If you are thinking of joining the military, you should probably read this before you speak with your recruiter. Keep in mind that your recruiter is doing their job by making the high points of the military sound good, and downplaying the low points. It is also part of their job to divert your attention to the well-known things about your branch, and not to tell you about the many questions that he or she had before entrance. Maybe after reading this, you will have a little more insight into your chosen career. Always ask about an open contract. When I joined the military, I had a specific job in mind. But when I joined, I was told that job had a 20-year waiting list, would I be interested in another? I scored very high in the medical field on my ASVAB, as well as the sciences. So I could choose just about whatever I wanted. I chose medical lab technician. Or at least that’s what I thought I chose. The man at our induction center left my contract open. That means that you are required to do whatever job Uncle Sam puts you doing, like cleaning latrines for your whole 4-year tour.
Ask to see any videos that are available. They give you a little better understanding of what daily life in basic training will be like, rather than a watered down version of what your recruiter remembers from years ago when they went through. Pay attention to the looks on the recruits’ faces. It’s not a happy look; this is what you are going to look like when you ship out.
Ask about the buddy system, and credit for having others join with you. If you have a friend that wants to join with you and be battle buddies, you can join at the same time and both of you receive a higher rank. You both will be an E-2 in the Air Force, before even entering basic training. So this gives you a raise in pay, and it’s easier to climb the ladder when you’re one rung above the crowd.
Ask what you will be paid, and how long you must serve to be eligible for your Veteran’s benefits. You are entitled to college tuition reimbursement, health insurance, aid in purchasing a home or vehicle, among many other things. But in order for you to get those things, you must serve for at least 6 months, not including basic training. So if you are in the Air Force, you must complete basic training, and then work 6 months of active duty and then be discharged honorably or uncharacterized in order to get these benefits. You are paid on a card given to you during your induction onto base once you begin basic training. This will be linked to an account that has your monthly pay, and you can do as you please with it.
Lastly, ask about your options during wartime. The job you choose may not have a huge calling during war time, but with the war mongering that has gone on in recent years, you seriously need to consider the thought you may go to war. If your job is going to be greatly involved in a war, and you are not comfortable with that, DON’T sign a thing. Once you sign, that is it; you are now property of Uncle Sam. If you even get a tattoo now you can be court marshaled for destruction of government property. So really think over your decision before you ever sign a paper. Once they have that piece of paper, yore recruiter gives two shakes about you. They just made quota for the month!