Annually, thousands of American youth take into account serving in the armed forces. Let’s make the military a very rewarding growth experience by preparing yourself prior to joining. Keep reading and learn more about top 10 things you must know before joining the U.S. military.
It is undoubted that joining the military is regarded as a big commitment because most first-term enlistments require you to commit to for years of active duty and two years of inactive (Individual Ready Reserve, or IRR). However some services might offer programs with two-, three- and six-year active-duty or reserve enlistments.
1. Things you must know before joining the U.S. military
1.1. Keep Self-motivation
Actually, for a life-defining decision as joining the military, you might think long and hard to prepare for a successful enlistment or longer career in the United States military. Make sure you always strongly believe in your decision and try your best to achieve it.
1.2. Get into shape
Basic training or boot camp whose purposes are derived from education, tradition, physical strength and stamina so as to turn recruits into soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines.
Every service has their own specific minimum requirements which are regarded as tough starting points for recruits who will become the most elite service members. Furthermore, let’s get into shape as many weeks before joining as possible.
1.3. Raise the sense of initiative
You should have a sense of initiative when joining the military. To begin with researching all important things about your future profession. Besides, take a little time to learn about current events around the world, because they might impact your potential assignment. Furthermore, don’t forget to talk to veterans who have many precious experiences in the armed forces. What’s more, read stories about missions involving all services and consider what you want to be when you enlist. Let’s hold the initiative in your career path.
1.4. Plan your recruiter visit
Make an appointment in person with your recruiter. You should prepare many questions ahead to ask the recruiter. Besides, you need to anticipate what you will need, such as a Social Security card, birth certificate, other IDs, and high school and college transcripts. Additionally, before visiting, you should know what you need to bring and what you want to do in the military before visiting.
1.5. Gather medical records
The military will screen you for any disease. If you have had any previous surgeries, broken bones or major illnesses, you might get a waiver. Let’s check medical conditions that could bar you from service. It is highly recommended that you should make copies of your records before submitting them.
1.6. Pass the ASVAB – Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery
The ASVAB (also known as Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) is a standardized test that measures candidates’ strength and ability in science, math, and language. Furthermore, as you know, the ASVAB is very important because taking the test is one of the first steps before enlistment and it helps you find a job that matches up to your strengths.
- You’ll need to take the ASVAB test to enlist
- You’ll work with your recruiter to schedule the test when you’re ready
- You’ll take the test at a registered testing site or nearby MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station)
Is The ASVAB Hard To Ace With A High Score? Actually, if you get well-prepared, it might be easy to ace. Let’s begin your journey with the ASVAB Test by taking as many practice questions as possible and reading ASVAB study guides to take more effective strategies and tips at ASVAB Test Pro platform.
1.7. Maintain Best Behavior
A core characteristic of the United States is “Good order and discipline”. Addition to medical check-up, your background will be investigated to ensure there are no disqualifying events in your past and criminal behavior. Let’s inform your recruiter of any arrests, otherwise an omission may be detrimental to progressing further due to a perceived character issue. Keep in mind that a successful military career will require trust and good behaviors.
1.8. Keep under strict discipline
You must discipline yourself when serving your branch. The discipline will start the minute a recruit arrives at basic training. Besides, let’s set your personal discipline and accept all feedback from others to get self-improvement.
1.9. Broaden your horizons
Although enlisting might make the newly soldier, sailor, airman or Marine feel homesick because they will be far from their families, loved ones and homes at a very early age, they will accrue many travel and professional experiences that will shape the way you see the world.
Furthermore, you should embrace many educational opportunities such as training courses and full college tuition paid in undergraduate and graduate programs. One of the reasons to join the military is that you might take many benefits from joining the military such as retirement, earnings, and medical.
1.10. Improve yourself
The armed experience will shape your life through the development of self-reliance and quick response to high-stress situations such as assisting others in traumatic events.
Take the time to educate yourself on all the pros and cons and opportunities in front of you. It is your life; make it a good one. Start now!
2. Things You Must Know Before Committing
2.1. Signing a contract
Once you enlist as a service member in the United States military, you will sign an enlistment contract that determines your initial commitment, bonuses, job training guarantees and incentives. Hence, make sure you have read all clauses meticulously before signing.
2.2. Training Commitments
A set of manifold advanced training programs might be offered to armed members. Some of them require additional service commitments or additional active-duty time, which may run in real time with existing obligations.
2.3. Permanent Change of Station Commitments
Moving is a part of military life, and it costs the government money. If you have served more than two years, a PCS move may require you to accept an additional service obligation. This usually can be done through an extension to your current enlistment.
You might extend your stay in the military if you are going to serve the national military for a long period of time. Besides, services offer an additional bonus to those who reenlist with high-demand skills. What’s more, the size of the bonus will affect your reenlistment commitment.
2.5. Phobia of Commitment
If you have a phobia of full-time commitment, you can take part-time with many of the same benefits when you serve your country. More specifically, your obligation is generally 1 weekend per month, plus 2 weeks of active duty per year in the Reserve and National Guard. Furthermore, active-duty veterans and all prior service individuals who are joining the Guard for the first time might be offered the “Try-One” enlistment option – the program lets you try the Guard for one year without additional commitment- in the Army Guard and Air National Guard.