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Ask the Sarge: ROTC or OCS?

Plus, dealing with a comrade's wrongdoing and handling the pressure to give to a Soldier association

Got a question about Guard life? Need advice? Write to us at AskTheSarge@GXonline.com

WHAT'S THE BETTER WAY: ROTC OR OCS?

That’s an “either/or.” You’re going to get some training either way. It’s ultimately two different routes to the same result. I think what you need to look at is what’s available to you, what fits into your degree program and what it is you’re trying to do.

MY UNIT PRESSURES ME INTO GIVING MONEY TO A NATIONAL SOLDIER ASSOCIATION. I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT IT DOES FOR ME. IS IT FAIR TO GET PRESSURED INTO GIVING TO SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T BENEFIT ME DIRECTLY?

There are regulations against those kinds of things. Asking you isn’t necessarily pressuring you. If it’s affecting your opportunities for promotions, the kind of jobs you get and the way you’re being treated, then there’s a bigger issue. If somebody just asks you to give something, research the group and see if it’s worth giving to. But you are not beholden to any organization to provide money.

I FOUND OUT ONE OF MY NCOS IN MY CHAIN OF COMMAND IS USING UNIT EQUIPMENT FOR A PERSONAL CONSTRUCTION PROJECT. HE’S A FRIEND, THOUGH. WHAT SHOULD I DO ABOUT IT?

If he was a friend, the first thing I would do is confront him and ask him if he knew what he was doing was illegal. If he continued, then I would be duty-bound to report it. Simple reason is because it is waste, fraud and abuse. The equipment doesn’t belong to him, you or the unit. It belongs to the government or, more correctly, the people of the United States. And guess what: We all pay for it with our tax dollars, so he’s wasting all of our money. Equipment is designed to last a certain amount of time. Everything in the military has a life cycle from your freakin’ socks all the way up to the doggone destroyers, so if it’s being misappropri- ated, it’s using its life for a purpose other than what it was designed for. So yeah, dime him out.

MY BOSS AT MY CIVILIAN JOB KEEPS GIVING ME CRAP FOR MISSING WORK BECAUSE OF DRILL. HE’S EVEN THREATENED TO KEEP MY ANNUAL BONUS IF I MISS ANY MORE WORK. CAN I SUE HIM?

You need to talk to the folks at ESGR [Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve]—your ESGR representative in the unit. If not in your unit, then certainly the folks at the Joint Force Headquarters level. You need to have a discussion with them to outline what’s happening to you and get some kind of dialogue going between the people who know how to handle those kinds of things and your employer. Because you’re not supposed to miss out on any bonuses, raises, promotions, anything like that for answering the call of duty. Your boss needs to be dealt with.

SFC (Ret.) Bob Weaver served for 24 years in the Active Army and National Guard, including a tour in the first Gulf War. His opinions are not the views of the Army National Guard.