Want to Join the Military? Read This First

Joining any branch of the military is an honorable and rewarding choice. Many people join out of family tradition, a patriotic duty, needing a job, paying for college, or as in my case not knowing what I wanted to do after high school.

  1. If you really want to join, don’t let anyone talk you out of it

As in anything in life there are a million reasons not to do it and people will usually point out the negatives in anything, unfortunately humans are inherently pessimistic. Ask anyone who has been in the military and few if any will advise you against joining.

  1. Study for the ASVAB

Getting a good score in the

(Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) or ASVAB will open up more doors in your military career. For example, when I went in I got a 107, which is about average but I didn’t study. If I had studied and gotten a 110 or above I could have gone the officer route.

  1. Pick Your MOS (job) Carefully

Once you have taken the ASVAB, if you have a good recruiter you will be presented with a list of jobs available, if your recruiter is not very good he or she will want to show you that you could get a $9000 bonus for going infantry. The bonus’s always sound tempting but remember that what ever you pick you will be stuck with until you get out or you re-enlist. And remember if you do get a bonus subtract about 30% capital gains tax so $9000 will be $6000 in your pocket and you might not get it all at once.

  1. Press your recruiter, like any salesman they also can give up a lot. I had a friend who told the recruiter…“I will sign up if my college loans are paid off as part of my contract” guess what? He got $15,000 paid off in school loans.

Hope this helps, more articles to come on dealing with basic training.

When my son enlisted, he didn’t study for the ASVAB. In fact, neither he nor I knew it was possible to study for it. He still got a good score!:yes: The first I heard about that you could study for it was from a guy who had flunked it a couple of times!

Good for your son.
So, that other guy is now one of our soldiers? eeek

[QUOTE=smichellen]Good for your son.
So, that other guy is now one of our soldiers? eeek[/QUOTE]
Probably not; that was in the mid-'80’s, so he’s probably out by now.

I did not “carefully” select my MOS, as I didn’t even know what to pick if I was going to college, so of course, I screwed myself there a bit…:biggrin:

During my 20 year career, I changed jobs about every 4 years, so it didn’t really matter so much what I initially picked; I learned from every job and moved up the rank structure each time. I started in the Field Artillery as PV1 and retired last year as a CW3 helicopter maintenance test pilot… the military will give you many offers, it is mostly up to the individual to take them as far as they can. I’d do it again if my broken body could take it…:rolleyes:

That is good to hear KD…by the way did I tell ya that my little brother just signed up with the Army and he is now in Kansas. (at Ft. Reiley I think?)

After the Marines and then getting married he went back to the military and chose the Army because they are more family friendly.


I’m actually hoping that our youngest son at least gives the military some consideration. He has about as much responsibility as a turnip, so it’d definitely be good for him.

That’s good to know about the ASVAB & MOS too; I can pass that info along to him if the conversation arises.

Good post TO…Thanks!

My first experience with the Army went like this:
I told the recruiter I wanted something like construction surveying… he said, “Nothing like that is available but I can get you into artillery survey school”. I said oh great… ***de***struction survey.
I signed up for 3 years. I couldn’t see myself re-upping for arty survey so I left the Army when my 3 year hitch was up.

A couple years later I spoke to a recruiter about available MOS’s. Now, I didn’t have the Draft Board breathing down my neck and I felt like I was in the driver’s seat. I insisted on examining MOS’s in all fields I was interested in. I chose an MOS associated with the Army Security Agency. Signals Intelligence to be specific.
I took the ASVAB, scored 148, and was on my way.
The Army sent me to the Defense Language Institute, West Coast at the Presidio of Monterey, across the bay from Ft. Ord, CA. While there I studied German full time. I went on to tech training Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, TX and received my new MOS.
I then went to the Divided City of Berlin, 110 miles inside a Communist East Germany. What a great job I had. I stayed in Berlin for 5 years (72-77) before going to Ft Meade Maryland to work at the National Security Agency HQ for 3 years.
After that I went into the USAR (Reserves) and got into a Special Operations company… got a new MOS. More on that some day later.:flag:

You forgot the best part of Germany…your great princess daughter being born. LOL

:asleep: My mistake. I had it in mind to mention but Altzheimers kicked in for a moment there.
My sweet li’l girl was born in Berlin Brigade Hospital on Aug 17… just 2 days be fore my B’day.

aww he even remembers the date. Now ya’ll know I may not have been joking about my early onset of that memory disease…what’s it called?

I wanted to join the Marines, but they wouldnt guarantee me a slot as an MP, but the Army would. so I went that route.
If one branch doesnt have what you want, shop around.
However, MP slots seem to be hard to get recently.

I’m going to be enlisting in the Marines. Hopefully I can become and officer and eventually be an aviator. That’s my goal anyways.

Good for you, I always regret not going the Marine route. Welcome to the forum, by the way.

I tried to enroll in the Air Force once but was shunned because of meds and a disability. So anyway my father was a fighter jock and flew across the Atlantic and back in a single engine jet in 72 with no mid-air refuels. How many people had done that? Maybe 100 or 500 at the most. He did it in an F-100. I did learn later that I could work for the Air Force in a civilian-contractor capacity. Regardless, I think that they were right, I would not want disabled persons to be fighting for us as my reasoning being that the best of the best should be flying planes for us, or maybe the best video game jocks could be flying the Predators someday down the road.

I’d love to, but I’m just not a physical person. Got an invitation to West Point and one of my bosses has a son-in-law whose uncle is the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army. Good referral there if I ever get in shape. Like the idea of salary for going to college. Plus, its a good background for a political career.

Dude, if I were you I would take it. It is one of those things that you might not appreciate now, but trust me, you will look back on and say damn I’m glad I did that.

Would you like to start my training? That and West Point is more elite than Ivy League. If I’m fit enough in 2 years though I’ll send in an application. Worth trying. I know I’m doing that for Yale, no matter how liberal it is. It isn’t called the President’s school for nothing you know. Even though I doubt I’ll ever go that far nor really want to, I’ll need as good a background as possible for Senator.

I have 11 Ivy League caliber degrees in my extended family. That’s my sister’s family and my paternal family. To go along with 3 Boston University, 2 Emory and one IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology, an engineering school not unlike MIT in many ways). I also have a rock star cousin, and descendants of Czech Royalty in the previously mentioned group. I hate Hitler and have a Jewish Uncle who graduated from 2 Ivy League schools, but the Sands can bug me. I golf, hit over 300 yards often. I also had somewhere around 40 percent A’s when I had health in college, including a 200 out of 200 possible on my College Algebra final. I’ve climbed 20 mountains in Colorado, including the devilish Leviathan in the South San Juans, somewhere around 14,000 feet high. I don’t want to talk about money, but my Dad is a financier who has made wealth for himself and many others. I’ve raced bicycles with the number 2, the number 7 and number 11 nationally ranked racers and led 2 of them, one halfway around the track while I was in first out of 7 racers at the age of 15. My sister won the state championship in Tennis in High School. She’s playing 25 matches this summer in CT at the age of 36. This is all because I want to go to an Ivy League School for a Master’s as I went to an “Ivy League Invitee” school, Boston U, whom promptly shunned the Ivy’s. That’s what I heard anyway. Good safety school. Just kidding. They say it’s harder than the Ivy League, their hockey team sure shows it. Had two family members that pondered rowing for the USA after rowing at Harvard and BU. They still row, along with doing marathons and triathlons. They suck at golf. I suck at rowing. I used to row 15,000 m in 15 minutes. But that was on a machine. Really, I guess my major accomplishment before applying to an Ivy League school would be climbing 80,000 vertical feet in 23 days, the time usually allowed for ascending to and climbing Mt. Everest. But really, I did stop to smell the roses, in fact my sister with Down’s syndrome sang “The Rose” with Up With People in the early eighties - that’s my favorite memory. She later lived in the same community with Rose Kennedy when she was living at Alverno, in Jefferson, WI. Met Helen Hunt, went to a showing with Ben Affleck in one of the 20 minute shorts with all of the directors of the movies present. Got a letter from Robert Redford, the director of Bagger Vance, who said, “Junnuh, you’ve got a funny idea about da world!” Something like that. So what should I put on my application? I also have a great job and make some money. But I’d work for less at the CIA if they’d hire me, Yale pending.

My experience is that most new recruits have no clue what they’re getting into when they join the military. I recommend talking to current military members (besides a recruiter) especially those in job fields you are interested in and to combat veterans if you are planning on a combat arms type of MOS.