5 things you'll learn from your first team leader - We Are The Mighty
Military Life

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader

You never forget your first…team leader. They’re the one who taught you how the fleet really works. They provide sage advice for the upcoming deployment and can be the difference between a good or bad first impression of military service. A team leader who provides a good example can set you up for a successful career and the knowledge may even save the life of others.

1. You train how you fight

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader

Marine train how we fight….or we will correct that mistake. Every training evolution is a field of battle. What you do here will echo what you will do in combat. Marines are a different breed, on paper we will adhere to every black and white line. In actual training, we will work the hell out of you. This is how you will react when the bullets in country. High command may apologize but the squad leaders in charge of the lives of your sons will not. We will bring them home, dead or alive. One team, one fight, Marines do not fight as a person – we fight as a unit. Push harder, run faster, shoot better!

2. Ignorance can kill

Small unit leadership is the cornerstone of Marine Corps. Lessons learned from urban combat have transformed our Corps into the ‘it must be destroyed overnight’ reputation. A private and an officer must be able to call mortars when the need arises. Time and time again, across all wars, Marines are masters of combined arms. Our pilots in the skies, the lance corporal on the ground, and armored assaults are a testament to our resilience and heritage of those who came before us.

As a lowly private I could call fire missions. When Marines are called to do God’s work there is no excuse why one cannot call a casualty evacuation. On leave you met their mothers. In garrison we drank together. Complacency kills, so does ignorance. “I did not know how to do that’ is not an acceptable answer for a Marine to tell a mother, who entrusted you with her son, when you hand her a folded flag. Learn you knowledge, boots, we depend on you although seniors will never admit it.

3. You are an ambassador

“Everywhere go, you are an ambassador to our cause.” The man who said those words is no longer among us. I miss my team to a degree a cannot put into words. As an immigrant those words will forever echo in my heart. It was the first time I felt accepted as an American. “Make us proud.” Marines have a legacy and we must conduct ourselves in a manner that makes the warriors of the past proud.

4. A Marine POW is personal

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
The purpose of Corporals’ Course, hosted by H&S Battalion, is to provide corporals with the education and leadership skills necessary to lead Marines. The program of instruction places emphasis on leadership foundations and a working knowledge of general military subjects. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Shelby A. Karr)

To the enemies of the state, to the insurgents in the desert, to the communists infecting the pacific: we will not rest, we will not falter. We are coming. A Marine prisoner of war is not forgotten. We drank together, we bled together, we leave together. Marines bond with stories of home when they have down time. We know the trials and tribulations one has endured. Yes, we know all about the exes, the plagues that have onslaught our families, and we know every intimate detail of what went wrong that ends with us holding a loaded rifle. An assault on a Marine is an assault on the Marine Corps itself. Blood in, blood out. No one gets left behind.

5. Real Marines are forged in combat

This one is going to strike a cord with some but the truth hurts. The infantry is a fraternity of brothers with a pact made in blood. There are milestones that distinguish a person as a Marine, there are checks-in-a-box that make you an infantryman, but no ceremony on earth will separate you from the rest than firing your weapon in anger. There is no feeling on earth that can compare than in the fog of war, taking a breath, with a slow and steady squeeze and watching pink mist appear exactly where you wanted it to. In the end, that’s what we were trained to do, no, born to do. America needs you to stick your hand in the sh*t and walk it off, Marine. A good leader will teach you that.

Military Life

These are the best military photos for the week of September 9th

The military has very talented photographers in the ranks, and they’re always capturing what life as a service member is like during training and at war. Here are the best military photos of the week:


Air Force:

Airmen of the 122nd Fighter Wing, Indiana Air National Guard along with 12 of the 122nd’s A-10c Thunderbolt II fighter aircraft arrived at Nellis AFB September 7 to kick off the 2017 Green Flag-West air-land integration combat training exercise. Green Flag-West is a Close Air Support and Joint exercise administered by the U.S. Air Force Air Warfare Center and Nellie AFB through the 549th Combat Training Squadron.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
U.S. Air National Guard photo by SSgt Rana Franklin

An F-15E Strike Eagle fire flares over Iraq during a mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, on Sept. 6, 2017. The F-15E Strike Eagle is a dual-role fighter designed to perform air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. An array of avionics and electronics systems give the F-15E the capability to fight at low altitude, day or night, and in all weather conditions.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride

Army:

Sgt. First Class Roy Chandler III (left), a Soldier assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 169th Aviation Regiment from the Alabama Army National Guard, Sgt. Jazmin Jenkins (middle), a public affairs specialist with the 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina and Spc. Benjamin Grogan (right), a helicopter repairer with the Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 169th Aviation Regiment, sit on the tail of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter en route to deliver hay bales to cattle that have been stranded by Hurricane Harvey near Hampshire, Texas on Sep. 3, 2017. The Department of Defense is conducting Defense Support of Civil Authorities operations in response to the effects of Hurricane Harvey. DSCA operations are part of the DoD’s response capability to assist civilian responders in saving lives, relieving human suffering and mitigating property damage in response to a catastrophic disaster.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
U.S. Army photo by Spc. Dustin D. Biven / 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

U.S. Army Paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade conduct casualty room clearing in order to identify the best medics in the Brigade at Del Din, Vicenza, Italy on September 7, 2017. The training consist of nine physically and medically tasked events over the course of 48 hours. Once identified the Paratroopers will go to San Antonio, Texas, to participate in “Best Medic Competition”.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
Photo by Spc. Cheyenne Shouse

Navy:

Airman Christopher Mowrey, left, from Georgetown, Kentucky, and Airman Brian Bernard, center, from Stormville, New York, secure a CH-53E Super Stallion, assigned to the “Dragons” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 265 (Reinforced), to the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Bonhomme Richard, flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, is operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to enhance partnerships and be a ready-response force for any type of contingency.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Cosmo Walrath

Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class Brad Barbour, from the “Night Dippers” of helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 5 (HSC-5), scans the Atlantic Ocean for threats while standing plane guard. HSC-5 is currently attached to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) while she is underway conducting training after successful completion of carrier incremental availability.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Shane Bryan

Marine Corps:

Marines with 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion Delta Company prepare a Light Armored Vehicle 25 for the static display in preparation for Marine Week Detroit, Sept. 5, 2017. Marine Week Detroit is an opportunity to showcase the Corps’ capabilities and missions as America’s expeditionary force in readiness.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Tia Dufour

U.S. Marines with Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), conduct preliminary boarding procedures on a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 (Reinforced), 26th MEU, aboard amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) in the Atlantic Ocean, Sept. 7, 2017. The preparations ensure the 26th MEU is ready to respond to any requests to bolster Northern Command’s support of FEMA’s assistance to federal, state and local authorities’ ongoing relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tojyea G. Matally

Coast Guard:

Captain Eric King, captain of the port of San Juan, Puerto Rico, conducts a port assessment of the U.S. Virgin Islands with a Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Florida MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. The port assessment was conducted after Hurricane Irma passed over the area.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Crystalynn Kneen

Petty Officer 2nd Class Lee Civitarese, a crewmember from Coast Guard Station New York watches the CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt, a 1,200-foot container ship, pass under the recently elevated Bayonne Bridge on its maiden voyage to the United States on Sept. 7, 2017. The Theodore Roosevelt is the largest capacity container ship to transit under the Bayonne Bridge since the project to raise the bridge started in May 2013.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sabrina Clarke

Humor

4 unusual tasks Corpsman do that their recruiters left out

When men and women around the globe enlist in the Navy with a contract to become Corpsmen, it’s a pretty good feeling.


Good recruiters can make chipping paint and shining brass sound bad ass (“think of the adventure!”), but let’s be honest: they have quotas to fill each month, people.

For the most part, they’ll tell you the truth about what will be asked of you while you serve, but there are some details that don’t make it into the recruiting pamphlets.

As a “Doc,” you’ll get to work alongside and assist Doctors, nurses, and IDCs (Independent Duty Corpsmen), gaining knowledge from them to support your career moving forward; but that’s not all you’ll have to do.

Check out these unusual tasks Corpsmen never saw coming.

Also read: 6 tips to get a ‘sick in quarters’ chit in the military

1. The silver bullet

Probably the most popular slang “medical” term in any branch. Typically, temperature is taken orally, but if someone falls out of a hike or PT because of heat exhaustion…standby for the bullet.

Feared by all

2. Having sick call in your barracks room

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
And the day after that and the day after that… (Image via giphy and Simpsons World).

When Corpsmen get stationed with the Marines (also known as the Greenside), you typically live with them in the barracks. This also means a lot of your medical gear is right there in the room with you.

If your Marines love you, which most of them do, they tend to show up at your barracks door at 0400 for an I.V. treatment to “rehydrate” them an hour before mandatory PT.

The B.A.S. or Battalion Aid Station isn’t open on nights, weekends, or early mornings — just normal office hours.

3. Bore punching

Working sick call as a boot Corpsman, you’ll get exposed to some interesting on-job-training. Bore punching is a euphemism for swabbing male genitals for an STD with a 6 inch Q-tip. Yup! Right down the pee hole.

If your Chief or Lieutenant are “too busy” and they say you need to do it for a patient — you need to do it.

Welcome to the Navy, baby!

4. Finger waving

No, this isn’t the newest break dancing move or a classy way to hit on someone at the bar — it’s the alternative name for a rectal exam. It is shocking what the Navy allows Corpsman to do after only 12-16 weeks of training.

Don’t forget the lube! Can you think of any more? Comment below. And don’t forget to include all the slang terms for Corpsmen.
Military Life

5 ethical ways to make Basic Training easier

Let’s get this straight right away: Doing things that are clearly against the rules makes you a sh*tbag Soldier. However, just because you don’t want to be a sh*tbag doesn’t mean you have to strive to be the best. For many, the goal of Basic Training quickly becomes simply making it to the end.


Just take a few pointers from the E-4 Mafia and you’ll find your Basic Training experience to be much more bearable. Keep in mind that while these may not be against any rules, they certainly won’t win you brownie points with anyone.

5. Hide behind the fat kid

Right out the gate, trainees experience a “Shark Attack.” Every stereotype you’ve ever heard about a Drill Sergeant is unleashed upon new recruits in one fell swoop. As newbies get off the bus for the first time, DIs swarm, “attacking” each as they emerge. The Drill Sergeants will try to space themselves out to make sure every trainee gets a chance to “enjoy” the attack. Sometimes, however, they can’t help themselves when a big boy gets off the bus — every Drill Sergeant wants a chance to yell in his face.

That’s where you come in. Quietly avoid eye contact and let the big guy ahead of you take the brunt.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
This one may be harder than it seems, but if you pull it off, you’ll save yourself from wetting your newly issued ACU trousers. (Photo by Stephen Standifird)

4. Be just good enough

You’re just trying to make it to the finish line. There’s no first place trophy. Well, technically, there’s a Certificate of Achievement, but those are remarkably easy to get after you arrive at your first duty station and rarely is an Army Achievement Medal is given to out-f*cking-standing trainees.

If you’re not already in that 0.1 percent of excellence, your sole focus should be on improving yourself and graduating.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
When you get to your unit, you can a CoA by just existing properly. (Photo by Spc. Tynisha Daniel)

3. Do nothing, say nothing

At some point, you’ll hear the drill sergeants call, “everywhere I go, there’s a drill sergeant there.” You have no idea how true that saying actually is.

You could just be getting ready for lights out and decide it’s safe to f*ck off. Nope, there’s a drill sergeant. You might think no one will notice you skipping out of cleaning the bay. Nope, there’s a drill sergeant. Don’t even bother shamming or slacking off with the other guys in the platoon. Just keep your nose down.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
Just clean your rifle when you can. They might confuse this as taking initiative but, in actuality, you’re just avoiding trouble. (Photo by Master Sgt. Michel Sauret)

2. “Clean” the latrines while you’re on firewatch

Every night, two trainees pull fire watch. In one hour intervals, the two oscillate between sitting at the desk and cleaning.

Always volunteer to be the cleaner because chances are that whatever you’re about to clean has been cleaned already. As long as you, say, wipe down the sink, you’ve technically cleaned something.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
Even when you make it to the real Army, you’ll still be mopping latrines. So, get used to it now. (Photo by Maj. Brandon Mace)

1. Don’t stop the sh*tbag from getting in trouble

Nothing is more true in the military than the phrase, “one team, one fight.” Which brings us to the as*hole trainee that doesn’t get the message.

There will always be that one trainee who is not fit for military service and comes in with a bad attitude. There’s no redemption. When they go down in flames (which they will), you’ll look better by comparison by just not being a sh*tbag. But at the same time, don’t get in their way — you don’t want to get bunched together in their idiocy. Whatever you do, don’t try to cover for them.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
You’re going to get smoked regardless, so don’t try to avoid it. (Photo by Sgt. Phillip McTaggart)

MIGHTY HISTORY

This was the average day for an ancient Roman soldier

Today, the modern soldier wakes up, eats chow, goes through a day of training with his or her squad before resting up. They follow this schedule every day from Monday to Friday. If the troop is on a deployment, they could work anywhere from 12 to 18 hours (if not more) per day, seven days a week, for nearly a year.

It’s a tough lifestyle.

Once a troop fulfills their service commitment, they can be honorably discharged or reenlist — the choice is theirs.

Now, let’s rewind time to around 15 C.E. The Roman Empire is thriving and you’re an infantryman serving in the Imperial Roman army under Emperor Tiberius. In many ways, life was quite different for the average sword-wielding soldier when compared to today’s modern troop. In other ways, however, things were very much the same.


5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
A Roman soldier proudly stands in front of his men.

Many young Romans joined the army at the age of 18. Of them, most were poor men with little-to-no life prospects due to being born into a family of low standing. Once they became soldiers, Roman troops had to overcome 36 kilometer (22 miles) marches in full battle rattle.

For these ancient troops, a full loadout consisted of body armor, a gladius (sword), a scutum (shield), and two pilum (spears). This gear weighed upwards of 44 pounds. To add to that weight, troops carried a scarina (backpack), which contained rations and any other tools needed to serve the Roman officers.

At the end of each grueling march, soldiers set up camp to get some rest. Men were assigned to stand watch and look over the others, the gear, and the animals hauling the heavy equipment. Being ambushed in the middle of the night was a constant possibility.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
These Roman troops stand in a defensive position awaitng the enemy to strike.

Like most troops, they feared the unknown. At any given moment, they could encounter a fierce battle, contract sickness from other soldiers or the environment, or be left to endure the elements. It was a consist struggle to survive in a cutthroat world that was all about expanding the Roman Empire.

In their downtime, most men would gamble, play instruments, or talk about future plans. If the soldiers served for their full 25-year commitment, they would receive several acres of land on which to retire — but surviving to the end was considered a longshot.

So, in many ways, the typical Roman infantryman was a lot like the ground pounders of today — only they were stuck in the suck for longer.

Military Life

4 reasons why the ‘senior lance corporal’ is the best made up rank

The Marine Corps has a cutting score system that gauges whether an individual has satisfied the requirements for promotion. Each Marine competes with others in the same career field for the next pay grade. However, this system benefits some Military Occupational Specialties more than others.


The ‘senior’ lance corporal rank is an invention born out of necessity due to outrageously high cutting scores for the 03XX community. Most Marine infantry units are composed of Lance Corporals (E-3) and it’s common to see Lance Corporals in billets above their pay grade because there’s so much competition for promotion.

It’s insulting to be tasked out on an E-3-and-below working party after doing a combat deployment. The unofficial ‘senior’ prefix was added to differentiate the war veteran from the idiot barely out of training. Here’s why this ‘rank,’ unique to the infantry, is the best made-up rank.

1. They’re getting out and everyone knows it

If you demand his respect without earning it, he’ll tell you to climb up his ribbon stack and get it. He either has a job lined up or an acceptance letter to higher education. They’re immune to the threat of an NJP because you can’t stop time. Sooner or later, we all get a DD-214.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
Ain’t no boot no more.

2. They have the sharpest skates in the unit

The ‘senior’ Lance Corporal is the most cunning of all Marines. They know every hiding place and when to relocate. If they’d put half as much effort into doing work as they do avoiding it, they may have been promoted by now…

Regardless, having one in your entourage will guarantee you plausible deniability when sidestepping an incoming green weenie.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
$20 says those unis are still crisp after a nap.

3. They have access to the “Lance Corporal Underground”

I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the “Lance Corporal Underground.” Allegedly, it’s a large-yet-independent network of cells disseminating information throughout a unit.

Its accuracy of information is contingent on Marines who work in the S3 operations section or company office. Brass is known to supply counterintelligence because nothing should ever go according to plan.

Not. Even. Once.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
Always a lie.

4. They will haze train Marines in the art of drinking

A ‘senior’ Lance Corporal is the last Marine to pass down the torch before being permanently assigned to 1st Civilian Division. He will teach junior Marines how to break each other out of prison team building exercises. The last chapter in anyone’s career is bittersweet and the Senior Lance Corporal will always cherish the times he escaped justice memories forged with brothers-in-arms.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
The days before barracks haircuts.

Military Life

Enlisting in 2021? Here’s how to choose the right branch for you

If you’re considering joining the military, congratulations! Military life comes with amazing benefits and a lifelong community, but experience from branch to branch varies widely. While you should research any branch you’re considering thoroughly before enlisting, this guide can give you an overview of what to expect from each one.

Who should join the Navy? 

A U.S. Navy commander talks with a Soviet navy captain second rank as they walk along the pier past the Soviet guided missile destroyer Boyevay. Three ships of the Soviet Pacific Fleet are in San Diego for a five-day goodwill visit.

If you like life on the water, the Navy is a safe bet. After basic training, you’ll have to choose from a list of “rates,” or jobs. You can go into engineering, weaponry, medical, construction and numerous other fields, each with specific jobs called “ratings.” You can also train to become a Navy SEAL, but be warned; only a handful of those who begin training succeed. 

There are plenty of other ratings, though, like being a Navy Diver or an Intelligence Specialist. If those are too intimidating, someone also has to handle the laundry and cooking. We’re not joking. Some ratings aren’t quite as thrilling, like being the Ship’s Serviceman or Aviation Maintenance Admin.

Pros: 

  • Best base locations because they’re always on the coast
  • Chances to explore the world
  • Less rigorous physical training than the Army or the Marines
  • The opportunity to become a Navy SEAL if you want a (massive) challenge
  • The food tends to be pretty good compared to other branches
  • Interesting jobs that can become excellent post-military careers

Cons: 

  • Basic training can be freezing cold
  • Being at sea is part of the job, sometimes for months at a time
  • No privacy and cramped quarters
  • No internet access

Who should join the Army?

An Army Sergeant walking across Route Green. The army is one of the most popular branches.
US Army (USA) Sergeant (SGT) Michael Taylor, Foxtrot Company (F Co), 1-68th Combined Arms Battalion (CAB), 4th Infantry Division (ID), walks across Route Green while his troops remain on alert near a Traffic Control Point (TCP) area in Narwan, Iraq (IRQ), during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

As the oldest branch of the military, the Army is one of the most popular branches to join. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, however. Basic training in the Army is incredibly tough, second only to that of the Marines. During Basic Combat Training, you undergo a grueling 10 weeks of training. During that time, your physical fitness is put to the test. You’ll also learn basic marksmanship, tactical foot marches, field training exercises, and Army values. You’ll have to suffer through gas chamber training, too- and it’s not fun. (But don’t worry, it won’t kill you!) 

You’ll also have to pick a MOS, or Military Occupation Code. There are tons to choose from, but you probably won’t qualify for them all. Your score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, will determine what your options are. Still, there are so many to choose from that you’re bound to find something that interests you. 

Pros:

  • Stationed on a base, not on a ship
  • Amazing benefits, including housing benefits if you’re married and live off base
  • Opportunities to learn trades
  • Like the Navy, travel is a part of the job
  • Over 150 MOS’s to chose from

Cons

  • Plenty of jobs aren’t the most exciting. 
  • You don’t have a choice about where you’re stationed.
  • Physical training gets intense. 
  • You’ll have to get used to waking up crazy early. 

Who should join the Air Force?

US Air Force (USAF) Major (MAJ) Mike Hernandez climbs out of his Lockheed Martin built F/A-22 Raptor fighter after flying a training mission at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB), Nevada (NV).

If you’re looking for a military job that’s more similar to civilian work, the Air Force is probably your best bet. It’s very well-funded, and it works more like a corporation than a combat unit. Basic training is significantly easier than it is in other branches, because high levels of fitness aren’t as important. You still need to be in decent shape, but the eight and a half weeks of training are more about drills and learning Air Force standards than combat training. You’ll still learn basic rifle skills and undergo explosives training, and train for deployment.

Sounds cool, right? Yes, with a caveat. Lots of people go into the Air Force with hopes of becoming a pilot, but there are just over 1,000 pilot slots open each year. About half of those are reserved for Air Force Academy grads, and another third are set aside for ROTC members. If you want to become a pilot, signing up for the Air Force isn’t your safest bet. Check out the Air National Guard instead.

The options in the Air Force are still appealing, as long as you’re not deadset on flying. You can become a drone pilot, an air traffic controller or a cyber warfare expert; the later of which open up amazing civilian job opportunities after retirement from the military.

Pros:

  • Easiest basic training
  • Great on-base housing options
  • Better quality of life than most other branches
  • Interesting jobs that can transition to lucrative careers later on
  • You may have the opportunity to become a pilot
  • If you’re not a pilot, you’ll probably never see combat

Cons:

  • More stringent requirements to get in than those of other branches
  • Other branches tend to turn their noses up at the Air Force
  • Some jobs require insanely long hours
  • It’s actually pretty hard to land a pilot slot

Who should join the Marines? 

US Marines shaking hands. The Marine Corp is one of the most physically demanding branches
United States Marine Corps (USMC), Corporal (CPL) James J. Huntsman, a team leader with the first platoon, Company “E” Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) graduates from Corporal’s Course aboard the USS TORTUGA (LSD-46) Dock Landing ship.

If you want to see combat, join the Marines. If you don’t, steer clear. The Marines work both on land and at sea to defend Navy bases and participate in Naval campaigns. Because Marines are usually on the front lines when deployed, boot camp is extremely rigorous. If you can’t deal with getting yelled at, don’t sign up. Marine boot camp takes place in three phases, which include everything from intense training and martial arts to rifle skills and swim training. 

Marine jobs are organized by MOS’, just like other branches, but many people sign up specifically to be an infantryman. Being in the infantry means participating in foreign conflicts right off the bat. Other options that lead to more opportunities upon retirement include dog handling, cryptologic digital network technology, and counterintelligence. 

Pros:

  • The Marines are considered the best of the best. They’re highly respected, and jokingly say they’re actually a department of the Navy: the men’s department. 
  • Marines are usually the first line of defense when a war takes place. 
  • The uniforms are amazing. 
  • After being in the Marines, you’ll be in amazing shape.

Cons:

  • There isn’t as much variety when it comes to job opportunities 
  • Promotions take longer than in other branches
  • The standards for uniform and appearance are stringent.
  • The quality of life tends to be lower than that of some other branches.

Who should join the Coast Guard?

Members of the coast guard performing a rescue
Members of a United States Coast Guard (USCG) help Special Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) aboard the cutter USCG MUSTANG (WPB-310) during maritime operations in the Port of Valdez, Alaska, in support of exercise Northern Edge 2002.

If your biggest goal for your future military career is to save lives, join the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is responsible for search and rescue missions, but that’s far from all they do. They intercept drug trafficking ships, inspect container ships, work on environmental protection, escort civilian ships with risky cargo, and lots more. Basic training takes eight weeks. During that time, you’ll have to meet physical fitness standards, plus practice specialized water training, firefighting, and marksmanship. When you graduate, you have a solid chance of being guaranteed a base location, which is a big plus. 

Most people join the Coast Guard because they want to be Aviation Survival Technicians, aka rescue swimmers. Being a gunners mate is another popular job, but there are plenty of less adventurous options, too. If you don’t mind sitting around keeping watch, operations specialists do that a few days a week for up to 12 hours at a time. Not the most exciting, but much less risky, too.

Pros:

  • You won’t be deployed abroad, and deployments are often shorter
  • You’ll get to live near the sea, with a lower likelihood of living on a ship for months on end
  • You have a chance at choosing your base
  • It’s a smaller branch, so you’ll be able to get to know people really well

Cons:

  • It’s tougher to get in because it’s such a small branch.
  • Quarters on board are often cramped
  • Certain Coast Guard jobs are surprisingly dangerous

At the end of the day, choosing the right branch all comes down to you.

These descriptions are only guidelines. If more than one branch intrigues you, dig deeper. Learn more about day to day life in any branches of interest. If you’re really serious, you can speak with a recruiter as well, or connect with veterans to understand exactly what you’re signing up for. 

Consider your long-term goals as well. Where do you want to be in 10 years? An engineer or pilot will have many more job opportunities after service than someone in the infantry. Enlisting isn’t your only option, either! You could become an officer instead, which is a totally different ballgame. 

This isn’t a decision to make on a whim, so take your time to figure out the perfect branch for you. You won’t regret it.

Military Life

6 reasons why working with a foreign military can suck

Going to another country on Uncle Sam’s dime can be amazing. It gives you an opportunity to travel and learn about a new culture in ways most civilians will never know.


As a service member, working with a foreign military is one of the most rewarding things you can do because you get to directly interact with a nation’s real population, not just the tourist-facing folk. But there’s a downside to everything — and this is no exception.

Here’s why working with another country’s military can be extremely disappointing.

Related: 6 reasons why working with a foreign military is amazing

1. Dog-and-pony shows

When working with a foreign force, the American military will try its best not to offend the host country. This doesn’t mean, however, that they won’t try to make the U.S. Military look better than everyone else at every opportunity. This leads to the ol’ dog-and-pony show where your command will not only make you look as pretty as possible, they’re also going to make you give up your free time to make themselves look good.

This may come in the form of Olympic-style fitness competitions, parades, or doing some extra cleaning around the barracks/ship/bivouac. Ultimately, the aim is to say (without saying), “here in the U.S. Military, we’re better than you — and we know it!”

 

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
It may look something like this. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Aaron S. Patterson)

2. Learning tactics

This can be cool if you’re working with a military that has plenty of experience and, therefore, employs tactics that are equally efficient as ours. But when you work with a host country whose military falls short in several areas, it can be less than stellar. American tactics are built around an individual’s ability to act, while other countries rely on squad leaders to make every decision.

When you learn that another country’s tactics are terribly inefficient, it becomes disappointing. You have to come to terms with the fact that you’re training with that country because you might have to work with them in the future.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
It’s hit or miss. Some countries are great, others fall short. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by MCIPAC Combat Camera Lance Cpl. Sergio RamirezRomero)

3. Language barriers

It’s a given that when you travel to another country to work with their military, foreign troops are probably not going to speak English very well if at all. Even if they do, there are so many dialects across the United States that there may still be issues with translation. Some languages don’t have terms or phrases for things that Americans do, so communicate becomes difficult.

4. Cultural disconnect

Even if you’re working in a country with plenty of English speakers, there’s still a cultural disconnect. Hell, even within the United States, people still argue about whether it’s “pop” or “soda.” Humor may vary between countries, so jokes that Americans find funny may not translate — be warned.

Pay close attention to the culture briefs you get prior to deployment and do some of your own research to figure out how to keep making your foreign counterparts laugh.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
This is a two-way street. So be flexible and open-minded. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Sergio RamirezRomero)

5. Flexing American tactics

Your command will undoubtedly make you show off your tactics. This might not sound so bad, but try watching the light in a foreign troop’s face disappear when they realize Americans are considerably better warfighters and they’ll likely never stack up.

You can teach American tactics all you like, but they may not have the resources for proper training.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
They’re just going to have to live with the fact that we’re better. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Sergio RamirezRomero)

 

Also read: 5 more of the greatest military heroes you’ve never heard of

6. Gear thievery

Stealing is common everywhere you go, and the American military has no tolerance for such dishonorable activities. The problem here is that other countries may have service members who want your gear because theirs is trash (they’re in for a surprise). Make sure that your gear is secure to avoid losing an issued item.

 

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
This is what they think when they see your precious unguarded gear laying around…

Military Life

5 of the rarest unofficial US Navy ‘certificates’

The Navy has plenty of interesting and unique milestones for its sailors to strive for. Though they never appear on official paperwork and not all of them have ceremonies, they’re a fun bragging-rights challenge that sailors can use to flex on the uninitiated (aka ‘pollywogs’).


By accomplishing one of several feats, sailors are inducted into an unofficial ‘order’ and, with that order, typically comes eligibility for a specific tattoo. While not every order is represented by a tattoo, sailors with these markings are either full of sh*t or are undeniably badass.

Check out these 5 unofficial Navy ‘certificates’ for the seasoned sailor.

5. Shellback variations

The shellback is simple enough: a sailor on official duty “crosses the line” of the equator. A golden shellback is more impressive; it means they’ve crossed at or near the International Date Line. Even rarer, crossing at the Prime Meridian grants you access into the Order of the Emerald Shellback.

There is also the ebony shellback for crossing the Equator at Lake Victoria (which is almost entirely in Ugandan waters) and a top-secret shellback for submariners who cross the equator at a “classified” degree of longitude.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
So, if you see a Shellback tattoo, they’re either a Navy vet or they just really like turtles. (Image via Imgur)

4. Order of the Sparrow

To be initiated into this order, one must sail the seven seas. While the ancients had a different idea and classification of the term, “seven seas,” it is used in context of sailing the seven largest bodies of water. They are the four oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, and Indian), the Mediterranean Sea, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Checking a few off a sailor’s list isn’t hard — stay in long enough and you’ll get them. The challenge is getting on a voyage that goes through the last one you need.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
Not to be confused with a swallow tattoo for every 5k nautical miles… or the Disney Pirate. (Image from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean)

3. Order of Magellan

This order goes out to every sailor that completes what Ferdinand Magellan couldn’t well, alive anyways, circumnavigating the world.

The Navy doesn’t really care or recognize fun ceremonies like these. They typically have a mission to set out, so we go from point A to point B efficiently. There is some leeway for morale purposes, which is why most ship Captains don’t mind taking some time out to go through the “Golden X.” Circumnavigating the world, on the other hand, requires a specific mission to do so.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader

2. Order of the Square Rigger

Square Riggers just need to serve on a ship with square rigs.

Sounds simple enough — until you realize there’s only two left in the entire Armed Forces. One in the Navy, USS Constitution, and one in the Coast Guard, USCGC Eagle. Serving on either of those ships requires you to be the best of the best at looking pretty for tourists.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
Still the only active ship that sank another enemy ship. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas Rooney)

1. Double Centurions

While the Century Club exists for pilots who’ve made their 100th carrier landing or flown through hurricane winds over 100 mph, you’ll need to double it to get into the Double Centurions.

It’ll take a long time to reach that number and hurricane hunters usually aren’t willing to fly in CAT 5 winds that could shred their aircraft in seconds.

Usually…

(YouTube | News7)

Military Life

Veterans can win cash in this new competition

Salsa dancing and the military…it’s so crazy it just might work.

In honor of National Military Appreciation Month, Univision Communications Inc. and We Are The Mighty are teaming up to create a Salsa #InVETational, a dance competition for active duty servicemembers and veterans.

There are three reasons why this is actually pretty cool:


[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2F3oz8xZGfHArTvh99YI.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Fi.giphy.com&s=69&h=626504e9e40d5805fd35421cc4885b387a814a897720d12d52dc92c122d59fe4&size=980x&c=3729718010 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252F3oz8xZGfHArTvh99YI.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fi.giphy.com%26s%3D69%26h%3D626504e9e40d5805fd35421cc4885b387a814a897720d12d52dc92c122d59fe4%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3729718010%22%7D” expand=1]

1. Cash prizes

Servicemembers and veterans will be the main event as they compete alongside their dance partners, showcasing their best Latin dance moves for Salsa, Merengue, and Bachata and vying for 1st place prize of id=”listicle-2565272073″,000 in each category and 0 for 2nd place.

Also, this event is totally free for active duty military and veterans.

youtu.be

2. Dancing is awesome AND YOU KNOW IT

Watch this video of Army vet and double amputee Noah Galloway performing and don’t get choked up. I dare you.

“Salsa dancing nights have long been enjoyed by active duty military and veterans alike not only for therapeutic purposes, but as a cultural connection within the military community,” noted David Gale, CEO Co-Founder, We Are The Mighty.

The arts are a powerful way for vets to heal after military service, and dance in particular adds the physical element we grew accustomed to on active duty. Dancing puts us back in our bodies, pushes our comfort levels, and connects us to music in very intense ways.

Plus, it’s fun. And sexy. ?

[instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/Bh5OgNtlevc/ expand=1]

www.instagram.com

3. It celebrates Hispanic culture

Hispanics have a longstanding tradition of military service to our country. According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs 2014 Minority Veterans Report, Hispanics comprise 12.4% of Post-911 veterans with more than one million Latinos currently in uniform.

Learning about our American mixing pot makes us stronger, united, and worldly.

Plus, we’re talking about a culture that knows how to flavor its food, baby — and there will be plenty of it at the event.

The event will take place on May 12, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas.

Military and veterans interested in participating with a partner must be at least 21 years of age. The next qualifying round is May 6, 2018, at Arjon’s International Club. Registration starts at 8 p.m. and the contest kicks off at 9:30 p.m. Five couples from each category will advance to the finals on May 12.

For anyone who cannot attend, you can help veterans in the San Antonio area by supporting the Lackland Fisher House, a home-away-from-home for the families of seriously ill or injured patients receiving treatment at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, San Antonio Military Medical Center or other medical facilities in the San Antonio Area at no cost.

Articles

Choice Program temporarily allows vets to seek private medical care

President Donald Trump signed a bill April 19 to temporarily extend a program that lets some veterans seek medical care in the private sector, part of an effort by the president to deliver on a campaign promise.


The extension will give Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin time to develop a more comprehensive plan to allow veterans to more easily go outside the VA health system for care. Under the bill Trump signed into law, the VA will be allowed to continue operating its Choice Program until the funding runs out, which is expected early 2018.

The program was scheduled to expire on Aug. 7 with nearly $1 billion left over.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
(Photo: VA)

Trump said veterans have “not been taken care of properly” and that the program will continue to be able to see “the doctor of their choice.”

“You got it? The doctor of their choice,” he repeated for emphasis.

Shulkin, who attended the bill signing, has said the money is needed to pay for stopgap services while he works on the longer-term plan. He said April 19 that the plan is due in the fall. Congress would have to approve any changes to the VA health system.

Shulkin said the extension is important because it gives veterans another avenue for care.

“It’s this approach where veterans can get care wherever they need it that really is the way that we’re going to address all the needs and honor our commitments to our veterans,” he said after Trump signed the bill.

The Choice Program was put in place after a 2014 scandal in which as many as 40 veterans died while waiting months to be scheduled for appointments at the Phoenix VA medical center.

The program is intended to provide more timely care by allowing veterans to go outside the VA network only in cases where they had to wait more than 30 days for an appointment or drive more than 40 miles to a facility. Yet the program itself often encountered long wait times of its own.

Also read: The VA might actually be getting its act together

The new law also calls for changes to alleviate some problems by speeding up VA payments and promoting greater sharing of medical records.

Major veterans’ organizations and Democrats support a temporary extension of the Choice Program, but are closely watching the coming VA revamp of the program for signs that the Trump administration may seek greater privatization. Those groups generally oppose privatization as a threat to the viability of VA medical centers.

Trump had pledged during the presidential campaign to give veterans freedom to seek care “at a private service provider of their own choice.”

Mark Lucas, executive director of Concerned Veterans for America, commended Trump for upholding a campaign promise to make veterans a priority, but said more needed to be done. Lucas said the Choice Program was a well-intentioned “quick fix” to the Phoenix scandal, but that it remains flawed and has forced too many veterans to seek care at what he termed failing VA facilities.

“Congress now has some time to work with Secretary Shulkin on broader, more permanent choice reforms that will truly put the veteran at the center of their health care and remove VA bureaucrats as the middlemen,” Lucas said. “We look forward to supporting legislation that will let veterans go outside the VA for care when they want or need to.”

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader

Sen. John McCain, R- Ariz., said more than 1 million veterans have made 7 million appointments with health care providers in their communities under the Choice Program. He said those appointments would have otherwise “lagged” in the VA scheduling system.

More than 1 million out of 9 million veterans in the VA system use some Choice care, with agency data pointing to even greater use this year.

McCain, a Navy veteran, said the extension “sends an important message that we will not send our veterans back to the status quo of unending wait-times for appointments and substandard care.” He said more work is needed, but called the legislation “an important first step.”

Shulkin has said he would like to expand veterans’ access to private care by eliminating the Choice Program’s current 30-day, 40-mile restrictions. At the same time, he wants the VA to work in partnership by handling all the scheduling and “customer service,” something that congressional auditors say could be unwieldy and expensive.

Associated Press writer Hope Yen contributed to this report.

Military Life

10 Best Deployment Homecoming Signs

One of the best parts about a deployment homecoming is making a homecoming signs to go with it! Some folks will get really creative and elaborate while others will be sweet and simple. Here are the 10 best homecoming signs we’ve seen!

1: Welcome Home From Prison Deployment Dad!

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader

2: The Hands That Prayed For You!

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader

3: Holy Shiplap! My Love is Back!

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader

4: The Ultimate Countdown!

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader

5: 2 Parents Coming Home!

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader

6: I Just Met You and This is Crazy…..But I’m You’re Baby!

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader

7: The Simple and Sweet Countdown

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader

8: Please, Don’t Pull Me Over!

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader

9: When the Kids Are Ready to Hand Mom Back Over!

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader

10: First Kiss Timeline

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader

This article originally appeared on Military Spouse. Follow @MilSpouseMag on Twitter.

MIGHTY TRENDING

6 reasons being E-4(ish) mafia is the best

Every military branch makes it plain where exactly you stand. It is worn on your uniform, printed on your CAC, you are greeted by it every day. “It” is rank and it plays a significant role as it entails your duties and expectations, job notwithstanding. It seems one rank reigns supreme in every service, though.


Below are 6 of the top reasons why being top of the lower enlisted ranks is the best rank.

Related:5 reasons MPs hate on firefighters

6. It’s the “25” of ranks

25 is the age that many of us have the time of our lives. We are far enough removed from teenage angst and the crap that often associates with it but still a lot more than a few wake-ups away from the big three-oh.

Old enough to get good insurance rates, but young enough to fit in most everywhere.

That is the Air Force’s Senior Airman. That is the Marine’s Lance Corporal. That is the Army’s Specialist. This is the Navy’s Seaman (heh). It’s far enough removed from boot but quite a ways from retirement.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
A toast to the good life. (Image from Warner Bros’ The Great Gatsby).

5. Watch and learn

This is the perfect rank to watch and learn.

You may have been mentored and exposed to some supervisory duties earlier (if you weren’t assigned to a POS) but it’s at this level where you are allowed to flex some of what you’ve learned.

Sometimes that power comes in an official supervisory capacity, sometimes as a makeshift assistant to your actual supervisor. It’s like being a Non-Commissioned Officer, but with training wheels.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
A SrA trying to explain how things go to a brand new Airman. (Image from Warner Bros’ Caddyshack).

4. Respect

The opinion of the Senior Airman/Specialist/Lance Corporal is respected. Those beneath the look up to them, or they should anyway, and those who outrank them will look to them as the bridge between the NCO and junior enlisted tiers.

It is literally the best of both worlds.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
When you finally gain respect. (Image from Toonami’s Dragon Ball Z).

3. Introductory supervisory roles

As stated above, you may have some actual, official supervisor duties depending on how long you’ve been there and what type of performance you’ve turned in to that point.

Even if you haven’t been granted such access, you are still going to be entrusted with certain responsibilities just based on the necessity for you to grow up and fill the role.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
A SSgt explaining the basics to their prized SrA.

2. You know all the tricks

At this point, you know what you’re supposed to be doing and how to do it, most of the time. You also know exactly what you’re not supposed to do…and what rules will really get you in trouble.

You know how to maximize your sleep and how to quickly get your uniform together. You can commit large passages of regulation to memory, verbatim. You know what you’re doing and what you want to do.

Good news is you’ve mastered this rank just in time to promote. Now the game changes.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
All SrA watching younger Airmen think they’re getting away with something. (Image from Paramount Pictures’ Willy Wonka the Chocolate Factory).

Also read: 7 of the top surprises veterans face going to school

1. Perfect purgatory

You rest in nearly a perfect position.

You’ve been in for a some time now and have likely earned a good amount of respect and responsibility and that feels great. Conversely, you’re still junior enlisted yourself and won’t be thrown into the deep end just yet.

How is this better than being an NCO? From my experience in the Air Force, Staff Sergeants are typically viewed in a more infantile manner than the Senior Airman.

I know, it doesn’t make any sense. Still, it is a fact of life.

5 things you’ll learn from your first team leader
Glorious freedom. (Image from Warner Bros’ 300).

Do Not Sell My Personal Information