FactsWhat Is It Like Being In The Army

What Is It Like Being In The Army


If Your Spouse Leaves The Service And You Dont Get Ready To Get Some Grief


If youâve got a ring on, the first question you get wonât be, âWhat does your husband do?â Rather, itâs âWhat unit is your husband in?â Military women married to civilian men are perhaps even more of a rarity than single female officers.

My husband left the military before I did â and anytime I mentioned it, Iâd get a look of shock followed quickly by a look of either confusion or disgust. I was actually asked: âDoes he like you working with so many other men?â âIs he intimidated by you?â âWho wears the pants in this relationship?â My personal favorite? âIâm surprised heâs OK with that.â

It Can Be Very Lonely

Making gal pals isn’t exactly easy when you’re in the military. In any given unit, there just arenât that many women, so the odds that youâll find your new BFF are slim. When I was assigned to a virtually all-male unit, it was basically impossible. Many of the friends I did make inevitably moved away when we were reassigned, deployed, or sent on special assignment. As an officer, I wasnât allowed to hang out with enlisted soldiers, so I was even more isolated.

Oh, and God forbid a female soldier should find meaningful friendship with a guy. At best, everyone just assumed they were sleeping together, and at worst, the woman was labeled a tramp.

Ptsd Is As Real For Us As It Is For Men

Sitting in the desert for a year surrounded by people who would like to kill you is hard. Really hard. Having to work with local nationals on âAdvise and Assistâ missions sounds friendly, but when youâre locked and loaded the whole time because, well, they might just try to kill you. Not knowing when the next rocket is going to come over the wall screws with your head. It screws with your sleep. Some days, I felt as if something horrible was always about to happen to me or someone I cared about.

Inside and outside the military, thereâs this idea that PTSD is mostly experienced by men. Because dudes are the only ones in combat, right? Someone who doesnât know better hears about a male soldier struggling with bad dreams and alcoholism and thinks, of course! But if I, a delicate young lady, mentioned that I was feeling crappy, wasnât sleeping, and just couldnât keep it together, I often faced a barrage of questions: What did I do that was so hard? What did I see? Am I sure that Iâm really depressed or am I just having a bad day? Am I overreacting? Making it up for attention? The knowledge that asking for help might make us seem weak and single us out as the âover-sensitiveâ chicks has kept too many of us quiet â even when the walls are crumbling.

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You Will Be Held To A Higher Standard Forever

The number one awful thing about the Army that nobody tells you is that you will forever be held to a higher standard!

Lexington and Concord, Gettysburg, Normandy, and all the soldiers who fought before you in many historic battles have paved the way. It is now your turn. If you think this is an honor, then you are right. What you might not know is that this is also a huge responsibility, and it will last until the day you die.

Your friends will expect you to be in great shape even after you are discharged. Your family will expect you to be calm and patient. Your coworkers will expect you to lead the way and handle stress easily. Everyone you know will expect you to win. Nobody will expect you to complain. If you oversleep, get drunk, become poor, gain weight, etc., then you will disappoint the civilians who look up to you.

This responsibility brings out the best in soldiers and veterans, but it lasts foreverâand it will never be easy to deal with.

More Important Facts About Military Service

Here are some other important things to know about the military

The Army Has The Perfect Exercise Program

What is Army Doctrine?

When people think of Basic Training–officially known as Basic Combat Training or BCT–they assume exercise and sweating. There’s no reason to be disappointed because there is plenty of both.

Not only is training intense during BCT, but also maintaining a certain level of fitness throughout your military career is key in being an effective soldier. Sadly, many gifted and experienced soldiers are discharged each year because they cannot meet weight or fitness standards.

Exercise is difficult and demanding but it is good for you. Weeks before I shipped off, I started training harder–simply to lessen the punishment of BCT. By the time BCT finally came, I was feeling more energetic, thinking more clearly, and all-around happier. I was excited about the Army and the Army didn’t let me down.

A lot of recruiters aren’t always in a hurry to talk about exercise because it might turn off a potential trainee. It’s the recruit who brings it up and then the recruiter gets vague and tells him that he’ll be fine. This is true but there’s no reason not to discuss the benefits of exercise and how simply being in the Army will almost guarantee them.

Not the girl scouts

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What It’s Like To Be A Woman In The Military

I often get asked what it’s like to be a woman in the military. “Do the men treat you differently?” Usually, the answer is no, as we all know we work on the same team.

Kelly ThompsonUpdatedOctober 28, 2010

Yes, the number one question I receive when people see me in uniform is Whats it like being in the military? How do the men treat you? Twenty years ago, I might have had a negative answer for this question. In the new millennium, things have really changed. Of course, everyones experience is different.

My Dad specifically remembers when women were first allowed into his trade as electrical mechanical engineers. Then men felt angry because the women didnt have the same standards, didnt have to lift heavy things and didnt have to dig their own latrines . This made the men mad and I can understand that. But when I asked my Dad, Well what do you think it was like for the women? He drew a blank. He was so consumed by his own point of view that he hadnt thought of what it had been like for them. I cant imagine what it would have been liked to be so hated by people who were supposed to be your peers.

So whats it like to be a woman in the military? The same as it is for a man. Were all just as proud, just as hard working, and just as dedicated to all that the Canadian Forces stands for.


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We Didnt Need A Congressional Act To Go Into Combat

Before I deployed, I often heard the reassurance, âWomen arenât on the front lines, so youâll be OK.â It quickly became clear that just wasn’t true. I donât care what your branch was, everyone got up close and personal with some pretty hairy stuff. If you were on the road, well, convoys got hit all the time. If you were on the FOB, you got rocketed.

There were plenty of women working as engineers or military police, so clearly stated parts of their job involved direct force. Combat action badges are worn by guys and gals alike. If anything, the amount of publicity given to the repeal of the ban on women in combat roles was a little insulting. What should have been a quick and quiet acknowledgement of the status quo and opening of new positions became an excruciating series of discussions and âanalysesâ that ignored what has been a reality for decades.

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The Importance Of Military Engineers During Operations

Army Special Forces soldiers and their families live a unique existence. Often spending months to years apart, those in and supporting these operators must endure hardships both physical and emotional. However, for those soldiers lucky enough to have spouses and families that share in the belief that their profession is a calling, those times apart in rough and unpredictable environments are a little easier.

The Army And The Cold War

This Is What Its Like Being An IDF Paratrooper

At 5:29 a.m. on July 16, 1945, the worlds first atomic bomb was detonated in the New Mexico desert. The bomb released a destructive power unlike anything previously experienced. It emitted the equivalent of 21,000 tons of TNT and created a fireball 2,000 feet in diameter. As one observer described the blast, It was like being at the bottom of an ocean of light. This test, named the Trinity Test, changed history. In this new atomic age, new superpowers emerged, new alliances were formed, and fear underscored decisions. At the heart of this transformation was the U.S. Army, who reacted to these changes to keep Americans safe. The success of the Trinity Test changed Americas foreign policy for the next 50 years.

Trinity blast. Department of Energy.

American military planners believed that provocation by the Soviet Union was a foregone conclusion. It was not a matter of if an attack would come but when. Military planners believed the most likely route of invasion would come through an area known as the Fulda Gap. This was the most direct route from Soviet occupied areas in East Germany to West Germany and led directly to France and the English Channel. Also along this route were major industrial cities that produced vital resources to supply an army. Those same resources would be advantageous to advancing Soviet attack. Based on this scenario, western armies constantly stood at the ready to deploy.

Soldiers arrive in Bremerhaven, Germany, 1947. Center of Military History.

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If You Want Control Over Where Youre Going To Live

Before I joined there was a rumor that I get to write down my top three preferred duty stations.

Unfortunately, thats just patently wrong.

The military places its members where it needs them, hence the term service.

It takes years of serving and moving up in rank until you get any say in where you can live.

Gender Discrimination And Bias

Gender discrimination and bias is a real and serious issue. As a woman joining the army, you will probably meet people who look down on you and treat you differently because of your gender. There will also be issues of verbal abuse, which includes snide remarks, nicknames, and rumors on what you do and how you act.

Being left behind because of your gender is also not a far-fetched scenario. You can be excluded and withheld from particular activities and opportunities, like ranking-up, because you are a woman.

Misogyny can be expressed by your fellow service members, your officers, and the higher-ups. Aside from verbal abuse, as mentioned above, there are also forms of physical abuse, which we will talk about in a later section.

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Your First Amendment Rights Will Be Limited While You’re Serving

Most service members easily accept this. I did. Even though I knew what I believed in, I also knew it wasn’t fair to use my uniform to push my personal beliefs on anyone else. The people who love to sell their beliefs wrapped in a flag with a pretty yellow ribbon on top will be annoyed to see that their rights to free speech are tossed right out the window.

Don’t get me wrong, you can always be an armchair activist maybe even go to a few protests or demonstrations, however, the second you identify yourself as a service member, you’ll be in deep trouble. As a military member, you’ll fight for America, but you’re not authorized to speak for it.

Still, the Army seems to favor Christianity. There’s lots of “oh, lord” this and “praise Jesus” that. This shouldn’t surprise anyone because the United States is populated by many Christians. As a Christian myself, I never did take it personally. However, many other soldiers who identify as Jewish, Muslim, atheist, etc. are forced to put their beliefs in the back seat while fighting for a constitution that guarantees religious freedom.

There is even a non-profit Military Religious Freedom Foundation that fights for the religious equality of American soldiers in the U.S. military. But don’t bring it up at any of the “prayer breakfasts” you might find yourself at. Think that was a joke? Join and see. Just don’t spill the salt.

Sense Of Being Part Of Something

first hand view on what its like to be British Army EOD

This is a little harder to define than the other reasons. The Army is huge, so its not that I have this notion Im some integral part of an elite group. But there is a sense of being a part of something biggersomething important. I wrote a post about this quite a while back, and heres part of what I wrote then:

I believe God has given us an innate desire to know that what we do mattersthat our lives are purposeful and part of something bigger than just ourselves.

As Christians we can see and understand this through our relationship with our Savior and our participation in the body of Christ. We are each given a unique purpose, a special set of gifts, and a community within which to live all of that out.

He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts to grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. Ephesians 4:16

Recently, Ive come to appreciate this in a different setting as well.

The military is a community that exists for a unique purpose. From the newly enlisteds oath to the highest ranking officers duties, there is a sense of purpose and service to something bigger and grander than oneself.

Nonetheless, all I can speak from is my experience. Do I see some of the cracks and potholes? Yep. But I wanted to focus on what I have seen and experienced so far that makes me so proud and happy to be a part of this big Army family.

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The Army Is Not Adult Daycarethis Misconception Gets People Killed

One of the things I despise most is the idea that the Army serves the soldier. The Army doesn’t serve you you serve your country by joining the Army. Fortunately, there are very few people that believe this because Basic Combat Training does an outstanding job of smoking that idea out of recruits’ heads. But still, people who think of the Army as an adult daycare facility are out there making life for other soldiers far worse and sometimes more dangerous. Immature people who misunderstand the purpose of the Army usually want access to the Army’s benefits without understanding the sacrifices and responsibilities associated with serving.

Even though the Army does have benefits that help soldiers and families throughout their lives, these benefits are not available anywhere else, so it makes sense for civilians to join the military to get them. But those benefits are not what I’m talking about. In fact, if you serve, I highly recommend that you get involved in all the beneficiary programs you can. Doing so will enable you to be a better soldier now and a better civilian afterwards.

What I am talking about is the idea that the Army is just a job that’s impossible to get fired from or a steady source of income for anyone who can twiddle his thumbs and stay out of sight. Usually, I don’t care what people think. However, this kind of attitude usually leads to a sub-par performance.

If You Really Cant Imagine The Idea Of Complete Structure

If you cant imagine being told what to do, where to go, what kind of tattoos you can have, and how to dress every day, dont join.

Additionally, the rank structure in the military is a one-way road. No exceptions.

Your leadership should never belittle you.

However, there will be times when you are expected to take verbal and/or physical punishment.

On top of that, you are not allowed to give your side of the story.

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The Army Is Successful Communism

I am goofing off here so hang on.

When I think of communism, I think of a lot of sad, poor people standing in long lines. Join the Army and if you see anything other than that write an article about it.

If you hear someone say communism doesn’t work, you tell them to join the Army. Yes, I know the Army is not a nation but a government entity with an unlimited budget. But take a closer look and you’ll see an economic system unlike any other.

Imagine you are a junior enlisted soldier. There is another one right next to you. Talk a little and you find out his take-home pay is much greater than yours. You both nod and agree that although you are the same rank at the same time in service, you both get what you deserve. Your girlfriend scratches her head and you explain that…

  • He speaks a high-demand foreign language fluently, say Arabic or Farsi.
  • He went to jump school so now he is Airborne .
  • He is currently deployed in Afghanistan.
  • He has a wife and three children who live off post.
  • All these factors and plenty more affect a soldier’s pay. It’s “fair.” OK, now imagine that another buddy joins your conversation. He has the same job as you and other factors are similar to yours. Therefore his pay is the same. However…

  • He spends most of his day on his iPhone because his platoon is overstaffed.
  • He is overweight and weak.
  • He is often late for work.
  • He recently got a DUI.

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