I can't say I was surprised when my husband received his orders for Marine Corps Recruiting Duty. Honestly, I saw it coming a mile away. Sure I had hoped he wouldn't get recruiting, but every six months I would check the list to see if his name was on it.
I'm not sure if you knew this, but every six months the Marine Corps Recruiting Screening team sends out a list of qualified Marines. Every Marine has to do an additional job, called a B billet. My husband had mentioned wanting to be an Marine Combat Instructor. But his lack of decision became his decision. You see, if you wait long enough, the Marine Corps will pick for you.
So when he got his orders my only thought was, "where are we going to go? Does he want to recruit close to home?". My husband is from the great state of New Jersey. Now, I don't mean to offend anyone, but it really wasn't all that great living there. Traffic, violence, cost of living, lack of employment, and freezing cold winters all made me not so excited at the thought of going back.
So, being the supportive Marine wife that I am, I start asking where he thought he wanted to go, without telling him outright that I really didn't want to go back up North. Don't get me wrong. I am also from the North East United States. It's beautiful there with 4 actual seasons. I just didn't think it was the right place to go for his career or our family.
Surprisingly, my husband agreed with me without me even having to say anything. Of course I couldn't just smile and move on, I had to ask why he didn't want to recruit close to home (without him even knowing he agreed with me). What he said made a lot of sense. It may help some of you who are in this same scenario.
He told me that he wanted to be successful on Recruiting duty and didn't think that would happen if he was close to home. When your entire career rides on the decision of seventeen and eighteen year old kids, you want to have every advantage possible.
- It's very hard to recruit in his area. Sure Marines come from all states and all places and all walks of life. But I can tell you, most of them aren't coming from the Tri-State Area.
- Some Marine Corps Recruiting Districts are more successful than others. One of the most successful ones is 8th district. In particular there are quiet a few Marines from Texas. My husband wanted to make the most of Recruiting and use this opportunity towards promotion. Depending on the MOS, the higher the rank the harder it is to get promoted. So if he can shine at this, he has a good chance of getting promoted a little faster.
- Living and recruiting close to home could actually cause more problems. This might actually seem like a shock to some. But to be completely honest not all family members are always supportive or understanding. The closer one lives to home the more involved family tends to get. Sometimes in areas that they shouldn't. It's one thing to complain to family about long hours and work but another for them to see it for themselves.
Family may not always be so understanding when they actually see the husband working 14 hour days, missing family events, or otherwise not being around. No matter how much you prepare for the long hours no spouse really understands until they are there in the midst USMC Recruiting Duty. So if it's hard for the spouse to understand, imagine how other members of the family may view it.
I know of many relationships that went South due to opinions and advice from well meaning family and friends. Once the seeds are planted it's sometimes hard to remove.
I also know that not every family is the same. And it may seem helpful to have people you love around you when your spouse is not there. It works for some and not for others.
Ultimately you will have to decide what is best for you, your family, and your spouses career. Then you can make the choice to try to recruit close to home or somewhere else.