Choosing a branch for you
If you decide to join the military or are considering joining, it is important you join the right branch. I myself am a U.S. Marine, but i will try to be as fair as possible when describing each branch. Most of my knowledge will be with the Marines but i provide you with what I do know about the other branches. I have learned about the other branches because I have worked with all of them. Pay attention to what I am about to say for it is important. You may be perfect for a certain branch, but that branch may not be perfect for you. That is the most important thing to think about. This hub will not be able to provide you with all of the deatails about joining each branch, you will ultimatley have to talk to a recruiter to find out more.
That being said, do not be afraid to talk to a recruiter. They cannot make you join or trick you into joining. This is a common mis conception. If they tell or ask you to fill out a panphlet or form just do it. At my school my recruiter would ask students to come to his office or fill out a pamphlet with their name age address etc. and the students would throw their hands up as if they thought even touching it would bind them to a contract and send them off to bootcamp.
It is a lenghty process to join. You must go to MEPS (military enlistment processing station) and fill out pages and pages of information. You will go through a big medical screening and physical examination, knowledge test (ASVAB) and swear in. So unless you do all of that you are not obligated to anything.
Now, a little bit about recruiters. They do have a quotta to fill, and some do lie to people to persuade them to join, but not all of them. So if you had a bad experience or are unsure about something they are telling you just ask another recruiter from another branch or someone you know that is in the military for at least two years and they can verify if it is accurate.
Overall i highly encourage you to go talk to a recruiter. It is a great way to find out information and you will not sign ANYTHING that will obligate you to join. There is even a delayed entry program you can do while your in highschool or even if your not. This program allows to you learn about the branch and go on base and do all kinds of different things with the military.
I was in the delayed entry program for the Marines for 10 months. During those ten months I did MSG (marine security guard training), a combat night vision training exercise where you wear night vision and get to go through a simulated jungle warfare and desert environment, I went to the armory and got to pick up and look at different weapons such as the m16, SAW, 240, 50 Cal, AT4 rocket launcher and M19 automatic grenade launcher, I did pt with the marines and lots of other stuff i can't remember.
The best part about it is that your DEP time counts as inactive duty. The average military enlistment contract is 8 years, 4 years of active duty and 4 years of inactive duty.
The army is one of the largest branches if not the largest. They have alot of money to spend and usually get the best and latest gear and weapons.
The Army usually has very long deployments. I have heard of deployments lasting from 10 months to 14 months.
The Armys bootcamp is 9 weeks long last time I checked and is rediculously easy for someone in average shape. There is virtually no mental breakdown of the individual due to rules implemented within the past 10 -15 years. The drill sgts are not allowed to curse, yell at, or touch you. You are also given time out cards that you can use once wor twice a day to where if you are feeling too stressed out you can pull it out and the drill sgt has to leave you alone. You are also allowed to bring and use your cell phone on occasion while at bootcamp. The Army due to its size has several different locations for bootcamp.
If deploying is what you want to do or infantry i do not suggest the Army for the simple fact that their training i believe in poor and makes soldiers that can't hack it in combat. My pastor is a Major in the Army, My friend is a SGT, my cousin is in the Army and i have worked with them.
I worked with the Army Airborne, the rangers, and the green berets at Fort Polk Louisiana for Operation Cajun Viper. What I saw when training with and competing against these "elite" branches of the army was sad. They were very lazy, sloppy, and lacked knowledge. While there I met an Army Captain who was a prior Marine and he told me he is a Marine at heart and that it embarrases him every day to put on the Army uniform.
Now here's where I think the Army is good. The Army is great in my opinion if you want to be an officer or warrant officer. They have some good training and programs and i think you will have a great experience. If you want to join the Army for infantry reasons then i suggest that your single and don't have kids and plan on staying that way for a while. Just remember when you go to combat, your training is what keeps you alive. Do you feel your training was enough to do that?
My cousin who was first a reservist before going active said that he played pictionary for one of their weekend drills.....I'm just sayin.
The Army will open some doors for you as far as job oportunities and carrer paths once you get out. They will give you money for college and may even give you an enlistment bonus.
The army is also a great Idea if you want to be a pilot. Army pilots are among the best and from my experience are great soldiers.
The Navy like the other branches will provide you with money for college, and good job opportunities once your get out. Actually the Navy will probably give you the best looking resume than any other branch, due to the type of jobs and training the Navy has.
If planes, helicopters, or aircraft in general interests you. The Navy has the most aircraft in the military (yes even more than the air force).
The Navy also has lots and lots of money. However unlike the army, you may not get the best gear and equipment because there are so many areas they have to spend their money in that it stretches thin in areas that are not of utmost importance. Just imagine how much these aircraft cost (average 30 million per aircraft) and the boats they have, I don't even want to know how much those cost.
The Navy has great jobs that deal with Nuclear, Radiological, and all sorts of crazy engineering jobs. They train you for free and then you get to take that experience or knowledge to the outside world and get a jobs.
I can't rag on the Navy to much as the sailors mental and physical strength goes because there job doesn't require it as much as the other branches might. The Navy's boot camp is 9 weeks as well I think. They are allowed to perform their Fitness test in more ways than one. they can ride a stationary bike, run the mile and a half, or swim 500 yards. Swimming is an important part of being a sailor so you may want to work on that if you consider joining.
The Navy also lets you do academic tests in order to get promoted. while that is not solely what promotion lies on. It is part of it.
The Navy is very similar to the Marines as far as publications and directives go. For the simple fact that the Marine Corps is a department of the Navy (the men's department , just kidding). If you find yourself working on aircraft or flying them and using tedious strict manuals that are almost ridiculously too careful, you will see these manuals in both the Marine Corps and the Navy.
The Navy also has an outstanding medical field. My experience with the Naval hospital is not good at all because I feel they don't care about you and tell you your fine or they don't know what wrong, but as soon as you go to a civilian doctor he tells you right away "your tibia is broken in three places" or something along those lines. However it is good training that they receive and it is a large field and most of the Navy medical people I know absolutely love their job.
The Navy also has Corpsmen. Corpsmen are field medical personnel that work right beside marines. They deploy with us and go on patrols and kick in doors with us. their purpose is to provide quick life saving techniques on the battlefield. My experience with Corpsmen is pretty good. Some of them are turds but some of them are really cool, funny, and knowledgeable.
The Airforce is probably the easiest and hardest branch to join. It is the hardest because you have to be more intelligent than the other branches require you to be. It is the easiest because physically it's a cake walk.
Air Force bootcamp is 6 weeks long. The Airforce is most like having a normal civillian job. It is the least "military" of any branch. The Airforce also provides you with money for school. You also have the opportunity to make more money because if you are station on the same base as Marines you get hazardous duty pay, because for some reason over the years it has been shown to be hazardous to your health to live around Marines if you're in the air force.
The Air Force is a very low stress branch and you will never be uncomortable. The living conditions are absolutley incredible. You will have the best rooms or quarters and food. Better than you can imagine.
The Air Force also has the most high tech aircraft there is.
The Coast Guard is the branch I know the least about. I worked with them for 7 months in Florida.
The Coast guard has pretty rough and strenuous swimming qualifications. Until a few years ago the Coast Guard was not even part of the Military. It fell under the Department of Transportation.
The Coast Guard does everything from keeping illegals out, to keeping out anyone trying to get into restricted waters, to seizing drugs trying to be smuggled in.
The Coast guard normally does not leave the United States, so that is something to take into consideration.
Other than the swimming their training is pretty easy from what I have been told.
The Marine Corps is by far mentally and physically the hardest.
Boot camp is 13 weeks long and is at Parris Island South Carolina if you live east of the Mississippi River, or in San Diego California if you live west of the Mississippi River.
After bootcamp you go to School of Infantry for a monthin either in California, or Camp Geiger in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
You will then go to your MOS (marine occupational specialty) school. Depending on your job you may have two schools in two different places.
The Marine Corps makes every Marine a basic rifleman or infantry Marine.
The Marine Corps has the hardest rifle qualifications in the military.
I think you get get the biggest sense of pride by being a Marine.
Marines has the worst living conditions of any branch and the lowest budget.
The Marine Corps is the smallest branch of the military.
The Marine Corps fights on land, water, and air.
The Marine Corps is the most stressful and you will be treated like crap almost the entire time your in I promise.
Marines are more likely to deploy than the other branches. Our deployments are usually 6 months, but can be up to a year for certain Marines. Marine believe in taking care of one another so this is why deployments are 6 months because we believe any longer and severe mental problems can arise.
The Marine Corps has from over 300 jobs to choose from. In most cases you will not get a signing bonus unless you go counter Intel, Arabic linguist, or recon. Different times and situations will determine which jobs have signing bonuses.
The Marine corps is a very versitile branch and we do the most with the least. We use the oldest and cheapest gear in most cases and make miracles happen with it.
Marines are feared and respected all across the world.In combat zones the enemy knows who Marines are and what they do. I have talked to terrorists and Iraqis, Syrians, Jordanians, and other people from the middle east and they know exactly what Marines are. I was told they are afraid of us because of what they have seen us do, because we shoot back, and because we don't "play" around. They told me they are not afraid of the the Army.
Lastly Marines are the first to fight and called Americas 911. The reason being is that Marines can be sent to war without an act of congress. The president of the United States can send the Marines anywhere for any reason. The other branches require an act of congress.
The Marine Corps intended purpose is to protect Naval vessels and to assault the shores or be dropped into a combat zone first to kill everything fast and then leave and let the Army occupy. This war has been different though because the Marines would go into Iraq, take a city and turn it over to the Army and as soon as they did, it would go to crap and the base would come under heavy attack so the department of defense started having Marines Occupy bases. The Iraqi surge was ordered by George W. Bush which pumped thousands of Marines into Iraq and now it is as stable as ever. The same thing is now happening in Afghanistan. The Marines assaulted it at the beginning of the war, then when we went to Iraq the Army let it get unstable, and now Marines are back in Afghanistan to stabilize it once again. The new commandant of the Marine Corps General Amos has said now he wants to turn the Marine Corps back into its intended purpose as soon as Afghanistan is stable.
Every branch has reservists. Reservists work in the military one weekend a month, and two weeks in the summer. One weekend is barley enough time to get anything done. Reservists have normal jobs in the civilian world and all jobs have to excuse you for training.
Reservists go through the same bootcamp and schools as active duty. You do not get paid as a reservist except on your weekend drills (couple hundred bucks, rank depending).
Reservists can also be called into active duty if the country needs it.
Benefits may be slightly different for reservists.
All in all I think all of the branches have good benefits and will help you more than hurt you. I am a Marine and always will be. the Marine Corps is not perfect and stresses me out every day. I love it and hate it at the same time but I am proud to be a Marine. Keep in mind to not pick the one that sounds the coolest or which one kicks the most ass. Pick the branch that is right for you. If I got out and joined another branch it would probably be the Coast Guard. Here is a list of branches i would join from one I'd most like to join to least. This is not Including the Marine Corps because I'm already in it.
sniper on February 04, 2020:
thank you for the info but could you tell me what branch would most likely deploy a sniper and what branch would be beast for a sniper
DocBuffy on October 31, 2018:
Personally if I had to do it all over again, I'd join the USCG all over again. We've always been part of the "military complex", just not within the confines of the DoD and have the advantage of not being under Posse Comitatus.
SAR, Law Enforcement, augmenting Naval Forces, disaster and humanitarian relief...we're there.
We're the smallest and in many ways the most adaptable out of all of the branches.
Greg on July 24, 2014:
Marines and Army are not even in the same dimension.
Marines are from Mars Soldiers are from Venus LOL.
There is a great video that I can't find of a guy that got dropped from USMC boot camps laying on his rack telling his fellow Army pukes (also in the fn rack during the day) how f-up the USMC is. Yes it is that different.
Will on July 16, 2014:
The stress card is a myth. We didn't have cell phones, infantry training is 16 weeks. Your a moron. You seem to have only listened to what a recruiter said to you. Golable child. We did do 15 month deployments, over and over, compared to the 6 month marine deployments. Marines win battles armys win wars. Read a history book. One that wasn't written by a former marine.
Luke on November 08, 2013:
I have to say this man has no clue what he is talking about. Army Rangers, Airborne units, Green Berets and Infantry Army are just as capable of hacking it in combat. The Marines are not always the only ones who can fight and kill. Anybody can. Being a Marine does not automatically transform you into some kind of untouchable or invincible killing machine. In fact enlisted spec ops in the Army (and other branches for that matter) can definitely outperform a regular Marine in combat on any given day. That's what they are trained for. You probably couldn't hack it in combat yourself so you bash on the other branches but completely glorify yours. I question how the hell you even got in the military in the first place with your attitude. Oh and FYI my best friend was in the Army and in basic training they busted his balls.
shanebuol on April 07, 2013:
First of all, the US Coast Guard is an armed service; has always been an armed service and has always been considered part of the US military. Second, the USCG's high-endurance cutters travel all around the world and many, if not most, Coasties do serve time on a high-endurance cutter at some point. I, myself, served on the Morgenthau and the Rush (each 378 ft.) and traveled to Japan, China, South Korea, Canada, Mexico, every Central American country and northern South American country. And that's only in the Pacific. Cutters on the East Coast travel all over Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, Mediterranean and South America. There is even a USCG base in Bahrain to provide security, search & rescue and law enforcement off the shores of the Middle East. So to say the USCG doesn't go out of the United States is ignorant. Granted, you did say you knew the least about that branch, but a little research would've helped you I think. I just want to make sure those considering enlisting know there's lots of opportunity with the USCG, too. (Although, probably the hardest to get in active duty at the moment... there are the same number of NYC police officers as there members of the entire USCG. It is the smallest branch by far.)
Alberic O from Any Clime, Any Place on December 05, 2012:
Take the bias off the Army and other branches. You give Marines a bad name by just talking smack about other branches. There are numb nuts in all branches and in Marine Corps, I've also seen my fair share of numb nut Marines. Probably because boot camp doesn't weed out people as much as they should.
HeavyGuns (author) on October 19, 2012:
Yes you do. I joined the delayed entry program on November 8th 2005. My ECC (End of current contract, 8 years) is November 7th 2013. Do the math, Nov 2005 - Nov 2013 is hmmm. 8 Years! guess what. I didn't go to bootcamp until September 5th 2006. So the 10 months I was in the delayed entry program are part of my 8 year contract. Know what your talking about before you post a comment. Im a Marine, don't know if you are but ive been in for over 6 years and Im pretty sure I know what my contract says considering i signed it and see it all the time when ever i have to write down AFADBD, ECC, EAS, EOS, and so on.
faustino on October 03, 2012:
You do not get time off your contract for inactive duty while in the delayed entry program
Thomas Bensen from Wisconsin on August 23, 2012:
Might need a few spell checks in this page and you do sound very byist in your comments about the other branchs. Being a former Marine 87-92, I trained with both Rangers and Airborne in my time in the Infantry and to say they were Sloppy, Lazy and they lacked knowledge I think is incorrect. There might have been one or two like this but that goes for the Marines too, sometimes you just have a few that just shouldn't be there.
Vincent on June 05, 2012:
I think its sad that the Army's combat experience is getting basched. I think he just had bad experience with them. You cant tell me that Soldiers who have multiple 12-14 month deployments and more Warfare time, are bad at combat or cant handle it. Everyone knows you can forget bootcamp drills because your real training starts in a war zone.
ChAmO on June 03, 2012:
i do agree with bro. all the military branches have different jobs. my father was a marine but he respect it all the other branches.
Bro on April 14, 2012:
This whole article sounds a lot like typical ignorant Marine talk. All three branches do different jobs and that is why their training and standards are different. Marines are Commandos that are applicable in all situations, but only for short periods. The Army provides the bulk of the combat troops and support and specializes in occupying. The Army also provides much of the specialized training for the Marine C orps including Ranger School, Airborne School, HALO School, and a few of their tech schools. The Navy is The Navy. It has close to the same mission, but from the sea. The Navy also provides artillery, air support, and water transport for the Marine Corps. The Air Force mission is primarily guarding America's airspace and providing air support for ground troops. The Air Force is also renowned for it's Para-Rescue Medics and their combat controllers.
Predator on March 07, 2012:
I want to be an mp (military police) I'm currently in high school ..which military branch is best for that .. I'm more into the air force and navy ... Which one is the least risky ..would I be deployed if so how long ...what are my chances of getting that job in the air force or navy ...any answer will be appreciated
Predator on March 07, 2012:
I want to be an mp (military police) I'm currently in high school ..which military branch is best for that .. I'm more into the air force and navy ... Which one is the least risky ..would I be deployed if so how long ...any answer will be appreciated
John on March 07, 2012:
HeavyGuns (author) on June 09, 2011:
whoever posted a comment last. you are a moron and obviously are not in the military. Because you would know the truth. Just ask your congressman what he thinks about your comment. i think he will agree with me