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Joining the U.S. Army: Pros and Cons From a Soldier's Viewpoint


Jessica and her fiancé are both in the Army, and she knows a great deal about the pros and cons of enlisting!

11 Pros of Joining the Army

1. Job Security

When you join the Army, you are put in a certain job; if you tested well, you are put into the job you wanted according to availability. Then you go through Basic Training, and upon passing this, you continue on to Advanced Individual Training (AIT). Upon completion of these two courses, you become qualified for that job you were given. The job will be yours; there will be no lay-offs.

Note: Only after completion of both Basic and AIT is the job yours. If failure of one or both of these training courses is a result, then you may lose your job and you would most likely be assigned with a less than desirable job. Transferring to another job is possible based on various and widely ranged circumstances. My fiancé transferred to a different job just recently, and I can transfer to another job if I'm willing to give up the enlistment bonuses I was given. If I don't want to give up my bonus, I can pick another job when I enlist in a few years. There are options.

2. Income Annually Adjusted for Inflation

Based on inflation, we get a pay raise every year.

3. Dependable Retirement Benefits

It's not a question mark.

4. Learn and Train in New Skills

The Army takes pride in the constant and consistent learning of its soldiers. It's definitely a pride of mine; the Army assists me in my goal to always keep learning.

5. Stay in Shape and Stay Healthy . . . and Get Paid Doing It!

It's a joke in the army, but it's also a reality that we get paid for doing something we would do habitually even if we weren't in the Army.

6. Gain Lasting Friendships

The Army is its own community, and as a community, it has its own experiences. It's a great thing to know when you can count on a buddy with your life.

7. Learn More About Yourself

With the extreme training environments, the Army puts you through you tend to learn a lot more about yourself than you would working at your local movie store or internship, etc. The Army places its soldiers through extreme training so that the soldier will be ready for anything and thus more likely to come home unscathed. I learned more about myself and my abilities in six months of Army training than I have in 10 years of my life.

8. Skip Out on the Routine Life

Army life is definitely different. Training is constantly changing; something different always needs to be done or learned. It's great for people who don't like to stand idle.

9. Take a Break From School/Work

With the choice of joining the military comes the outcome of your decision—if you're Active Army, you have the life of a soldier on a base and possibly a deployment in the future; if you're Army Reserve, you will have a deployment on your hands. If it's a break from school or work you want, then more power to ya; you'll get it. (Side comment: debt free!)

10. Educational Benefits

The Army promotes learning. It may take you out of school or work for a year or two, but learning and becoming a better person is always #1 so that you can do your job to its utmost effectiveness. So take a break from school or work and work as a medic or intel analyst for the Army, and let the Army help you expand your mind and your life.

11. Full-Time Pride in the Job That You Do

One of the reasons why some join the Army is that they are not interested in working in corporate offices. To them and me, the 9–5 shift working in cubicles represents an empty, hollow, and meaningless way to live. By joining the Army, we gain the meaning and the knowledge that we are serving our country in a way that we can be proud of.

Afterthought: Joining the Army is not for everyone, and hopefully, this will enlighten anyone who's wondering if the Army is for them.

Tidbit of random information: Something that lightens the burden on soldiers is that when they deploy they receive a tax-free paycheck. Isn't that a good gift to discover?

10 Cons of Joining the U.S. Army

1. If the Army's Not for You, You'll Hate It

Think carefully before you join; do your research. You always have time. The Army's maximum enlistment age is 42. Don't rush your decision.

2. Separation

My fiance is also in the Army, and he's already been to Iraq and back. I had to endure the separation of that time, and it's no small thing to ignore. Separation from your loved ones, whether you are in the military or you're a family member, is one of the aspects of military life that can make or break a person.

3. Political Party of the President

No matter what, you must be willing to follow the orders of the current president, no matter the political affiliation.

4. Early Wake-Up

Enough said.

5. Less Predictable and Controllable Schedule

An office job might be better if you like predictability.

6. The Food

Army food, depending on where you're stationed, will be either enjoyable or edible. Endure it and drive on.

7. Life Is Challenging

From day one: no whining, no complaining, and NO EXCUSES.

8. Possible Injury or Death

The risk is real; think before you act.

9. Not Everyone Supports the Military

At times non-military personnel will be ignorant as to what you do in the Army and will act out against you with some sort of self-righteous display. Not everyone supports us, and every soldier needs to deal with that. Everyone is entitled to their opinions.

10. There's a Lot of Running

A lot of running. Deal with it, soldier, and drive on.

It's Doing Some Good

With this war, we're raging and the anger we're seeing among us because of an "unjust war," there is plenty of good that has been done: This is the first time there's been another democracy in the Middle East.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.


Manoj Kumar on January 07, 2019:

Indian army joining karna ha

Chris on May 10, 2018:


steven on February 07, 2018:

hi i want to join right now in the army and i'm 16.

Oliver on October 22, 2017:

Malik, I guess I feel the same way as you do, I live in Montreal, Canada and would be very much interested in moving to the US, getting a green card, and joining the army, I like my country but our military sucks compared to the US military. There are many reasons why I want to join the army including the fact that I'll never work 9-5, I'll never be at a boring desk job, I'll get training, I'll learn many things like hand to hand combat, knives training and weapons training. Now I plan on preparing before leaving in June 2019 maybe, I first want to train my body and my cardiovascular system to be able to pass the tests easily. For the next 1 year and 8 months, I will add 30-35 pounds of muscle to my frame and get really strong on the main lifts(I'll be at: 250 pound on the incline bench press, 165 pounds on the overhead press, and be able to do 5 chin ups with 100 pounds attached to a lifting belt), so chin ups and pull ups will be very easy, and most of the physical work will be doable, I will also for these next 1 year and 8 months, train my heart by running long distances. I really think that being a high level bodybuilder can help with strength and endurance in the army. As for your family, I'd say you have to ask yourself a question, would you prefer living an average life that isn't what you want just because your family would not have to worry, or would you prefer to risk your life but do what you want to do not what others tell you to. In other words, it's a sacrifice but it's worth it if it means doing what you want to do. But it's still a sacrifice, choose wisely but know that nowadays dying in the army is less likely than before (the US isn't at war right now, so unless they start one in the next 5 years which isn't likely). You won't be in grave danger if you are careful, most deaths are caused by alcohol on the job or other stupid things. If you are careful and follow the training, the risk should be minimal. And when you talk about being attached, at one point in your life you still have to leave and become independent, dont' worry when you come back you'll have time to see them, you don't say goodbye forever. It's not like you're going to war, there is no war right now like I said.

Malik jackson on July 31, 2017:

I am in the process of joining but still a bit skeptical because I'm so attached to my family....any advice?

Brandy on November 28, 2016:

First of all thank you, and all the other men and woman, for your service. These days especially, we do not deserve such selfless people at our backs. Secondly, I would like to thank you personally. Because of you (and the research I put in) I am fully aware of what I will be signing up for. You have just help a random civilian make the final choice in a life long decision.

Sydney on July 31, 2015:

I've been told countless times on articles that you would have to swim while in the army, whether it be in boot camp or when you're out serving. Do you really? I'm terrified of water and I should get over it while I'm in still in school.

MOORE on May 14, 2015:

Is there a way to talk to female members of the US army to get more basic information?

demertius on February 04, 2015:

I applause you for the insight, I Love being part of a US Army but kinda still thinking......

Kaiya on May 08, 2014:

Hey, yeah I'm 14 too and I want to join the army, should I be in ROTC beforehand?

Tobi on January 28, 2014:

I'm 14 and I've been thinking of joining the army since I was 12 but I want to go to to college first and then join the army but by the time I'm done with college I will be 30 years old and I'm kind of embarrassed to join at that age

Kingsley on August 04, 2012:

i am a boy of 23years.i want to join the USA army but i have try my best but is not going through.please kindly help me.i am in african,am GHANAIAN

nisha on June 01, 2012:

i would like to join the army, firstly im trying to get over the fear of dying, i really want to join but that fear is constantly there, i also need to know how long ill be away from home i want to be able to live life as well, and secondly if i join the army they own me, there is no going back, what if i find that the army is not for me, what if they fight a war im completely against? the army will completely own me if i join. Im a confused mess, i NEED HELP i dont know what to do i feel the need to join badly but.........i dont know!!!!!!!!

Ya on May 21, 2012:

Hi im 17and a female. I want to be a mortuary affairs specialist. I was wondering if theres a war, do I have to be in combat?

angelnov15 on May 16, 2012:






Jessica on March 24, 2012:

I'm 21 and my dad has mentioned all my life I should join the army/navy/military. I'm actually considering it at this point in my life. I don't even know the difference between National Guard, Army, Navy or whatever else there is. Also, What can I expect if I joined? My dad said reserves, but I'm interested in knowing about all my choices...what are they? Please email me with any information you have. liveyourambition@gmail.com


DeAndre' on March 23, 2012:

I got to say its good having a good army post instead of that other negative post by that one girl, don't care for the name but you matched every pro and con for me. Good post.

Jaritt Noggler Combat Engineer Ohio Army Nat'l Guard on March 20, 2012:

I cant wait to serve for my country and get over there next year

Terry on March 05, 2012:

Hi, I'm 18 about to turn 19. I fill like everything I do ends in failure. I'm a little over weight. (I'm 5'6" and weigh 185 lbs) I don't care to do physical activity, its just my stamina right now isn't nearly what it used to be. (Thanks McDonald's) I'm 50/50 on joining the army. 1, separation from my girl friend/family. 2, I'm nervous and have NO IDEA what to expect. Would someone email me (tmccoy_93@yahoo.com) and talk with me? I have no idea what I'm doing.

Members and Guests on February 22, 2012:

I guess this would be in the list of Cons

ticardo on January 18, 2012:

how much running do u do when u get stationed after basic training and ait

rachael on December 29, 2011:

Hey, I've always thought about joining the army since I was 11 and yesterday I decided I will. I'm 17 now, but thought it best to get my BA in 4 years and then join when I'm 21. I want to be deployed and serve...but I'm still nervous about the whole decision even if it's so far away. Your post helped a lot and made me even more sure about my decision. Thanks.

Alan Adkins II on October 26, 2011:

I plan on joining the army in 6 days from now, I'll be 18 then. I don't know the specific name of my mos but I'll be a tanker. Hopefully with the M1A2s.

Simone P. on December 26, 2010:

i am pretty sure the Army is something I was built for I like keeping in shape and having an active/busy life. Im not the type of person to really miss anyone to the point I break down but I know I'll think about everyone in my down time. I just think of being away from my boyfriend and family as bettering me and my future. I just cant skip up on free education, life long bonds, and getting serious about me. I was going to join right out of highschool but my mother talked me out of it, I reget it now but not again. IM GOING and CANT WAIT TO SERVE!!!

Meghann on December 21, 2010:

I do hope to join after I get my BSN and become an OB/GYN nurse, but I have worried about people running up to me and telling me I'm killing innocents! What a life, I've already had friends who didn't grow up around military asking me why I would ever want to do this... but I love my country, my family, my friends, and our soldiers... and if I become a nurse, I get to serve them all.

To Yas:

If you join the army, you are always up for deployment. If we are in war, you cannot expect to not go. As I've heard it said before, it's not "if" you go but "when".

Yas on December 12, 2010:

I was think about join the army but I was jus wondering..does everyone that join the army have to go to war..because I was told I could get a job and work in one of the offices like I was intrested in human resources/management.. but will I still have to fight when the time comes..and if so. How long will it take before I get deployed and if u know anything about the navy please inform me..email me blackberrii84@gmail.com

justin on November 18, 2010:

hey im in the army!! im a rookie. anyone who`s also in the army could you give me some pointers???

justin on November 18, 2010:

dude im going into the army!!!! wish me luck!!!!!

MadelynFinley from United States on July 13, 2010:

Your number 10 pro is the one that stands out to me the most. I was looking for it as I was reading through the list. Good job!

Net Success on March 28, 2010:

Good article, I am going to join the army because the pro's 5 and 6. I want to have a job where I stay fit and can workout while gaining friendships.

Nancy V on February 22, 2010:

I was wondering if you would mind emailing, because I have a few questions I would like to ask another female about joining the army. I read your other hub about being a female in the Army, and it helped answer a lot of them.

Thank you. C:

email: nanchey@yahoo.com

Shastar3 on February 05, 2010:

Who is in Washington should have much to do with anyone in the military. I know of young people who have been permately disabled and fighting for 2 years to receive benefits that they should have received, no questions asked. our government sent them there, they were disabled. Why does our government promise much but don't stand behind it?

I have a 16 yr old son, and yes he has thought about it

( how could he not with recruiters stalking the high schools) I will do whatever it takes for him to realize that now is not the time to join. Our government must take better care of our Vets. I am so proud and grateful for all who serve. If you are injured I just want to know that you will all be taken care of by the people who sent you out!

Carbonfour on December 28, 2009:

I’m 26; I’m looking to be a reserve. What should I expect going in? I ask for the reason that I have talked to three recruiters and I have been told three different stories.

Thanks in advance! -Cody

Amanda on December 23, 2009:

Can you email me, please. I have some questions for you about th Army, if that's okay. Especially from a female's point of view.

jpauling352 from Saint Charles IL on November 24, 2009:

I wonder if #1 Job Security outweighs the entire cons side when we are in an economy like this

Navy Jobs Source on November 10, 2009:

Thanks for sharing your personal point of view with this hub. There are many young people who may be questioning if the army is right for them and this may help them make their decision.

White-6-alpha on July 03, 2009:

living in the barracks is free of charge, so is water, electric and laundry... but you will have to pay for internet, cable and whatnot. the other problem is that they take money out of your check every two weeks for food, because they anticipate that you will eat at their Dining facility, but you won't always eat there, ours was closed for 3 years.

james on June 08, 2009:

one more question is it really completely free to live on base. excluding all the utilities.sorry for bugging you

james on June 08, 2009:

thanks for answering my question and i hope you have a good time in the army peace.

Jessica W (author) on June 08, 2009:

"Beat your face" means do pushups. You do pushups until the sergeant says so. It's really like lying in a bed of roses ; )

Jessica W (author) on June 08, 2009:

James, thank you for your comments. Good Luck with the Army but make sure you do great in school, that way no one can push you around inellectually. Thanks, too, for your last comment.

As for AIT, it's called Advanced Individual Training. It's where you go to train for the job you selected for the Army. Everyone's AIT is different. I had a friend who's AIT was amazingly easy and it only lasted for about 8 weeks. Those kind of training situations are said to be like college but with PT (physical training) in the morning. My AIT was extremely different, it was 15 weeks and the sergeants were crazy- but they had to be, with my MOS (military occupational specialty). Honestly, when I was in Basic I just looked to get through it. AIT is what I was focusing on. When you're done with Basic you'll be called a soldier, however depending on which base and mos you end up with, you may not be called a soldier until you complete AIT. It all depends on that lovely job you choose. At the very least the operative word to get used to (no matter your real rank) is PRIVATE. "Shut up, Private, you're in my world now. Beat your face."

james on June 07, 2009:

i never heard of this AIT before today. is it even harder then basic training because,i thought basic training is all you had to do,to be called a soldier

james on June 07, 2009:

I really respect it that you are trying to encourage people to join the millitary and protect our nation. i am only 16 but once i get out of high school i am going to the army.oh yeah and don't worry about what DARTH VADER told you.

Jessica W (author) on March 04, 2009:

TMG, thank you for your comments. You missed my point though, our political leanings don't have anything to do with being professional soldiers. The shooting of my weapon is not affected by who I think should be president nor does it affect the performance of any other duties. For example, when we are given a mission we don't get all caught up in who's in the presidency; instead, we are concerned with doing our job well and supporting our comrades.

I am an enlisted soldier, as are all of my battles. I am well acquainted with many among the higher rank structure; they all have their own political leanings and they are all still amazing and professional soldiers. I can't help but think that an apolitical soldier might as well be a drone, or a droid if you will: Unable to differentiate between right or wrong, and unable to work beyond its own abilities when needed.

However, TMG, all of this is entirely subjective on both our parts. Hence why I wrote this article from my point of view.

TheMoneyGuy from Pyote, TX on March 04, 2009:

You still have much to learn young Padawan. While it is true in the enlisted ranks it takes longer for that reality to set in. I know I have held every one of them. It becomes more apperent in the officer ranks, I have held a majority of them, I speak only from personal experience.


Jessica W (author) on March 01, 2009:

TMG, Thank ou for your thoughts. I especially agree with your last line, and at times it makes service difficult. However, our political leanings don't have anything to do with being professional soldiers. The shooting of my weapon is not affected by who I think should be president nor does it affect the performance of any other duties. Again, though, I would like to thank you for your thoughts.

TheMoneyGuy from Pyote, TX on February 19, 2009:

I would add to number 3 on the cons, not just the party of the President, but to be a truly professional Soldier you must truly be apolitical. Getting swept up into politics is the fastest way to tank your careers. Remember you are a servant of the people and they are a fickle lot.


Jessica W (author) on February 19, 2009:

Again, Thank You AlexiusComnenus, for your comments! I am glad that at least one of my pro's was in line with someone else's! I also agree that trading my friends and experiences would be utterly impossible.

AlexiusComnenus from GA on February 18, 2009:

I particularly was touched by number 6 in pros. I have had some amazing friends and experiences I wouldn't trade for a thing on earth. Kudos!

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