Movies like The Covenant are a fun way to get familiar with what it might be like to be a United States serviceman, but even the best army blockbusters may veer off track, adding to widespread misconceptions many civilians have about joining the Armed Forces. According to the US Defence Department, only 50% of Americans ages 17-35 could name all four active-duty military services. An online forum of ex-servicemen clarifies misconceptions many young people have about the military, and we consider these expositions the most shocking.
Table of Contents
1. Everyone Is a Trained Killer
Cold as it reads, you can be in the military and not have to wield a gun or man a war front in your lifetime. According to an ex-serviceman, most people are in support positions and may not touch their rifles more than once a year. “They have a specific job related to moving personnel and supplies, fixing vehicles, running hospitals, cooking food, and countless other jobs,” he expounds.
2. The Pay Is Bad
On top of the median pay they earn, soldiers also get free housing, food, healthcare, and a 30-day paid yearly vacation. “These are insane benefits for only needing a GED,” several people retorted.
3. You Won’t Be In Contact With Family and Friends
Joining the military doesn’t make it harder to stay in touch, as most people think. It’s a common misconception among Americans that once you sign on, you only get to reach out to loved ones a few times a year. “You can stay in touch always,” says an ex-marine. “You can Skype, Facetime, call, and text, even from the most remote locations in the world.”
4. Veterans Don’t Have a Life After Service
“Old people with wasted years” are how many perceive military veterans, and while the transition from military to civilian life may be challenging, as one veteran admits, it is possible to adjust and have a good life after service. “You could learn a new skill, offer services, travel with family, and live a good life, even as an ex-officer,” a veteran adds.
5. If You Join the Military, You Can’t Raise Money for College
One soldier says this is false, referring to the Post 9/11 Gil Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, and dependent GI Bill programs that make it easier for military men and their families to reach their educational goals. A second serviceman adds that with the GI Bill, you and your dependents can seamlessly pay for college tuition and any other approved training.
6. The Military Is a Substitute for Higher Learning
A current serviceman explains that you should see the military as a starting point unless you want to be a pilot, work in a submarine, drive tanks, or be at the battlefront. “The real world works differently, and even if you’ve spent years serving in the military, you may need additional training when you get out of the army,” he concludes.
7. Military Is Politics-Free
‘’It isn’t,’’ a veteran chimes. “Politics are everywhere. It doesn’t matter if you make laws in the Senate or wield guns in the army,” he explains. Other ex-servicemen concur, adding their experiences.
8. The Military Will Make You Into Something You Are Not
The military makes people do things they may not normally do, but it is not grounds for behavioral changes like many like to think. “If you’re lazy and undisciplined, joining the military may change you for a while (because you are under strict commands), but you may go back to becoming who you were before joining when you leave,” a servicewoman reiterates.
9. Military Personnel Are Superfit
While the military can be demanding, the rigor is not always in the herculean manner we see in movies, someone explains. “We work very few hours daily, and most days are not as tasking as most people want you to believe,” she adds.
10. Lower Ranks Are Filled With Poor Minorities
According to one man, the military is a microcosm of the nation, and every rank is filled with people of different demographics. “Some of the guys I served with came from money, even when I was dirt poor,” said an army veteran.
11. You Get Penalized From Being Pregnant
As ridiculous as this seems, many Americans believe getting pregnant while in service can get you into trouble. An enlisted person on the forum insists that this is false, adding that the Department of Defense offers some of the best maternity leave across sectors in the United States.
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