"Every Marine a rifleman" is analogous to "Every airman a warrior" and provokes about the same response from a real grunt. Kelly was a squad leader with a line infantry unit, so the distinction is warranted.
Most of my paranoia about cleaning AR's comes from firing hundreds of blanks and spending subsequent hours at the armory with my pinky in the chamber. (I'm an ex-jarhead too). I know they'll fire through all kinds of carbon if you dump enough lubricant on, but I'll never shoot a personal rifle with that kind of volume so that's not the issue. The problem is I'm still extremely uptight about storing my guns in near-spotless condition, and that bit of brainwashing may take a while to wear off.
Good points about the inherent design though. Something like the SR-556 looks like a better idea than a conversion kit, but 2 grand is a lot for just the rifle. Enough to give me plenty of time to think about it.
Is a piston actually detrimental to performance though? I haven't researched it in-depth yet, but whenever I do end up buying an AR of my own I'm planning on getting a piston model. The extra cash is easily worth less time spent cleaning the bolt and chamber, to me at least. If pistons are less reliable for some reason, I may reconsider.
Since you seem to have trouble telling if someone is screwing with you, here's a protip: Someone is always screwing with you. (I don't blame you, I blame California).
The only way to get a ride through ROTC is through the detachment, and that's only going to happen if you've been there for 3 or 4 years. If you get lucky, they'll go on a base visit or something and some slots will be available. Our det went to Whiteman this year and some of the pilot-selects got T-38 rides. That's a rare occurrence though, gas is expensive and cadets aren't worth it.
So don't do ROTC for the incentive rides. That shit's for non-flyers anyway, I can wait my turn.
FWIW, I was told a couple years ago that "3 times" is a magic number as far as marijuana goes. (This was for the ROTC application). That may not still be true, but if you end up having to come up with a number at some point that might be something to keep in mind.
We're paranoid about getting stuck in missile silos or on the flightline with SF or whatever. I'm not going to put up with 4 years of ROTC bullshit only to get shot down because my numbers weren't high enough. If it costs me a few nights at the bar, who cares? I did what I did, I scored what I scored, and I absolutely believe that prepping for it helped me out. Knock on me all you want, it won't matter if I get a pilot slot.
Play a dogfighter, i.e. Il-2 Sturmovik. Getting rudder pedals would be ideal as well--fly the helicopters in a Microsoft game to get a good handle on the rudder/joystick brain connection.
Aside from video games, though, I would highly recommend learning to juggle. I did a couple months ago expressly for the purpose of the TBAS. If you can walk around while juggling and have a conversation with someone at the same time, the test's info overload shouldn't phase you too much.
One other question for now: In that "UPT and Family" thread above, I read a post from someone who'd had a kid while at UPT. I didn't want to resurrect an 8-year old thread, but that's something I've been wondering about as well. Neither my wife or I want to have children while I'm in school and she's working, but she wants to start trying as soon as I commission. I don't really want to have my first kid while at UPT either, but sometimes you've got to compromise, and at least we'll have a steady income without her needing to work. (And maternity insurance, of course).
So, what I've said to her amounts to "We can do it, but I can't guarantee I'll be at the birth, I absolutely will not be getting up in the middle of the night during the week, which means I won't be able to sleep in the same room as you either. You're effectively going to be a single mother, except during weekends." Better than having a kid while deployed, but still not ideal.
The good news is she's willing to put up with that. I'm wondering if anyone knows of any precedent for that situation--how it affected the student, whether he was able to get a chance to go to the birth, etc. I'm still 3 years out so this is all long-range planning, but that's what's gotten me this far so I figure I'll keep at it. Thanks for any information.
"Zero Dark Thirty" by Samuel Brantley. Biographical, Vietnam-era, the guy flew A-4's (Marine) before getting switched over to do a tour as a JTAC or FAC or whatever they were back then. He also goes into detail about his homecoming experience, which needless to say wasn't ideal. Very powerful book.
Also, I have a fascination with WWII in general and the RAF in particular, "With Wings Like Eagles" by Michael Korda was a pretty good Battle of Britain read.
Take out the firing pins I suppose. I guess that's easier on a rifle than a pistol. To be clear, base housing does permit you to keep weapons, even for those in a student status? I'm prior-E (different service) and the rules were quite a bit more restrictive, even for the married guys.
Oh, and what are the UPT housing policies on pets? We have 2 cats. I wish I could say "My wife wants to bring our cats but I could care less" but that's just not quite true.
Add-on question to the flight hours topic: Do sim hours factor into the PCSM score? I'm ROTC right now (submitting my rated application next year, not this year) and I'm going for a PPL, but I'd like to stretch out my funds for as many hours as possible. Our local flight school has an FAA-certified Redbird sim available, because of the winter weather up here there have been quite a few scrubbed flights. If sim hours in my logbook will count towards the PCSM, then I'll certainly take the opportunity to train in it once in a while, otherwise, I'd much rather save the cost of sim+instructor. Thanks a lot for any help.