Did you do military service? Your thoughts, please.

The Canadian militray just tripled there sign-up bonus for doctors since they are so short of them. If I hitched up for four years, I could pay off all my loans immediately and get reasonably well paid working lightly for the next four years. OTOH, I would without doubt be sent on every available tour including Cyprus and Bosnia. The opportunity to retrain if desired is excellent – I like family medicine a lot, but I like tropical medicine too and only the military offers this in Canada.

So if you have been in the military in thepast, would you sign up again? Or not in a million years? Please share your experiences or give general advice. Obligado.

I was in the military. I really disliked it. But I thought at the time, and I still think that having people in the military that hate it is good.

I always worried about those people who thought the military was the ultimate experience in life; those who thought that the highlight of any life was, on any given day, to dress identically to thousands of other people and carry a gun.

These people frighten me. These are the people who accept blindly the rules imposed by a corps of elite that virtually answers to no one else.

So do I recommend it? Most definitely. If it turns out you like it, you will enjoy yourself get some good training, get some good travel and possibly meet some good people.

If it turns out you don’t, you may help throw a monkey wrench into an organization that sees no point in things like differences of opinion, individualism and silly hairdos. Any organization which controls tons of explosives and tens of thousands of guns shouldn’t be allowed to become too full of itself.

Would the Killer KISS Army count?

I once posed nude for Stars and Stripes… at least they TOLD me it was for Stars and Stripes*…

Hard to say; as a Dr., you’d no doubt be an officer, with a bit more latitude than the enlisted ranks. “Rank hath privelege” and all that.

Being a Dr. in Bosnia is probaly more challenging than being an infantryman in Bosnia. Doubtful that you’d be on patrol, guard duty, KP or shower/latrine cleaning detail.

But there would be those peculiar military habits that you would have to put up with. Like answering to senior Drs. with a “Yes, Sir/Maam” and wearing the same clothes as everyone else. Maybe having to put on a gas mask, kevlar helmet and flak jacket, or carry a sidearm for your own protection.

You may have to get on a helicopter and fly into a war zone, ducking and dodging bullets to render aid to the troops, or you may be in a nice, civilized clinic, working 9-to-5, living in quarters and eating three hot meals a day.

Getting most of my info on the medical profession from episodes of ER, don’t you still answer to senior physicians (unless you are one?)? If you disobey a senior physician’s diagnosis and recommended treatment, won’t you still get into trouble? Lose your job? Maybe even your license?

The medical profession in the military, from what I’ve seen, aren’t held to the same standards as their civilian counterparts, but that is the U.S. Army.


Try seeing if their are any Canadian Military Docs to talk to before making a final decision; they are in the best position to knowledgably answer your questions.

I was in the service for 7 years. Overall, I enjoyed it and was very glad that made that decision. Would I do it all over again? Absolutely. Would I re-join now? Probably not, for the reasons I left. It wasn’t much fun working 18 hours a day, sometimes for a couple months without a day off, for the same pay, which was pathetic in it’s own right. It wasn’t fun having to go places in the middle of the night to live in a shelter half for a few weeks. It wasn’t fun not having a choice in what or how much I wanted for dinner. It wasn’t fun not being allowed to have a girl or alcohol in my “home” which was a room smaller than most living rooms that was shared by 4 men, but was a step up from an open squadbay. The list can go on for a long time. But I also feel that it made me a better person all around. I learned self discipline at a higher level. I learned new levels of trust and responsibility. Most importantly, I learned about different subcultures of America. The rich kid from Beverly Hills who didn’t want daddy’s money, the ghetto boy who sent his pay and used up bars of soap home each month, the hillbilly who never owned shoes until coming to boot camp, the Italian kid who wanted something straight instead of the “family business”. I learned that it was possible for people from all walks of life to work together and become friends for life. For that reason alone, I would love to see this country make it mandatory for kids to spend two years in service. (I know it will never happen and why, not trying to start any arguments here). However, if offered a huge signing bonus, and a bit of a pay raise, it would be a tough decision, especially if, as ExTank wrote, I would be an officer. As much as I enjoy civilian life now, I do miss the corps. The feeling of teamwork and the cameraderie, among other things, just doesn’t exist at anything close to the same level on the outside, and that’s something that is missing for me.