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How do I go into the army?

I lost my dad last year on Christmas Eve #career-choice #military

Hi De'kaia, I changed your question slightly so that professionals had a better understanding of what you were looking for. Hopefully, they will be able to give you better guidance on how to join the military! Gurpreet Lally

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John’s Answer

Congratulations on your decision to enlist in the United States Army De'kaia. Of all the services, the Army offers the most enlistment incentives, including the highest enlistment bonuses, more education funds (to supplement the G.I. Bill), various enlistment options, and is the only service which includes guaranteed job-training in every single enlistment contract.


The Army gives you the opportunity to travel the world, define your career, and achieve greatness. But like any great job, there are some basic requirements to join. From your physical fitness to your personal background, learn what it takes to be a part of the greatest team in the world. To become an enlisted Soldier in the U.S. Army, you must:
• Proof you are U.S. citizenship
• Be between 17-32 years old
• Achieve a minimum score on the ASVAB test
• Meet medical, moral, and physical requirements
• High school graduate or equivalent

Becoming an Army Officer is different from enlisting as a Soldier. Officers are responsible for leading Soldiers and planning missions. Training and initial requirements for accepting a commission as an Officer vary, but generally, to qualify you must:
• Be a college graduate by the time you are commissioned as an Officer
• Be between 18 and 34 years old
• Meet medical, moral, and physical requirements
• Eligible for a secret security clearance

STEP 1) MEET WITH A RECRUITER – Your first step in the enlistment process is to meet with a recruiter.Army recruiting offices are located in all major U.S. cities. You can find them listed in the telephone book in the white pages, under "U.S. Government." You can also locate your nearest recruiter using the Recruiter Locator on the Army Recruiting Web site. The recruiter will conduct a "pre-screening" to see if you are qualified for enlistment. The recruiter will ask you about your education level, your criminal history, your age, your marital/dependency status, and your medical history. The recruiter will weigh you to ensure you meet Army accession weight standards. The recruiter will have you take a "mini-ASVAB" on a computer, which gives a pretty good idea of how you will score on the actual test.

De'kaia once you have talked to a recruiter, you’ll set a date to visit a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) to finish the enlistment process. The MEPS is a joint Service organization that determines an applicant's physical qualifications, aptitude and moral standards as set by each branch of military service. There are MEPS locations all over the country. You’ll officially complete the process of joining the Military once you meet all of the Service requirements assessed at the MEPS. The process typically takes one to two days, with food and lodging provided.

STEP 2) MILITARY ENTRANCE PROCESSING STATION (MEPS) – MEPS is not owned by the Army. It's not owned by any of the branches. MEPS is a "joint-operation," and is staffed by members of all the branches. There are 65 MEPS, located across the U.S. Usually, the MEPS process takes two days. Depending on how far the nearest MEPS is from where you live, you may have to stay overnight in a contract hotel. Unless you already have a valid Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) score, you'll usually take the ASVAB on the afternoon you arrive. The next day, the real fun begins -- and it's a long, long day. Your day will start at about 5:30 AM, and you won't finish until about 5:00 or 5:30 that evening. Your day will include a urinalysis (drug test), medical exam, eye test, hearing test, weight check, body-fat measurement (if you exceed the weight on the published weight charts), security clearance interview, meeting with a job counselor, reviewing enlistment options and possible enlistment incentives, taking the enlistment oath, and signing the Delayed Enlistment Program (DEP) contract. Oh, yeah, intermixed in between all of this you'll fill out lots of forms and do lots and lots of waiting.

STEP 3) ARMEND SERVICE VOCATIONAL APTITUDE BATTERY (ASVAB) – Is a multiple-choice exam that helps determine the careers for which an individual is best suited. Both traditional pen-and-paper exams and a computer-based version are available. The ASVAB takes approximately three hours to complete and has questions about standard school subjects like math, English, writing and science. The Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery, more commonly referred to as the ASVAB is used by the Army primarily for two purposes: (1) to determine if you have the mental capability to be successful through basic training and other Army training programs, and (2) to determine your aptitude for learning various Army jobs. The ASVAB consists of nine subtests: General Science, Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Mathematics Knowledge, Electronic Information, Auto & Shop, Mechanical Comprehension, and Assembling Objects. The ASVAB comes in two flavors: The pencil and paper version, and the computerized version. If you're taking the test as part of your enlistment process into the Army, you'll most likely take the computerized version during your trip to MEPS. The Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), often mistakenly called the "overall score," is comprised from only four of the subtests (Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, and Math Knowledge). The other subtests are used to determine job qualifications.

STEP 4) PHYSICAL EXAMINATION – The largest portion of your day at MEPS is taken up by the medical examination. You'll start by completing a detailed medical history. Your blood and urine will be taken and examined for this and that (including drugs and blood-alcohol level). Your eyes and hearing will be checked. You'll have to do some stupid-sounding things, such as walking while squatting (this is commonly called the "duck-walk.") Medical Standards for enlistment are set by the Department of Defense, not the Army. The doctors at MEPS will medically disqualify you if you fail to meet any of the standards. There are two types of disqualification: temporary and permanent. A temporary disqualification means you can't join right now, but may be able to, at a later time. For example, if you just had an operation the week before. A permanent disqualification means that you failed to meet the published standards, and that won't change with time.

STEP 5) SECURITY INTERVIEW – Many Army enlisted jobs and assignments require a security clearance. To obtain a security clearance, one must be a U.S. Citizen. You can still enlist without U.S. Citizenship, but your job choices and assignments will be limited to those which do not require a clearance. Of course, nobody can tell for 100 percent certain whether or not a security clearance will be approved, and the process can take several months. It is where the Security Interviewer comes in. He/she will ask you a whole bunch of questions about your past (drug use, alcohol use, mental health treatment, finances, criminal history, etc.), and is pretty good at making a prediction as to whether or not you're a good candidate for security clearance approval. It, in turn, will affect which Army enlisted jobs you are eligible for.

Good luck with your Army career De'kaia! The Army has more than 200 enlisted jobs to choose from. The Army is unique among all of the active duty services, in that every single enlistment contract includes a guarantee for training in a specific MOS (job). The other services have "guaranteed jobs," as well, but also enlist many recruits into "guaranteed fields," in which they won't find out their specific job until basic training.

John recommends the following next steps:

Bring a Social Security card, birth certificate and driver's license
Remove piercings, and do not wear clothing with obscene images
If you wear either eyeglasses or contact lens, bring them along with your prescription

Thank You for your Continued Support Dexter. People who fail – focus on what they have to go through; people who succeed – focus on what it will be like at the end. John Frick

Thank You Darin. “Help one another. There’s no time like the present, and no present like the time.” – James Durst John Frick

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Mark’s Answer

There is a likely an Army recruiter either in your town or nearby. Your school counselors probably have the contact information for them. The Army has hundreds of different jobs that you can do so you'll want to think about what you would like to do. You'll also need to decide if you want to do this full time (called active duty) or part time in the National Guard or Army Reserve. The difference between the Guard and Reserves is that the Guard has a state duty to help protect that the Reserves don't so they can get called up to help out with disasters. It comes down to if you want to do this full time or part time while you go to school. Many states have great offers for helping to pay for your college if you join the National Guard that would allow you to save your GI Bill for additional education later.

Mark recommends the following next steps:

Step 1: Contact a recruiter
Step 2: Take the ASVAB. This is the test that helps to determine what jobs you are eligible for. You can find practice tests online to help you get ready.
Step 3a: Talk with your recruiter about what jobs are available to you. Take time to make a decision, you don't need to sign that day. Do some research about the jobs so you have a good idea about what you want to do. The neat thing about the Army is that you get to pick your job before you go in, not all of the other services allow you to do that.
Step 3b: Get your medical review. Making sure you are physically able to join. 3a and 3b can some times be switched depending on when they can get you to see a provider (Army speak for a Dr.)
Step 4: Sign the contract and take the oath of enlistment. By this time your recruiter will let you know when you are shipping out (flying) to basic training.

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Darin’s Answer

My condolences to you De'kaia and proud of you for making the big step in life. The answers from John Frick and Mark Balboni are pretty spot on. Joining the military offers you a lot experiences and very valuable life, career and team building opportunities that will set you up for life pretty much but I will warn you it's not as easy as it looks. As someone whose been through the recruiting process and unfortunately was disqualified for medical issues (nothing serious) some little tips I can give you.

Start working out. You will be expected to do A LOT of running so get in shape now. Start small and work your way up. Start with a mile, then go to 2, then 3. Try and do as much running as you can. Try and push yourself to run it without walking or stopping. Work on your strength and core. Do a lot of push ups, sit ups, pull ups, crunches, lunges. There are a lot of military workouts you can find out there by just a simple Google or YouTube search.

Study for the ASVAB. Visit your local library or check with your schools library. They should have study materials and books. You want to try and aim for the highest score you can get. The higher the score the more possibilities of careers you'll have, and there's jobs you probably didn't even know existed that are out there. A recruiter will be able to give you a list of careers and the scores required for each of them

Speaking of a recruiter visit your local recruiters office. Each city should have one and like was suggested above talk with your school guidance counselor. They should have connections as well. Your not the first student with military aspirations and you won't be the last.

Everyone has different reasons for enlisting in a certain branch. If your Dad was in the Army and that's why you are considering Army then go for it but if not consider visiting the other branches as well to see what they have to offer. Each of them will have different careers options so you never know what you may find. No matter what you score on the ASVAB it will cover all the military branches.

I'm wishing you nothing but the best of luck De'kaia and hope for a bright and successful future for yourself

Darin recommends the following next steps:

Start working out
Study for the ASVAB
Visit your local recruiting office

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david’s Answer

Easy! Go to the local recruiting station and see if you qualify.

Hi David! Great start to an answer here. Any suggestions on how students can prep for going into the army? Jordan Rivera COACH

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John’s Answer

So sorry for your loss. The truth is life is hard. Thank you for the courage to share this. May you find strength, courage, and grace in time like this. The army is a place for discipline and teamwork. It is not easy. I would you suggest you connect with a few people that actually have been in army and get a realistic picture of what army life is like before committing. If you ping 10 people on linkedin (search for Army), I bet you will find someone who is willing to mentor and coach you.

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Bryce’s Answer

If you are interested in joining the army the first step I would recommend is to research all the requirements to enlist. You can either find these requirements online or your school counselor should have information. After that I would get in touch with a recruiter who most likely lives in your city or nearby. Once again the school counselor should have information on the recruiter as well. After you get in touch with the recruiter they will be your resource for information and should be able to answer any further questions you have about joining the military.

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Craig’s Answer

I am sure he was very proud of you what ever you do. Think about all options for careers , Army places special requirements on you, be sure you are ready for that, if not do something not forces based.