Berlin Law Firm May 2019

LEX CANIS THE Lee Berlin Andrea Brown

The Talk Thinking About Your Child’s Future

Well, school’s out for summer, meaning a whole new generation of students will be thinking about their futures. As yesterday’s juniors and sophomores come one step closer to leaving their high school years behind, I’d like to take a moment to address their parents. It’s time to give your kids the talk — about joining the military. After being in the Army, I can say I wouldn’t be where I am today without my time in the service. From the discipline and training I received to the opportunities that were opened to me, it was nothing short of a life- changing experience. Now, looking at today’s military and just how integrated technology has become, there are even more ways young men and women can build their futures. Still, I understand that joining the armed forces isn’t exactly every parent’s first choice for their children; it certainly wasn’t for mine. My mom and dad were flabbergasted when I told them I was enlisting. After all, I was the same son who cried every time they dropped me off at summer camp. How was I ever going to survive boot camp? But at 17, I was old enough to want to mature and become my own man while still being young enough to think I knew best. Parents and family friends, including veterans, tried to talk me out of the decision. “At least do ROTC,” they said. But my mind was made up. During my senior year in high school, I joined the delayed-entry program with the Montana Army National Guard.

and education with their chosen branch of the armed forces while finishing their senior year of high school. They won’t have to ship off to basic training until after they graduate. That’s what I did, shipping out the summer before college. I won’t sugarcoat it; that first summer away from home was one of the toughest of my life, physically and emotionally. But when I arrived on campus that fall, it was clear the experience had changed me for the better. College has plenty of distractions. There are a lot of young adults without their parents around for the first time and with access to booze. Watching some of my fellow classmen really let themselves go, I was grateful for the self-control and sense of real-world consequences I learned in basic. And having taken a split-training option, I could look forward to drill every month with my fellow National Guard members and guaranteed paid training the following summer Split option is an aspect of enlistment not everyone is aware of. The split option let me go to basic training the summer after I graduated from high school. The following summer, I completed my advanced individual training, where I learned my military occupational specialty. Drill kept me fit and took my thoughts out of the sometimes overdramatic mindset of your average college student. That year, instead of gaining the freshman 15, I finished my 1st year of college in great shape.

1 Berlin Law Firm • DefendingTulsa.com So, if your son or daughter is considering this option, my advice is to resist the urge to give a flat “No.” Work with them to find resources and programs that would be a good fit for both civilian and military life. It’s not for everyone, but I’m forever grateful that I answered my calling and served. –Lee Berlin training, I was able to pay my way through college. After graduating, I became an officer and worked my way up to a captain in the field artillery. Not everyone wants that kind of future for their child, and that’s okay. Just know there are many amazing jobs within the military that have nothing to do with combat. Now more than ever, there are jobs within the military that teach real-world skills. Drone pilots, IT specialists, mechanics, cooks, logistics officers — every job is essential to giving the warriors on the front the support they need. In fact, Kyle Killam, one of our former attorneys, was a military police officer in the army, which gave him experiences that directly translated into his new role when he began his journey into criminal law. I didn’t think to be intentional when I chose what I wanted to do in the military; I don’t exactly use artillery in the courtroom. This is partly because I didn’t take the time to fully understand my options. I was a young guy who thought he knew what he wanted, and I was determined to shut out the adults telling me not to commit to this life decision.

Delayed entry is a great fit for some high schoolers. It allows them to do some drills

Between the special tuition rate I received and the money I made during summer

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