Ex-Air Force, myself, but I can help with the recruiter questions.
He wants you to join and he will talk up the good points of service. Most recruiters don’t actually lie, but they can put one hell of a spin on things.
Your job in the service is not guaranteed unless it is in writing on your contract. If you can get a guaranteed job, get one and get it in writing. That’s the most important advice I can give you.
Jobs in the military are sort of determined by your test scores at MEPS, but the military has a strange way of interpreting the results. If you don’t have a guaranteed job waiting for you, they may put you in the first slot that comes up and matches your abilities according to your test scores. So, if you are suited to be a computer programmer, but also suited to be a supply clerk or a cook, you may be a Marine with programming abilities working his way up to managing a mess hall. Once you’ve put a little time in, it is possible to cross-train to a different career field.
You do not have absolute choice of where you are stationed. You can fill out a dream sheet and specifiy your picks of where you want to be stationed, but it is not guaranteed. For example, you can say you would like to be stationed in 1) Georgia, 2) Eastern US, 3) California, 4) Europe, 5) Alaska or some such thing. You can specify bases, states, regions, etc…
When it comes time to fill the manning slots, they see that they need 10 marines of a certain rank in a certain career field at a certain base. The requirement goes to the manning and personnel department and the check the database. Of the marines at that rank and in that career field that made picks matching that base and are available for re-assignment, they pick 10. If there aren’t 10, they start pulling marines that match everything except the dream sheet and send them. It’s a little hard to explain.
You can tell them what you’d prefer and they will try to give it to you. But if they need you somewhere else, you will get the orders. You can refuse an assignment, but it pretty much says you are not going to re-enlist And they can still tell you to go.
None of this is absolute, but it’s true most of the time.
I enjoyed my time in the service, and I got sent places I didn’t want to go. Except for one assignment, I ended up enjoying the places anyway. Never did get anything on my dream sheet.
As for the reserves, it can be a good way to go but you have to realize that the elder Bush kinda changed the rules. Reserve and National Guard units deploy much more often than their name suggests.
Still, the military has wonderful education benefits and great job skills training. You will learn more than you could imagine and have more fun than you would think.
Don’t lock yourself into anything. Take what he says with a grain of salt. Better yet, see it in writing.