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Top 10 Lies (Some) Recruiters Tell

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3. You are absolutely guaranteed to get the job listed on your enlistment contract.

Truth: What is actually guaranteed (somewhat) is that you will be trained in a specific job. Once training is complete, there is no guarantee that you will actually be assigned to perform that specific job. To be honest, in most cases you probably will. However (in the Army especially), it's not really all that uncommon to arrive on a post after training, only to find out they have too many of your particular job on that post, and be detailed to do something else, instead (such as driving vehicles at the motor pool). Of course, in combat zones, any MOS can be cross-tasked to perform combat jobs.

Even the training is not necessarily guaranteed. While there are some exceptions, the general rule is if you fail to complete the training for the "guaranteed job" in your enlistment contract, due to something the military considers to be their own fault (such as the job is eliminated/reduced, the job standards change, or you fail to qualify for a security clearance through no fault of your own), then the service will generally give you the choice of re-training into a different job, or an honorable discharge. In this case, the choice is yours.

If, on the other hand, you fail to complete training for the job for something the military considers to be your fault (such as academic failure, getting into trouble, or being denied a security clearance because of false statements), whether you are re-trained or separated is a decision made by your commander, and/or the Military Personnel Gods. You get no say in the matter, and often don't even get a say about what job you will be re-trained into.

4. If you don't like the military, you can simply quit.

Truth: No you can't. Not liking the military is not an acceptable reason for discharge. Even if you quit trying in basic training, resulting in failing the program, the drill instructors will first try everything else imaginable to keep you in, including "recycling" you so you spend extra time in basic. If the commander ultimately decides that discharge is the only course of action, you'll be reassigned to a special unit to await discharge processing. I've seen the process take several weeks, even months. It's not uncommon for those being discharged from basic training to still be there, long after the folks who enlisted on the same day are graduated and gone on their way to job training.

In order to be discharged from the military, there has to be an acceptable reason for discharge. For details, see my article, Getting Out of the Military.

5. If you refuse to ship out to basic training you will go to jail.

Truth: This is the opposite from Lie #4. Some applicants have been told (after signing the Delayed Enlistment Program Contract) that they can't change their minds. Some applicants have been told they would be subject to arrest and forced to go to basic, some have been told they would go to jail, and I've even had a few tell me they were told they would lose their citizenship or lose the right to apply for citizenship if they dropped out of the DEP. Heck, one recruit I know of was even told it would go onto his "permanent record" and follow him for life (I don't even know what a "permanent record" is, unless it's the one my third grade teacher kept threatening me with). The truth is, you can change your mind at anytime up until the time you actually ship out to basic training and go onto active duty. I cover this in detail in my Delayed Enlistment Program article.

6. Once you complete your enlistment you can get out and won't be called back again.

Truth: Everybody (and I mean EVERYBODY) who enters the military for their first time incurs a total eight-year service commitment. It doesn't matter if your contract says you're enlisting for two, three, four or five years active duty, you are obligated for a total of eight years. If you sign a six-year Guard/Reserve contract, and elect not to reenlist at the end of the six years, you will still be obligated for an additional two years.

Time not spent on active duty, or in the drilling reserves is spent in the IRR (Individual Ready Reserves). While in the IRR, one does not get paid, nor do they perform drill, but can be involuntarily recalled to active duty at any time. Right now, only the Army and Marine Corps have been recalling IRR members. The Army has recalled about 6,000 IRR members and the Marine Corps about 1,000. The Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard is not currently involuntarily recalling IRR members.

In addition to IRR recalls, a program called STOP-LOSS allows the service to prevent (delay) separations and retirements during times of conflict. The Army and Marine Corps place individuals under STOP-LOSS when the person/unit is officially notified of an upcoming deployment (usually about 90 days before the deployment date) until 90 days following return from the deployment. The Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard do not currently have any STOP-LOSS programs in place, but have used it in the past.

7. You have a great chance of getting the assignment (location) you want.

Truth: Active duty assignments are based on the "needs of the service." (There are exceptions, such as a qualifying humanitarian assignment, but these are really hard to qualify for.) In other words, when assignments are selected, wherever your particular branch needs your particular warm body the most is where you're going to go. If there is a tie, your "dream sheet" (assignment preference form) will be taken into consideration. In other words, if Base A and Base B both need you the most, and you have Base B on your "dream sheet," you'll probably get it. On the other hand, if you have Base C on your dream sheet, you'll be going to either Base A or B, regardless of your preferences. Of course, I've drastically over-simplified a fairly complex system, but those are the basics. For complete details, see my Assignment Information article.

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