10 Awful Things About the Army That Nobody Tells You

Updated on May 18, 2019
SgtCecil profile image

For several years, I was a soldier-medic in the US Army. I saw countless military and family members. Now I am a veteran looking back



Before I begin listing and explaining my points, I want to make it clear that this article is not meant to be disrespectful or insulting to any branch of the military. I'm not bashing the army or America by shedding light on the unsatisfactory aspects of service. Also, I don't want to scare anybody or discourage serving in a branch of the military, because the army isn't scary. If you sincerely want to serve, then that's awesome!

So what's this article actually about? Let's put it this way: if you want to buy a car, you can go to a dealership and stare at a car endlessly. You can walk around it as many times as you want, maybe even kick the tires. But remember, tires can be changed. You have to look under the hood. If you want to make the right decision about purchasing a car or pursuing a military career, you have to do your homework. This article will help you do that.

I'll focus on the army in this article because it's the only branch of the military that I served in. I can't speak for the other branches. To be fair, I have another article titled 7 Awesome Things About the Army Your Recruiter Will Never Tell You. Take a look at it after you read this one.

Finally, throughout this article, I'll refer to the soldier as a "he." I'm only doing so to keep things simple. I know there are many female service members, and I am proud to have served alongside them. Thank you for understanding.

10 Awful Things About the Army No One Tells You

10. Identity Theft Is a Threat to Soldiers, and It's Equally as Bad for Veterans

You might think that if you work for the army, you'd be safe from the threat of identity theft, but let's get honest and clear about this risk. The truth is that identity theft is rampant for service members, veterans, and their families.

If you haven't memorized your social security number (SSN) by now, you will within the first few days of in-processing. Throughout your entire military career, it will be used so often, and on so much paperwork, that you will get numb to it. Why? There are so many people in the military that the quickest, easiest way to identify each individual is to do so by number. You'll notice a lot of private sector companies do this as well.

Almost every form you fill out provides another opportunity for a criminal to get your name, SSN, and date of birth. In minutes, you can become an identity theft casualty. If you're deployed and fighting in the latest war, you might not find out that your personal information has been stolen until months after the fact! Instead of confetti in your ticker-tape parade, you'll have bills and more paperwork to contend with, but this time the paperwork will be for all the credit bureaus and collection agencies you'll have to communicate with to sort out your identity theft issues. Oh, and this doesn't end after your time serving is complete. It's just as easy to nab a veteran's identity as it is to steal an active soldier's identity.

This doesn't just happen to individual military representatives. Sometimes, large numbers of soldiers are robbed of their personal information all at once. Why would criminals go for a single target when they can take advantage of millions of hardworking, taxpaying Americans all at once? Computers are stolen from the homes and cars of government officials so often that the media thinks it's old news. Do any of these government employees get thrown in prison? Fired? Disciplined? No. Also the government has never been shy about hiring contractors to handle office work that contains sensitive information, so it's not hard to doubt their devotion to protecting the information they're privy to.

To be fair, the Department of Defense has been working hard to phase out the use of social security numbers. For example, they are no longer used on dog tags! Instead, the Pentagon issues a 10-digit randomly generated number. Go Army! Hopefully, someday, social security numbers will no longer be required for any military paperwork.

But for now, a soldier must fight on two fronts: to protect his country and his identity.

What Does the Army Do to Prevent Identity Theft?

Apart from warning service members about the risks and instructing them to be careful about their documentation, there isn't much that can be done to protect a person's information or identity. Prevention and swift action in the event of identity theft are typically the only ways of addressing this issue. The Military Consumer has a lot of information available to specifically help servicemen and veterans navigate identity theft issues because this kind of violation is an unfortunate possibility for people in the military.

9. The Army Is Not Adult Daycare—This Misconception Gets People Killed

One of the things I despise most is the idea that the army serves the soldier. The army doesn't serve you, you serve your country by joining the army. Fortunately, there are very few people that believe this because Basic Combat Training (BCT) does an outstanding job of smoking that idea out of recruits' heads. But still, people who think of the army as an adult daycare facility are out there making life for other soldiers far worse and sometimes more dangerous. Immature people who misunderstand the purpose of the army usually want access to the army's benefits without understanding the sacrifices and responsibilities associated with serving.

Even though the army does have benefits that help soldiers and families throughout their lives, these benefits are not available anywhere else, so it makes sense for civilians to join the military to get them. But those benefits are not what I'm talking about. In fact, if you serve, I highly recommend that you get involved in all the beneficiary programs you can. Doing so will enable you to be a better soldier now and a better civilian afterwards.

What I am talking about is the idea that the army is just a job that's impossible to get fired from or a steady source of income for anyone who can twiddle his thumbs and stay out of sight. Usually, I don't care what people think. However, this kind of attitude usually leads to a sub-par performance.

An irresponsible soldier might get out of shape, forget minute but important parts of certain procedures, not take inspections seriously, and so on. If one soldier is lax about his responsibilities, then everyone else on the team will have a larger load to bear as a result.

My friend, the days of Beetle Bailey are over. It's funny to see that kind of behavior in a comic strip, but to see it in real life is disgusting. If you're the kind of guy who thinks the army is Club Med for slackers, then the rest of this article will scare the living you-know-what out of you.

8. It Will Destroy Your Soul

David Wong published an outstanding article on Cracked.com called 9 Types of Jobs that Will Destroy Your Soul that aptly describes the roles people play in the workplace. I must warn you that the language is rough, but every word of it is true. Every soldier has experienced at least seven of these roles at some point during his military career. I will not re-write what the article says, but I will tell you that every soldier can, at any moment, become:

  • The punching bag: A person who bears the brunt of complaints, but can do nothing to help.
  • The walking dead: A person who will face sleep deprivation and irregular hours.
  • The laughingstock: A person who does a job that everyone makes fun of.
  • The cog: A person who performs endless tasks with mindless repetition.
  • The rat in a cage: A manager responsible for those he has no authority over.
  • The assistant cromulationist: A highly-specialized job that is impossible to explain.
  • The Bob: A person who makes everyone else's job harder.
  • The girl: A.K.A. the "lone representative of your gender in the workplace" (this applies to female soldiers).

The article is hilarious. If you are a civilian, you will appreciate it, but if you are a soldier, you'll relate to it because you will live it every day.


7. You Are on Call 24/7, Even When You're Not

Ever wonder why service members tell time differently? For example, it's not 11p.m., it's 2300 hrs. This is because war never sleeps. Those who think otherwise have another thing coming. Battle is about maneuvering units and materials at a moment's notice to secure a tactical advantage. This can easily happen at night, and it can easily make no sense to you.

No matter what your rank or specialization, the army can wake you up at 0200 hrs and make you guard a port-o-potty in the middle of nowhere, thousands of miles from any national security threat. The only items you might have to protect yourself will be a broom and a canteen. You'll have no say in the matter, and nobody is required to explain anything to you.

You're not even safe when you're on vacation. Oh, didn't you know that the army considers weekends and holidays to be vacation days? That fact came as a shock to me. When you go on vacation, you are expected to fill out a lot more paperwork than you would at a typical company in the private sector. The army wants to know every detail regarding your whereabouts when you're on vacation—including the hotel you'll be staying in.

Why? In case of a national emergency, the army has to know where you are so it can summon you if they need you. Even if you are far from your base, you may be contacted to report to a closer one. This is highly unlikely, but it is a soldier's responsibility.

6. Your First Amendment Rights Will Be Limited While You're Serving

Most service members easily accept this. I did. Even though I knew what I believed in, I also knew it wasn't fair to use my uniform to push my personal beliefs on anyone else. The people who love to sell their beliefs wrapped in a flag with a pretty yellow ribbon on top will be annoyed to see that their rights to free speech are tossed right out the window.

Don't get me wrong, you can always be an armchair activist; maybe even go to a few protests or demonstrations, however, the second you identify yourself as a service member, you'll be in deep trouble. As a military member, you'll fight for America, but you're not authorized to speak for it.

Still, the army seems to favor Christianity. There's lots of "oh lord" this and "praise Jesus" that. This shouldn't surprise anyone because the United States is populated by many Christians. As a Christian myself, I never did take it personally. However, many other soldiers who identify as Jewish, Muslim, atheist, etc. are forced to put their beliefs in the back seat while fighting for a constitution that guarantees religious freedom.

There is even a non-profit Military Religious Freedom Foundation that fights for the religious equality of American soldiers in the U.S. military. But don't bring it up at any of the "prayer breakfasts" you might find yourself at. Think that was a joke? Join and see. Just don't spill the salt.


5. When You Join the Military, Your Family Joins With You

I was born into a military family. Later, when my mother was pregnant with my brother, my father decided not to re-enlist. By then, he had saved enough to start his own business. He did so and never looked back. Decisions like this are terrifying to make. Who do you turn your back on: your family or your country? Of course, it's not always black and white, but it does make life tough for everyone—even for the parents of soldiers.

Although military marriages are no more likely to end in divorce than civilian marriages, they are faced with unique challenges that not every couple is prepared for. For example, a military spouse is not as likely to find a career. A potential employer has to face the possibility that the employee might leave with only a few day's notice if their spouse is suddenly stationed elsewhere. An article called How Military Marriage Screws Up Your Career sheds light on many of the ways that military spouses can struggle professionally.

An army wife understands that her soldier can be deployed at any time. During this time, she holds down the fort. I hate to say this, but it's a lot like being a single mom. It takes a very special woman to be an army wife.

Supportive resources on military bases are there to help spouses and families, but they are usually overwhelmed by the number of people they serve. It's becoming so much of a problem that countless non-profit organizations are popping up to fill in the gap. There is no reason you can't have a happy marriage and a great career in the military. Just remember that when you join, so does your family.

4. You Will Be Broke

In the service, nobody gets rich. A person may join for the bonus or to pay off student loans. These are definitely great benefits. Also, the military pays for housing, food, medical fees, and so on. Furthermore, bases have gyms and recreational facilities. So what causes soldiers to end up broke?

All the aforementioned benefits are real, but the actual take-home pay is low. Take a look at the military's take-home pay rate and look at "Enlisted Military Pay" E-1 through E-4. That's what the youngest of our troops have to subsist on per month. Most young, single soldiers survive, but it's our military families that are getting burned. Unfortunately there are many reasons why a military family may live in poverty.

Oddly enough, many people actually believe that poverty in the military is a myth. As a medic, I've seen military family members attempt suicide because they are living with and experiencing the reality of military impoverishment. I've seen countless programs such as Army Emergency Relief and Adopt a U.S. Soldier try to save our soldiers' families. I've seen laws such as the FY 2007 Military Authorization Act passed that, among other things, clearly make it illegal for payday lenders to prey upon our soldiers.

Poverty in the military is very real, and the possibility of being broke after enlisting is something to heavily consider. You can always join the military and try to strike it rich if you want to try to prove me wrong about this.

3. You Will See the Government Waste Money

Okay, let's take a break. Hungry? Make yourself a snack: two eggs, any style (I like mine scrambled). Once you've made these eggs, throw them away, right into the garbage. Then make some more. These eggs are actually for you. Enjoy!

It was heartbreaking, right? Throwing away those perfectly fine eggs? Well, that's what happens in the military. And I'm not talking about war profiteering, I'm talking about regular, day-in-day-out procedures. I used eggs in my example because eggs must be tossed if they're sitting around too long after being cooked. The military throws away a lot of food every day. When it comes to feeding the troops, it's better to throw away food rather than eat something that's not fresh enough.

Now that I think about it, the real reason KP (kitchen patrol) is so tough is not because they're always scrubbing pots and pans in the steaming kitchen. The real punishment is that you will end up seeing a lot of food getting thrown out, and it will be hard to witness all the wastefulness. Perfectly good food that nobody has eaten must be thrown away to prevent food poisoning. Can you throw away a whole chocolate cake that no one has touched? How about a tub of ice cream? Can you do it again and again? You will if you sign up for the military!

In fairness, there's a lot of waste in any organization. Even the most profitable companies on earth throw things away. Sometimes it takes too much time and effort to save little things like staples, paperclips, or attack helicopters. Sometimes it takes too much time and effort to bring home thousands of perfectly functioning assault rifles. It's just easier to order new ones from the defense contractors. This practice gives people jobs to do, so technically, everyone wins! Well, except for the taxpayers.

This was one of the toughest parts of being in the army for me. It was hard to throw things away when, on the other side of the base, the family of a junior enlisted soldier was living in poverty and could have used what we threw out.

2. You Might Get Seriously Hurt

Casualties happen in war. War is hell. People know the risks when they join. It comes with the territory, but I'm not talking about that.

What people don't know is that this can happen at any time and in any place, even stateside. Even if there is no ammunition or other threat around, a soldier can get seriously and permanently injured.

After years of PT (physical training), a soldier may have problems with his knees and other joints. He can easily have the same problems pro basketball players have, but without the same salary. Any civilian can get injured, but it is more likely in the military because you are more active and working longer hours with more dangerous equipment.

Medics are ready, safety policies are in place, and your buddies are usually looking out for you, but sometimes this isn't enough. As a medic, I've seen twenty-year-old trainees walking with canes as a result of injuries they sustained during service.

1. You Will Be Held to a Higher Standard Forever

The number one awful thing about the army that nobody tells you is that you will forever be held to a higher standard!

Lexington and Concord, Gettysburg, Normandy, and all the soldiers who fought before you in many historic battles have paved the way. It is now your turn. If you think this is an honor, then you are right. What you might not know is that this is also a huge responsibility, and it will last until the day you die.

Your friends will expect you to be in great shape even after you are discharged. Your family will expect you to be calm and patient. Your coworkers will expect you to lead the way and handle stress easily. Everyone you know will expect you to win. Nobody will expect you to complain. If you oversleep, get drunk, become poor, gain weight, etc., then you will disappoint the civilians who look up to you.

This responsibility brings out the best in soldiers and veterans, but it lasts forever—and it will never be easy to deal with.

More Important Facts About Military Service

Here are some other important things to know about the military

ROTC Programs

The Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) are elective college and university-based training programs that prepare adults to become officers in the U.S. military. The ROTC can be used to pay for college tuition and enrolled participants are under no obligation to join the army if they solely participate during their freshman and sophomore years of school. After graduating, participants will begin a period of obligatory military service. The United States' ROTC education programs are a good option for students who want to learn more about serving in the military before they join. There are ROTC programs for every branch of the military except the coast guard.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Military Service

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a violent act, warfare, or assault. Because military service may place soldiers in dangerous environments and situations, there is a risk of developing PTSD.

Before joining a branch of the military, it is a good idea to consider the dangerous aspects of service and whether or not you're capable of facing potentially life-threatening situations. Developing PTSD, a serious injury, or dying are service-related realities of joining the military.

Should I Join the Army?

Now that you know about the unpleasant aspects of serving in the army, it is up to you to determine whether or not these realities are enough to discourage you from serving. Some people can accept that the army will be one of the most challenging endeavors to undertake and some people cannot.

Why Join the Army?

If you've done plenty of research about the army and what service entails and you're not dissuaded by what you have learned, then you should also consider that joining the army will test you as a person and soldier. You will learn a lot about your country, service, the world, and yourself if you join. You will also have the opportunity to serve and sacrifice to make your nation safer or to protect the rights that Americans have.

While there are definitely unpleasant aspects of service, there are also a lot of good things about joining the army. Understanding the potential benefits and pitfalls of joining the army will help potential soldiers make a good decision about whether or not to enlist.

If you think you can do it, if you want the chance, or if you feel that you are ready to join the army after reading this article, then go for it! Good luck!

Nobody's Stopping You

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Questions & Answers

  • Can I still join the Army if my English isn't that good and I don't speak loudly?

    If you can read this sentence, you're good to go. That said, if a civilian's English isn't good enough the recruiter will tell him right away. Also don't worry if you can't speak loudly. I promise you, the Army will fix that in three seconds. 3... 2... 1... YES, DRILL SERGEANT!

  • What are some of the reasons that make a soldier's job hard?

    Soldiers have unique challenges that most civilians don't. Read this article for more information. Also, America has a taste for (undeclared) war. Regardless of a civilian's political leanings, this is a reality that the soldier and his family faces every day. They must be ready for his possible deployment. This means lots of training on top of the regular duties of the soldier's MOS. This is the price of national security and only the finest Americans are ready to step up and pay.

  • How does the Army decide when you go out to fight?

    The Army decides which soldiers to send to which conflicts. Some units will be sent more frequently than others. Sometimes a specific soldier in a unit might be called up for deployment. In the end, it all depends on the "Needs of the Army."

  • I want to join the army. I am a little skinny, but I can do heavy jobs. Could I survive the training?

    If I can do it, then anyone can! If your recruiter says you're good to go, then you're good to go. I have written a couple of articles about how to prepare for and make it through BCT. These are good places to start: https://hubpages.com/politics/basic-training-is-ea... and https://hubpages.com/politics/how-to-get-ready-for...

  • I'm a civilian, and I've read negative things from most soldiers about us, how we're not good enough compared to them and that we're held in contempt for our lackluster performance. They mock us, calling us cowards, sissies, buttercups, and so on. It's made me feel bad. Why are they saying such things about us? What did we do to deserve such disrespect?

    I'm very sorry you feel this way. I don't know who is saying this so I cannot comment on why they are. Personally, I don't feel this way about civilians. I don't feel this way about anyone. As a medic, I worked alongside civilians, military and veterans. They were all brilliant, hardworking and put the mission first. So, try to ignore those comments.

    I don't know who you are, but I think that the best thing you can do for your country is to stay out of trouble, work hard and better yourself. Do your best to be an example to those around you. This won't always be easy, but it will always be worthwhile. Also, no drunk driving! Seriously.

What Do You Think? Anything to Add?

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    • profile image


      2 weeks ago

      The army can be full of surprises. Change shifts every eight days. With two days off. How can a married person stand it? I was single going in,

      single coming out. I saw a lot of strained marriages. What, no weekends off? Yes, it happens. If you are female, you had better know how to say no, and mean it. I enjoyed a lot about the army, but I wish I'd been a little older when I joined. The pay is not good. If you can get a part-time job on the side, it will help immensely. The great part is, you will meet some awesome people from other parts of the country. and that's always a good thing. For a girl whose parents had just divorced and needed to find a new way forward, the army was a God-send. I was eighteen and had no option of living at home. Back then, if you were grown, you needed to get gone. Times have

      changed a great deal. But there will always be grown kids who need

      some direction and structure. There were plenty of things about the army I didn't care for, but am forever grateful that the army gave me a home and an escape from a lot of disappointment.

    • profile image

      retired 1SG 

      3 months ago

      I would have to disagree totally with #4. You will be broke. As a single E-1 under 2 years you are making $1,600 plus that is expendable cash. You have no bills. How many single people in the civilian sector 18 years old would love to have that amount minus taxes to be expendable at the end of each month after paying their bills? If you are married, the Army provides you both housing or BAH and money for food or BAS. Now slide on up the ranks a few notches and a few years and think about making $4000 a month minus taxes and you are talking a take home of about $3,200 which is $35,000 expendable per year. That is after all your bills are paid. You are middle class easily. You paint a bleak picture with your limited time dealing with the military. Are you going to be rich, maybe not, but comfortable for sure. Not poor. You can read article after article recently written how people making a $100,000 a year can barely get by so for my money I would bet anyone that has lived the life they will tell you a different story. "Climb to Glory" and "Brave rifles"

    • profile image

      Odili oscar 

      5 months ago

      Thanks for those information really helpful

    • Cheryl E Preston profile image

      Cheryl E Preston 

      7 months ago from Roanoke

      Thank you . This is much-needed information. May this truth set people free.

    • profile image

      Cody Collins 

      7 months ago

      To the individual that said the writer was posting negative things about the army. As far as the comment about being broke in the army he was referring to the married enlisted E-1 thru E- 4. He did say that the single enlisted soldiers, have been able to manage.

      I myself served in the United States Marine Corps for over 8 years 79-88 . All 21st century military people have it great compared to what i had to deal with. The one thing my generation have plenty of That you 21st century soldiers and Marines lack is patience. In my day there was no cell phone no Internet no computers if there is computer it was so basic and being and bulky it wasn't worth having the only way we communicate with home is with a pen and paper and we dropped in in the mail and had to wait 2/3 weeks for a response if your family felt like responding . As an E1 in a Marine Corps my 1st duty station with okinawa Japan which was a one year tour. My pay was a $150 every 2 weeks, These days you guys can probably find a $150 in loose change somewhere in your house. I understand the writer's reasoning for printing this article he wants everyone to have the full picture and not allow some are recruiting to fill their hair with sunflowers and unicorns when most of the time you going to be facing weeds and wild stallions. God bless Everyone that signed the dotted line, Semper Fi.

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      i will be in the marines instead i am 15

    • profile image

      JS USA Retied 24yrs active duty 77-01 

      7 months ago

      Well done-Well explained.., Whoooah..!

    • profile image

      Art Grau, Army Security Agency:1965-69 

      7 months ago

      Your article was most accurate and an important read for anyone thinking about joining the military. Little has changed since I was discharged fifty years ago. You learn quickly to follow orders. Nobody asks your opinions and you are an essential part of a team. You are trained to adjust to any situation and serve your brave comrades around you. I volunteered for Vietnam and landed in the middle of the Tet Offensive. Flying intelligence recon missions with the 1st Air Cav, I never talked about my experiences. The only way to self-heal was to publish, "We Gotta Get Out of This Place-One Soldier's Long Journey Home". You are so right that veterans have a responsibility to serve as model citizens, and I will always be proud of my service and my buddies who served with bravery, courage and distinction.

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      UHHHHHHH. NO. If you go get SCAMMED going to college you will be broke. When you get out of the Army you will have money for college PLUS housing allowance based on the rates where you live. Your housing and food are paid for and you get a pretty good paycheck for being 18. I don't know what the Army did to you, but shame on you for writing such negative and dumb things in here.....

    • profile image

      Michelle King 

      7 months ago

      This writer speaks the Gospel truth about life in the Army OR USMC and other branches of the military. I can say with ALL confirmation and affirmation that what he says about the Army is the truth. Once you have decided to move forward with the Army enlistment paperwork and you are sworn in, you no longer have any control over your life. The Army, USMC, USN, AND The Air Force, literally own you! I don't know what it's like now? BUT back in the Vietnam War Era, there weren't NEARLY as many women as there are today. And WAC basic training was a whole lot tougher than it might be today (?). However I have too believe that with the higher technology we have now. The mental toughness is a must and you must be able to focus on the job at task OR YOU'LL PROBABLY be dead VERY soon. OR you might get someone else killed BECAUSE you weren't focused on the job and the mission. Being a medic in the Army during war time is highly stressful for the fresh recruit coming out of High School years!! OH Yeah, you can be all you want to be in today's Army. BUT you better be ready for the personal sacrifice that is required of you to be in the Army!!! And, you would be very wise to have surrendered your life to God and Jesus Christ

    • profile image


      12 months ago

      I can agree with all of this. Bottom line if you can not succeed in the Army you won’t make it in the civilian world. It’s all about being an adult who is responsible, mature, accountable, and most of all civilized. Those who don’t make it in the Army are the ones who are the degenerates in society the ones who expect everyone else to support them. The ones who never do anything wrong. Wake up it’s not a woe is me instead make it wow look at me. Who ah to all service members of all branches!

    • profile image


      12 months ago

      In the Army or Not, Life is still made out of choices.

    • profile image


      12 months ago

      Well done. I can agree with most of your article. I served in the army for 22 years and did see or experienced most of what you wrote about. When asked by friends or family members did i like being a soldier or should they or their son or daughter join, I always give this as an answer. The army is not a job, it's a way of life not like anything else, you can learn a skill and you can get money for college but being a soldier comes first and that is what army life is all about. Hooah!

    • profile image

      David C 

      12 months ago

      BS until you get to 3-1. Everything else is pretty much BS. Served Army and Air Force even as a recruiter.

    • David Warren profile image

      David Warren 

      12 months ago from Nevada and Puerto Vallarta

      Well said, from another Army veteran, thank you for your service and this hub.

    • profile image


      12 months ago

      I was up for a direct commission multiple times because of my advanced education and experiences, but at the end the recruiters gave me a bunch of crap and wanted me to go in with as an enlisted soldier. I then found out that if recruiters enlists someone to go in as an enlisted soldier and they have an advanced degree and special expeiences then the recruiter will recieve a bonus, promotion, and other rewards. I said f**k that and I never joined. Now, I am an officer in a foreign legion and its great. With what going on today with the US imperial military and thanks to whistleblowers, I realized that going into the US military whether it be enlisted or officer would have been a mistake and I would not be serving my country, i would be serving the corrupt scum bags running the country.

    • profile image

      Sgt wightman. 

      13 months ago

      you forgot bullying and harrassment and nepotism and when you sign up the recruiter is paid bonuses for each applicant who gets sent to basic/specialist training even though in the back of the recruiters head he/she knows you will screw up and drop out. nepotism meaning 2 applicants go forward for training one has a parent/brother/sister who is former serving/currently serving in the Army and one is not from an army background the instructors will happily drop the non army background recruit in favour of the other recruit thats why in peace time the drop out rate is higher than in war time i personally witnessed this when i served in the British army.

    • profile image


      13 months ago

      I took the asvab 9 times already do you think i can still try or it's not for me.

    • profile image


      13 months ago

      you were very honest but forgot to mention that mre's are designed to make you not need to use the restroom.

    • profile image

      William Denison 

      13 months ago

      You forgot to mention that for the first several months a guy/girl will be using open showers and toilets with a bunch of other people. Some who seem to enjoy doing just this.

    • profile image


      13 months ago

      What you forgot is that recruitors lie, the army lies, they will take u in, then send you someplace u never thought of, then tell they have no mostly opening, i.e. in the entire army, but you ate on and we need u to do this job, nobody else wants to do. Double honorably discharged vet.

    • profile image

      .. Soldier of love 

      13 months ago

      I enjoyed your article as it was very informative. You were honest and while stating you were not bashing any branches of military. You learned one thing from being in the army from what I can see. Respect. Thank you for your service, Sir

    • profile image


      14 months ago

      I stopped reading after you will be broke. Gave you a pass on the forst few ones. But you clearly dont knownwhat your talking about if you think that.

    • profile image


      14 months ago

      The biggoest gripe In have about the Army is the damn travel card they force you to get. You will not get approve for training/travel without one. If the gov is late paying the bill the late fees and interest falls on the soldier. Let me use my own credit card and if i do not have one then offer me one. I bet citi bank is stuffing some general's pocket.

    • profile image

      Carol Cox 

      14 months ago

      Well written. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      15 months ago

      In today’s Army, isn’t combat different than in the past? You see all these commercials that look exciting, have people running around in battle with elaborate gear, flying apaches, etc. many of those who I know (lots it seems like) who have joined have said that during their time serving (very recent), many were assigned to bases in places like Germany, and the chances of combat were slim. Others who were in the Navy shot a gun maybe twice during training, spending the rest of the time drilling and maintaining.

      I do know someone who made it as a navy fighter pilot, and he has been more than not. But that seems to make sense based on how combat is today. Is that incorrect?

    • profile image


      15 months ago

      what does a recruit get paid a year

    • JalamelaKi profile image

      Elma Cannon 

      16 months ago from Chicago Il

      I complain my self because I do $ 18.00 p/h. ! ! The saddest thing of all this is that some people end up sick, poor, homeless, without family. We need to have more respect for our veterans and for those who still serving on the battlefield.

    • profile image

      Keith Meadows 

      16 months ago

      This is a horrible article. Most of this isn't true. Get with the times big fella and update your so called "facts"

    • profile image

      Joe II 

      17 months ago

      You liberal! That is not true, that's just your OPINION! I was excepted as a soldier, this is not true.

    • profile image

      jessica vilain 

      19 months ago

      hi,they can teach people how to drive in army please?

    • profile image


      20 months ago

      Depending on what happens when you are in, it can be like a drug that you can never get off of. The last half of my life has been occupied by thoughts of "back when I was in the army", rather than what now. That was decades ago now.

    • profile image

      20 months ago

      you dont need gcs to join the army im 15 turning 16 soon and i want to join the army im going in to training soon

    • profile image


      20 months ago

      hi I'm 14 years old and in middle school I have been told that I wouldn't make it and others say I should try. I've been threw a lot and I thing that the army would help a little. but this doesn't seem that bad. but I know that if I were u and I had been threw it like u then it would be different. I guess I just don't want to go with out knowing my risks and mistakes.

    • profile image

      future hero 

      20 months ago

      i'm joining the marines after i'm 18.. and i already know all about this

    • profile image

      Pusoetsile i really like to be an sa army 

      22 months ago

      I really want to be an army, but I don't have qualifications

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 

      2 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      I suggest service in the National Guard instead of the military. The purpose of the Guard is to assist/help people; the purpose of the military is to kill people. Getting paid to kill makes you a paid killer. Humanitarian aid is better than bombs for overseas actions.

    • Leland Johnson profile image

      Leland Johnson 

      2 years ago from Midland MI

      you made some good points; didn't agree with all of them, eg you don't have to be broke to be a soldier, and being one doesn't have to break you. In fact it's a great place to learn how to manage money. Plus, you learn a vocation and get the GI bill post service to go to college. Not a bad deal- if you survive! Thanks for serving. I was Army too.

    • newjerusalem profile image


      4 years ago from India

      It's a great hub. "You're held to a higher standard...forever" is the ultimate reward we get from the people for the sacrifice we have done. Having served in Defense for 20 years, I agree with your approach. At any point of our life when we look back the sacrifice we made, we can't find any regret. Well written.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 

      4 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      My step father had PTSD after the Korean action. He took it out on us, until my mother divorced him. Someone please explain to me why we fight overseas when we are separated by two great oceans.

    • Anthony J Vita profile image

      Anthony J Vita 

      5 years ago

      Thank you for this great lens that will be very useful for anyone considering joining the Army.

    • rob2922 profile image


      5 years ago

      After serving 22 years in the British forces I can relate to a few of your points but not all , in any walk of life there are difficult times, But as a soldier there is also some great times and benefits, and for those who try a great sense of achievement and pride can be had that very few others ever experience.

    • profile image

      Echo Phoenix 

      5 years ago

      Thank you for your service and this excellent lens :D what is most frightening to me are the millions of war veterans now homeless on our streets, I have heard many of their stories and it is a disgrace the way our gov & society treat the situation with such indifference. This must change, it should be a genuine priority.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Been in the Army for 16 years, and got another 4 on my contract......I SHOULD HAVE JOINED THE AIR FORCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      True story: I was in charge of 2 younger soldiers, and we were with three Marines. The senior Marine and I were of the same rank and he had 2 younger Marines with him. The 2 young soldiers and 2 young Marines started fighting over which branch was better. The 2 young soldiers kept saying, "Army Army Army!" The two young Marines kept saying, "Marines Marines Marines!" The Senior Marine and I both looked at each other and said, "Air Force!"

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      There's nothing awful about the Army. George Washington hired Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben to institute these basic rules for service men's behaviour because They were getting their behinds kicked by the British. Colonel Steuben's "soldiers are property" mentality saved the US Army & was adopted by every branch of the military. That's why we have enjoyed 327 years of military superiority. If u wanna have more rights? Join a union! If you wanna have it easy, study web page design. To quote Drill Sgt. Har twig from The Movie Full Metal Jacket, "You know the one thing I hate is an unlocked Foot locker, if it weren't for @&$);;$@@ like you, there wouldn't be any thievery in this world now would there?"

    • RobertConnorIII profile image

      Robert Connor 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      Its all what you do with the resources given.

    • RobertConnorIII profile image

      Robert Connor 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      We salute your lens and our troops!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      @wiwiwi2: It just depends what your recruiter can get you qualified for, There are thousands of jobs in the navy that transition very well to civilian life. In the Navy, you will most likely spend the first 4-5 years aboard a ship, & come home if you're lucky every 3-5 months. Navy Seals are combat troops, & I'm sure the brave men aboard the USS Cole never thought they would be bombed by a fishing boat? If you join the Navy, try to get into some type of Radar school. That type of engineering is cutting edge. You will be qualified for many electrical engineering jobs as a radar tech. Make sure you get what you are promised from your recruiter in a contract. You don't want to end up being the chief barnacle scraper, but everyone will participate in basic maintenance duties.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Nice information about army. Not everyone knows that. Thanks!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Not the worst experience in my life and the after service benefits are completely worth it along with other things, such as getting to serve your country.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Thank you for serving and for the information you shared. I respect everyone who has served and who is willing to serve in our military. I have had family members who have served and some still doing so. My one regret is not having signed up when I had the opportunity.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Important info, thanks a lot for sharing.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      If you are scared your pussy ass doesn't need to join. It is obviously something that not everyone can put up with. They treat you the way they do to get you mentally tough for the times you are in war and people are dying around you. You need to be able to do what is told to make sure not only survival of yourself but of the squad,platoon, company etc. If you are weak minded and weak in general joining the military isn't for you.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      @anonymous: I'm a future soldier and I was informed by my sergeant that the minimum score requirement is a 31 in the army but if you want better mos options a higher score would be best you say you have a score of 36 that's pretty high score

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Why join a military that doesn't care about you, just ask that Marine sitting over in that Mexican Prison not that far from the US. No man left behind is BULL! naw,, be all you can be by raising your own family. Death isn't cool. making all these commercials like Death is cool. IT'S NOT. That child wants her Father back not a freaking picture! Tell her why he died, for nothing. Sucks.. Money hungry mafia.

    • HakunaMatata19 profile image


      6 years ago

      I am an Army wife myself. My husband joined because he couldn't find work even though he has a degree. He recently just got his security clearance after being in a year. He had debts that he had to pay which was one reason he joined. His MOS was changed because of the security clearance so now he's doing something he doesn't really want to do. It has tested my strength when he was gone for BCT and AIT and now it has tested me being away from my family. I am trying to find work and hopefully get a job on base in my field. It's hard with one car though. There are definitely a lot of positives and negatives to serving.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      @vineliner57: hi vineliner im a male just getting out of high school I want to enlist in the navy 1:do you have to fight on the ground like in Iraq or Afghanistan

      2: what are the basic things you do as a sailor like a day in life

    • profile image

      Donna Cook 

      6 years ago

      Amazing lens! Thank you so very much for your service.

    • OUTFOXprevention1 profile image


      6 years ago

      Interesting! Some things I haven't thought before...

    • ThreeQuarters2Day profile image

      Dawn Romine 

      6 years ago from Nebraska

      My sons are Marines and I've heard the same thing from the oldest. It's for some people and other people military life is not for them. It's the attitude you take with you in any profession, there is waste, there is politics, there is the "I have to do this to keep my job" there are on call professions. There are your jerks and slackers in many fields.

      But go in with your eyes open. Know that you will not change anything, accept and embrace whatever job you do in life, even if it's the military.

    • TerriCarr profile image


      6 years ago

      Personally, I could never join the military. I am just not cut out for it. I hope the changes so prevalent elsewhere in the world sweep through the military as well. There is an article in GoodVeg....hmmm, don't have the link handy, that says that the Norwegian army is going vegetarian one day a week. Sounds to me like a sign of hope.

    • vineliner57 profile image

      Hal Gall 

      6 years ago from Bloomington, IN

      My son in law came back from a tour in Iraq with PTSD, and has been exposed to DU. I would not recommend to anyone joining the military at this moment in time, especially with the war mongers we have running our country. And yes, I did 11 years in the Navy. "Join the Navy, see the world". Well the world is 76% water!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      @anonymous: I think the US Army is still taking anyone who even put their name on the ASVAB and spelled it correctly. They have a habit of taking the immoral and low class whereas the other branches don't. I wouldn't let your score get you down. The Army will take you

    • SBPI Inc profile image

      SBPI Inc 

      6 years ago

      Everyone has their own perspective o everything. Agree or disagree is a freedom for all Americans. I say, thank God for the Freedoms we have and lets ALL make sure that no foreign or domestic actions will ever cause a loss of those freedoms. In that cause we should all act as One.


    • Mr Criminology profile image


      6 years ago from Philippines

      want to live longer,join the airforce,hooray army.

    • chuckholmes301 profile image


      7 years ago

      I did my time and enjoyed it, but don't miss the bull crap, government waste, and having someone own me. Civilian life is great.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i want to join but only got a score of 36 in my asvab idk if I should try to join the army with that score pleas help advis anything

    • Loretta L profile image

      Loretta Livingstone 

      7 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

      An interesting lens. I don't intend to join the forces - which is to their benefit, to be honest. But respect to those who do and who are good soldiers. I guess there are good and bad in every walk of life, but a good soldier deserves respect.

    • Alex-Gopson LM profile image

      Alex-Gopson LM 

      7 years ago

      Really interesting insight, not the type of thing you normally see. #3 really surprised me, had no idea so much was wasted, thought it was rather the opposite.

      Thank you for service.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I had to laugh at the guarding a port-o-potty line. Been There! Done That!

    • InfoCoop profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you for your candid writing and for your service to our country.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      A very interesting lens. I didn't know the army didn't issue serial numbers anymore. With the danger of identity theft, it would seem that the army would not put their soldiers at risk by using their Social Security number.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Interesting lens, well done! Thumbs up

    • rawwwwwws lm profile image

      rawwwwwws lm 

      7 years ago

      WOW.. Thanksf or sharing.

    • TwistedWiseman profile image


      7 years ago

      I done my time, barely could stand it, the amount of human borderline stupidity is amazing! I can't stand it when one mamas boy starts whining that it's hard...NO IT'S NOT YOU PATHETIC IDIOT, deal with it.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Resiliency training; hunt the good stuff.. Over 15 years of service between the Army and Army National Guard in support of OIF. I love it, but doesn't mean everyone will, I do agree with many of your points, we humans are fragile.

    • Phoenix2361 profile image


      7 years ago

      Yes, this is the stuff the recruiters don't tell you. Glad you did.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      As a citizen I am aware and thankful of the many sacrifices our Army does for our country.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      7 years ago

      This has been a real eye opener.

    • flycatcherrr profile image


      7 years ago

      As a Canadian civilian, what I know about the US military is somewhere a fathom below nada, but I found this an interesting glimpse into what's really a very different world. You write very well and engagingly, Sarge; I'm always keen to see what you'll come up with next.

    • MJsConsignments profile image


      7 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      Army retiree with 22 years. Yes, the Army has it's faults. It also has it's great points. How about a top 10 list of those too?! Great lens!

    • Melissa Miotke profile image

      Melissa Miotke 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      It seems criminal that those in the army are broke. They should be paid well for their service.

    • intermarks profile image


      7 years ago

      Sometime, some people need to experience by their own self for them to believe it.

    • sockii profile image

      Nicole Pellegrini 

      7 years ago from New Jersey

      A very thought-provoking and honest lens. Your personal experience really shines though and gives people a lot to think about before they consider joining.

    • Trixiesmom2u profile image


      7 years ago

      I enjoyed this lens. My son was in Iraq in 2006-2007 as a gunner for a generals security squad in Baghdad. Would love to also see the other argument, 10 Great Things etc.

    • IMKZRNU2 profile image


      7 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      My son is considering joining the armed forces when he turns 18...this lens has some very good information for him. Thanks!

    • cgbroome profile image


      7 years ago

      This lens just makes me more proud of the men and women willing to make sacrifices for the rest of us. Thank you!

    • Paul Ward profile image


      7 years ago from Liverpool, England

      Interesting and entertaining.

    • kburns421 lm profile image

      kburns421 lm 

      7 years ago

      By the way, Catch-22 is one of my favorite books. Intense with a somewhat horrifying glimpse into what soldiers go through at times but still entertaining.

    • kburns421 lm profile image

      kburns421 lm 

      7 years ago

      This is a great lens. It's very well written and gives people more information to make the right decision, information that they don't often get. It's good to know though as many people rush into the army expecting something it's not.


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