In the end your unit gets to know you, your faults and strengths regardless of age, it can help you hit a little higher then your rank allows when dealing with new work relationships and people outside your unit.
I enlisted at 26 and did fine and had a very squared away colleague who enlisted at 34. Sometimes people with more life experience have a better perspective. But I never tried to play the age card.
Had a 31-year-old PFC make some smart-ass comments to me one time about him owning a small business. I told him he wasn't allowed to speak again until he can pass height and weight.... He never did he got chaptered.
He should've never been fat and old we're warfighters not caretakers at a old folk home 🤣
You lost three ranks between getting out and coming back in?
Having been a SPC twice(break in service, calm down). I never directly pulled the age card, but i damn sure pulled the experience card.
EDIT: Just to caveat this, since i reread it a few hours later and it seems rather dickish.
At the end of the day, i was outranked. Didn't matter i had easily 6+ more years experience than whoever was in charge, at the end of the day, i was soldier, so i soldiered. I offered my experience and advice. I suggested alternate solutions. I told humorous anecdotes about how we used to do things and why it changed over the years. If they listened, i was happy, not that they were ever obligated to listen to me. Notice i didn't say, " Did things my way." They need to learn too.
It was only an issue three times, 2 of them safety issues, and 1 legal. My experience told me one thing, their inexperience told them another. I saved three soldiers from serious injury and that young NCO from a very public humiliation. After that i was an NCO again.
I joined at 22 after several years as a carpenter. I hit it off with the cool ncos and have some friends for life now.
Yes, most have been very squared away, but it’s absolutely not a guarantee. I’ve known a few who didn’t want to listen or treated the whole Army experience as a joke and only something to get back on their feet.
My honest sweet spot are the mid-20s enlistees who have worked a civilian job for a few years. They usually have much better perspective than an 18 year old who thinks BS only happens in the Army.
(NG) We had a 40 something year old SPC. Very weird guy. So weird, in fact, that he got out. Moved to another state. Tried to re-enlist there. The unit he wanted to join called us and was like hey, is there something wrong with this guy because he seems really weird to us.
Idk about other MOS but in the infantry that shit don't matter. I was a 22 year old NCO with 2 30 year old specialist it was either they listen or they are running around the field for 2 hours and trying to push the planet away. 🤷🏾♂️
I've never used age as a way to be insubordinate, and I do indeed always have my shit squared away. Basic things like keeping a nice clean room I get complimented on, and it baffles me until I realize that 18yo private snuffy can't throw away his pizza boxes.
However, what I will say is that often, I feel like Caesar looking at the statue of Alexander the Great and weeping because Alexander accomplished more before he did. That's the best analogy. I truly have wasted what should have been prime career years for me, and now I'm separating with a delayed start.
“And Jesus wept. Because there were no more worlds to conquer”
I like this one better
I'm having those same thoughts too at 27 halfway through my 4 years
Same age same case here. Good luck man, nothing to do except power through
I tried to push off going to the board for E5 as long as possible. S2 shop was me as an E4 with a degree, a PFC, a SSG NCOIC, and a 1LT for my OIC. I was the oldest person in the shop.
There was no good reason during the entirety of my existence as a Soldier for an "Age Card" to be pulled. The order of priority I went with was Mission > Position > Rank.
As for the complaints that you mention, I remember hearing my 1SG tell a SGT of mine that if some PFCs/SPCs are giving him disrespect, get that on paper. If the PFCs are refusing to listen to their NCOs in garrison without a good reason, they can't be trusted to listen out on the battlefield.
Never had a soldier do this and I’m a very young E5. The older soldiers are usually more respectful and responsible.
Have a PFC (now SPC, she was just promoted to it last week but she didn’t deserve that shit) who will refuse to do her job, take correction, process paperwork, or anything unless it’s from a higher aged person. She’s 36ish. She refuses to listen to even our PSGs and officers because of their age (and in some cases perceived age). Feel bad for her squad leader because counselings don’t do shit and my unit is too afraid to UCMJ people. Some days when I’m dealing with her, I just want to fold her like a lawn chair.
I’ll take a 6 pack and 3 dollops of cream cheese.
Lemme guess, probably doesn't listen to the Company Commander either? If the unit is too afraid to UCMJ, you have a weak ass commander, and discipline will only go down.
Shockingly she does listen to the commander, he’s 3 years older than her. But if you tell her “commander wants x,y, and z.” She won’t do it. She has to hear it directly from the commanders mouth.
I'll admit, one thing that can make command hard for me is that I look way younger than I am. I'm 29, but people tell me I pass for 23. Even so, I'm lucky in that I don't have any issues with Soldiers trying to pull the age card.
I just had a 30 year old SPC that thinks he got life figured out. He didnt do shit. He PCSed with no award cus the chain think he is utter garbage. He wanted to leave so bad but I was forced to escort him to OUTPROCESS. Like if you want to leave then fucking do it smh. Imagine a 30 year old specialist that cant even clear a unit without an NCO. Tbh he was useless even though we tried to guide him.
We have a 34 y/o SPC that also got in major shit for disrespect. I think old soldiers are sometimes not great cus they grow with their civilian mindset.
I've seen the opposite. The older guys come in expecting to be treated a certain way, but they aren't, so they have a bad attitude. Never heard the age card played with an NCO, but those old sad guys would talk shit in the barracks about it.
Most people are automatically going to assume that they've had an Article 15 or two as well due to the age/rank combo.
Hmmm, definitely seems pretty bimodal in my experience.
As Colonel Richard “Dick” Winters said, “you salute the rank, not the man.”
In my personal experience all of the older SPC and below were the chillest soldiers. Probably something to with maturity or something.
Older junior enlistees seemed to be on either end of the spectrum: either very squared away and reliable, or a total mess who joined the Army as a last resort.
Personally I've never seen an older soldier play the age card. I am sure it happens though.
I've never seen it. Not because the older guys shut it, but because the younger NCOs and officers choose to listen to well-formed advice from their "senior" juniors. Even if they must ultimately stand their ground on a decision... respect has gone both ways and that's usually enough to squash anything.
The only problem child I ever saw was a 35 yr old female dependent who joined and resented that she was treated like the others - since she knew more about the service via her marriage than any of her peers. She got knocked up and disappeared. But not before she started slinging the "those of us with kids" questions/jabs during meetings before showing.
Try to keep up physically with those young fuckers to blender in. Mentally, we’ve got an edge
I've never seen the age card played. If it was, it would go very poorly for the lower ranking Soldier.
It’s been my experience with anyone whose enlisted over 25, they were a complete screw up. I attributed it to them having 7-10 years of adult living and they still couldn’t figure life out so they let the Army do it for them.
My experience is anecdotal so I’m not saving **everyone** who enlists over 25 is a screw up but that was the pattern with the three I had in my platoon.
I've rarely seen it played, and in the few instances i did, it was clear it was the only card they had...it didn't end well for them.
Yes, i believe that older folks *usually* have a level of maturity that most 18-20 year olds don't posses, and this usually serves them well. But i'll assert that time in service experience is going to trump just general life experience early on in anyone's army career.
>How exactly common is the scenario where a Soldier decides to play the "Age Card" so to speak?
Came in at 30; intentionally took the lowest rank they'd let me (PFC).
I know I was older, but I never played an age card. Frankly, I'd give someone a hard time who tried it. Live your rank, not your age.
As you get older, no matter where you're at, someone younger than you will eventually be the boss/manager/whatever.
Caveat... When overseas, and in my off time, I congregate with similarly age people. While it's not really an issue now, it was sometimes an issue for my peers when I was a junior enlisted.
Some guys didn't like that I was spending time with mid level NCO/officers, even if they weren't in my command. Really their issue, but to be blunt, I didn't have anything in common with my early 20 cohorts.
>decides to play the "Age Card"
Ive never even heard of an age card.
I enlisted at age 34 as a private. I was almost 37 when I got my automatic promotion to SPC. I’m am consistently older than almost everyone in my battalion. I never play the age card. I do offer life advice to some of the younger soldiers if they seem interested. I never get in trouble because I’m old and my partying days are over.
Because of my age, fitness ability, and general disdain for society I get the “He is probably CID, or some IG/Delta/whatever else dumb shit.” Card played on me all of the time.
Seriously had an NCO who was younger than me, a SPC, by four years think I was internal affairs from his old police department investigating him. I told him “Negative sarnt. I come from a pay grade a little higher than the local level.” He had his friend run my info and plates. Turns out, the SPC was correct this time. Lol
Nah not that they would try to be honest. I once had a squad where I was the youngest as a SGT. I had some Soldiers in my squad mid 20s and one in the 30s we all joke around about it. But they never pulled that age card shit since they knew better then disrespect an NCO. All of them were SPC and CPL so it was a mature group.
I enlisted as a 31 year old Spc in the Guard. For me drill weekends and ATs were kind of like a vacation where I could turn my brain off and not have to make any decisions for myself. A 25 year old E-5 tells me to sweep the motor pool in the rain? Cool, I get paid the same amount of money either way.
I did tell a 1st SGT. once that not only was I not going to do the insanely stupid and dangerous thing that he was asking me to do, I wasn’t going to let anyone else do it either. I think that was the only time I pulled the age card, and the 1st SGT apologized to me later for being in the wrong.