A few Qs, if I may...

A

Arbiter

Guest
#1
Good day,

I have a few questions about joining the TA that I hope some of you may be able to answer below (ideally with the benefit of experience). I've trawled and searched the forums but I've not really found any threads which have put my mind at ease - so I shall ask my questions here and stoically weather the flame storm. :p

1) Firstly (and most importantly): I own two companies. I'm happy to devote a sizeable fraction of my time to the TA (with caveats) but I'm not prepared to make myself bankrupt. I need to be constantly available via telephone in order to ensure that I can address issues as they arise. What is the TA's policy on mobile phones? Clearly I shan't be gassing on the blower during the middle of a parade, but I can't afford to be unreachable for a fortnight when I'm away on training etc. This might sound like a stupid, trivial and self-centred question but it's important to me. People may fret about their employers reacting to spending time away in the TA, but when you ARE your employer and your input is essential, it puts a different slant on things. In a nutshell, would my commitment to the TA damage my businesses?

2) I was wondering whether to join the TA as an officer or a soldier. However, as said above, I've searched the forums and the overwhelming advice appears to be 'join as a soldier and see how it goes'. The truth is, besides IT, most of the skills I've acquired in my life revolve around leading people (that's leading, not managing) and it's something that I'm very good at, so it seems the natural option. That said, from what I've read on here, being an officer isn't leading people, it's filing papers. It seems to me that most people love being a soldier (almost unconditionally) whereas officers say "Well, it's good, but...". Basically, my first thought is join as a soldier and see what happens but if anyone else has any input I'd love to hear it.

3) Morality (commence flaming here): I do not approve of the wars we're currently fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan nor would I serve in them. From what I've read, it seems that active service is voluntary in the TA. I would gladly put my life on the line in defence of Britain, her outlying territories or allies - however, I would not wish to contribute to wars such as we're fighting now, which (in my view) are utterly immoral. Is there a chance of me being forced to serve in a conflict I'm morally against?

Thank you for reading the above and (hopefully) for commenting. There are several members of these forums who I'm hoping will reply in this thread personally as I've already seen the quality of their posts to others and I value their advice.

Enjoy your day. :)
 
#2
Hi

I havent been in the Ta for that long but I can answer some of your questions.

1: Everyone took phones with them to the training weekends I'v been on so far, I kept mine in my locker during the day but some people had them in their pockets either on silent or turnt off. I expect you will find it difficult to use/access your phone during the day on a 2 week camp. I haven't done my 2 weeks yet but I doubt my phone will be coming out of my locker much when I do.

2: I joined as a soldier and will probably remain so, however they seem to encourage people with degrees/studying for a degree to become officers. I expect the same is true for those with extensive management/leading experience.

3: Mobilisations are currently voluntary but they may change to compulsory, alot of people think you shouldn't bother joining if you wont/don't want to mobilise.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#3
Based on your concerns, I would have to say the TA is not for you. Not until you can leave your staff unsupervised, at least. You could put in the minimum amount of time each year (however many weekends and a 2 week camp), but like your business, you only get out what you put in. Put in the minimum time and effort, and you'll get the minimum return.

You're last question is the most revealing. As a soldier you are a tool of the goverment, whether you like it or not. No soldier ever got to choose the war they fought. I'm sure many blokes would haver said no to a tour of NI, but it's not an option. I think aspects of military life appeal to you, but being a soldier would not be suitable at this time. In all seriousness, have you thought of becoming an adult instructer with the cadets?
 
#4
Knob off ! You sound problematic from the offset, have a re-read of your post then spend a couple of hours having a wander round the site then re-assess yourself. If you want a weekend hobby that impresses your mates and requires very little input or sacrifice try dogging !
 
#5
Anonymous said:
No soldier ever got to choose the war they fought. I'm sure many blokes would haver said no to a tour of NI, but it's not an option.
But it was. Volunteering to serve oversea's in WW1 also included the potential of serving in Ireland, so many refused to volunteer
 
A

Arbiter

Guest
#6
Anonymous said:
Based on your concerns, I would have to say the TA is not for you. Not until you can leave your staff unsupervised, at least. You could put in the minimum amount of time each year (however many weekends and a 2 week camp), but like your business, you only get out what you put in. Put in the minimum time and effort, and you'll get the minimum return.

You're last question is the most revealing. As a soldier you are a tool of the goverment, whether you like it or not. No soldier ever got to choose the war they fought. I'm sure many blokes would haver said no to a tour of NI, but it's not an option. I think aspects of military life appeal to you, but being a soldier would not be suitable at this time. In all seriousness, have you thought of becoming an adult instructer with the cadets?
Thank you for your considered reply.

I can leave my staff unsupervised but major decisions require my input or, at the least, my approval. I'd be more than happy to devote far more than the minimum time and effort to something I enjoy and find rewarding - and from speaking to a friend (who's in the TA) I think I would find the TA rewarding - however I just can't vanish off the face of the Earth for any length of time.

I figured my last point would have been the contentious issue which is why I mentioned it - I'm not out to deceive anyone and I'll get the best advice by being honest from the outset. There are sliding scales of involvement in war from being a regular soldier, to the TA, to being forcibly drafted when it all goes to pot. In this day and age the phrase 'I was just following orders' is worthy of disgust and rightly so. No soldier in the past got to choose their wars but these days, it should be different. As stated, I'm happy to defend this country (with my life, if needs be) but outright aggression for political reasons is a step too far for me.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#7
h-bomb said:
Hi

I havent been in the Ta for that long but I can answer some of your questions.

1: Everyone took phones with them to the training weekends I'v been on so far, I kept mine in my locker during the day but some people had them in their pockets either on silent or turnt off. I expect you will find it difficult to use/access your phone during the day on a 2 week camp. I haven't done my 2 weeks yet but I doubt my phone will be coming out of my locker much when I do.

2: I joined as a soldier and will probably remain so, however they seem to encourage people with degrees/studying for a degree to become officers. I expect the same is true for those with extensive management/leading experience.

3: Mobilisations are currently voluntary but they may change to compulsory, alot of people think you shouldn't bother joining if you wont/don't want to mobilise.
Thanks for the reply. :)

I imagine I'd fall in the category of just sticking it in my locker and dealing with missed calls in the evening but I cannot be out of contact with the world for a fortnight.

I'm not short of qualifications and my life experience would probably put me firmly in the potential officer category however I've no wish to join the TA just to push paper around. If I can give a valuable contribution as an officer then I'd like to do so but I'm almost certain there will be a lot of people with significantly more skills and experience available from the regular army to lead. I want to contribute, not administrate.

I know a lot of people think you shouldn't bother if you don't want to mobilise (some are rabid about the point) but I'm concerned that I may be called on to enforce something that's morally destitute. I'm happy to mobilise but not to pursue acts of wanton aggression.
 
#8
In short - don't join.

During training you can usually keep in touch quite well but you can't be sure. If you are out in the field on execise, which could be a whole weekend or for quite a few days during Annual Camp your phone might not work and even it is does there is a good chance you won't have the opportunity to use it.

More seriously, although mobilisation at the moment is largely voluntary, once you sign up you are making yourself available to go wherever the democratically elected government of the UK decides to send you. The Army can compulsorily mobilise you and send you to Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else. If you can't accept this you shouldn't join - and how on earth do you think you could command soldiers who have been to Iraq or Afghanistan if that is your view?

No problem with you objecting to Iraq / Afghanistan - that's your right - but the only way of refusing to go there is to not join up.
 
E

error_unknown

Guest
#9
reni_77 said:
Knob off ! You sound problematic from the offset, have a re-read of your post then spend a couple of hours having a wander round the site then re-assess yourself. If you want a weekend hobby that impresses your mates and requires very little input or sacrifice try dogging !
Thank you, Cicero.

I've spent the last week reading countless threads on these forums and I decided to ask the questions I did because I needed more (personal) advice.

I don't need a weekend hobby to impress my mates. I want to give something back to the country that's allowed me to get where I am today. However, I do not wish to be simply exploited by the government. If this means the TA is not for me then I'll walk away and not waste anyone's time.
 
#10
oldstab said:
In short - don't join.

During training you can usually keep in touch quite well but you can't be sure. If you are out in the field on execise, which could be a whole weekend or for quite a few days during Annual Camp your phone might not work and even it is does there is a good chance you won't have the opportunity to use it.

More seriously, although mobilisation at the moment is largely voluntary, once you sign up you are making yourself available to go wherever the democratically elected government of the UK decides to send you. The Army can compulsorily mobilise you and send you to Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else. If you can't accept this you shouldn't join - and how on earth do you think you could command soldiers who have been to Iraq or Afghanistan if that is your view?

No problem with you objecting to Iraq / Afghanistan - that's your right - but the only way of refusing to go there is to not join up.
Agreed ! However, if your dead set on joining consider what role you could play, there is no sense in training you up to full infanteer standard then giving you an SQ for you to dig your heels in and say "nope, just Cyprus, Canada and Bosnia for me Sir thanks all the same!" But given your obvious clerical/admin skills in respect to running a business you could utilise that ? With your obvious opinions on the current political climate I would much rather have you sorting out my rail warrant than briefing me before a strike op !
 
H

Hugh_Jardon

Guest
#11
A few points:

On my two-week CIC, I was with several employers/managers, who were allowed by the instructors to keep their phones on them and use them (even in the field) as they understand their need for constant contact. One bloke was even negotiating business deals practically under (blank) fire haha! So, as long as you have understanding staff, or make your case plain, I see no reason why it should affect your business.

I joined as a soldier, because I'm planning a career as a regular officer, and wanted to gain experience of how the 'other half live' so to speak, and have no interest in becoming an officer in the TA. HOWEVER, it is definitely a worthwhile aspiration, and with your skills, shouldn't be a problem. Many of my friends and people I've met are also doing time in the ranks before going for a commission, its not a bad idea.

Lastly, there is a clear difference between agreeing with the war, and doing your job. I don't particularly agree with either war, but I'm still hoping to deploy later this year. I don't really see it as my place to pass judgement, rather just do my job! That's not a dig at you, that's just how I see it. No matter how many times I've heard 'when you deploy later this year' or 'In the next 18 months, it is highly likely that you will be deploying to...' It still comes down to the fact that it is voluntary. If you don't want to go, you won't. There are loads of other opportunities for tours, such as Cyprus, Canada etc. I agree with the previous posts in that a lot of people do think there's no point in joining if you don't intend to deploy, but I disagree. Someone has to stay at home at keep the home fires burning!

So, in conclusion- I say do it! For the social life, the training, the experience, the life skills and transferable qualifications, it really is a fantastic opportunity.

Hope this helps.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#12
My point about committing the minimum amount of time was that you are able to train while keeping time out of contact to a minimum. During an excercise you may be training in some remote area with no mobile coverage, either at home or abroad, for a week or longer. Finding a phone box is unlikely to be an option. If that is not acceptable then delay your application.
I see what you mean. How likely is it that I'd be on an exercise and out of contact with the world? Would I have any kind of warning? If I did then I could contract in a manager to deal with things whilst I was away. It wouldn't be the same as me being on tap but if it's only for a few weeks then it would be survivable.

I'm trying to find ways around potential obstacles which is why I posted here. Ideally people will be able to flag things I hadn't considered and give advice on how to work around things I thought may be a problem.

As for delaying my application, I'm 28 now. I'm an old man. Nearly dead, in fact. I'd like to join whilst I'm still able, so as not to be the old fella, pottering around at the back of the room, waving his bayonet about and shouting "Don't panic! Don't panic!"
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#13
oldstab said:
In short - don't join.
More seriously, although mobilisation at the moment is largely voluntary, once you sign up you are making yourself available to go wherever the democratically elected government of the UK decides to send you. The Army can compulsorily mobilise you and send you to Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else. If you can't accept this you shouldn't join - and how on earth do you think you could command soldiers who have been to Iraq or Afghanistan if that is your view?

No problem with you objecting to Iraq / Afghanistan - that's your right - but the only way of refusing to go there is to not join up.
Thanks for your post.

I'm not vociferously against the wars in Iraq/Afghanistan or the people who served there. It seems too easy to pigeon hole people into a 'for it or against it' mindset where those for are gun toting rednecks and those against are pinko commies (to borrow liberally from the American slang).

I don't think the issue of me commanding those who'd served in Iraq/Afghanistan is much of an issue really. Well, not to me anyway. I manage women, Muslims and disabled people. I don't need to get breast implants, wear a burka and sit in a wheelchair to do so. Besides which, there's the obvious issue of whether command is right for me. I may be able to contribute best if I simply serve.

Your last point is the one I'm mulling over. IS it the only way to ensure I'm not sent to a war I don't want to fight. I was under the impression that the TA was largely voluntary regarding serving overseas. As stated, I'm happy to defend but not to launch offensives on sandy countries. If that renders me ineligible for the TA then I'll leave it.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#14
Hugh_Jardon said:
A few points:

On my two-week CIC, I was with several employers/managers, who were allowed by the instructors to keep their phones on them and use them (even in the field) as they understand their need for constant contact. One bloke was even negotiating business deals practically under (blank) fire haha! So, as long as you have understanding staff, or make your case plain, I see no reason why it should affect your business.

I joined as a soldier, because I'm planning a career as a regular officer, and wanted to gain experience of how the 'other half live' so to speak, and have no interest in becoming an officer in the TA. HOWEVER, it is definitely a worthwhile aspiration, and with your skills, shouldn't be a problem. Many of my friends and people I've met are also doing time in the ranks before going for a commission, its not a bad idea.

Lastly, there is a clear difference between agreeing with the war, and doing your job. I don't particularly agree with either war, but I'm still hoping to deploy later this year. I don't really see it as my place to pass judgement, rather just do my job! That's not a dig at you, that's just how I see it. No matter how many times I've heard 'when you deploy later this year' or 'In the next 18 months, it is highly likely that you will be deploying to...' It still comes down to the fact that it is voluntary. If you don't want to go, you won't. There are loads of other opportunities for tours, such as Cyprus, Canada etc. I agree with the previous posts in that a lot of people do think there's no point in joining if you don't intend to deploy, but I disagree. Someone has to stay at home at keep the home fires burning!

So, in conclusion- I say do it! For the social life, the training, the experience, the life skills and transferable qualifications, it really is a fantastic opportunity.

Hope this helps.
Thanks for your input. :)

I don't think I'd quite be as bad as using the phone in the field but I would need to know that I could keep on top of things in the evenings. The effort involved in starting up and running a business (never mind two) is considerable. To think it might all collapse because someone couldn't get hold of me for a fortnight is not worth considering.

I see what you're saying about not passing judgement but I feel differently. It's one thing to fight for something you believe in, it's another to fight under false pretences.

I'm not eager for a tour where there's nothing to be done (e.g. Canada or Cyprus) - if I want to go abroad I'd just charter a plane. I'm not considering the TA just so I can put on a shiny uniform and parade around looking good. I want to help. I want to do something constructive. I just don't want to be exploited.

I know you've said 'just do it' but others here have said 'don't'. I'll wait until a few more opinions are in and then give it some more consideration. I'm not here to waste anyone's time and so far the advice is mixed...

And yes, your post helped. Thank you. :)
 
G

Goku

Guest
#15
Anonymous said:
I was under the impression that the TA was largely voluntary regarding serving overseas. As stated, I'm happy to defend but not to launch offensives on sandy countries. If that renders me ineligible for the TA then I'll leave it.
For now the TA operates under intelligent mobilisation, which mean that you’ll only deploy if you volunteer to do so (unless you have a trade in high demand).
However this is subject to the whims of our lords and masters, so in 12 months time (hypothetically) we may very well find ourselves compulsory mobilised as happened when Iraq first kicked off.

As for only wanting to defend…
How likely is it for the UK to be threatened with a WWII style land invasion in this age?
 
#16
Anonymous said:
oldstab said:
In short - don't join.
More seriously, although mobilisation at the moment is largely voluntary, once you sign up you are making yourself available to go wherever the democratically elected government of the UK decides to send you. The Army can compulsorily mobilise you and send you to Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else. If you can't accept this you shouldn't join - and how on earth do you think you could command soldiers who have been to Iraq or Afghanistan if that is your view?

No problem with you objecting to Iraq / Afghanistan - that's your right - but the only way of refusing to go there is to not join up.
Thanks for your post.

I'm not vociferously against the wars in Iraq/Afghanistan or the people who served there. It seems too easy to pigeon hole people into a 'for it or against it' mindset where those for are gun toting rednecks and those against are pinko commies (to borrow liberally from the American slang).

I don't think the issue of me commanding those who'd served in Iraq/Afghanistan is much of an issue really. Well, not to me anyway. I manage women, Muslims and disabled people. I don't need to get breast implants, wear a burka and sit in a wheelchair to do so. Besides which, there's the obvious issue of whether command is right for me. I may be able to contribute best if I simply serve.

Your last point is the one I'm mulling over. IS it the only way to ensure I'm not sent to a war I don't want to fight. I was under the impression that the TA was largely voluntary regarding serving overseas. As stated, I'm happy to defend but not to launch offensives on sandy countries. If that renders me ineligible for the TA then I'll leave it.

My first point was that if you don't respect what they have done on Ops and the commitment they made by being away of months, how would you gain their respect?

The second issue is that mob is almost all voluntary at the moment but hasn't been in the past (2003 in particular) and might not be in the future.
 
#17
Im not or ever have been T.A., but recently the two beasts are becoming somewhat similar in approach. You cannot seriously expect me to believe that your moral stance against "launching offensives in sandy places" is that strong, but you are prepared to serve under the exact umbrella that participates in said offensives ? Its a ridiculous notion, you also seem like a person of moderate intellect which leads me to believe that you are not adverse to airing your point of view and expressing your wishes freely, trust me the last thing a tom needs when he is packing his kit for the long flight out is the remnants of your last conversation about the rights and wrongs of the war reverbetating round his ears. Im not suggesting any element of dissent on your part but these organisations need individuals who are open and ready to commit to ANY future deployments be it peacekeeping or offensive, again Im not in the T.A. but have served long enough to know that the guys to follow are the ones that have sat through the same sh*t and experienced the indignitys, the laughs, the tears and the forming of strong bonds that you only get in operational environments.
But like i said previously you may well have attributes that you can bring to the party but whatever role you chose would inevitably mean that you are serving and supporting the very same military operations that you are so against ?
 
A

Arbiter

Guest
#18
Well, thank you everyone for your comments and input, I can see I still need to give this a good deal of though. I think perhaps a bigger deal has been made out of my third point than was needed but that's to be expected as it seems to be something people feel strongly about.

If anyone else has any comments regarding my first two questions, I'll still be glad of the input.

Thanks again, everyone. :)
 
#19
Other points people have covered. It is not guaranteed that you would be contactable, but chances are not bad. What if you get mobilised? Yes you can hire in a manager (MOD helps fund that too) but do you want to take that risk?

Not knowing what your qualifications are but try take a look at some of the specialist squadrons - for IT look up LICSG or LIAG, there's also media ops and CIMIC (good for people that can deal with people/infrastructure/security/business et al) and a load more.

Think about the kind of people you'd like to leading as a potential officer, and in what capacity - an infrantry plt commander is a different job to a trunk node comd. Same goes for the soldier roles/trades.
 
#20
What everyone-else said, except the knobby 'do one' comment. The only useful thing I can think of to add is; if you do join, buy a satellite phone, then you'll never be out of touch. As has been noted, DS are normally well aware of the commercial necessities of working for a living and being a part-time soldier.
 

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