The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Guess Who Kills Terrorists?

Posted on | May 24, 2012 | 45 Comments

The United States Army Special Forces, that’s who!

My 19-year-old son Bob called me yesterday here in the Undisclosed Location to tell me that he had scored 98 on his Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). The recruiter told my son this high score qualifies him for any career field  in the Army, and Bob told the recruiter that he wants to try for Special Forces.

Needless to say, Mrs. Other McCain is worried about Bob’s military aspirations, even though this is a fine family tradition. One of her brothers served in the Marines and another of her brothers is an Army reservist who was deployed to Iraq. My brother served in the 101st Airborne and my father got a purple heart while fighting the Nazis in World War II. But moms worry about their boys, and so my wife is worried about Bob’s career goal of joining the U.S. Army Special Forces.

Even though she’s worried about our son, of course, she’s still very proud of him. Bob’s not worried at all, having evidently inherited his devil-may-care attitude from me, whereas we give Mrs. Other McCain most of the credit for Bob’s extraordinary good looks.

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  • JeffS

    That’s an excellent score!  We need good people in the military, so best of luck to your boys!

  • richard mcenroe

    They don’t take SF straight out of AIT at Benning.  Your boy will have to put in his time at Airborne school, probably Ranger school, and stay in long enough to get his sergeant’s stripes; unless they’ve changed there’s no such thing as “enlisted” SF, only noncoms.

    If he winds up with the ‘Tower of Power” on his uniform (Airborne wings, Ranger tabs and SF) the kid will have really done something.

    Oh, and if he goes Airborne tell him not to let them catch him singing “Gravy on the Poodle.”

  • richard mcenroe

     Anyway, the point is, it’ll be a few years before they drop him anywhere people eat snakes and dogs normally.

  • herddog505

    Good luck to him.  I understand your wife’s worry, but I would be as pleased as punch if any (purely hypothetical) son of mine signed up, especially for something as tough as that.

  • robertstacymccain

    Well, yeah, of  course it would take years for Bob to become a snake-eater.  But the point is, that’s his goal — to become a Certifiied BAMF — because … well, chicks dig it.

  • Mike Rogers

    Chat with Skip@Grok sometime, he’s got two boys in the armed forces.
    also, please drop Skip a line: I thi it’s time we recorded and interview on the Kimberlin situation.

  • Anamika

    Is that 98 percentile?

    I got a 99 in GRE and GMAT . Topping tests doesn’t really give you the big picture.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    I would imagine your wife is also a wee bit concerned by having to flee your home.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    But congratulations to your son and to your family.  Well done (he should also consider the Marine Corps).  

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Yeah, ain’t that the truth!  

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    Depending upon his MOS and job performance (mostly the latter), it shouldn’t take an excessively long time…the hubby and the sil both got selection bids for SF after three years.

    But with a 98…he should be making the recruiter do the Jerry Maguire.

  • DonaldBorschJr

    An admirable goal, to be sure.  SFAS is a killer, and it has a monstrous attrition rate.  You have figured out that a young man cannot enlist for SF, but there’s nothing stopping him from gaining the privilege of trying out for SF later on, when he’s not so green behind the ears.  Advise him to build his military experience towards that inevitable chance.  I would recommend 11X or some other Combat Arms MOS as a springboard.  (But I’m sure he is aware of that already.)

    Best wishes to him!  

  • richard mcenroe

     As Jeff Dunham’s Peanut would say, “Nyyyowww!” Right over her head.

  • richard mcenroe

     Also, in jump school, do NOT yell “Freebird!” as you clear the door…

  • richard mcenroe

     Can’t.  He reads.

  • smitty

    @rsmccain Higher than my score, in fact. So high, we should really have him talk to the Navy nuclear recruiter.
    Also, if he’s willing to do time at Sing Sing on the Severn, he could use my Secret Route for getting USNA admission.

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    That means 98 percent of the people who took the ASVAB scored lower than him.

    It means whatever branch would be pretty happy to get somebody with that score, and all MOS are open to him — which means Uncle Sam needs to woo that, and woo it well.  
    Be sure to remind Mr. recruiter of that.

  • richard mcenroe

     Make sure he understands it’s not the same chicks who watch C-SPAN.

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    Easy there chief.

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    Make sure he knows about the camo bunnies too — they are a tricky species you mens do not want to get entangled with (and always seem to).

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    You really should be nice and talk about the damage control training if you’re going to go turning the nuke recruiter loose on that boy…

  • Tom

    smitty, my son just did his junior year candidate visit last sept. at Canoe U. and is impatiently waiting to continue the admission process. It’s going to be a long senior year….for everyone.

    I know he’s never hear of “Sing Sing on the Severn”. He’ll get a kick out of that.

    Go Navy!

  • Tom

    So no White House tours, huh?

  • dwduck

     Fifteen seconds of research would have told you that ASVAB scores are percentiles, Super Genius.

  • ballistic

    Be sure to watch the documentary “Two Weeks in Hell” to get a glimpse of what SFAS (SF Assessment and Selection) is like.  

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    Hey, don’t be a hater — scoring 99 on the GRE and GMAT does not a Super Genius make after all.
    Let’s be kind…don’t judge.

  • dwduck

    No hate intended. (NOH8!)

    I intended merely the same kind of gentle mocking one makes at, say, a grammar Nazi whose multi-paragraph rant uses “your” instead of “you’re”.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Jealously is never attractive.  

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    I’m sure it was just a test to see if everyone’s ability to pick up on the grammatical error was in fighting form.

  • Anamika

    Actually, scoring a 99 didn’t make me an average success either in academics or in my chosen field.

    That was what I was refering to in my initial comment.

    I changed fields, totally unrelated to my academics and career desires as a young graduate.

  • Bob Belvedere

    Who knew PW and Evi were nags?

    Now why do you be good little girls and get Richard and I a drink – and don’t put in too much ice.

  • Adobe_Walls

    I’m sure he’ll do our country (and his family) proud. I’m also sure we can’t have too many with his background in our armed forces.

  • JeffS

     Tut tut, Anamika, tut tut!

    Indeed, that is a 98 percentile!

    But one must remember that the GRE/GMAT  measure the potential success of a person as a graduate student.  Hence, the base reference are all potential graduate students (ages 18 and up), and the capabilities being measured are verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing.

    Then, one must understand that the AVSAB is focused on national sample of youth aged 18 to 23, and is “…designed to predict success in the military”  in four domains: Verbal, Math, Science and Technical, and Spatial.

    Hence, the comparison of his score to yours is utterly irrelevant to the conversation,.  And demonstrates that any higher education was clearly wasted on you, especially when it comes to verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing.

    Tut tut, Anamika!  Please remember that Bing is your friend.  Tut tut!

  • Adjoran

     We’ve always thought of you as in the 99th infantile.

  • Adjoran

     That’s okay.  Mouthy hookers serve a societal need, too.

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    I believe in self reliance, go get make one yourself.

    oooh, oh, I’m sorry; I forgot: doggies don’t know how to take initiative and spearhead a project — could be unsafe.  Ok then, I’ll make sure the kitchen is all clear and signal to you when it’s safe to come in.

    who loves ya babies  ;)

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    Dang, you’re just on a roll lately.

  • Firehand

    When son decided to enlist, we did some talking, and one of the things I advised was “Start working out NOW.”  So if he hasn’t yet, tell him to begin.

  • Quartermaster

    A friend was a Marine early in the Vietnam war, and outside the ossifers, he was the only one in the company that could read. He was named Company clerk as a result. Fortunately, that is not the case anymore.

  • Quartermaster

    I scored 99 on mine. I had enough sense to apply for Army Flight School instead of the Penitentiary on the Severn.

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    My dad and all of my uncles were Marines…all of them could read…even books without the pictures in them and everything.

    But admittedly my dad only scored 141 on an iq test, so yes, desperate imbeciles here; no sooper duper geniuses.

  • richard mcenroe

     I’d suggest he look up the new PT test and standards at and start training to those.

  • richard mcenroe

     Charlie ain’t half as dangerous as Charlene, soldier!

  • David R. Graham

    SF recently has returned to their original mission, nation building. In AFPAK they had gotten into tier one SOF role, which is not their charter.

  • David R. Graham

    There are homeschoolers in the Army, including in Officer Corps. Also, vegetarians.