I was in the army for four years starting in November of 2001. By the end of my time I knew it wasn't for me. I didn't like that I had no choice in my life. The army decides everything. When I first joined I was single and care free. I would go anywhere and do anything. I spent a year in South Korea and really had a great time.
More after the fold.
My goals in life changed drastically when I met my wife, also a soldier, and we started a family. Being in the army is terrible for families, especially now with the Iraq war going on. I wouldn't have been against going when I was single, but married with children is entirely different. Long deployments are bad for everyone in the family, and that's if no one gets injured or killed while over there. So when my time came up to reenlist, I didn't.
One thing many people don't realize is that when you join the army, even if it's only for 2yrs, you have an 8 year commitment. However many years you join up for active army is subtracted from 8, and what ever number you get is how long you will serve in the inactive reserves after you complete your active portion. So no matter what you sign up for, you get at least an 8 year commitment. I signed up for 4 years active, and 4 years inactive. Inactive didn't really mean anything before Iraq because they had no need to pull you from inactive to active. When I was getting out of active I knew of a few people that had already gotten pulled from inactive. My job (MOS) in the army was fixing electronic military intelligence systems. My MOS is a shortage MOS, meaning they never have as many of us as they want to. Since my chances were pretty high that I would be activated and sent to Iraq, I decided to join the Texas National guard. They gave me 2yrs stability (meaning I can't deploy), and a decent bonus. They would pay for college classes and would also give me an extra few hundred dollars a month for drilling.
Gambling with 2yrs instead of 4yrs seemed like the better bet, especially since they were paying me also. It seemed like a good idea, but it didn't work. My unit is going to Afghanistan, and they fully intend to take me with them. I'll be starting training probably in September, and once I start I'll basically be gone for 5 months. At the end of the 5 months I'll go to Afghanistan, supposedly only for 9 months. The only good thing about it is that when I come back my contract will be completely fulfilled and they can never touch me again, even if they add a draft (supposedly). What really sucks is that even though I'm going to be deploying (perhaps because I'm deploying), my civilian job is still going to send me on two business trips. One of them will be 4 weeks long, and the other one will be 3 weeks long. The four week long one will be in Austin, so my wife and kids can visit me, but I will be very busy.
I'll give more info about it later once I know more about it.