Perks of Specific Military Branches?

Hi all, I am a 16 year old (junior in high school) and looking to go into the military. I have been mulling over the idea for a few years now and have set my mind to it just recently. I have signed myself up for the next scheduled testing date of the ASVAB test and i am currently studying my ass of for it. I have done a little research on the branches of the US military and have narrowed my interests to 3-4 choices, Coast Guard, Air Force, and Army. I currently work as a lifeguard so the Coast Guard interests me for obvious reasons. I have always loved flying and planes/helicopters so the Air Force came to mind almost immediately, however I do have corrected vision so I am not quite sure if that will affect my pilot status. I have also decided that I would not want to shy away from a fight so the Army interests me extremely, Marines also interested me but as of now I am not sure if I would be able to make the physical requirements (I am currently 5’ 9" and about 190lbs, ive got muscle but also way more fat then id like to have) I work out on a regular basis and hopefully will achieve optimal weight by the end of senior year. If anyone has experience with the military or any insight in my current situation i would love the input!:smiley:

Moderator Action

Welcome to the SDMB.

The General Questions forum is for questions with factual answers. While some of your post can be answered factually, I think your thread will do better if we move this to a forum where folks can give advice and opinions as well. Our IMHO forum is also the place where you can poll for personal experiences.

Moving thread from General Questions to In My Humble Opinion.

I always recommend the Navy, because wherever you go, it’s almost guaranteed that your bed and the kitchen will go with you. :slight_smile:

The Coast Guard would be pretty much the same, I suppose, but Coasties don’t get to do this.

I’m reminded of the old joke. Die with the Marines. Fight with the Army. Eat with the Navy (given your condition maybe a bad idea :slight_smile: ). And vacation with the Air Force.

Good on you for looking at flying. Best of luck. I can’t give any specific advice but you need to look at what happens if you join X and you “flunk” outa flight school…and or what options you have in what service when if you most likely DO succesfully pass flight school.

A word of warning. I know two people that had their hearts set on such things. On person very late in the game found out they were a smidgen too short. Another found out they were a smidgen too bad eyesight wise. So make SURE you can pass all such obstacles easily first if FLYING is the main reason you are joining.

PS. The Navy nuke/nuke sub program has some pretty sweet training/bonus stuff going on…or at least did at some point. Might want to look into that.

I had considered the Navy for a short time, I love sailing, but I had talked to a few people I had met in the Navy and they mentioned that they spent a lot of time sitting in harbor and not really doing much. I am not rearing to go out and fight someone but I would find it better than not seeing any action for a long time.

In order to be a pilot, you need to be an officer. This requires a college degree (probably in the sciences, math or engineering) and OCS/flight school completion. There are programs in the services for selection for officer from the enlisted ranks, but the competition is very stiff and you would likely not be flying aircraft.

If you’re not choosing the Navy because you don’t want to be aboard a ship, there is always the US Navy Seabees, which is the construction arm of the Navy. I spent 23 years in the Seabees and never set foot on a boat. The Seabees train you not only in a construction trade, but in the defensive combat skills needed to defend what you build. If assigned to a battalion, you deploy overseas and work construction projects on military bases while there. On shore duty, there are a variety of assignments, but you will always be busy.

As an 18 year old, the Army would likely stick you in the infantry, unless you qualify for specialty schooling.

Army has Warrant Officer Helicopter pilots.

You could likely get a much larger choice of assignments in the Army.

A random aside.

I was recently at a random fancy function. I was in tux and everything!

Anyway, a guy there noted that the NAVY was now training more HELICOPTER pilots than it was fixed wing pilots (or some basic variation on that stat).

You have to be an officer to be a pilot, which means college first. Marine Corps physical training is not as hellacious as made out. The first phase of boot camp will prepare you for what’s coming. If you’re not mentally tough that’ll be worse.

The downside to the Corps is everyone else gets the money and the Corps gets the pit. If you want tech/job training for after the military I’d suggest the Air Force or Navy. The Corps does have tech jobs but you’ll be training at Navy schools anyway.

The plus side is you get to tell everyone you’re a Marine, which is just a step below the creator. A short step.

Do you know of any other useful jobs in the Air Force?

Hahaha I love those Marine sayings. I had heard that training is 80% mental and 20% physical, I just didnt know whether to believe that or not.

You might want to do a bit more research than talking to us. The military has thousands of jobs (MOS). Too many to reasonably explain here. You do NOT want to join any branch without a guaranteed MOS and even then you may get stuck with “good of the Corps”.

I know you were asking Chefguy but figured I’d chime in :wink:

It all depends on what vessel you end up on, and where it is in its operational cycle.

I was in the Navy, and served aboard a newer (at the time) nuclear submarine. We were at sea more than 80% of the time.

The nice thing about the Navy (as well as the Coast Guard and Air Force) is that they have a lot of technical specialties that give you skills that can easily be transferred to the civilian world (such as training in electronics). The Army and Marine Corps have some technical specialties, but you’re quite likely to just end up in the infantry.

Note that if you are interested in flying or working on planes, the Navy (and Marines) also have aviation branches. As others have mentioned, though, the competition for a flying slot is very stiff, and you have to be a commissioned officer.

Don’t get the wrong idea the physical training is hellish, but doable if you’re in reasonable shape to begin with. Boot camp breaks you down physically and mentally then rebuilds you. At 5’ 9" 190# you sound about right to me, at 16 years old you have two years of cardio training you can be doing. Which will be good for any branch but especially the Corps.

And i thank you for that. I will admit, Air Force is the only branch that i had not done very much research on. I have done the most research on the Coast Guard and have gone as far as choosing a few MOS’s that i found most interesting.

With the French Foreign Legion, you have almost unlimited ammo supply with which to practice your marksmanship (like the SEAL’s.) You learn to speak French. You meet interesting people of different nationalities. You’re assured 5 years of salary, assuming you don’t die or desert. Also good employment opportunities after the 5 years inside France or any of its territories.

Figure out what you want to do then shop around for the services. To roughly quote an Air force recruiter who thought she had me hooked when I admitted I’d been thinking about the Army “We have a lot of the same specialties, is there something you’re interested in doing?” My answer was tanks so… For a lot of things though she was right.

How do you see this fitting in with what you want to do with your life? If it’s just a couple years you might be more interested in a specialty/branch that either has career implications or allows better opportunity to start knocking out college classes while still in. If you have any notion of continuing to serve in the Reserve/Guard after an initial active stint the Army or Air Force offer more alternatives (although they’ll take prior service from any branch.)

Most of the other stuff tends towards the superficial if you are happy with what you are doing and it fits where your life wants to go.

I work for a company that supports one of the Navy’s airborne programs. A large number of the techs and engineers in my group were crew members as officers and enlisted. Many enlisted crew members pursued an engineering degree and now command pretty good $$. We also actively recruit for technician positions. There are similiar stories on Air Force programs we support and many other companies can make the same claims.

My point is that you should look beyond time in service to make your decision. You are pretty young now to consider life in 10 years so I would strongly suggest talking with advisors about your talents, objectives and future growth.

Edit: ninjed by DinoR! Damn tablet keyboard!

The Army is the only service that will actually guarantee your job/school. The others will offer you a job but it’s up to the needs of the service. Also because it’s the largest service you have the most opportunity for advancement. The Air force spends the most money on living conditions but are also the most willing to chuck you out. I’ve never met a navy sailor who actually liked being in the navy.

The ONLY benefit to joining the Marines is getting to say you’re a Marine…and eventually you realize that doesn’t mean a thing to a sizable number of people.