How to Prepare to Join the Military

Fri, Jan 13, 2017 @ 08:01 AM Guest Blogger Military Life

Content provided courtesy of USAA.

By Chad Storlie 

Preparing to join the military is a great way to get your military and civilian career off to a great start. To start your military career right from Day One, there are some vitally important factors for you to consider so you can be successful in your initial training as well as your follow on or advanced training. This advice is for anyone planning to join any military service. 

Preparing To Join The Military Tip #1 - Start Talking to Recruiters A Year Out. 

If you are considering enlisting or joining an officer commissioning program, make a plan to go and speak to all the service recruiters. If you are set on the Marines, then go and explore your options with the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and the Air Force. If you are just interested in the Air Force, then talk to the Army, Marines, Coast Guard, and the Navy. At this point, you "don't know what you don't know." Speaking to recruiters from all military services will give you a very good idea of the full range of positions, training, and signing bonus that are available to you. At any point in joining the military, there are a range of opportunities that are and are not available based on the current size of the respective services. Speaking to all the recruiters gives you a good idea of what is truly available. 

Preparing to Join The Military Tip #2 - Drugs, Legal Violations, Some Tattoos, Obesity & Fitness Level Are What Ruin People's Military Dreams. 

There is a large group of people that want desperately to join the military but cannot due to violations of the military service standards that bar them from joining the military and entering service. As a broad rule, the use of illegal drugs; legal convictions of criminal activity; some tattoos on the face, neck or hands; personal weight levels above the service standard, and the inability to successfully complete a basic physical fitness test are what remove candidates from consideration for military service. The best advice is to avoid any and all activities that will disqualify you from military service. 

Preparing to Join The Military Tip #3 – Get In Good Overall Shape. 

Your goal for fitness and body weight should be to get in the best overall shape that you can. You want to balance strength training and cardiovascular fitness because too much strength training could hurt your run times and too much running may leave you susceptible to injury and not passing the push-ups and pull-ups to military standard. There are a number of excellent fitness programs that you can pursue. 

Preparing to Join The Military Tip #4 – Do Well On Your High School GPA & Graduate. 

After the fitness disqualifications to military service, a lack of a high school degree with a decent GPA is next. A high school degree and a good GPA that will help you do well on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) – a test that partially controls what military specialties that you can sign up to perform. Graduating high school on time and with a good GPA is a must have to start your military career. 

Preparing To Join The Military Tip #5 – Prepare for Times When Military Service Is Awful. 

At my first duty station in Korea, the January weather was so cold that the water buffalos froze inside of heated tents, which made serving hot food impossible. We had limited MRE’s because they were all in the Middle East, so we ate beef jerky or nothing because the peanut butter sandwiches froze. It was a horrible time in the field. You can do all the fitness and preparation, but your mind has to be prepared to suffer, and suffer mightily. Military recruits that are not prepared to suffer and to perform their best while suffering are challenged to complete a term of military service. 

Talking early to recruiters, staying away from activities that disqualify you for military service, being in good shape, possessing a completed high school degree, and having your attitude focused on surpassing suffering while still serving well is how you succeed. Have a successful military career and have fun.

Veterans United

Image via Official U.S. Navy Flickr