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MEPS at a Glance

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  1. Is the condition progressive?

  2. Is the condition subject to aggravation by military service?

  3. Will the condition preclude satisfactory completion of prescribed training and subsequent military duty?

  4. Will the condition constitute an undue hazard to the examine or to others, particularly under combat conditions?
If a waiver is required, it is initiated and processed by the service you are trying to join, not the MEPS. Whether or not a waiver will be approved, and how long it takes for approval/disapproval varies greatly. Each and every waiver is considered individually, and approval/disapproval depends upon many individual factors, including the recommendation of the medical profile officer, and the current requirements/needs of that particular military service.

Expect the above medical examination process to take up most (if not all) of the morning.

Job Selection

At this stage, you work with your Service counselor/liaison to select a “military job.” Depending on the needs and wants of the Service and your desires, this can be a very short or long process.

Keep in mind that not everyone gets a "guaranteed job" at this point. It depends upon the needs, and general policies of the service. For details on the job selection process, see Part 3 of What the Recruiter Never Told You.

Pre-Enlistment Interview

Once you have "selected a job," the Service counselor will complete their required paperwork and bring you, (and your paperwork) to the MEPS Control Desk to initiate the enlistment processing.

At this time, you will undergo a Pre-Enlistment Interview (PEI). During the PEI, the MEPS Military Processing Clerk (MPC) sits with you, “one-on-one” and in private. The MPC will fingerprint you and ask you questions concerning possible law violations, drug/alcohol abuse, and other issues that may affect your entry into the Armed Forces. Also, the MPC will brief you on the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) Fraudulent Enlistment Policy, and Restrictions on Personal Conduct while in the Delayed Enlistment Program (DEP).

During the PEI, if you have an additional disclosure (a potentially disqualifying item not already reported), it must be resolved before further processing continues. Once the PEI is completed, the MPC prepares your enlistment contract for you to review and sign with your Service counselor.

If you need any additional testing for your job choice (example, the Defense Language Appitude Battery), it will normally be done at this time. (Special Note: Some MEPS only give the DLAB on certain day(s) of the week. If you are primarily interested in a language appitude job, you may wish to check with your recruiter to ensure he/she schedules your MEPS trip for one of these days. This may save you from having to make an extra trip to MEPS.)

Enlistment Oath Ceremony

After you and your Service counselor sign the contract, you will return with the contract to the MEPS Control Desk for the Oath of Enlistment Ceremony.

At designated times throughout the day, control desk personnel or a MPC will take applicants with completed contracts to the MEPS Ceremony Room to prepare them for the Oath of Enlistment Ceremony. MEPS personnel will teach you to stand at “Attention” and review with you the Oath of Enlistment. Also, they will ask you if you have any questions pertaining to the UCMJ, Fraudulent Enlistment Policy, and the DoD Separation Policy.

Once you've been prepared, a commissioned officer will be notified to report to the Ceremony Room to conduct the Oath of Enlistment. During this time, the officer may ask you some questions (how you perceived the service and meals he/she received at the MEPS noon meal facility or at the hotel, whether you've been briefed on the UCMJ, etc.). Once the officer has determined that the applicant is ready to “swear-in,” he/she will administer the Oath of Enlistment and sign, with you, in the appropriate blocks of the enlistment contract (contract signing will be performed in another room from the Ceremony Room). This signifies your entry into the DEP. If you have family, friends, or your recruiter present at the ceremony, they will be allowed to take pictures. If don't want the ceremony interrupted by picture-taking, there is usually no objection to staging a mock ceremony at a later time for picture-taking purposes.

After the ceremony, the MEPS control desk will check-out the applicant to his/her Service who will check-out the applicant for the day.

Your first trip to MEPs will be a long day. So, make sure you get lots of sleep, and eat right. Bring a book or magazine, and understand that there will be much "hurry up & wait." There is no other way to process the number of applicants that a MEPS must process each day.

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