Originally posted by Stark:
On that note, does anyone know if you have to decide on regular vs. reserve before you complete battle school? I'd really like to complete my training before I'd have to make a final decision...
As strange as it may seem, since all recruiting is centralized at the CF Recruiting Centres, recruiting for the regular and reserve components are two quite independent processes. You can join either the regular force or the primary reserve -- and must choose which one from the outset.
If you choose regular (infantry), and are accepted, you will proceed to recruit training (frankly, I don't know where they do this anymore), then be assigned to a regiment and go through regimental battle school.
If you choose reserve (infantry), and are accepted, you will report to your reserve unit on Class "A" (ie. part-time) status until you are loaded on a recruit/basic course, followed by your infantry trade training. Depending on your availability and the scheduling of courses this may take one summer or a number of years to complete.
If you're unsure what you want to do for a living, and you have a civilian job opportunity that appeals to you, I'd recommend taking the job and joining a reserve infantry unit near you. Although it's not at all the same as joining the regular force, it will give you a "taste" of the lifestyle that will help you determine if you'd like the professional army.
The US Army used to recruite with a slogan that started "It's not just a job..." Truer words were never spoken about the military. It's not just a job. Like the clergy, and to a slightly lesser extent the police service, the military is a lifestyle. You either love it or you don't.
When you're a business person, electrician, consultant, teacher or whatever in civilian life -- your job essentially stops at some point in the day and you revert to "just you." When you're on holiday, you're not "Electrician Bob" or "Consultant Sally." Your family life and personal finances are none of your boss's damn business.
Not so in uniform. You may be off duty -- but will always be "Corporal Pete" or "Major Jane". Everything about you, your life, your family and its finances is the Army's business. There is no separation between you and the Army. And, it works well that way.
As I said, you either love it or you don't. It's totally alien from civilian life and I know very few (if any) peers for whom the experience was fully anticipated. If you're not completely sure, I'd say test the waters first.
[ 18 July 2001: Message edited by: towhey ]