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Joining the United States Military

Information and resources about joining the United States Military, including information about the enlistment process, commissioning programs, military entrance processing station (MEPS), the ASVAB test, military job descriptions, enlistment programs, basic training, and technical training.
  1. Enlistment and Re-Enlist...
  2. Joining the Air Force (250)
  3. Joining the Army (441)
  4. Joining the Coast Guard (16)
  5. Joining the Marine Corps (128)
  6. Joining the Navy (150)
  7. Recruiting Statistics (41)

Do You Think Joining the Military is Too Hard>?
Reader responses: Is joining the US Military too hard?

Joining the US Military is Getting Harder
If you've been planning on joining one of the branches of the US Military, but have been putting it off, you may have lost your chance. For the past sevveral months, all of the active duty and reserve branches have exceeded their recruiting goals.

Enlisted Jobs
There are more than 800 different types of jobs available in the various branches of the United States Armed Forces.

Reader's Respond -- Are Military Enlistment Standards too tough, too …
Reader's Respond -- Are Military Enlistment Standards too tough, too lax, or just right?

ABCs of the ASVAB
What is the ASVAB? What kind of score do you need to join the military? What's "AFQT?" What does education level have to do with the ASVAB? Answers to these questions and more.

Active Duty from the Guard or Reserves
Information and procedures about "transfering" from the National Guard or Reserve Military Forces to the Active Duty Forces.

Age Requirements to Become a Military Pilot
Each of the military services have different age requirements for individuals who wish to become military pilots or navigators. Here are the requirements for the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

Are You Going to be Drafted?
In the wake of the terrorist attacks, many have been wondering if there will be a military draft.What happens during a draft? Who is likely to be drafted? How likely is a draft? Do we really need a draft?

Asthma and ADD/ADHD Policy for Joining the U.S. Military
The Department of Defense has softened their medical qualification standards for cases of childhood asthma, and history of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

ASVAB Sample Questions
The ASVAB contains nine separately timed sub-tests. Here are examples of questions found in each of the ASVAB sub-test areas.

ASVAB Score Minimums
Minimum required Armed Forces Vocational Appitude Battery test scores to enter the U.S. Armed Forces.

ASVAB Study Guide Top 10 Picks
The Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is the test used by the United States Military to determine eligibility to join, as well as job qualifications. Using a Study Guide to help prepare can increase ASVAB test scores significantly. Here are some of the best guides available.

ASVAB Study Guides - Before You Buy
The Armed Forces Vocational Appitude Battery (ASVAB) is the test the military uses to determine whether or not one has the mental appitude to join the military, and -- if so -- what job(s) they may qualify for. There are many study guides available on the market which proport to help individuals improve their ASVAB test results.

US Military Enlistment Standards
The military has regulations that actually *REQUIRE* you to provide adequate financial support for your dependents. Because of this, the military limits the number of dependents an applicant can have.

Basic Training Vaccine
DoD is working to field a new vaccine designed to combat a virus that has plagued military basic training since World War II. The adenovirus vaccine is slated to become available for servicemember use in 2006.

US Military Enlistment Standards
In order to join the US Military, you must either be a US citizen, or you must be a legal permanent immigrant, physically living in the United States, with a green card.

Body Fat Standards
Body fat standards and body fat measuring procedures for members of the United States Military.

US Military Enlistment Standards
One would think that age to enlist in the US military would be a simple category. One is either old enough, or too old, right? Unfortunately, it doesn't quite work that way.

Boot Camp Attrition Rates
Current "failure" rates for the respective military service's basic training programs.

Boot Camp Challenge
Boot Camp Challenge is a continuing interactive story, which features our hero (Private G. I. Joe), who is trying his best (with your help) to make it through a fictional U.S. Military boot camp (military basic training). So, join along and see if you can give Private Joe a little help dealing with other recruits, KP duty, and the care and feeding of Drill Sergeants.

Choosing a Military Service
All military services are not created equally. Sure, everyone gets the same basic pay and allowances. But other factors, such as enlistment incentives, quality of barracks and base housing, assignment opportunities, job opportunities, deployment rates, and promotion rates vary widely between the branches.

Civilian Equivalents to Military Jobs
Not every military job has a civilian equivalent. But, for those jobs that do, here is where you can find out what that equivalent is.

College Loan Repayment Program (CLRP)
The College Loan Repayment Program is an enlistment incentive. Like other enlistment incentives authorized by Congress, each of the services are free to offer the program, or not, as they see fit, in order to meet their established recruiting goals. Under the program, the military will repay a portion of eligible college loans for non-prior service enlisted military members.

Color Vision Requirements
While color vision is tested at Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS), normal color vision is not a requirement to join the U.S. Military. However, many military jobs require normal color vision.

Criminal History (Moral) Waivers
Criminal history (moral) waivers are very much an individual thing, and depends on several individual factors.

Defense Language Apitude Battery (DLAB)
One of the greatest mysteries in military recruiting. What's the DLAB actually like? If you want to learn a foreign language in the military, here's what you should know about this challenging test.

Delayed Enlistment Program (DEP)
Detailed explanation of the Delayed Enlistment Program (DEP) for active duty military, as well as policies concerning discharge (release) from the DEP.

DEP Privileges
Members of the Delayed Entry Program are now eligible to shop at base exchanges and take advantage of certain other Services' activities.

The 20/20 plan, now known as the One Plus One Plan was approved in 1997. The current plan calls for all of the services to offer a single room (no roommate) to all single enlisted personnel by the year 2005. The plan will then move to the next phase, which will include giving all single enlisted personnel a two-room "suite."

Drug Tests
Think you can beat a military drug test (urinalysis)? Think again. Here's how the test works, and why it's so hard to beat.

Drug Tests
Detailed explanation about how the military runs their urinalysis program, including how the results can be used, and DOD minimum detection levels.

Employment & Reemployment Rights.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) was signed on October 13, 1994. The act provides employment and reemployment rights for individuals who leave their jobs due to military service, whether such service is active duty, the Reserves, or the National Guard.

Employment Protection
Did you know that if you quit your job to join the military, in most cases, your employer must hire you back when you get out? The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act protects the job rights of individuals who voluntarily or involuntarily leave employment positions to undertake military service.

Enlistment Incentives
Part 4 of What the Recruiter Never Told You, the ultimate guide to joining the United States Military. In part 4, all about enlistment contracts and enlistment incentives such as enlistment bonuses, college fund, guaranteed duty assignment, buddy enlistment program, and more.

Enlistment Waivers
This is one of the best general descriptions of the military enlistment waiver process I have seen.

Enlistment/Reenlistment Contract
Ever wonder exactly what is on that military enlistment/reenlistment contract?

False Statements on Recruiting Paperwork
It's become obvious over the past few months, based upon emails I've received and messages posted in our message forum, that there are some recruiters out there who are encouraging (and, in some cases, downright instructing) recruits to lie about their criminal or medical history. Not a smart move.

Frequently Asked Questions
A list of questions and answers concerning questions about the United States Military that have been asked the most often in our message forum and via email.

Getting Married -- Before or After Military Boot Camp?
If you are planning on joining the military and planning on getting married, there are certain advantages (as well as some disadvantages) to tying that knot before you leave for basic training.

It's Off to MEPS We Go!
A First-Hand account of visiting the Mlitary Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) in New Orleans, LA.

Job Selection and Basic Enlistment Process
Part 3 of What the Recruiter Never Told You, the ultimate guide for joining the United States Military. In Part 3, what you can expect during the enlistment process, and how the military services determine what enlisted job you will get.

Join the Military or Go to Jail?
Can a criminal court judge sentance a person to military service as an alternative to jail. Can a prosecuter mandate that someone join the military as an alternative to criminal prosecution?

Joining the Military FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions about joining the United States Military.

Laser Eye Surgery Waivers
Department of Defense officials have implemented a policy allowing individuals who have had two common forms of laser eye surgery to enter the military with a medical waiver. Individuals who had corrective eye surgery were previously ineligible for military service.

Laser Eye Surgery
With only a few exceptions, active duty soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are allowed to have their vision corrected with laser eye surgery and not worry about it affecting their careers.

Medical Forms
DOD has replaced the use of the SF 93 with the DD Form 2807-1 and 2807-2. DD Form 2807-2 is used by recruiters to "pre-screen" applicants. Any significant medical problems found by use of this form requires recruiters to get permission from MEPS before recruits can process. The DD Form 2807-1 is the medical form used by MEPS during the MEPS medical examination.

Medical Waivers
The Department of Defense (DOD) sets the overall medical standards for people wishing to join the U.S. Military. If you have a medical condition or a previous medical condition which is disqualifying for Military service, you'll need a medical waiver.

Meeting the Recruiter
Part 2 of What the Recruiter Never Told You, the Ultimate Guide for Joining the United States Military. In Part 2, what you can expect, and what you should be ready for when meeting the military recruiter. Also, what the military recruiter will expect from you.

MEPS at a Glance
MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) is a Department of Defense joint-service organization. Their job is to determine an applicant's physical qualifications, aptitude and moral standards as set by each branch of military service, the Department of Defense, and federal law. Here's an overview of what you can expect when you make that first trip to the MEPS.

MEPS Locations
Locations of the 65 Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) located throughout the United States.

Military Medical Standards for Enlistment, Appointment, or Induction
These pages list medical conditions which are disqualifying for entry into the United States Armed Forces. The information is derived directly from Department of Defense (DOD) regulations and instructions.

Moment of Truth
Recruits (from all of the services) are briefed about the "Moment of Truth." This is the moment of time (usually at the final departure from MEPs to boot camp, or during boot camp inprocessing) where recruits can "come clean" about anything they lied about or failed to disclose in their enlistment documents.

Oath of Enlistment
Federal law requires everyone who enlists or re-enlists in the Armed Forces of the United States to take the enlistment oath.

Prior Service Enlistments
Thinking of getting out of the military, working a few years in civilian life, then -- if you don't like it -- coming back in? Thinking of getting out of one military service, and trying to join a different service? It should be easy, right? After all, one would expect that the military would jump at the chance to enlist someone with prior military experience. Unfortunately, it's not that easy.

Recruiting Violations
Despite the fact that the number of new recruits who joined the military service has declined from fiscal year 2004 to fiscal year 2005, the number of reported recruiting violations has increased by more than 50 percent, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which was released on August 14.

Security Clearance Approval/Disapproval Guidelines
Under Executive Order (issued by the President of the United States), the military services must use certain factors when determining whether or not to approve a security clearance.

Security Clearance Questionaire
Standard Form (SF) 86 - Security Clearance Questionaire. This is the form one must complete in order to qualify for a security clearance.

Security Clearance Secrets
Personnel Security Investigations (PSIs) and security clearances are key elements in protecting the security of the United States. What is a security clearance? What do they look at? What can keep me from getting a security clearance? How far back to they investigate? How long is a security clearance valid? This article answers those questions, and more.

Separation & Reenlistment Codes
Reenlistment Eligibility Codes & Separation Codes determine whether or not one may reenlist or enlist at a later time in another military service.

Surviving Military Basic Training
All about Military Basic Training. Includes a detailed description of what you can expect in the five military boot camps, as well as a few tips to help you "survive."

The 2nd MEPS Experience
Most people who enlist on active duty make two trips to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). The first trip is for initial qualification determination, and enlisting in the Delayed Enlistment Program (DEP). The second trip is for actually enlisting on active duty, and shipping off to basic training.

Immigrants in the US Armed Forces
Immigrants may enlist in the U.S. military if they meet certain requirements. The U.S. military has a history of greatly benefiting from the service of immigrants and non citizens.

The ASVAB Just Got a Little Harder
The Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), the basic test used for enlistment in the United States Armed Forces, just got a little harder. Well, not really -- the questions aren't any harder than before -- what's changed is the method used to compute the overall ASVAB score.

Enlistment Standards
Do you have what it takes to enlist in the United States Military? Find out in our special article about the general qualifications needed to enlist in the United States Armed Forces.

The Defense Language Institute (DLI)
Interested in a military "language job?" Check out the "been there, done that" article about the DLI by Trish, a member of our message forum.

The Perfect University
The perfect university has high academic standards, moral discipline, free tuition, free meals, and free room and board. Impossible? Nope. The United Statres Military Service Academies fit the bill perfectly.

Things to Consider Before Joining the US Military
Joining the US Military can be one of the most challenging and rewarding decisions you ever make. This being said, however, it is something you want to carefully consider before taking the plunge.

Top 10 Books About Joining the Military/Basic Training
Joining the military and/or graduating from military basic training is no longer a simple matter. A smart candidate will prepare him/herself not only to see a recruiter, but before leaving for boot camp. In addition to the information you can find right here in our About.com U.S. Military pages, here are the books we recommend.

Top 10 Lies (Some) Recruiters Tell
Let's face it. Some military recruiters lie. It's been going on for decades. It happens because military recruiting is a numbers-game. Meet your recruiting goals and you're a sucessful recruiter. Fail to make your goals and your career can be damaged.

Top Books About Becoming an Officer
There are several ways to become a commissioned officer in the United States Military, including the academies, ROTC, and OCS/OTS. Here are our top picks for books and guides about the process of becoming a United States Military Commissioned Officer.

Two Year Enlistments
Congress wants all of the military services to offer a shorter active duty enlistment program. As such, Congress passed a requirement as part of the FY 2003 Military Appropriations Act which requires all of the services to develop a shortened enlistment program by October 1, 2003.

Unconventional Recruiting
To passersby, a $150,000 custom-built motorcycle might not have much to do with the Air Force, but recruiters beg to differ. The motorcycle may not have a military function, but it has a social one - it is a bridge, an icebreaker, something that drew NASCAR Pepsi 400 racegoers to the Air Force display here at grounds of Daytona International Speedway on July 2.

Vaccinations given to members of the United States Military in Basic Training, routine immunizations throughout the career, and special vaccinations for alert forces and deploying forces.

Vision Requirements for Military Pilots & Navigators
One question that I'm often asked is what the vision requirements are to become a pilot or navigator in the United States Military. Each of the services have their own standards.

What the Recruiter Never Told You
The ultimate guide for joining the military. Detailed information about choosing which service to join, the enlistment process, and advantages and disadvantages about joining the United States Military, including detailed pay & benefits information.

What's in an Oath?
Should there be consequences for breaking your oath of enlistment?

Yet Another MEPS Experience
My good friend, Courtney Elmore, recently completed her first trip to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) as part of her enlistment into the United States Air Force. Here is a great article about her experience.

Hardest and Easiest Military Jobs -- Readers Respond
What readers think are the hardest and easiest military careers.

Questionare: Your Opinion on the ASVAB
Readers who have taken the ASVAB can give their opinions and advice about the test.

Transferring from Guard/Reserve to Active Duty
Have you transferred from the National Guard or Reserves to active duty? Share your experiences.

Age Requirements to Become A Military Pilot
Detailed information about the age requirements to become a pilot in the U.S. Military

Asthma,ADD, and ADHD in the Military
Readers share their views about the military policies concerning asthma, ADD, and ADHD.

How to Train for Special Forces Entry
The entry testing for admission to the various military special forces like the British and Australian SAS and the US SEALS and Deltas (presumably) is rigorous and demanding. Functional fitness for these special forces roles requires physical strength and endurance, plus an extraordinary level of psychic ability as well.

Readers Respond -- Should Non-Citizens be Allowed to Join the U.S. Military?
Readers Respond -- Should Non-Citizens be Allowed to Join the U.S. Military?

Military Buddy Enlistments
Have you ever used one of the military services buddy enlistment programs? Were you satisfied with the process?

Joining the Military as a Non-U.S. Citizen
I get lots of email from non-U.S. citizens asking about joining the U.S. Military. It may surprise some of you to learn that you do not have to be a U.S. citizen in order to join the U.S. Military, but there are certain restrictions.

Military Weapons
A description of the weapons used to train United States Military memebers during basic combat training and boot camp.

Readers Respond to Air Force jobs, Cyber Systems Operations
Reader shares his experience with Air Force job, Cyber Systems Operations

Reader shares his experience with military boot camp.

ASVAB Sample Questions
The ASVAB contains nine seperately scored subtests. Here is a short description and example question for each ASVAB subtest.

Considering the Military Spouse
You can usually spot a new military spouse from a mile away. They are usually young, full of innocent optimism, patriotism and believe in the best case scenario. Three week training separations break their hearts. They have much to learn.

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