The Army is the oldest branch of the U.S. Military. This branch was founded in June of 1775. The Army defends and serves our nation by land, sea and air. This branch has permanent bases in the United states, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
In general, enlistment requires that a candidate be between 18 - 35 years of age, a U.S. resident, possess a high school diploma, and pass the ASVAB test as well as a physical fitness exam.
To serve, recruits must complete 10 weeks of basic training. Once trained, the U.S. Army promises that soldiers will be combat ready at all times, and qualified to counter any threat, anywhere.
Some of the career options offered by the U.S. Army include:
- Computers & Technology
- Medical & Emergency
- Construction & Engineering
- Transportation & Aviation
The Air Force began as a subdivision of the U.S. Army. The Air Force was declared an official combatant arm in 1920 and in 1947, following World War II, the Air Force was recognized as its own military branch. The U.S. Air Force has a three-part vision: global vigilance, reach, and power. This vision is executed by a force of over 300,000 troops with a focus on air, space and cyberspace superiority.
Enlistment eligibility is similar to that of the Army. The age range, however, allows for candidates between 18 - 39 years.
Air Force recruits begin with an eight and a half week training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Training is designed to develop the discipline, confidence and skills required to grow into Airmen.
Some of the career options in the U.S. Air Force include:
- Space Systems Operations
- Security Forces
- Nuclear and Missiles Operations
The U.S. Navy was founded under George Washington in 1775, with the intention of obstructing the activity of British supply ships. Initially , the Navy was deemed too much of an expense. In 1794, however, pirate attacks on trade routes and increasing military conflicts created awareness around the need of a strong Navy.
With the same general requirements as the Army and Air force, the age range is from age 18 - 34.
Navy training begins with seven to nine weeks of Boot Camp at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill. This involves physically and mentally demanding exercises is designed transform civilians into sailors; prepared for a first tour of duty. With more than 325,000 personnel, the U.S. Navy prides itself on being equipped to handle operations by sea, air, and on land.
Some of the career options in the U.S. Navy include:
- Arts and Media
- Business and Legal
The U.S. Marine Corps was also founded in 1775. Two battalions of Continental Marines were formed as an infantry force with the ability to fight both at sea and on shore. This elite group of men and women live by a strict code of integrity and ethics. The U.S. Marines take great pride in producing strong warriors of exceptional personal character. The core values of of the Marines are Honor, Courage, and Commitment.
As with the other branches, the age requirement is slightly different. Marine eligibility requires a range of 18 - 29 years.
Marine Corps recruits have 12 weeks of recruit training at Parris Island, S.C., or San Diego, California. This training is an intense mental and physical process that shapes the core Marine values.
Some of the career options in the U.S. Marine Corps include:
The Reserve Officers' Training Corps began in 1862. The concept stemmed from of an idea for citizen soldiers. Colleges would offer courses that trained men for standard civilian function during peacetime, but also to act in a military capacity when their nation called upon them. The idea eventually led to the formation of Reservist and National Guard units with regimented training programs.
ROTC officers serve in all branches of the U.S. armed forces. Under the program, a student may receive a competitive, merit-based scholarship. A portion or all of college tuition is covered in return for an obligation of active military service after graduation.
The Coast Guard was created in 1915 through the combining of five other services: the U.S. Lighthouse Service, the Revenue Cutter Service, the Steamboat Inspection Service, the Bureau of Navigation, and the U.S. Lifesaving Service. Currently, the Coast Guard operates under the Department of Homeland Security during peacetime and the Navy during wartime.
Basic training lasts eight weeks and takes place at the Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, New Jersey. Training consists of fitness and swimming drills combined with classroom instruction.
The National Guard is formed by the combined Army National Guard and the Air National Guard. The primary focus is homeland security and humanitarian relief. National Guard units assist communities in their state during emergencies and disasters such as: storms, floods, fires and other acts of nature.
In addition to community service, National Guard units also participate in training drills one weekend a month and two full weeks per year. Guard units can also be federalized during times of conflict and members may be deployed overseas. Typically, deployment involves humanitarian efforts, but combat is also possible.
The two Guard branches are primarily controlled at the state level : one for each of the fifty states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Each group is called by its state name.
The Military Academies
The following academies will prepare individuals for a future in the officer corps of the U.S. military:
Federal Service Academies
Federal Service Academies are ideal for students seeking an outstanding education in a military environment. Graduates receive a Bachelor of Science degree and are commissioned as officers in their elected branch of service. There is a service obligation of five years at minimum. As a benefit of this commitment, students enjoy full four-year scholarships. Tuition, books, board and medical and dental care are all fully paid for all four years.
The five academies include: The Air Force Academy, The Coast Guard Academy, The Merchant Marine Academy at King's Point, The Military Academy at West Point, and The Naval Academy at Annapolis.
There is a high degree of competition and admissions criteria for acceptance include:
• High school academic performance
• Standardized test scores (SAT or ACT)
• Athletics and extracurricular activities
• Leadership experience and community involvement
• A congressional letter of recommendation
Senior Military Colleges
Similar to the Federal Service Academies, the Senior Military Colleges provide higher education combined with military instruction. These academies offer financial assistance plans for eligible students. As a stipulation of admission, each cadet must participate in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program. Only those who receive an ROTC scholarship, however, are required to enter military service upon graduation.
The Senior Military Colleges include: The Citadel, The University of North Georgia, Texas A&M University, Virginia Military Institute, and Virginia Tech.
Junior Military Colleges
Junior Military Colleges allows cadets to become commissioned officers in the U.S. Army Reserve in two years, as opposed to the standard four year schedule. This is accomplished through the Early Commissioning Program. Students are still required to complete a bachelor's degree before serving as regular officers on active duty. The ECP is a major financial incentive for students to receive their commissions early and serve as officers while still attending college and gaining service time for promotions and retirement.
The Junior Military Colleges include: Georgia Military College, Marion Military Institute, New Mexico Military Institute, Valley Forge Military Academy, and Wentworth Military Academy.