Enlisting in 2021? Here’s how to choose the right branch for you - We Are The Mighty
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.

MIGHTY TRENDING

Here’s how to send letters to deployed troops — for free

Hollywood has done a great job of making writing letters to deployed troops seem glamorous and romantic, but the truth is there is nothing fun about having a loved one sent overseas. Being thousands of miles apart from the one you love with little to no communication for months is never easy.  The Veterans of Foreign Wars knows about these hardships all too well, and has partnered with Sandboxx to cover the cost of the next 4,500 letters sent to deployed service members.


There are approximately 15,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen currently deployed to war zones. While access to technology is more ubiquitous than ever before, many service members can only receive physical mail and care packages from home while they are overseas.

Also read: How to send a hero a letter without picking up a pen

Sandboxx makes it easier and faster to send mail to overseas service members through the Letters feature on the app. Families and friends of deployed service members can download the Sandboxx app to write a meaningful message, snap a photo, and hit send. Sandboxx will then print and mail the letter to the service member, and include a stamped, addressed return envelope to make it easy for their service member to send a handwritten reply in return.

Thanks to the support of the VFW, the next 4,500 letters sent to APO, FPO and DPO addresses via Sandboxx will be free.

“Mail call was, and still is, one of the most important morale boosters for isolated service members,” remarked Major General Ray “E-Tool” Smith (USMC Ret.), Founder and Chairman of Sandboxx. “We are incredibly proud to partner with the VFW in order to get more mail written and delivered to our servicemen and women away from home. Families can easily take a photo at a family gathering or at the dinner table and send it through Sandboxx, knowing with confidence that we’ll take care of the rest.”
 

To ensure that your letter is sent free of charge, the city section of the address must contain APO, FPO or DPO. Be sure to update your app to the latest version in the app store, to receive the free credit.

Make sure to share this with your friends who also have a service member who is currently deployed!

Click right here to download the app. If you encounter any problems or have any questions about our services, please feel free to contact Sandboxx at support@sandboxx.us.

On behalf of everyone at Sandboxx and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, thank you and your service member for their service to our country. Start sending letters to deployed troops now.

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!

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

2: The Hands That Prayed For You!

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

3: Holy Shiplap! My Love is Back!

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

4: The Ultimate Countdown!

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

5: 2 Parents Coming Home!

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

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

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

7: The Simple and Sweet Countdown

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

8: Please, Don’t Pull Me Over!

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

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

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

10: First Kiss Timeline

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

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

Military Life

20 important facts about military brats (backed up by research)

In the world of the United States military, April is the “Month of the Military Child.” It’s coming up sooner than you think. Military children (aka “Brats”) are a distinct sociological subculture and have been recognized as such for many decades. Children in military families obviously face a lot of challenges their civilian counterparts will never experience. This is not to say that one child is better than another, and while the challenges are important to realize, the resiliency of these children is just as important. Here are some facts and figures about modern military children and who they are likely to grow up to be.


 

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

 

1. The term “Military Brat” is not intended as derogatory and isn’t just a slang term – Military brat is widely used by researchers and sociologists and was adopted by the military brat community.

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

2. Since 9/11, more than two million military children have had a parent deployed at least once.

3. Military families relocate 10 times more often than civilian families — on average, every 2 or 3 years.

4. When a parent is stationed without his family, the children of the military member experience the same emotions as children of divorced parents.

5. Children of active duty personnel often mirror the values, ideals, and attitudes of their parents more closely than children of civilians.

6. A high percentage of military children find difficulty connecting with people or places, but very often do form strong connections with bases and military culture.

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

7. Military children have more emotional struggles when compared with national examples. These struggles increase when the military parent deploys. Military children can also experience higher levels of anxiety, depression and withdrawal.

8. Research has consistently shown military children to be more disciplined than civilian peers.

9. The perception that the country supports the wars their parents deploy to fight has a positive effect on the mental health of military children.

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

10. Military children are usually under constant pressure to conform to what military culture expects; sometimes this is perceived as being more mature, even if its only their outward behavior.

11. Strict discipline can have the opposite effect: children in military families may behave well beyond what is normally acceptable. Some develop psychological problems due to the intense stress of always being on their best behavior.

12. The bonds connecting military communities are normally considered stronger than the differences of race. Military children grow up in a setting that actively condemns racist comments. The result is a culture of anti-racism.

13. In studies, eighty percent of military children claim that they can relate to anyone, regardless of differences such as race, ethnicity, religion, or nationality.

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

14. Because military brats are constantly making new friends to replace the ones that they have lost, they are often more outgoing and independent.

15. On the other hand, the experience of being a constant stranger can lead them to feel estranged everywhere, even if later in life they settle down in one place.

16. A typical military school can experience up to 50 percent turnover every year.

17. Grown military children are very monogamous. When they marry, it is generally for life; over two-thirds over age 40 are married to their first spouse.

Enlisting in 2021? Here’s how to choose the right branch for you
US Navy photo by Tucker M. Yates

18. Military children have lower delinquency rates, higher achievement scores, and higher median IQs than civilian children.

19. Military children are more likely to have a college degree and are more likely to have an advanced degree.

20 Over 80 percent of children raised in military families now speak at least one language other than English, and 14 percent speak three or more.

Articles

5 real life games you can play to get ready for war

Most service members played Army when they were kids. And throughout our childhood educational years, we were presented with a host of games that stretch our minds and hone our analytical skills.


In the military, the goal isn’t much different — though the information is just delivered through alternative means like “death by PowerPoint.” And isn’t nearly as much fun

Related: 5 crazy games you played while in the military

So to avoid the boredom of paper and screens, we compiled a list of real life games you can play stateside that will increase your unit’s communication, physical stamina, and mental toughness.

1. Laser Tag

Running into a low-lit terrorist cell with weapons at the ready with your adrenaline pumping and still being ready to “expect the unexpected” while you clear the room can be incredibly stressful.

Dial back the dangerous nature of the mission and you could have a friendly game of laser tag.

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

2. Treasure hunt

In grade school, we used to bury or hide objects at the playground, draw a detailed map where we left them and dare our friends to hunt down the prize — sounds easy.

Pretty much what land navigation is today minus the prize, it’s now your objective.

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

3. Flag football

It was in the late 1860s that the football game kicked off between Princeton and Rutgers — and at the time, players typically played both offense and defense. This game requires plenty of communication and sets each player into different jobs and rolls.

While on patrol or in a convoy, if allied forces take contact from the bad guys, it’s up to the leader to “quarterback” the defensive strategy and instruct men how to bring the fight to the enemy.

Enlisting in 2021? Here’s how to choose the right branch for you
The Company Grade Officers Council goes for another touchdown during their flag football game at Eglin Air Force Base, (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

4. 52 cards

You can pull many different infantry games from a deck of playing cards. The main focus is to develop a game to build muscle memory. Assign an exercise or action drill for every suit in the deck and use the cards’ face value for the number of repetitions.

First one through the deck is the winner.

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

Also Read: 5 things I wish I knew before deployment

5. Blindfolded tag

We conduct military operations at night, attacking the enemy once the sun goes down when they least expect it. There’s no better way to learn to fight if your night vision goes down while you’re stateside than blindfolded tag.

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

 

MIGHTY TRENDING

5 reasons vets who never served together still make great friends

It’s a bitter-sweet day when troops leave the service. It’s fantastic because one book closes and another opens. Yet saying goodbye to the gang you served with is hard. Vets always keep in contact with their guys, but it’s not the same when they’re half way around the country.


Instead, vets have to make new friends in the civilian world. Sure, we make friends with people who’ve never met a veteran before, but we will almost always spot another vet and spark some sort of friendship.

They get our jokes

Put just plain and simply, vets generally have a pretty messed-up sense of humor. The jokes that used to reduce everyone to tears now get gasps and accusations that we’re monsters.

There’s also years of inside jokes that are service wide that civilians just wouldn’t get.

They can relate to our pain

No one leaves the service without having their body aged rapidly. Your “fresh out the dealership” body now has a few dings in it before heading to college.

Civilian classmates just don’t get how lucky they are to have pristine knees and lower back.

They side-eye weakness with us

Military service has taught us to depend on one another in a life or death situation. If you can’t lift something like a sandbag on your own, your weakness will endanger others. If you can’t run a minimum of two miles without tiring, your weakness will endanger others.

The people we meet in the civilian world never got that memo. Together, we’ll cull the herd the best way we know how as veterans — through ridicule. Something only other vets appreciate.

They can keep partying at our level

If there is one constant across all branches, it’s that we all know how to spend our weekends doing crazy, over-the-top things with little to no repercussion.

Civilians just can’t hang with us after we’ve downed a bottle of Jack and they’re sipping shots.

They share our “ride or die” mentality

Veterans don’t really care about pesky things like “norms” if one of our own gets slighted in any way. Some civilian starts talking trash at a bar? Vets are the first to thrown down. Some piece of garbage lays a hand on one of our own? Vets’ fists will be bloodier.

All jokes aside about scuffing up some tool, this doesn’t just lend itself as an outlet for unbridled rage. Back in the service, we all swore to watch each other’s backs on an emotional level too. Your vet friend will always answer the call at three AM if you just can’t sleep.

Articles

Veterans clap back at those demanding Starbucks hire 10,000 vets

Starbucks Armed Forces Network, a private group within the company of Starbucks, released a statement yesterday asking that those calling for Starbucks to hire 10,000 veterans instead of refugees check their facts.


Recently, Starbucks came under fire for announcing that they would hire 10,000 refugees. The general reaction was anger and calls for boycotts of Starbucks until they vowed to also hire 10,000 veterans.

Enlisting in 2021? Here’s how to choose the right branch for you
Devin Craig (second from right), a district manager for Starbucks Coffee Company, Wash., and his team talk to Soldiers and Veterans during the Boots 2 Work Military Career Fair at Cheney Stadium, Tacoma, Wash., Aug. 27. The career fair gave Soldiers the opportunity to meet with local businesses and learn job hunting skills. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Cody Quinn, 28th Public Affairs Detachment/Released)

The problem with that? Starbucks vowed to hire 10,000 veterans in 5 years way back in 2013. And they’re ahead of schedule.

One of the many internal groups at the coffee giant, Starbucks Armed Forces Network, penned a note to their customers to explain why the anger at the refugee program was misdirected.

The note, simply signed by The Men and Women of Starbucks Armed Forces Network (AFN), began, “We write to you today as representatives of the thousands of veterans and spouses who currently work for Starbucks Coffee Company.”

The writers went on to express their gratitude to their customers and then they moved right into addressing the refugee and veteran initiatives.

“The false and inaccurate statements [about the veteran hiring initiative were] deeply troubling to those of us who’ve served,” the group wrote.

The statement described how the CEO and his wife, Howard and Sheri Schultz, had visited military installations around the country to learn more about how they could advocate better for veterans and military spouses after announcing the veteran hiring initiative in November 2013. The couple invested their own personal funds into “plans for transitioning service members,” according to the group.

“We respect honest debate and freedom of expression,” the statement read. “But to those who would suggest Starbucks is not committed to hiring veterans, we are here to say: check your facts. Starbucks is already there.”

The 5 year initiative has only used about 60 percent of its time, but has met 88 percent of its goal. This means that, if they continue at this rate, Starbucks will surpass their initial goal of hiring 10,000 veterans by 2018 by 4,600 veterans.

Starbucks operates 32 Military Family Stores near several major installations. Owned by veterans, military spouses, or family members, the stores participate in “Military Mondays.” Weekly, Starbucks partners with local Veteran Service Organizations to provide space for the organizations to offer pro-bono legal support and other services to the military community.

The company also offers Military Service Pay to employees who have to report for National Guard or Reserve assignments. Eligible partners can receive up to 80 hours of paid time to fulfill their reserve service obligations yearly.

Starbucks provides a Military Allowance to eligible employees that are called to active duty, as well.

Starbucks has made a name for themselves as a veteran friendly company, even being awarded Gold status by G.I. Jobs in this year’s annual “Military Friendly” list.

Articles

Why WWII soldiers nicknamed the Sherman tank ‘death trap’

The Sherman tank was a powerful force to be reckoned with on the battlefields in WWII; it was fast and mobile and it shelled out plenty of firepower.


It provided just enough cover for American ground troops as it stomped through the German front lines. The Sherman was designed to patrol over enemy bridges and it was easily transported on railroad cars.

Related: 9 tanks that changed armored warfare

When the U.S. decided to invade Europe, General Patton selected the Sherman as his particular tank of choice and wanted as many to roll off the assembly lines as possible. Nearly fifty thousand were produced between 1942 and 1945.

Weighing in at 33 tons, it sustained a speed of 26 miles per hour and housed 2 inches of armor. Many saw the image of the Sherman tank to be invincible just like the American war effort, but the brave soldiers who served as tank crew members believed that it had too many engineering flaws and was far inferior compared to the German’s Tiger and Panther tanks.

The Sherman tank was equipped with a fully-transversing 75mm turret short barrelled gun that fired a high explosive shell 2,000 feet per second. Compared to the German tanks that shot accurately at 3,500 feet per second, the enemy’s armor piercing ammo was 2-3 times more effective.

It was recommended that to defeat the Germans, the tank crew had to speed up and flank around their battlefield rivalry and get within 600 yards range to be effective.

Captain Belton Y. Cooper, author of Death Traps and a member of the 3rd Armor Division maintenance unit, recounts knowing how inferior the Sherman was after seeing its physical destruction firsthand. He knew it was no match for the Nazi’s arsenal.

“We lost 648 tanks totally destroyed in combat, another 700 knocked out, repaired and put back into action,” Cooper says. “That’s 1,348 tanks knocked out in combat. I don’t think anyone took that kind of loss in the war.”
(HistoryAndDocumentry, YouTube)
Military Life

Here are the best military photos for the week of January 13th

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


Air Force:

1st Lt. Lauren Vinson, 333rd Fighter Squadron weapon systems officer, performs a preflight check on an F-15E Strike Eagle barrier during exercise Thunderdome 18-01, Jan. 11, 2018, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. The exercise was designed to prepare and test the response efforts of Team Seymour Airmen in the event of a real-world contingency.

Enlisting in 2021? Here’s how to choose the right branch for you
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kenneth Boyton)

Airmen from the 130th Airlift Wing take aim at their targets as part of a weapons qualifications course Jan. 10, 2018 at the Combat Arms Training and Maintenance Facility for the Combat Readiness Training Center, Gulfport, Miss. Airmen must be weapon qualified every 18 months to ensure mission readiness.

Enlisting in 2021? Here’s how to choose the right branch for you
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Caleb Vance)

Army:

Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper awards Spc. Hess from Combined Task Force Defender, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, an Army traditional coin at Seongju, South Korea on Jan. 10, 2018. Esper visited Korea to discuss readiness with units throughout the Korean theater and to inform Soldiers, Families and Civilians on his position and policies as the Secretary of The Army during his three-day visit.

Enlisting in 2021? Here’s how to choose the right branch for you
(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Carl Greenwell)

German Soldiers shoot the M4 Carbine during the U.S. Marksmanship Range held at Camp Bondsteel Jan. 8.

Enlisting in 2021? Here’s how to choose the right branch for you
(U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Michael A Parker)

Navy:

Former National Football League (NFL) player Tim Tebow shakes hands with Cmdr. Stephen Henz, executive officer of the guided missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), during a distinguish visitor tour of the ship. Tebow and family members also plan to visit USS Battleship Missouri Memorial and USS Arizona Memorial during their visit to Pearl Harbor.

Enlisting in 2021? Here’s how to choose the right branch for you
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jessica O. Blackwell)

An explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 12 fires his M4 rifle from behind cover during a live-fire training exercise in Moyock, N.C. EODMU 12 provides credible, combat-ready EOD forces capable of deploying anywhere, any time in support of national interests.

Enlisting in 2021? Here’s how to choose the right branch for you
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Charles Oki)

Marine Corps:

Heavy rains drench the flight line of Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 9, 2018. With inclement weather, the potential for heavy flooding and road closures increases on the installation. The predicted total rainfall will reach three inches by the time the storm dissipates.

Enlisting in 2021? Here’s how to choose the right branch for you
(U.S Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Drake Nickels)

U.S. Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron (MWSS) 171 conduct zone reconnaissance training during exercise Kamoshika Wrath 18-1 at Japanese Ground Self-Dense Force Maneuver Area, Haramura Higashihiroshima, Japan, Jan. 9, 2018. The exercise allows Marines to test mission performance and meet training requirements by placing them in simulated real-world scenarios. MWSS-171 trains throughout the year completing exercises like Kamoshika Wrath to enhance their technical skills, field experience and military occupational specialty capability. Additionally, it serves MWSS-171 as a building block for increasing squadron proficiency in command and control.

Enlisting in 2021? Here’s how to choose the right branch for you
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Marcus Campbell)

Coast Guard:

Chief Warrant Officer Paul Ricketson and Petty Officer 2nd class Steve Knight, members of Marine Safety Detachment Santa Barbara, take note of the debris that has been carried down to the beach by the mudslides in Santa Barbara, California, Jan. 11, 2018. Members of Coast Guard MSD Santa Barbara mobilized to spearhead the removal of hazardous materials along the shoreline.

Enlisting in 2021? Here’s how to choose the right branch for you
(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class DaVonte’ Marrow)

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Shackle, a 65-foot Small Harbor Tug, breaks ice Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 near Logan International Airport in Boston Harbor. Shackle is capable of breaking up to 12 inches of ice.

Enlisting in 2021? Here’s how to choose the right branch for you
(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Barresi)

Military Life

This is why being a pointman is the worst job in the infantry

The infantry has its fair share of not-so-thrilling jobs. Among those is that of the pointman leading from the front. It’s a stressful job that demands one to be alert at all times because you are the first to meet the enemy. However, a well-trained, veteran pointman can seize the initiative for the patrol and be the commander’s best asset against a determined insurgency.

Pointmen are always first

The pointman must know how to navigate the area of operations during patrols. He will be the first to spot anomalies on patrol. You are the eyes and ears of the patrol: ‘That graffiti wasn’t there before,’ ‘There are no children in the bazaar today,’ ‘That stack of rocks wasn’t there yesterday,’ and so on. These are all indicators that something is about to go down.

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U.S. Marines participate in a Pointman Reaction Course. Photo by Lance Cpl. Ujian Gosun
3rd Marine Division 

Pointmen are the first to provide an ADDRAC when engaging the enemy. It stands for Alert, Direction, Description, Range, Assignment, Control. For example, on patrol we start taking small arms fire from a building ahead in an urban setting. Not everyone in the patrol has eyes on what you see. Also, the enemy is dynamically behind cover attempting to outmaneuver you as well.

In this theoretical situation the pointman would shout ‘Contact front! Twelve o’clock, red building, 300 meters, four small arms, danger area to my left.’ This is information provides the patrol with everything they need to react and for the patrol leader to quickly come up with a strategy and employ it. The pointman will also pin down the enemy with effective fire so the patrol can move around him. As the skirmish goes on, he provides updates on what he sees and the patrol advances and eliminates the threat.

Using a CMD is time consuming and dangerous

Pointmen are cross trained by engineers to use CMDs — combat metal detectors. When scanning a compound for Improvised Explosive Devices, weapons caches or contraband is time consuming. No matter how tired a pointman’s arm is, they cannot let the CMD touch the ground. The risk of accidentally setting off a hidden pressure plate is real. One has to be meticulous, methodical and can never get complacent. If a room isn’t clear and a troop attempts to walk past him, a pointman is fully within his right to grab that person by the throat and yell expletives about their mother. It doesn’t matter what rank that person is, when it happens it’s always someone in charge. No one is going to hold the pointman accountable for the disrespect because the Lieutenant almost got everyone killed. Pointmen must have the courage to correct that MF.

Pointmen are used as human shields

When I was pointman, room clearing for the first time, if the pointman goes down, use him as a shield. Marines when stacked together before kicking down a door to do God’s work, hold the pointman by a strap on the back of the flak jacket. If I expire, they are to hold onto that handle and shoot around me. The first months in theater are scary, but you get used to it and it’s just another day at the office. Use me if you have to, I don’t care, I’m in Valhalla already.

The hardest part is that pointmen are loyal and they refuse to be rotated out if they’re the best for the role. A responsible pointman is indispensable to an infantry squad. It’s hard to let go and will only accept passing the torch if promoted out of the job. It’s the worst job because if something bad happens you know you could have done something about it if you were still there.

Military Life

5 British army slang terms you need to know for your next joint mission

Although the United States and Britain have had their share of disputes early on in American history, today the two countries are the closest of friends.


In case you were living under a rock, British troops fought alongside US in the global war on terror. That means while our service members are overseas, there’s a solid chance they will encounter members of the British army on a joint mission.

That being said, the British have some popular slang terms that we Americans don’t use but probably should know.

Related: This British soldier may have spared Hitler’s life during WWI

So check out this list of slang terms you just might hear from your British counterparts on your next deployment.

1. “REMF”

This term stands for “rear echelon mother f*cker” which is directed to those service members who have cushy jobs (non-combat related) while stationed in the rear.

2. “Crow Bag”

Reportedly, this hilarious term stems from WWI and means “combat recruit of war.” The title is given to the newest of army newbies fresh out of boot camp.

3. “Lizard”

Meaning, an individual who screws up idiotically. That is all.

4. “Jack”

This term has several different meanings including selfish, lazy, and workshy (unwilling to work). Jack is the guy no one wants in their unit.

Also Read: This British sniper took out six insurgents by detonating a Taliban suicide vest

5. “Ally”

This is one of their more popular slang terms which means stylish, tough or hardworking. In comparison, our American troops wouldn’t use that word to describe a hardcore Marine — just saying.

Bonus: NATO

No, this one doesn’t stand for North Atlantic Treaty Organization like our minds default into thinking. It’s apparently a common phrase meaning a white tea with two sugars.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Check out Liam Brown‘s video below to hear these slang words perfectly pronounced and explained for yourself.

YouTube, LiamBrown

Articles

This incredible rap song perfectly captures life in Marine Corps infantry

Serving in the Marine Corps infantry is one of the most taxing occupations the military has to offer. Whether you’re out patrolling in a hot zone, calling in mortars on an enemy position or just humping hundreds of pounds of gear, it’s tough.


For one former Marine, military service fuels his music and reflects his experiences in the Corps.

“So you’re the newest PFC? Well, welcome to the infantry. Around here we like to do things a little differently. I know your drill instructor taught you those morals and ethics, but you got to put that to the side to kill more efficiently. ”

These are the opening lyrics of “Welcome to the Infantry” performed by Marine rapper, Fitzy Mess, and they couldn’t be more truthful.

Related: 7 things you should know before joining the infantry

Check out Fitzy Mess‘ video below for his cathartic rap song about life in the Marine infantry. And turn your sound up!

(Fitzy Mess, YouTube)
Military Life

Here are the best military photos for the week of December 23rd

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:

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Apphia Gomes, 336th Air Refueling Squadron, refuels a C-17 Globemaster III aboard a KC-135 Stratotanker near March Air Reserve Base, Dec. 18, 2017. The C-17 carried Elinor Otto, better known as Rosie the Riveter, on her first C-17 flight.

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(U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Eric Harris / Released)

An Air Force medium sized robot approaches a simulated Improvised Explosive Device during a response training exercise, Dec. 21, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The EOD Airmen were evaluated on their ability to respond to a distress call, locate, identify and neutralize an improvised explosive device.

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(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Eugene Oliver)

Army:

Command Sgt. Maj. Dana S. Mason, Jr. salutes the formation during the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command Change of Responsibility Ceremony.

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(U.S. Army courtesy photo)

Helicopters from the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade arrived to Chièvres Air Base, Belgium. The brigade, which is in the 1st Cavalry Division, stationed in Fort Hood, Texas, deployed with 89 helicopters, including Apaches, Chinooks and Black Hawks. The helicopters arrived by ship Oct. 19 at the port of Zeebrugge, Belgium, and were then staged at the base before they move forward to support missions in Europe.

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(U.S. Army photo by Jessica Ryan)

Navy:

The superstructure of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) lights up during sunset in the Atlantic Ocean, Dec. 16, 2017. The George H.W. Bush was underway conducting routine training and qualifications.

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(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joe Boggio)

Lt. j.g. Cory R. Cameron recovers the “Oscar” dummy during a man-overboard drill aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88). Preble is deployed with the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations to reassure allies and partners and preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the region.

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(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Morgan K. Nall)

Marine Corps:

U.S. Marine Capt. Timothy Denning, company commander of Alpha Company, 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, runs alongside his Marines during the 7th ESB Holiday Run at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Dec. 22, 2017. The Marines and Sailors of 7th ESB showed their holiday spirit by dressing up and singing holiday songs during the run.

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(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Timothy Shoemaker)

Hawaii’s first three AH-1Z Vipers arrive aboard Marine Corps Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Dec. 19, 2017. The arrival of the 4th generation attack helicopters enhances the capabilities and power projection of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing and MCBH.

Enlisting in 2021? Here’s how to choose the right branch for you
(U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Sgt. Alex Kouns)

Coast Guard:

Salvage crews working with the Hurricane Maria ESF-10 Puerto Rico response remove a wrecked vessel from Hurricane Maria in Sardinera, Puerto Rico, Dec. 21, 2017. The ESF-10 is offering no-cost options for removing vessels damaged by Hurricane Maria; affected boat owners are asked to call the Vessel Owner Outreach Hotline at (786) 521-3900.

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(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Ferdinando)

Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey Crews, a marine science technician for Coast Guard Sector Anchorage, places a wreath for a fallen service member during the Wreaths Across America ceremony at the Fort Richardson National Cemetery on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska, Dec. 16, 2017.

Enlisting in 2021? Here’s how to choose the right branch for you
(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Jacob Gamble.)

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