We have arrived at a new year and with it comes new resolutions. Maybe you have been thinking about signing up for the U.S. military for some time, and just need that little nudge to head to a recruiter. Well, beyond the pay and benefits — and patriotic service, of course — these are 7 other good reasons for you to consider joining up.
1. You get to do some really cool stuff
Imagine getting paid to jump out of airplanes, or to land them on the deck of an aircraft carrier. Imagine getting paid to be a sailor on the high seas, riding the waves on the most powerful warship in history. Getting paid to operate a drone in a war zone, or to be a technical rescue specialist who comes to the aid of downed pilots, no matter where they crash. Just think about the fact that someone will give you money to shoot guns, camp in exotic locales, and blow stuff up. All of that is possible in the military if you choose the right branch and specialty.
2. You get to hang out with some really cool people
While you are contemplating all the cool stuff the military will pay you to do, keep in mind that they will also pay you to do those same things with a bunch of really great people. You will all share a bond and build camaraderie, and the military will send you on a bunch of badass trips together to train or fight. You will get to spend virtually every waking minute together, which — if nothing else — builds some lifetime bonds. You will spend more time than you wanted together, for sure, but after it is all said and done, you will cherish those times for the rest of your life.
3. You will be afforded once-in-a-lifetime experiences
Those lifetime bonds will be forged not only in training and during the inevitable hard times, but also in the course of some incredible experiences. Do you ever wonder what it’s like to see the sun come up over the Hindu Kush? To trek 15 kilometers through the Slovenian Alps in the dead of winter? Have you ever pictured yourself standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean projecting American power far forward? Did you think it ever possible that you’d take part in a joint training exercise with members of the German army? Or that you’d spend Thanksgiving day in Okinawa? What about landing in a helicopter on the back of a navy ship that is underway, or surfacing in a submarine in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? All of those possibilities are open to you through military service.
4. You can see the world
Those once-in-a-lifetime experiences often happen far from home, in strange new lands. There are not many regions of the world immune from a visit by the U.S. military, whether it be during training exercises, routine deployments, port visits, or even, yes, combat operations. Through your service, you are provided the opportunity to open your eyes to the wider world. Few are given such an opportunity in their lifetimes, to see so many unique and varied locales.
5. You can accrue some academic benefits
If you are of a decidedly more practical mind, and not swayed by these pie-in-the-sky life experiences, and yet you are still considering doing your part through military service, then consider the academic benefits that can accrue from your service. The G.I. Bill is the most well-known academic benefit, and it covers things like undergraduate and graduate education, vocational training, and a portion of housing costs while you are enrolled in qualified programs. There are also programs that will send you through college while you are still serving, en route to becoming an officer, if you think that is the route for you. I always tell people who thank me for my service that the U.S. military gave me as much as I gave it. That was primarily through the education benefits I received.
6. You can build your resume
Sticking with those same kinds of practical considerations, there is nothing quite like U.S. military service to brighten up even the most impressive resume. If nothing else, your time in the service will translate to an enhanced work experience portion of your CV. Private companies, state and local governments, and other federal departments and agencies place a lot of value on military service, and for good reason. They know individuals who served in the military come with some built-in skills and experiences that are hard to replicate in the private sector. The most important of those is an inherent understanding of what it means to be a part of a team and placing a common objective above individual self-interest.
7. You can earn a place in history
Finally, imagine being known throughout history as a Roman legionnaire, a soldier in Alexander the Great’s army, or one of Ghengis Khan’s horseback warriors. That is some legendary stuff right there, and a thousand years from now, the American military will hold its rightful place in history as one of the world’s best fighting forces. You could be a part of that history, which is pretty damn incredible when you think about it.
Feature Image: The Aircraft Maintenance Crew of tail number 58-0023 from the 157th Air Refueling Wing, New Hampshire Air National Guard, pose for a group photo, January 30, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Curtis J. Lenz)
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