Getting Your Dream Job
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 . 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.
The Army is also the only active duty service in which an applicant can “pre-reserve” a job/enlistment program, right in the recruiter’s office, prior to going to the Military Entrance Processing Station . Army recruiters have access to a system called FSR2 or “Future Soldier Remote Reservations System.” Any applicant that is a high school senior in good standing or a graduate of high school may pick their job off of the “Request” system from the recruiting station, as long as they “pre-qualify” for enlistment. They then have seven days to go to MEPS, take the physical and then do the final signing for that job. The system also provides a shipping date for the job enlistment bonus/college fund amounts authorized for that job, etc. Of course, the job isn’t “guaranteed” at this point. The applicant has to meet the qualifications for the job , which will be determined during the MEPS trip.
You Are On Call 24/7 Even When You’re Not
Ever wonder why service members tell time differently? For example, it’s not 11 p.m., it’s 2300 hrs. This is because war never sleeps. Those who think otherwise have another thing coming. Battle is about maneuvering units and materials at a moment’s notice to secure a tactical advantage. This can easily happen at night, and it can easily make no sense to you.
No matter what your rank or specialization, the Army can wake you up at 0200 hrs and make you guard a port-o-potty in the middle of nowhere, thousands of miles from any national security threat. The only items you might have to protect yourself will be a broom and a canteen. You’ll have no say in the matter, and nobody is required to explain anything to you.
You’re not even safe when you’re on vacation. Oh, didn’t you know that the Army considers weekends and holidays to be vacation days? That fact came as a shock to me. When you go on vacation, you are expected to fill out a lot more paperwork than you would at a typical company in the private sector. The Army wants to know every detail regarding your whereabouts when you’re on vacationâincluding the hotel you’ll be staying in.
Why? In case of a national emergency, the Army has to know where you are so it can summon you if they need you. Even if you are far from your base, you may be contacted to report to a closer one. This is highly unlikely, but it is a soldier’s responsibility.
Where Is Ait Conducted
Advanced Individual Training is conducted at Army training locations, schools and other military installations.
Your entire AIT experience may be with Army personnel, or it could include some time spent with Military personnel from other branches.
Advanced Individual Training locations can be found in 10 different states.
Your AIT time may be split between a primary and secondary location.
The Army currently has 11 different primary locations that you can attend prior to moving to a secondary location.
The primary and potentially secondary location you attend will be based on your MOS and the training necessary to meet the job specifications of that MOS.
States where AIT is conducted:
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Getting Ready To Train
An excellent way to determine your fitness level is to undergo a fitness appraisal.
Talk to your doctor before starting a fitness routine or appraisal, particularly if you have a heart condition, feel chest pain, lose your balance or consciousness, have a bone or joint problem, or take drugs for a blood pressure or heart condition. Tell your doctor about the kinds of activities you want to do and follow his or her advice.
What Happens After The Meps
After finishing at the MEPS, recruits follow one of two options:
- “Direct Ship:” Departure for Basic Training occurs in a matter of days versus months.
- Delayed Entry Program : Commit to Basic Training at a time in the future, generally within one year. Recruits entering the DEP are given further instruction, to be followed at a later time.
It’s important to note that the time between being “sworn in” and Basic Training could be as short as two days or as long as a year. It also varies based on job assignment and branch of Service.
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Related Careers At A Glance
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Officer: Direct Commission Officer Program
If you have previously served as an Officer in the military and would like to affiliate with the Navy Reserve, you should contact a Navy Recruiter to discuss your options. You will not need to complete any prerequisite Officer training.
If you are an Enlisted veteran who is now a college-educated professional in one of the specialty areas sought by the Navy Reserve, you may apply through the Direct Commission Officer Program and will need to complete the 12-day in Newport, RI.
The Direct Commission Officer Program is available to those who qualify in the following fields:
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Medically Unfit For Duty
Some are discharged because they are deemed mentally or physically unfit for duty. Like some of the other instances where theres a decision to separate a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine from duty, this is not always punitive. In fact, far from it in many casesbut if the DoD chooses to let you go due to a medical issue this is one early out option that does not carry the stigma of punishment, change of mind, failure to adapt, etc.
One common medical separation? Asthma. Some develop it later in life, others had it as a child and it went away only to recur later. Asthma isnt the only condition that can lead to a medical discharge, but its a good example of something that may seem benign to the sufferer but that the military has a particular issue with in terms of your being fit for duty.
Military Entrance Processing Station
Once you make the decision to enlist, the Military Entrance Processing Station is the place where recruits go to finish the enlistment process. There are MEPS locations all over the country. Recruits officially complete the process of joining the Military once they meet all of the MEPS requirements. This process may take a few days.
Potential recruits must do the following at the MEPS:
Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery
The ASVAB is a multiple-choice exam that helps determine which kinds of careers an individual is best suited for. There are questions about math, language, science, mechanical and electronic knowledge and more. The test lasts about three hours and is one of the factors used to determine which military specialties you’d be good at. You can take the ASVAB while at MEPS, but you can also take it at your school if it’s offered there, or at a Military Entrance Test site.
Pass the Physical Examination
Your recruiter will discuss physical requirements with you beforehand. While the physical examination varies from branch to branch, it typically includes completing a medical history questionnaire, taking basic blood, urine and flexibility tests, as well as hearing and vision exams.
Meet With a MEPS Career Counselor and Determine a Career
Along with your ASVAB results, a MEPS career counselor will take into account service needs, any prior experience and your wishes when helping you find a career.
Take the Oath of Enlistment
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Enlisted: Direct Procurement Enlistment Program
If youve served in the military before, this program allows you to potentially re-enlist at a higher pay grade, anywhere from E-3 to E-6, depending on your background. Eligibility for DPEP takes into consideration your:
- Prior experience as a servicemember
- Any qualifying postsecondary vocational or technical training youve received
- Any civilian work and supervisory experience youve attained
Reserve Entrance Programs For Those Who’ve Served Before
There are different programs that allow you to affiliate with the Navy Reserve. Your eligibility for these programs depends upon your prior service background, how long its been since you were discharged from service, and a variety of other factors. As a military veteran, you should refer to the Reserve entrance program that best applies to you.
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If You Join The Army Can You Just Quit
Military enlistment is a major commitment. Individuals who join the U.S. Armed Forces must sign an enlistment contract, binding them to service. Initial contract lengths vary, but last as long as eight years. Recruiters emphasize the benefits of the military, but are not always upfront about how difficult it is to quit the army once you’ve joined.
How The Enlistment Process Works
Candidates officially complete the process of joining the Military once they have met all of the requirements at the Military Entrance Processing Station , or comparable facility, and have been administered the oath of enlistment.
This process may take more than a day to complete. Potential recruits typically do the following at MEPS:
- Take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test
- Pass the physical and medical examinations
- Meet with a counselor and select a career path
- Take the Oath of Enlistment
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Attend Enlistment / Appointment Day
If successful, you will:
If you’ve reached this part of the application process you’ll soon receive your official ADF job offer along with your joining instructions.
Your Enlistment Coordinator will organise your Enlistment / Appointment Day. The ceremony is a very proud moment as you become an official member of the Australian Defence Force, so we encourage you to invite friends and family along to watch you undertake the official oath or affirmation, to find out more about what lies ahead for you, and to say a proper goodbye.
Before the day you must ensure that:
- Results from any requested blood tests have been received by Defence Force Recruiting
- If relevant to your position and included with your Letter of Offer, the Security Pack has been completed and returned
Has anything changed?
It’s very important to notify us if, since your interviews and fitness test:
- You have suffered any illness or injury, or
- There have been any additions or changes to prescribed medication, or
- You have been involved in an incident with the police, or
- You have an outstanding court action, or
- You have received a conviction or penalty.
A second Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check will be performed before the day of your enlistment or appointment.
What to expect
Preparing For Basic Training
Depending on when you must head out for basic training, you may only have a short time to prepare for your new career path. That means organizing everything at home before getting shipped out to basic training and a future deployment.
Think of leaving for basic training as any other move. Youll need to make accommodations for any items that need to be put into storage, mail forwarding, your car and packing items youll need. If you have a pet, youll want to find someone to take care of it while youre gone, or find it another home.
Of course, if you are married , youll need to work out the logistics with your spouse. How long will you be gone, and how will childcare work? When will you be able to have your family join you, if you can? The decision to enlist in the Army should always be a conversation had with your spouse, as the decision affects them as well. Make sure that you are on the same page.
The Army provides a list of clothing and toiletries to bring, so make sure you find time to prep those items before leaving. Youll also want to make sure you have any needed documents, such as your Social Security card, birth certificates, marriage certificate and bank information. These may take some time to get if you dont already have them, so dont leave this until the last-minute, if possible.
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Physical And Mental Screening
Once you have taken the ASVAB, your recruiter will make an appointment for you at a nearby Military Entrance Processing Station to assess your physical and moral standards as set by the Air Force, the Department of Defense and federal law. When processing through MEPS, youll provide your jobs counselor with a list of every job and aptitude area you are qualified for and willing to train for as your Air Force career. Depending on our current needs, you will either receive one of the jobs you expressed interest in or one that best serves your strengths and our mission.
Decide Which Branch Of The Military Fits Your Interests And Abilities
Each military branch offers different roles within the armed forces. Depending on your talents and interests, you may be better suited to certain branches of the military. Talk with recruitment advisors online or in-person as you research each section of the United States military.
Choose from the following branches of the armed forces:
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Air Force Officer Positions
Here are possible officer positions within the Air Force:
Weather Officer: A Weather Officer is responsible for the vital service of accurate weather forecasting for aircraft. Officers who earn an undergraduate degree in meteorology or a related field qualify for this position after completing the basic meteorology program.
Combat Systems Officer: Combat Systems Officers act as mission commanders for electronic warfare, weapons systems and navigation. These officers utilize technical equipment to lead missions.
Special Tactics Officer: This highly trained and elite group of officers provide a range of tactical operations including personnel recovery, fire support and battlefield trauma care.
Airfield Operations Officer: These officers lead airfield operations, manage air traffic control and oversee airspace management. They provide leadership and technical assistance in their role as advisors to airfield commanders.
Aircraft Maintenance Officer: An Aircraft Maintenance Officer is responsible for creating maintenance plans and directing essential maintenance operations. They also manage quality assurance and training in all aspects of aircraft repair and maintenance.
Joining The Guard Or Reserve
In times when recruiting and retainability are not critical issues for the Department of Defense, your branch of service may permit you to get out of your current military contract early for the purposes of joining the Guard or Reserve. This is NOT a given, and much depends on the needs of the DoD. You will be permitted to do this at the convenience of the government and there will be service-specific procedures to follow in order to make the switch.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News
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Identity Theft Is A Threat To Soldiers And It’s Just As Bad For Veterans
You might think that if you work for the Army, you’d be safe from the threat of identity theft, but let’s get honest and clear about this risk. The truth is that identity theft is rampant for service members, veterans, and their families.
If you haven’t memorized your social security number by now, you will within the first few days of in-processing. Throughout your entire military career, it will be used so often and on so much paperwork that you will get numb to it. Why? There are so many people in the military that the quickest, easiest way to identify each individual is to do so by number. You’ll notice a lot of private sector companies do this as well.
Almost every form you fill out provides another opportunity for a criminal to get your name, SSN, and date of birth. In minutes, you can become an identity theft casualty. If you’re deployed and fighting in the latest war, you might not find out that your personal information has been stolen until months after the fact! Instead of confetti in your ticker-tape parade, you’ll have bills and more paperwork to contend with, but this time the paperwork will be for all the credit bureaus and collection agencies you’ll have to communicate with to sort out your identity theft issues. Oh, and this doesn’t end after your time serving is complete. It’s just as easy to nab a veteran’s identity as it is to steal an active soldier’s identity.
But for now, a soldier must fight on two fronts: to protect his country and his identity.
How Soon After Ait Will I Be Deployed
There is not a timeline to find out when you will be deployed.
Some units can deploy immediately after AIT.
Other units may not deploy for months later or even over a year later.
You are generally provided with notice if you are to deploy immediately after AIT.
It is best to be prepared and always consider it a possibility.
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