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Reserve Armour Officer, 2015, at 40!


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Wow, can't believe I made it!

This process sure isn't for the disinterested.  I thought I'd tell my story in case there's others out there like me.

So, the end of January, I get a postcard in the mail.  Reserve unit looking for recruits.  Up until this point in my life, I had thought almost nothing about joining the army.  When I was just out of school, I considered it briefly, after meeting a guy at a college I visited who was on a "free ride" after joining the US Army regulars and finishing his mandatory period. But I was never a "violent" guy - in fact more on the nerdy side, so it just didn't seem a good fit - kind of like volunteering to hang out with a bunch of jocks from the football team.  Not appealing.

But, over the years, getting a degree, and figuring out who I am, as a father and a man, I've come around to the point where I understand it's my job to know how to defend me and mine, and also always admiring both my grandfathers who enlisted and served during WWII (though they are the only people I am related to who have ever served), when I got that postcard, and because I wasn't working full time and was looking for something to do now that my kids are all in school (my wife works full time, so someone had to mind the little ones), I figured this reserve thing might be interesting to explore and see what kind of commitment is really required.

I went down to the armoury and had a visit with the recruiter, who was also the officer in command of the local unit - (SALH A sqn).  Talked about what it looks like to be in, what the needs were, how my background might fit.  There was a lot that appealed to my interests - regular travel (weekend manouvres), built in incentives for PT (always wanted to get in better shape), and hey, 4x4s and guns!

The tricky part next was pitching it to my wife, who is anti-gun - though mainly because she is afraid if we have one in the house one of our kids will shoot themselves or someone else with it.  Her first objection was whether I could be shipped out to places like Afghanistan.  Her second was whether there was a mandatory enlistment period.  When she learned both were in the negative (at least without consent), she came around with the sexy eye - "Do you get to bring home the uniform?"  Yeah baby...

So off to the next step - getting together transcripts for educational institutions I had not been to in 20 years.  What a pain.  But within a couple weeks, by mid-February, I had my application in.  Had a second "official" interview locally with the 2nd in command, mainly because I was putting in for officer.  I should add, I debated whether to go enlisted or officer, because I don't feel like I need to be in charge of people, I asked what they needed more.  They wouldn't say either way, but I figured they probably get more enlisted applicants than officers, so I should probably go where my degree will take me.

Force Fit test - Mid-March - passed with flying colours.  Had to repeat the "run, dive, jump up, run" one - I forgot to lift my hands a couple times on the first pass and was 1 second too slow.  It's a little tricky having to go full tilt and think at the same time, but I see why they have it.  I also started going to the gym regularly, I should add, as I am 25 pounds overweight for my height.  Figured, if I hit BMQ without at least being able to keep up with the young men, I am going to be screwed.

Aptitude Test - mid-April - passed no problems. 

Interview with CO in Edmonton - fascinating.  Those guys up there were harsh.  No halfassed commitments would they permit.  If you weren't all in, you weren't wanted.  I liked that approach, weeds out the wishy washy.  Glad the last book I read wasn't "Twilight" :-X - I actually had  good answer with "guns" in the title!  ;D

Recruiting office interview, Medical - end of April - Medical went smoothly, but apparently if you're over 35 they want some bloodwork ad junk so I had to book an appt. locally and get that into the office.  Took some doing and slowed things down unfortunately.  The interview was fine - a little more reality was good.  Felt like an idiot when I answered one question just stupidly without thought.  Luckily he let it pass when I clarified.  Pro Tip: don't use sarcasm, and keep your answers straight!

Once all the medical forms were in the waiting game was on... I was told up front that the whole process could be 6 months or more, but my own life is rather uniquely arranged, so that I can more easily accomodate training in short intense bursts than weekends for months.  So I wanted into BMQ in July.  For a long time I was worried it wouldn't be open to me... based on how long the application would take to process.

Finally, last Thursday I get a call - "I'm calling your bluff.  You really want to be in the army?"  Offered to swear me in that afternoon.  I headed down to the armoury, stood in front of the colours and swore an oath to the Queen.  Of course, being the twisted guy I am the first thing I thought of was "ok, I am not obeying ANYONE but the Queen now!"

So the good news for all you potential Reservists out there - it CAN be done faster than you think!  Though 4 months is still a long process start to finish, I made it!  Now I find out I have a couple of options for BMQ, so waiting to hear if I am going to Esquimalt or Edmonton for July.  If you read this and you're heading to the same BMQ, looking forward to meeting you!  :salute:
she came around with the sexy eye - "Do you get to bring home the uniform?"  Yeah baby...

Oh man, you are going to get me in trouble at work (where I read your post). I had to try really hard not to laugh. I am 34 (married with children like you), and last weekend my wife gave me the same look while asking me about bringing the uniform home.

I am glad you got in. I am always pleased to read stories with happy endings from older applicants.
Good read!

I hope the best for you at BMQ.
Update us on how your BMQ went after you return, cheers!
Congratulations, I entered as DEO at 47.  You'll find that you can contribute a great deal with some life experience.  Enjoy BMQ, give it all,