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A friend of mine wrote this.  If you or someone you care about are considering the military please read and pass on.

It seems that I know a lot of people joining the military as of late. A few have come to talk to me before signing up, some after. I would be happy to talk with anyone who is considering this option. it is good for some and not for everyone. It is a huge commitment. Each branch has its pros and cons. I have been in the navy and air force and served with the army and marines. I think I have a good perspective of each branch. overall it has been good to me. You need to know what you are doing when you join though. Here are some tips for those who wish to go it alone.

10 Tips For Visiting a Recruiter Recruiters are honest, well-trained, committed professionals. Meeting a recruiter should be an informative, stress-free experience. Review these 10 secrets and make sure you’re prepared for your interview.

1. Have No Fear. Remember you are under no obligation when speaking to a recruiter. You may be asked to sign paperwork before taking the ASVAB and possibly at other steps in the process. This is standard procedure and you need not be alarmed. The enlistment process is involved and takes time; you have the ability to change your mind at anytime before you sign the final enlistment contract.

2. Go with a buddy. You may feel more at ease if you take a friend, your parents or someone else you trust. In addition having a buddy join with you may increase your chance at a bonus or advanced enlistment.

3. Know the ASVAB. You may be able to get the job you want, but to do so you must score well on the Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). But the ASVAB alone doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the job you want. Military job selection is also based on other specified criteria, such as physical fitness, eyesight, security requirements, and education level.
Keep in mind that certain jobs may not be available due to over manning. In that case, you may want to wait until there is an opening for the job you want. Depending on how important the choice of a particular branch is to you, consider the possibility that another service may be able to offer you the job you want.
If you don’t think you did well on the ASVAB, you can request to retake it. However, since the most recent score is used, you should carefully consider retesting. Many people, who retake the ASVAB without studying, end up with lower scores. This can decrease your career options and the opportunity for bonuses. Get help with the ASVAB

4. Be stationed where you want. Recruiters can offer you a program, if you qualify, to start at the base or in the region of your choice. But remember after your first unit, you could end up serving anywhere. Don’t select this incentive over any cash bonuses that may be available.

5. Get paid more. If you have special training or education, you could qualify to go in at a higher rank and pay than others. Ask the recruiter, as these high-demand specialties change.

6. Choose your start date. The Delayed Entry Program is often used to allow high school students to graduate, but it can be used for other reasons, such as training in the spring or fall to avoid extreme weather.

7. Choose your commitment. The length of your commitment often determines the amount of benefits and bonuses you’ll receive. Ask the recruiter to spell these out for you. Remember the shortest term possible generally requires a commitment of two years active duty and four years in the inactive reserve, but some job training requires a longer commitment. The service will give you plenty of opportunities to re-enlist, extend your term, or make it a career.

8. Correct the contract before signing. Typos and errors can cost you money, put you in the wrong job or send you to the wrong place. Get the contract right before you sign it.

9. Get it in writing. There is no such thing as a verbal promise. Guarantees such as MOS, bonuses, the College Fund, duty station, and most other enlistment incentives must be reflected in the enlistment contract.

10. Remember you’re signing up to be a soldier, airman, Sailor, Marine or Coast Guardsman. It is important that you are candid and frank with your recruiter. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. You should work to get the job you want, but understand that your role as a service member comes first. Be honest with yourself; serving in the military is not like a regular job. You can’t just quit when the going gets tough. The military requires diligence, dedication and a commitment to teamwork. Remember, your actions could potentially cost or save lives.

Bonus Tip: The Buddy Deal. Services have programs where friends who sign up together can go through training together, be stationed together or even start with advanced rank and pay just because you sign up together. Be sure to ask your recruiter about the current availability of this an

20 Questions for Recruiters Military.com offers a lot of information to help you decide if you want to pursue a career in the military, but military recruiters have the most current information on job availability, new deals and changing requirements.

Once you decide to talk to a recruiter, you should arm yourself with as much information as possible, develop some idea of what you want and know the questions that you want answered. In general, your questions should help you:
Understand eligibility and military life
Pick the right service for you
Understand the jobs you’re eligible for
Understand the benefits you can get
Get the best benefits package possible
Prepare for basic training and a military career

20 questions that the Insider recommends asking:

1. How long do I have to enlist for? What’s the minimum commitment? Generally the minimum is two years, but the amount of benefits you receive directly relates to your commitment.

2. Am I eligible for any special enlistment programs or bonuses? Make sure you tell the recruiter if you have ROTC, college or even Junior ROTC experience. Some services have programs that will allow you to enter at a higher pay grade than peers with no experience.

3. What do I have to score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test to qualify? The minimum score varies annually based on need and candidate availability. Some specialties also require a particular score. Your recruiter should have the latest information on qualifying scores. Make sure you know what you need to score to qualify for the job you want.
See Ace the ASVAB

4. What are the major differences in pay, benefits and job opportunities between services? While base pay and veteran benefits are the same across services; travel opportunities, job availability and promotion rates vary greatly. If you are considering more than one branch of the military, ask the recruiters the same questions and compare the answers.

5. Do you have films or literature about military life and particular jobs? Most recruiters have videos and literature about their branch and particular jobs. In most cases you can either check the videos out or watch them at the recruiting station. Remember these are promotional materials.

6. How long is basic training? Where is it? What is it like?
Air Force basic training is a little over 6 weeks at Lackland AFB, Texas.
Army boot camp is 9 weeks and occurs at a variety of places based on your specialties.
Coast Guard recruit training is 8 weeks at the Coast Guard Training Center, Cape May, N.J.
Marine recruit training is 13 weeks at Marine Corp Training Depots at Parris Island, S.C. and San Diego, Calif.
Navy basic training is 8 weeks at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Il.

7. What physical fitness requirements must I meet to enter the military and succeed in basic training? Physical standards vary from service to service. Have your recruiter spell it out for you.

8. What jobs are available? Use our job matcher to find jobs that match your interest, and ask your recruiter about openings in these and related fields. Then, use the delayed entry program to get the training you want. Training programs are related to the job specialty that you are assigned to. You should ask your recruiter about the entire career path in that chosen field. Most military specialties have follow-on training as you gain expertise and rise in rank.

9. What are the possibilities for remote or overseas duty stations? All services have overseas opportunities. Overseas service is often considered a “square to fill” for advancement. Ask your recruiter.

10. What is the training and advancement opportunities for jobs that I’m eligible for? Military promotions are based on performance, time in grade and job knowledge. While the system is objective, certain specialties seem to fare better in promotion rates. Ask your recruiter how the promotion rates are in your chosen field and compare them to several other fields you may choose from.

11. What would pay be like? Military pay is no secret but can seem complicated for an outsider. Check out the Military.com guides to military pay for active duty, Reserve, and Guard; then ask your recruiter to explain how temporary duty pay, hazardous duty pay and other special entitlements affect your bottom line.

12. Do I get paid while in training? Military training is part of military service and you receive your pay based on your grade and entitlements.

13. How much money can I get for college? After checking our money for college section to see the many ways you can earn money for college, sit down with the recruiter and calculate how much you’ll earn based on the programs that you enlist under.

14. Can I take college courses or other training programs while in the military? Yes. The military will pay up to 100% of the first $4,500 in tuition costs for college courses you take in your free time. Most bases have extensive education programs to help service members. Remember, off-duty courses can’t interfere with your military duties.

15. Are there any upcoming military events in the area, such as air shows, fleet weeks, etc.? Recruiters will often have special deals for upcoming military events in your area. These good deals for potential recruits may include tickets to performances and passes to meet the Blue Angels, the Thunderbirds or the Golden Knights, or during Fleet Week.

16. Can a friend and I go to basic training together? Yes. Ask the recruiter about the “buddy program” which allows you to enlist together, go through training and even get advanced pay or bonuses.

17. What is the haircut or other appearance standards that will apply to me? Military standards are strict but vary slightly from service to service.

18. What’s the delayed entry program? The enlistee can delay entry into active duty for up to one year (normally used by high school students). This program can also help you get the job you want or to choose when you want to attend training.

19. What are the next steps? Recruiters have no problem telling you what to do next. Have them draw you a road map. Then make your own decision without any pressure.

20. How can I get more information? The best way to get the answers to your questions is to submit an online – no obligation – request for more information. Contact a recruiter near you.

Bonus Tip: Why not have the recruiter write down the answers to all your questions? This will help you go over their answers later and compare answers across services. It also makes the recruiters think carefully about their answers and other bonuses.

Enlistment IncentivesThere is much more than simply a paycheck with your enlistment. Did you know that you could earn up to $40,000 in signing bonuses? Or that can get over $37,000 in GI Bill education benefits? And if you score well on the AFQT you could increase the value of the GI Bill to as much as $71,000. Find out about some of the exciting incentives below.
Tip: Never be bashful about asking your recruiter about bonuses. It is their job to make sure you get the bonuses you deserve for agreeing to serve your country.

Enlistment Bonuses: These bonuses currently range up to $40,000. Some bonuses require a five or six year enlistment instead of the normal four-year enlistment. Most bonuses are paid for specific jobs, and require solid ASVAB scores, so be sure you score well! Bonus levels change all the time depending on recruiting needs. Ask your recruiter for details.
Student Loan Repayment: If you have gone to college or are going to college, and have loans to repay, the military may be able to help. The Army offers the biggest help, repaying up to $65,000 in college loans. The Navy and Air Force pay up to $12,000.

Voluntary Education Programs: Many military members continue their education while on duty. Though difficult, it is possible if you put in the dedication. Each of the service branches have programs dedicated helping their members reach their education goals. These programs offer tuition assistance, counseling, classroom facilities, and other systems to support voluntary education.

G. I. Bill: In a nutshell, the G. I. Bill gives you over $37,000 in educational benefits. This is a pay to play program that requires members to contribute $100 a month from their pay for the first 12 months of enlistment. This $1,200 is a valuable investment in your future. Although you may begin using this benefit while you are on active duty, you must earn an honorable discharge if you choose to use your benefits after service.
Accelerated Promotion: Accelerated promotion is offered under several methods. You may be eligible if you:
Were/are a Girl or Boy Scout.
Have any college credit or have already earned your bachelor’s degree or higher.
Refer friends to join.

Each service’s rules vary, and usually the highest advancement is to E-3 immediately after basic training. Advanced promotion may also continue after boot camp as well.
Special Forces Recruitment: The Army, Navy, and Air Force now offer special incentives for recruits who sign up for special forces programs. You are NOT guaranteed a spot as a special forces member! You are, however, guaranteed a chance at going to the necessary training schools in order to become a special operator. These programs are extremely competitive and you should only consider the Special Forces if you are in great physical shape. Visit the Special Operations Center to see if you have what it takes.