A reader writes regarding the news that the former Florida governor Jeb Bush's politically ambitious son George P. Bush (whom George W. Bush has nicknamed "44" to go along with his being "43" and his father "41") has joined the Naval Reserve as an Intelligence officer:
As The Simpsons put it: "The Naval Reserve:
Gotta give Bush 44 (ugh) credit for cleverness. There is not an easier way to get "military service" on your resume then as a Naval reserve intelligence officer. I know at least one congressman (Mark Kirk of Illinois) has already taken this path. And of course Jack Kennedy would have spent World War II in Georgetown as an intelligence officer but for the FBI discovering he was having an affair with a suspected Nazi spy. Instead of being bounced from the Navy, his father arranged that he be sent to a war zone (but for his reckless libido, he never would have been a war hero)
What's curious is that George P. Bush is an attorney, so the best use of his skills in the reserves would be as an Army National Guard (or Army Reserve) JAG )Judge Advocate General) officer-- the Army is the only service that lets lawyers serve as JAG officers without already having served active duty. But the Army has a disconcerting habit of sending its reservists to Iraq and, after Jessica Lynch's captain screwed up a convoy and got people killed, the Army has required every officer (excluding chaplains and doctors) to go through at least several weeks of infantry training. That can't possibly be fun.
The Navy Reserve, that's the life. I was thinking of joining the reserves as a JAG officer a few years ago and I learned about NRIP--- the Naval Reserve Intelligence Program. On a continuum of difficulty of military training--- if Navy Seal training is the toughest, NRIP is clearly the easiest. High school football players train harder. In your first year, active duty training is two weeks of Direct Commission Officer School. A knife and fork school that basically teaches you the difference between the uniforms you must salute and the ones you should expect a salute from. Oh and the two weeks is business weeks, its 10 days of training.
After that rigorous ordeal, you'll need to take a breather. You go home and attend drills once a month, study at home for a year and then do two more two weeks of intelligence training. The home study course is hardly top secret-- its online.
That's it for your active duty training. At that point you serve two weeks a year at a Navy base or an aircraft carrier. The unit closest to me sent people to the NATO European naval headquarters--- two weeks a year on Uncle Sam's dime in a backwater English town called London. 8 years later, after you've had your fill of the West End nightlife, you get an honorable discharge and run for office on your military record.
If I hadn't gotten that sleep apnea diagnosis (at the time, it meant an automatic fail in the Navy physical), I probably would have joined. Of course, the military gives medical waivers all the time now and since the Navy Reserve take people up to 42, I still have a few years to decide if I ever want to go into politics.
The noblesse just aren't as obligeing as they used to be.