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Big Army Here I Come...

January 24, 2011 | Captain Earl Wilson

I never imagined…

A year and some change ago, I never imagined I would be where I am right now.  About fifteen months ago, I was getting closer and closer to making one of the best decisions I have made: applying for a reserve commission in the JAG Corps. I had it all figured out: I would become a reservist, complete my Officer Basic Course and then return to my firm and partners and pick up where we left off.  I knew I would like being a soldier.  I knew I would thrive in a team environment again. What I didn’t realize was how amazing practicing law in the Army is and how lack luster and unfulfilling private practice would seem upon my return to Houston.  I joined the Army reserve with no intentions on becoming an Active Duty soldier but I promised myself that upon arriving to my OBC I would keep an open mind and focus on being an officer/soldier/lawyer.  This attitude proved to be very effective based upon how much I enjoyed my OBC (although it was far from a Sunday stroll in the park). 

Upon my return to Houston, I couldn’t get enough of my family, my friends, my dog, or my partners. However, all the excitement and thrills of private practice were gone.  In their place were daydreams of being back in C’ville or Columbus forming up with my battle buddies. Could it be? I actually missed early morning formations, beating brush for hours at a time, and the intricacies of FLIPL (Financial Liability Involving Property Loss) investigations.  You see, I’ve only been in the Army for a little over a year and I have already become a better attorney and have received training that people pay ridiculous sums of money to get in the civilian world.  I think its safe to say that I have found my professional “Shangri-La!” So I did what anyone who had found the perfect job would do: APPLY FOR A FULL TIME POSITION.  So for a second time in less than a year I found myself rounding up transcripts, recommendation letters, and a new addition: a DA Photo.  Once my application packet was complete I clicked a button and the most brutal waiting period I have experienced began.  I was numb to a good portion of the anxiety that’s intrinsic to waiting periods due to my level 3 Army Combatives course.  I returned home and waited for the results to be released.  When the results were posted and I discovered my name on the list, I got a euphoric feeling similar to when I passed the Texas Bar Exam my first at bat. A couple of days later, after my wife and I stopped celebrating we began to talk about possible first duty stations if given a choice. Our future has never seemed so uncertain as far as where we’ll be but its NEVER BEEN SO EXCITING…Hopefully, I will be assigned to a post as close as possible to CPT Wilson’s residency program but if not I AM AN AMERICAN SOLDIER and sacrifice comes with this job and I know that many people would love to be in my shoes right now.

I never imagined that a year and a half ago when I applied to the Army JAG CORPS as a citizen soldier I would find my “professional home,”  and say goodbye to the civilian world. Funny how life works isn’t it! When I find out where I will be assigned I will share the news, in the meantime I will pray that Big Army has room for me somewhere near my wife’s residency program. SOLDIER FIRST…LAWYER ALWAYS


  • J.
    1/24/2011 8:31 PM

    I'm a 3L who didn't get accepted by the November Active Duty board, but I'm applying to the March board and also thinking about putting in a Reserve application too. Is there no problem with transitioning between Reserves and Active Duty? Just need to apply to the Active Duty board?

    Thanks, and congrats again!
  • 1LT Wilson
    1/24/2011 10:00 PM
    I encourage you to try again in March. You may want to reach out to your FSO for any tips he or she may have for you. As far as the reserves go, I heard that if you applied for active duty and was not accepted you would be offered a reserve position so you may want to look into it. Transitioning from reserves to Active duty is no simple task in fact you would have to apply all over again via JAGCNET (just like 3Ls and any other first time applicants) the only advantage is that you have completed all of the training. With that said, if you only want to go Active Duty then don't apply for the reserves but if you want to serve but your preference is Active then if the March board doesn't work out then look into the reserves and reevaluate Active duty in a year or so. Thanks..
    • J.
      1/24/2011 10:10 PM
      Thanks for the advice!

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