Ask the Patch Pro: Local Experts Answer Questions About Recruitment, Veteran Programs

We have two experts waiting in the comments to answer your questions about joining the military and education options for veterans.

It's time for another edition of Ask the Patch Pro, where each week we tackle a different topic and open up the comments section for questions. Our team of experts stop in to help you out and answer your questions.

This week we're talking military. We have two experts helping us out. One is a U.S. Marine who will answer questions about recruitment. Another works with veterans at a local college. 

Patch wants to help you get your questions answered, and we would encourage readers who have any input to chime in the conversation with their neighbors as well. 

Meet this week's experts: 

  • Tomi Schwandt: St. Charles Community College Coordinator of Veteran Benefits & Scholarships/VA School Certifying Official
  • Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Gibbs: U.S Marine Corps Recruiting Station in St. Louis 


If you consider yourself a local expert and would like to be added to the list, let us know! jordan.lanham@patch.com

SSGT GIBBS January 31, 2013 at 04:44 PM
This is Staff Sergeant Gibbs I will be around today to answer any question you may have about enlistment in the military.
Tomi Schwandt January 31, 2013 at 05:41 PM
Greetings! I am Tomi Schwandt from St Charles Community College. I work with current service members and veterans to use education benefits through their military branch and the Department of Veteran Affairs. Current or prior, there are many programs available to you if you are pursuing a degree. I am happy to answer questions about benefit programs and navigating the VA system to set up your eduation benefits!
Jordan Lanham January 31, 2013 at 05:43 PM
Welcome Staff Sgt. Gibbs and Tomi! Thanks for teaming up with us today!
Joe Barker January 31, 2013 at 05:47 PM
I have a friend who is interested in joining the military. He's 27—is that too old?
Angela Atkinson January 31, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Hello! So glad you're here today. I've been wondering about something. My oldest son is 15 and says he wants to go into the military after high school. He hopes to help pay for his college this way as well as to be part of such an esteemed group. What does he need to be thinking about at this time? What will he need in order to enlist? Thanks in advance!
Kalen Ponche January 31, 2013 at 05:52 PM
Hi! I'm curious to see if you have a female recruiting officer in your office to answer questions that woman recruits might have that are specific to women. I heard a story recently that women recruiting officers are few and far between and it can be difficult for women entering the military to find information about what life is really like for a woman in basic training or serving in Afghanistan. Here's the story: http://www.npr.org/2013/01/30/170691567/women-enlistees-use-video-blogs-to-share-advice-with-other-recruits
SSGT GIBBS January 31, 2013 at 10:13 PM
No he is not, the services all have different age requirements max age ranges from 28-34.
SSGT GIBBS January 31, 2013 at 10:18 PM
For anyone at his age I talk with I always encourage them to really spend some time with the different military branches if possible as he is making a decision. For example my Office in Ballwin has weekly work outs every Saturday we always have a few guests that attend just to see if it is what they are looking for. All of the Services offer the same basic benefits, when you are looking to enlist or for those in college thinking of a commission as an Officer you need to find what fits your personality the best.
SSGT GIBBS January 31, 2013 at 10:27 PM
I can’t Speak for all the different services in the St Louis area, as for the Marines we have two female Marine recruiters in the area. They are always more than happy to talk to anyone that has questions. We also have several Marines that we can call and have you talk to.
SSGT GIBBS January 31, 2013 at 10:48 PM
I can’t Speak for all the different services in the St Louis area, as for the Marines we have two female Marine recruiters in the area. They are always more than happy to talk to anyone that has questions. We also have several female Marines that we can call and have a young lady talk to.
Jordan Lanham January 31, 2013 at 11:02 PM
We seem to be having some technical difficulties with the comments on this article today. I'll try and figure it out asap!
SSGT GIBBS January 31, 2013 at 11:23 PM
One of the things we see a lot when it comes to the people wanting to enlist is they do not really understand all the options that are available in today’s Military. For example that while serving on Active duty you get what is called Tuition Assistance that is $4500.00 a year to attend college.
Stephanie R. January 31, 2013 at 11:59 PM
Will you be asking the leadershp of the Working Women's Show in St. Louis next month if they'll have a male on staff to answer questions about offerings for men at this year's show? I've heard that men have been shunned from this event in recent years.
Jordan Lanham February 01, 2013 at 07:38 PM
Thank you SSGT. Gibbs and Tomi Schwandt for answering this week's Patch Pro questions!


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