Things to Consider
We have gathered a wealth of information about options after high school and enlistment facts that every student considering military enlistment should know. We can even help students contact a veteran for information and guidance. If you are considering military enlistment, you are in the right place.
Ten Points to Consider Before Signing a Military Enlistment Agreement
1. Your job is not to make a hasty decision by enlisting the first time you see a recruiter or when you are upset.A recruiter is a salesperson who will give only a positive, one-sided picture of life in the military. Don’t make this important decision when you are depressed, hard up for work, confused or unsure about your future, or pressured by your family. This decision affects many years of your life; don’t make it lightly.
2. Take a witness with you when you speak with a recruiter. There is a lot of information to take in. A friend can take notes and help you ask questions.
3. Talk to veterans. Veterans can give you their view of military life, good and bad.
4. Consider your moral feelings about going to war. The mission of the military is to prepare for and wage war. If you cannot in good conscience engage in war or in killing, you should not consider enlisting. Some recruits have discovered an opposition to war, after they have enlisted. Military have the right to seek a discharge. The process is long, difficult, and uncertain. Take time to examine your values before enlisting.
5. Get a copy of the enlistment agreement. Read the fine print carefully, especially the part about what the military can order you to do. You do have a right to take this home, look it over, and ask others about it.
6. There is no “period of adjustment”during which you may request and receive an immediate honorable discharge. Once you have left for basic training, you must fulfill the full number of years (minimum 2-4 years and can be as many as eight years with part being the Inactive ready Reserves IRR) on your enlistment contract. You cannot leave of your own free will.
7. Get all your recruiter’s promises in writing. Remember that the military can change the terms (such as pay, job, or benefits) of your work. The military may decide you are “unsuitable” and discharge you without your consent. A written statement may offer you (as a service member) some protection if promises are not met. However, the contract is more binding on you than on the military. You are ultimately responsible for information on the form, so don’t tell lies, even if pressured. The military, however, may decide you are “unsuitable” and discharge you without your consent.
8. There are no job guarantees in the military. The military is not required to keep you in the job you trained for on a full-time or permanent basis. The Army needs always come first placements are mostly dependent on what the military perceives it needs. Most military jobs are in areas which account for only a small percentage of civilian jobs.
9. Military personnel have a different Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct can limit your rights to free speech, assembly, petition, and exercise of individual expression (such as clothing or hairstyle). Military serve the national interest and not individual interest and follow the commands of the Commander and Chief (President of US).You must follow all orders given to you.
10. Many opportunities exist for you to serve your community and enhance your skills. Before you decide to enlist, check out other options that would help you and your country. Travel, education, money for school, job training, and adventure can all be found in other ways. Your local community may even have opportunities that you haven’t considered.
For more information, see the American Friends Service Committee Youth and Militarism webpage or locally contact Katherine at IJPC