Here's a chance for those of you thinking about
joining, to ask questions and get answers
from women in the know
Posted: 25 NOV 03: Book Review "Guide to Joining the Military"
GUIDE TO JOINING THE MILITARY
Author: Scott A. Ostrow
1. United States Ė Armed Forces Ė Vocation Guidance
Paperback 244 Pages
Published by: ARCO a registered trademark of Thomson Learning, Inc
Reviewer: 1SG (ret) Pauline F. Keehn, Military Woman.org, Web Assistant
Are you thinking about possibly joining the military? Perhaps you are the parents of a child that is looking towards a future in the military and just donít have the faintest idea how to help them make an informed decision. Maybe you have already made the decision to join, but have no idea how to go about enlisting. Then again, you might just be the one that has started the process but are so confused by everything that is being shoved at you that you donít really understand everything that is happening and feel like you are biting off more than you can chew.
Well, then, take heart because help is now in an easy to read and understand book that will walk you step by step through the process of how to make the decision if you should join to the final step of understanding what can be expected in the way of training in basic/boot camp.
Having entered the Navy as an enlisted man and at one time a Navy Recruiter, Scott Ostrow was soon commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Navy. Later on Scott transferred to the Air Force where he served in various positions to include many recruiting positions, but the most important is where he is now, Chief of Recruiter Training with Air Force reserve Recruiting where he serves in at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Having served all these years in recruiting LTC Ostrow recognized that many young people considering entry into the military are sorely prepared for the process they will have to go through in order to enlist in any one of the five services.
In Guide to Joining the Military, he has designed a rough outline of the entire enlistment process in a way that takes much of the intimidation or feeling of being herded out of the whole procedure. This is not a book about whether or not you should or should not join, but rather a self-help guide that is not just comprised of facts and figures, but illustrations of personal experiences that help illuminate some of the pitfall and misconceptions of enlistment.
The first chapter starts with teaching you about military recruiters. You will touch on the training that they receive as well as get insight into their tactics and procedures starting with how you present yourself up through how they assess your potential for military service. Once you understand what the recruiter expects from you and what you should expect from the recruiter, Scottís next chapter helps you make the decision of whether to join or not and how to go about determining what may be the best branch for you. Now that you are set to join, the next chapter explains the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Test, how to prepare for it, what itís purpose is and how it all ties in with the Armed Forces Qualification Test. In Chapter Four, you have gotten all the preliminaries out of the way and are ready to face the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). This is the serious portion of enlistment and he touches on the method for picking a career, what to expect from the physical, some of the enlistment special programs that are offered, what to do if disqualified, as well as showing that there is always an option to change your mind if this is not what you want, but if you do want this, then the MEPS adventure ends with the you swearing the Oath of Enlistment. In a very important chapter, he explains what the Delayed Entry Program is how important it is to avoid certain things during this time as well as taking opportunity of getting in better shape for basic training, and keeping close contact with your recruiter. He ends the book with Chapter Six where you will find a brief overview of what each services basic/boot camp training is to accomplish. In this chapter he will also give you insights for getting through some of what may seem the rougher portions of training. He touches on the instructors, schedules, billeting accommodations, how to handle your money, packing lists, and many other little bumps that you might not be getting full information on from the recruiter.
Besides these chapter, LTC Ostrow has also included charts and tables that cover the different occupations that are available in each service, types of pay and benefits, opportunities that can be found in the National Guard and Reserve, educational benefits, forms that the military uses, display of military time, phonetic alphabet, and acronyms, as well as a well researched reference area of sites on the internet where you can find more information as well as contact personnel.
Even if you think you know everything about the enlistment process, there is much information in this book that is invaluable and will touch areas that you may have never thought about. As Scott is first to point out, remember this book is only a guide of the basics. Military services have changes that occur everyday, so you need to be sure that you can ask questions or know where to turn if what is printed in this book has changed. This book is just a starting point, the more research you do, they better your enlistment process will go.
As an endnote to this review, I will mention that an updated version of this book is in the process of being edited for final publication. Look for the newer version to come out soon and it will highlight the changes that have occurred since the publication of this edition.
Posted: 25 Sep 03 (In response to the 9 JUL 99 post)
Posted: 11 OCT 02:
Posted: 11 Nov 01: Question from a Civilian Woman
Posted: 12 Oct 01:
Posted: 30 Aug 01: "The Road To Becoming a Pilot and Not Giving Up"
Posted: 19 OCT 00: "Army Reservist Offers Assistance"
Posted: 19 OCT 00: 'Questions from a Civilian Girl"
Posted: 23 Sep 00:
Posted: 23 Sep 00: "My Experience in the Army"
Posted: 15 Sep 00: "I Love the Air Force"
Posted: 15 Sep 00: "Why You Should Join the Military"
Posted: 8 Aug 00:
Posted: 27 Jun 00: "Any questions about the Navy?"
I will start by letting you all know that I am a navy recruiter and have been in the navy for 15 years. It has not been a bed of roses the whole time but then what would have been. I have been married for 13 years and have a 3 year old daughter. So that should answer a few questions right off the bat. I know a lot of you have heard how we sailors spend months at sea. Not!!!! The longest I ever spent at sea was 36 days, that is a long time but also rare. When a ship deploys for six months we are out at sea all that time, we pull in to different countries and get to see the world This way. If we pull in for 4 days we will have at least two full days to do what we want. Anyway if you have any questions just send them on. To: email@example.com
Posted: 16 Jun 00: Interested in Navy Aviation? Here's your chance to communicate with a female Navy aviator:
My name is Amanda. I am a Lieutenant(O-3) in the US Navy. I am a Naval Flight Officer with an F-14D Tomcat squadron. If you saw the movie "Top Gun", my job is that of Goose's, although a little different than the Hollywood-portrayed version. We are a combat-deployable squadron and returned in May '99 from a Persian Gulf deployment flying in support of Operation Southern Watch in Iraq. I have earned my Combat Air Medal for flight time over hostile territory. I am a Naval Academy Graduate ('95). The reason I am writing is to offer my experiences to anybody doing research or having questions regarding joining. E-mail: ABoxcar@aol.com
Posted: 16 Jun 00: "Need Advice from an Army Information Systems Analyst?"
I am a 21 year old regular army gal. I am a 74b "Information systems operator/analyst". I work on computers all day. I am technically qualified to fix computers as well as install and work with software, lots of stuff actually. I work at a help desk actually, and try to help people with their problems and software issues. I have been in the army since May 21st, 1999. My husband and I both joined together, and are both PFCs right now. We have a long way to go, however we both love our jobs completely. Before I enlisted I actually came to this site looking for information on whether it would be a good idea to join, as a female and all. I now have the goal of being the first female to drive a tank!; although I doubt I will be around for that. I do see the walls coming down soon to allow women to do whatever they would really like to do. If any females need advise about joining and have fears of basic training, please write to me. I was the most un-athletic girl before I joined. I made it, and I could do it again. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: 24 Mar 00: "USMC Future"
Posted: 3 Mar 00: "In Response to the 25 Feb 00 Post"
Posted: 25 Feb 00:
Posted: 18 Feb 00:
Posted: 25 Jan 00: "Response for 'This is For Anyone Thinking About Joining,' posted 4 Oct 99"
Posted: 3 Jan 00:
Posted: 3 Dec 99: "Concerned Grandmother RE:
Harassment and the Military"
Posted: 4 Oct 99: "This is for Anyone Thinking About Joining"
Posted: 1 Oct 99:
I joined the Army right after high school. I joined because I was doing poorly in school and had no money to do anything. I went to the navy first, but I could not see myself on a boat for months...then I went to the air force...and didn't want to work on airplanes or at an airport, then the marines but the recruiter there was very mean, the army recruiter actually came to talk to my parents, explained everything....and I must say I was very happy with his service. I always knew exactly what was happening and what my options were. I would recommend the army to everyone. It has its downsides believe me, but the pride and feeling of family and accomplishment here is so perfect. you have to work hard sometimes, especially in basic...but other than that, its just like the business world I imagined..... I would be glad to talk to anyone thinking of enlisting and giving my little piece of advice -- I've been in for 10 months now.
Posted: 1 Oct 99: "The Best Thing I Ever Did"
I am 25 years old and I had a lot of different jobs since age 15, my immediate family have all had part in the military from navy to civilian jobs on an air force base. But, I tried to fight my feeling about the air force but time after time and job after job didn't make since and days were getting short .So one morning I was sitting on my bed thinking what could I do with my self, I said a prayer ask God to help me with my decision and took a nap. When I awoken that was it I call the nearest air force recruiter told him come get me and that was that!
Now I'm in the delayed enlisted program and thing's are better than ever my self-esteem has grown and life look better than ever even though I haven't went through with everything I feel great about my enlistment and can't wait to go to basic training.
So to any woman that looks at this, ask yourself and God if this what you want to do ,weight the pro and cons of civilian life and then the pro and cons of military life and make a choice and take a chance!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted: 3 Sep 99: "Excitedly Waiting"
Posted: 30 Jul 99: "In Response to the 30 Apr 99 Post, 'Little things your recruiter wont tell you about USMC'"
I can't say enough positive things about your submission. I am an 18 year old Australian female who for the past nine months has been trying to find out as much information about the USMC as possible as I am hoping to join after I finish my year of student exchange. I have to admit, I cried reading this, It touched my heart, someone who encourages me to join the Corps, Instead of discouraging me and making me feel like a traitor to my country. Because I am from Australia I get a lot of negative comments regarding my choice of career, from my parents and others who do not see the difference between the Australian Navy and the Marines, and even though speaking to an officer in charge of recruitment for Parris Island I was still left with questions and uncertainty. I am revived, I am truly confidant that I have made the right career choice, I thank you for that support. I now know that the Marines is the best thing for me , I am prepared for the challenges and encouraged by someone who wants to help others, fulfill their military dreams. Thanks once again, This means so much to me, I can leave Australia without regret or concern. LIZ
P.S. I would appreciate any other information about the Marine Corps from the Author of previously mentioned submission, a Non-U.S. citizen Marine, or any other female Marine . email@example.com
Posted: 9 Jul 99: "Enlisting in the Military"
This is in response to the posting from the young lady who decided not to join the Navy and was given a rough time. For those of you thinking about enlisting (vice officer programs) in the military, here is the process you go through and some advice.
First, you need to have an Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test score. Some of you may have already taken this test as a Junior or Senior in high school. Call any recruiter of any service, and tell them you are thinking about joining the military, and want to take the ASVAB or have already taken it at school and want to find out your score. The recruiter can schedule you to take the test - either at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) or at a remote test site. The MEPS uses a self paced computerized version, which takes 1-3 hours, depending on how fast you take the test, and scores are available almost immediately. A remote test site uses paper and pencil tests and takes 3 hours, and up to a week to get your score. Your score will be somewhere between 1 and 100. The lowest score currently accepted by most of the services is 31. The higher the score, the better "job" you will probably be offered. You can retake the test after 30 days, but after the second time, must wait 6 months before taking it a third time. After you have passed the test, your recruiter can schedule you for a physical exam and enlistment, if you choose. Some MEPS can test/physical and swear you in all in one (long) day. During the exam, you will have a hearing test, a vision test, blood drawn for HIV test, urinalysis for drugs (please do not go for a physical if you have used any drugs recently - marijuana stays in your system for up to 45 days - you will be disqualified for 6 months to a year), a breast exam, and some flexibility exercises that test your joints etc. You do not have to join just because you have a physical exam. If you are physically qualified to join, then you can sit down with a counselor and take a look at available jobs. The counselor gets these jobs out of a computer data base - and the jobs change constantly. If you don't like any of the jobs, don't let anyone pressure you into taking one just because you are there. You can always come back later or talk to another military service. If you like what you see and want to join, you will be given an interview and finger printed for a FBI background check, because everyone in the military has a security clearance of some sort. Please be honest with your recruiter about any police involvement - the military will find it out anyway.
The ASVAB and physical are good for two years - so you have plenty of time to make up your mind. The test and physical are also good for all of the services, including the Coast Guard. If you are thinking about joining, call a recruiter at the beginning of the month and avoid going for a physical on a Saturday. Saturdays are always crowded, and you will have a very long day. Recruiters have quotas to meet - just like a used car salesperson, and these quotas are monthly. At the end of the month the recruiter may be more under the gun to find someone to join, and you may get a "rush job" and be put under even more pressure. The monthly quotas (also called "mission day") for the Army usually end on the last Monday of the month - avoid this day at all costs if you are going to the MEPS for test/physical/ and swear-in. For the other services, their "mission day" is usually the last working day of the month. Same advice applies - avoid this day at all costs - it is much too busy to get decent treatment, and again, the recruiter is really under the gun on this day to meet a quota.
If you decide to join, you will be given a contract and sworn in to the Delayed Entry Program (DEP), and wait for your scheduled day to go to boot camp (ship date) - a few days later or up to a year. If something happens and you change your mind, you DO NOT have to go. Yes, your recruiter will put pressure on you, that is their job. But, remember, the military is a volunteer service - they won't send the police, can't legally force you to go, all you have to do is say "No - I've changed my mind." You don't need your Senator or Congress person to intervene. You don't have to talk to a lot of people, who will all put pressure on you. Just refuse - and say "no." They may tell you that you have to talk to a head recruiter or whomever - but - just say no.
I hope this helps some of you who are looking at perhaps enlisting. I am an officer in the Navy, have worked in recruiting and at a MEPS, so have a lot of experience in this area. For those of you trying to decide if the military is for you - I have been in for 16 years. I can't say every day has been wonderful - but I have seen the world and done more than I ever would have ever done as a civilian. All the services have something unique and valuable to offer - it just depends what you are looking for. There are some great nontraditional jobs out there that you may not have thought of. Check them all out - and don't forget the Coast Guard as an option too. Reserve and National Guard is also a good way to go if you don't think you want to try active duty for 4 years. Yes, sometimes being a woman in a man's world is frustrating, but then, you'll find that in the civilian business world also.
Posted: 9 Jul 99: "how do you deal with misogyny?"
This a pre-joiner's question about dealing with misogyny. I am thinking about joining the military (reserve) and have been reading a lot of forums about women in the military. In the sections about women I often see a lot of men being angry and really hysterical about the prospect of women in the military, and especially women in combat. An example is the "Women in Uniform" section of enlisted.com. I engage the men in arguments and make good creative points, I think but it doesn't matter, because they are hostile and scared and resort to all the stereotypes. It seems that issues surrounding women in the military/combat, bring out the most hateful kind of misogyny in men. I find myself in constant "fight or flight" mode and I'm not even in the military yet! My question is this. For those women who've stayed in, how do you deal with the sexism, with the constant assault on your pride and sense of abilities? How do you know which fights are important to engage in, and which ones to ignore? How do you keep from burning out from sheer rage or disappointment or sense of failure, or frustration, or...? I want to learn now instead of burning out later.
Posted: 9 Jul 99: "Air Force Reserves"
If you're not sure you want to go in the military full time, one option is to join the guard or reserve. Being a first-termer, you'd have to fulfill your obligation. Considering it is just one weekend a month and two weeks a year (28 days a year), even if you don't like it, it isn't that hard to do. My job is in transportation. We're the ones that load and unload the planes of cargo and passengers. For our Annual Tours (the two weeks), we go to places like Japan, Hawaii, Guam, Alaska, Germany, and other countries, along with other contiguous states. Yes, we do work, but on our time off, we get to sightsee, etc. Some career fields travel more than others so when you are thinking of a career field you may want to take that into consideration.
Posted: 22 Jun 99: "In Response to the 2 Jun 99 post 'Very Disappointed'"
Don't believe everything you read on these sites. Just do what you want to do. If you do join, don't forget to bring your sense of humor along with you. It will be your saving grace. Nothing is easy. If it is, it isn't worth it. Select the service and the job or field you would be interested in and go for it. Enjoy!!
Posted: 18 Jun 99
I must admit people who talk bad about recruiters get me very upset. The truth is that the military is great! I love being in the Navy I don't know where I would be today if I hadn't have joined. (Probably working at the local McDonalds) LOL. Well I joined because I wanted to travel and the navy is the best way to do it. Yes there are downfalls such as you travel a lot in the navy especially if you get assigned to a ship, and the Navy isn't good for settling down and starting a family. At least not until you're up for your first re-enlistment that is. I feel that all the branches have a mutual respect between the branches Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Of course there are going to be jokes; my dad is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army. He rips on the Navy and I make jokes about gays in the Army it's all in good fun. The point is that if you want to join the military go for it! It's a great opportunity and you have so many options that wouldn't normally be open to you. And it doesn't matter which branch either they all have their good and bad points and you shouldn't let any "horror stories" get in your way - people have bad experiences and that's unfortunate. But you never really hear about all the good ones. So I just wanted to say that I'm very proud of all the men and women who joined no matter what branch they're in.
Posted: 16 Jun 99: "Be Encouraged" -- In Response to 2 Jun 99 post "Very Disappointed"
I am a 21 year old female who joined the Air Force at 19. I must admit that everyday has not been sunshine, but the good definitely out weighs the bad. I complain at times but I would be doing the same as a civilian. Everyone has their own perceptions, likes and dislikes about the military, and the best way to come to a conclusion is definitely to experience it. I am currently in Italy and I am learning more and more each day, such as the Air Force has a lot to offer. I like the way we are treated as people, and the way we operate, but like anything there is a downfall. We make rank rather slowly. However you are very well taken care of until you feel you can do better on the outside (may I emphasize on "very well"). If the Air Force is what you have planned then don't stop because you have heard complaints, however if you do decide to join make sure that it's ultimately what you want to do. Being a female in the Air Force isn't all bad either. As you are seeing you are obviously coming into the age where you can decide what path your future may take. Don't let someone else's complaints deprive you of your dream, for everyone sees it differently. Good luck to you.
Posted: 2 Jun 99: Re: "In response to 'Why I got out Even before I got in'" (see post at 24 May 99)
First of all I had the best damn recruiters I could have asked for!!!!!!! They told me straight up when I took the oath in Dec of 98 what the best AND worst parts of the US NAVY were. I owe them so much! I definitely wasn't ready for college and I always knew I would go into some service probably the army because everyone else in my family joined the army. I wanted to go on a ship that was my main objective. My recruiter didn't mention to me or pressure me into enlisting once! NOT ONCE!!! I asked him about enlisting and I TOLD HIM that I've decided to enlist so I don't want to hear anything about recruiters who lie and how recruiters can pressure you. That only happens if YOU let them. Yes there are some recruiters who will lie, but you know what's too good to be true. ALWAYS and I mean always get it in writing-there's nothing wrong with taking precautions. If it's not on your military contract then don't expect it. Now, you got a job in the Nuclear field in the Navy?!?! And you got out!?!? Nuclear power in the NAVY is an excellent job, and it pays very very well. I got a job as a HM Hospital Corpsman and it's the best I could have asked for. You should have known better than to waste the navy's time and your recruiters time in the first place! The NAVY is the greatest choice I could have ever made and I haven't regretted it or looked back for one second. So I would like to know when you finally fly a plane and when you decide to get out of that service to! Are you planning on testing all the services before making your decision?! E-mail: Athena@tomah.com
Posted: 2 Jun 99: "Very Disappointed"
I am just a teenage girl, still in high school, and I'm glad I happened upon this site. My first career choice was to join the Air Force as an OSI. After reading the about the dissatisfaction and problems that military women apparently have there is NO WAY I will join a bunch of women (and men) who sound as if nothing is fair or nothing goes right. I was truly surprised to read the bad reports of the women in here. If the military is so sexist and bad then file complaints through proper channels. By you guys keeping it between yourselves and belly aching you will help no one. I have read where the Navy , AF, and Army are at critical low levels for new recruits, I can definitely see where there might be a worse problem coming up in the future. If you thought the military was going to be a nonsexist and female biased enterprise then where were you living ???LaLaLand?? I expect that if I pursue my first career choice I will have many situations to deal with but it won't strike me by surprise as it seems to have so many of you. I mean, did you all actually believe everything a RECRUITER told you? Disappointed ...very disappointed.
Posted: 24 May 99: "In Response to 23 Apr 98 Post response to "I Got out Before I Got In'"
I don't agree with that statement you made about the navy spending manpower and money on her so she should have made her "serious thought" prior. For one thing, who do you think pays for the Navy to do anything?... The American people do with taxes. She had just as much right as anyone to change her mind. A majority of recruiters will do, promise, and say anything just to make their quotas. She was just voicing what she saw as a personal triumph and perhaps what might have been a good decision for her life. So why jump on her case? Another thing she didn't have a commitment to honor to begin with its not like she went to basic, discovered that she needed to find herself, and then went AWOL . There I would definitely agree with your point. If the recruiter was as dedicated as he appeared to be then why didn't he find her a better job or at least one more suited to what she was looking for? Why should she or anyone be stuck with a bad decision if they don't have to be. I say that she did the right thing!! The fact that she changed her mind doesn't make her any less of a woman then someone who decides that; regardless of the job no matter how unbeneficial, they need to be an "adult" and make the" right decision". Who are we to criticize?...God?
Posted: 5 May 99: "You Go Females"
I just came home after having just completed basic training and advanced individualized training. I'm a private in the U.S. Army Reserves and I must admit my primary reason for joining in the first place was for the college money. I figured I'd join up get through basic come home and get the college money. Another reason I joined was because I wanted a challenge; I certainly got that.
It took me until the end of basic training to realize that I was actually in it for more than the money. I'm proud of the uniform I wear and if called to duty I would gratefully defend my country. I get a little weepy when I hear the pledge of allegiance.
I'm in the best shape of my life and I feel great. And I would say to any woman who decides to join up this is one of the most courageous things you'll ever do. Get as much out of it as you can. Soak up all the knowledge you can. I was fortunate to go to Ft. Leonard Wood supposedly one of the toughest Forts for basic and AIT. I can proudly say I survived Fort Leonard Wood in the wintertime.
I had three of the best drill sergeants in the world. They taught me well and made me as prepared as I can be for anything that comes my way. I personally thank them for all they've done.
So I say to all females going into the armed forces HOOAH!!!
Posted: 30 Apr 99: "Little Things Your Recruiter Won't Tell You About USMC"
A few good tips for those thinking about joining the Few, the Proud, the Marines.
1. No your recruiter won't lie, however, we will be very smooth (Marine recruiters anyway) and look very very good in his uniform. They will not lie, but they will tend to leave things out. Little things like every day to day life in the Corps.
2. Boot camp for Marines is damn hard, but NOT impossible. We have the longest boot camp out of the services, and THANK GOD we train alone! No men around to see you at your VERY grubiest. This also helps aid in keeping the ridiculously distracting stuff from going on. If there had been male recruits or drill instructors in Marine Corps boot camp I wold not have joined. Boot camp is a hell of a challenge. But it's in 3 phases. Make it through the first one and it's smooth sailing all the way. Remember, your drill instructors are only there to train you. Believe me, after bootcamp you will say, "Oh yeah, no wonder my drill instructors did that" Every single thing they do from yelling in your face, or making you yell everything you say, or to doing things immediately when told is to prepare you for a war environment. Is the Marine Corps worth it? Well, to this day, even people (men and women) who never were in the Marine Corps are astonished when I say I was a Marine. They always ask, "You made it through boot camp? Whoa, really? Was it impossible? That's amazing. I can't believe it" It's a good feeling.
3. We run in the Corps. But don't worry it doesn't kill you and it's not everyday. Even if you can't run twice around the track, they teach you in boot camp by working you up slowly. When I joined I had been a gymnast unused to long endurance sports. I couldn't run twice around a track without walking. After bootcamp I was able to run 3 miles. By working us up in boot camp I never even noticed it.
4. We women are a proud minority in the Marines. 9,000 women to 175,000 total Marines. Men are men. No one should be sexually harassed of course but you will hear foul language, see girly magazines. We in the Corps are taught not to put the other services down, at least I was. We are the most exclusive branch. My boot camp platoon started out with 86 girls and we graduated with 32 girls. It's not for everyone but it is the best thing I have ever done. To be a Marine feels you with a sense of pride so keen it almost hurts, but to be a female Marine no words can describe. To stand there in uniform with your platoon shoulder to shoulder with men and be the only woman, to know that you are one of them, that you made it is something you take with you for the rest of your life. Once a Marine, always a Marine.
So make your decision wisely. What ever branch you join, you will be an asset to your country.
Posted: 23 Apr 99:
I am not a recruiter, just a worker down in the "trenches", or "bilges", as the case may be.
Thinking about serving in the military... consider the U. S. Coast Guard. The pay and benefits are the same, plus the only door closed to women in the Coast Guard is the one leading to the men's room. All jobs and specialties are open to both genders. Plus we provide valuable services to the country, helping save lives, property and the environment, on a daily basis.
Check us out at www.uscg.mil or call 1 (800) GET USCG.
If you have questions or want to talk to some women in the Coast Guard, I can help. Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
SKC Greg Pankau
Career Development Advisor
USCG ISC Seattle
Posted: 16 Apr 99: "It's Your Decision"
I spent 2 1/2 years in the Marine Corps and I loved it. Even though I had both good and bad experiences you will get that where ever you go. My husband is still in the Marine Corps. Just to let you know the Army is not the only branch of the military that promotes fast my husband was in just short of 3 years when he got promoted to Sergeant, has been in less than 5 years and is already ready to pick up Staff Sergeant this year. I wish I could go back into the Marines, but I had surgery on my feet and can no longer do every thing that is required of me. I am however going to college at the expense of the Veterans Administration. They are completely paying for me to become a teacher. I don't have to pay a penny, not even daycare. If any of you are getting out of the military file for service connected disability. Then you can put in for Vocational Rehabilitation if you are rated 20% or higher it is worth it. If you are thinking about going in look into EVERY branch of service before you make your final decision. The Army is the largest branch, and the Airforce has the best ratio men vs. women. The Navy has good medical programs and opportunity to be on a ship. The Marines is the smallest of all of them, and the hardest. There is less than 10% women compared to the men, but if that is something that you are looking for do it. I chose the Marine because of their discipline, and reputation. Another thing when it comes to your job, make sure it is THE job you want because you will have it for 4 years or more and lateral moves are hard to come by in any branch. Remember that recruiters from any branch of the military do not always tell the whole truth. Research before you make your decision, it is YOUR future.
Posted: 1 Nov 98: "A Strong Military Woman"
Five years ago, I was at my friend's house when an army recruiter arrived to take her to the station for an interview. I went along with her and I will never regret that day. Today I'm 24, I'm an sergeant E-5 (promotable) and I love what I do. I have always been a very strong woman, but the military has made me realize that there isn't anything out of my reach. I have read allot of negative comments about the military and it is sad that many women discourage the military because THEY have had a bad experience. I believe that if you are a person who is seeking success and you are determined to get it you will be able to achieve it in the military. The army is the largest branch of service and it DOES offer more opportunities that other branches in addition to that, the promotion rate is faster. An E-5 in the army makes the same as an E-5 in any other branch, but it will take you substantially less time to become an E-5 in the army than it will in any other branch. Also other branches are still dominated by males. In the army you will find that there are many high ranking females (of all races) which serves as an inspiration and makes you realize that you can also be there. Listen ladies: I am married, I have two kids and my husband IS NOT in the military. I have an education that the Army has financed, my car is paid for, and I'm getting ready to buy a house. THE ARMY IS THE WAY!
Posted: 13 Oct 98: "Pregnancy in the Army"
I was stationed in Germany in 1996-1997 and was praised for my work. When I got pregnant and decided to get out they started treating me bad. I did my job and more till the end but got no slack. I don't believe that the military supports families because it wants to but because it has to. I see nothing wrong with single mothers or mothers at all in the military. I did my job and so can everyone else. I just hope that no one ever decides to give up custody of their children to join. I did thinking it was for the good of my son and have not regained custody of my son in 3 years because my father is too attached. Now what do I do? Go into debt and fight which so far has failed. Please check all your options before you leap. There might just be something better.
Posted: 5 Oct 98:
As one of the first women on a combat ship! I was a RM3 while on active duty on an amphib. I also did a Westpac. I would suggest to any woman who wants to go to sea duty to make sure that they are prepared for separation from their loved ones. Aside from the Westpacs you are out to sea at least half the month. It is a great way to live. I am now a Rm2 in the Reserves and every time I go to do my weekends, all I can think about is how I would love to be back at sea on an amphib.
Sincerely, RM2 Michele B.
Posted: 8 Sep 98: "Women over 30 in the Army"
I've seen several web sites questioning women going into the military over 30. I did just that in 1989. I found that I was subject to more expectation from my commanders, than the rest of my platoon. They assumed, that because I was much older than the other women, that I should be placed in leadership roles. Well, I wasn't the leading type, so when things didn't go right, I was punished for not meeting their "standards". My drill sergeant, who was 25 at the time, tormented me for being "the old lady" of the platoon, and humiliated me to prove how right he was. It's not pretty. Physically, I was up to the test. I actually out shined most of the girls in push-ups, sit-ups and marksmanship. But, running was another matter. When you hit 30ish, you lose your legs as you gain your hips. Yet, I did meet the standards (which by the way, get increasingly harder as you progress into full service). When I reached Germany, I probably can say with much confidence, that I appreciated it more than others less my age. All they seemed to do was stay out late at the clubs and drink a lot. Where as the older ones would travel and experience Europe to it's fullest. Which brings me to my final point, when you are over 30 and a private, you will gravitate to people of higher rank. That's because, they of your age. Though, technically you are not suppose to hang out with Sergeants or officers. So, you are caught in the quagmire of being with those you should be with and hide it at the same time. I can say that the military was a great experience for me at 30, that I'll never regret doing it, but when I stepped into one of their "holes" it was deep and left a few scares. Good luck to all who join at this stage in their life, and don't expect people of higher rank to respect you too much.
Posted: 23 Jul 98: "Just some advice from a veteran..."
I just want to offer a little advice to women who are considering joining the military right out of high school. I joined the Army just a few months after high school because I knew that I wasn't ready for college. (I tried a semester at a community college and failed miserably.) My recruiter called and he knew just what to say. He told me about the G.I. Bill and the Army College Fund which at the time offered $25,000 for four years of service. He also told me that joining the military would give me time to grow up and think about what I wanted to do with my life. Sounds like good advice, right? Not so fast. What I failed to consider was that I was going to be giving up FOUR YEARS to the Army. That not only forced me to make the decision about what I wanted to do with my life, but it also required making a pretty grown-up decision. My experience was not bad, but what I realized during those four years is that I could have grown up and made decisions about my life at home. The military should not be used to escape your parents or to get money for college or to "buy time" to sort out your life. The military is hard work, and a Private's life is really not much better than being under your parents' thumbs. It is like having ten Moms and Dads instead of just two, and mouthing off to them gets you into bigger trouble than you ever got into at home! If you want to join the military, do it out of a sense of patriotism, do it because you believe in fighting for freedom, do it because it is what you WANT to do, and not because you need time to "grow up." I am currently attending the University of Oregon and I love going to school! I am doing what I wanted to do all along. I might even join the ROTC program, and go back into the Army as an officer. But this time, I'm doing it because I have considered the benefits and the disadvantages, and it is what I want to do. I have had a hell of a time getting those benefits I was promised, and being six years older than almost all of my classmates is kind of a drag. All I want to say is that you should consider your decision carefully. If you're not sure, WAIT!! Go to school and get into the ROTC program. Get as much information as you can and prove to yourself that you are grown up, that you can make decisions about what you want to do with your life, and that YOU are going to make the choices that affect your life, not your recruiter. Believe in yourself and do what is right for you, as a woman, as an adult and as an American. Good luck!!
Posted: 23 Apr 98: "joining with a child and husband to think about"
I'm a registered nurse with a A.S. in nursing. My husband is going to school using the Montgomery GI Bill and the IL Veteran's Grant. I have been a nurse since 1994 and hate it. My husband suggests that I join the IL nat'l guard to get my education paid for. It sounds exciting and I'd like to become an officer if I do join. The only thing is I have a 15 month old son and I am wondering if it would be smart to join with him being so young even though my husband and I share caregiving responsibilities and he could take care of him fine if I weren't there doing my training for a few months. My husband is very supportive and thinks it would be good for me and our family's future. I agree, but I'm scared of basic training. Since having my son I have retained 50lbs. over my ideal weight and really wonder if I could make it in the military. I'm only 24 and was previously very physically active before I became a nurse. I need some encouragement and would like to know if I'm not the only young mom whose contemplated joining the military and that my son hopefully won't forget who I am when I come back home from training. You can e-mail me at SAMIR2312@aol.com
Posted: 23 Apr 98: "Keep your life balanced.."
If you join the military be sure to keep your life balanced. If you want to have a baby (after you are mission ready) do it. I promise you that if you wait you will regret it. Women have the babies, that's the way of the world......no one expects you to not have a baby just because you are serving your country.
The military is something to do for a while, for a patriotic warm fuzzy, but not something to do forever. Do your four years and get out. Go to college. There is too much crap to make it your life or your fulfillment.
Use the military to gain whatever insights/skills you can, because believe me honey, they are using you 24-7 and you need to make sure it is a mutually beneficial arrangement; and when it is over, they are going to deposit you on the side of the road without even a Thank You. If you want to do it fine, I have enjoyed most of my 19 years, but Heads-Up Girlfriend. Do yourself a favor and join the AF. Keep your life balanced.....
Posted: 23 Apr 98: "In Response to 22 Sep 97 Post 'I Got Out Before I Even Got In'"
I'd like to clarify one thing; your recruiter telling you to "be a woman and make the right decision" is in no way a sexist remark. We tell men all the time to "be a man" when trying to convey to them to do the adult thing. These terms are only gender specific for "be an adult", which is probably what he was trying to tell you. Yes, you can get an entry level separation, but he was hoping that you would honor your commitment to the Navy as the Navy would have done for you.
Two more things: Your "serious thought" should have been done before you enlisted not after the Navy had spent a substantial amount of manpower and money on determining if you were qualified. Also, as you said you "let yourself" be pressured into the Nuclear field. If you are the strong woman you claim to be, you would have chosen the job field you wanted-just as thousands of other women do every year.
PS Keep us posted-we'd like to know the first time you actually fly a plane.
Posted: 31 Jan 98: "In Response to the 28/30 Jan 98 Postings"
You are absolutely right in stating that a good NCO is worth his/her weight in gold to any new officer, ROTC or OCS. I was an enlisted female in Navy Medicine for 20 years, and I worked for and with hundreds of officers, most of whom were OCS-trained. We did get the occasional AcadGrad who went from Annapolis to med school, but they were freaks of nature :-). In my humble opinion, officers are officers: can't live with 'em, can't shoot 'em......seriously, whether or not someone is a good officer who respects her fellow soldier/sailor/airman/marine has nothing to do with where she learned to put on a uniform. Frankly, some of my doctors had to get a quick uniform check from the closest enlisted person to be sure their nametag and ribbons were in the correct place. Really, it has to do with how well this adult accepts other adult's abilities, strengths and weaknesses. If someone is an arrogant jerk, ROTC, OCS or an Academy won't change that (no matter what happened in An Officer and a Gentleman). The fact that all three of you are asking these questions speaks well of you, and shows you have foresight, an honorable character trait in anyone (officer or enlisted). Keep asking questions, use your brains to sort out the good answers from the bad, and remember, your senior enlisted people are there to help you. Behind every good officer is a terrific Chief/SNCO/SFC. Good luck!
Posted: 30 Jan 98: "In Response to the 28 Jan 98 Post"
I'm writing in response to the question about how non-ROTC commissionees are looked at by those of us who went through ROTC.
I am a freshman in Naval ROTC at NC State right now. We have an excellent program. My sister is currently attending the Medical University of South Carolina on a Navy Scholarship. She's going to do the OCS thing, and I'm going to do four years of getting up at 0600 three times a week. We'll end up at the same place in four years, but she's going to be an 0-3, and I'll be an 0-1. My question is, who's smarter?
Most of us in ROTC have thought at one time or another, two basic things.
a. Those non-ROTC officers are not worthy of getting the same pay that we get because they didn't waste all that time in college doing stuff that didn't matter to their degree like getting up at 5 in the morning to run in the rain.
b. Gee, I wish I wasn't in ROTC. I'd have lots of free time, a better GPA, and still be able to get into the military in the end. What am I doing ROTC for, if I could do it the OCS way??
Sometimes, we consider these questions in the same millisecond. We conclude that sure, we'll be better officers because we are getting more experience as leaders and other stuff like that, but what it really boils down to is that once you are in the fleet, in the wardroom, no one cares how you got your bars. If you know your stuff, wear your uniform right (no matter if you learned how to in OCS or ROTC), and get your job done efficiently, no one is going to complain about you.
Where some of the problem comes in is that usually, from what I hear, the OCS people do not have as much respect for senior NCO's. in ROTC we are told a million times that as JO's the senior NCO's on board can be our best friend or our worst enemy. If you realize that "you might outrank them, but they know 150% more than you do" you will do fine as an OCS officer. the only bad stuff I've ever heard about OCS officers is that they don't understand the importance of the NCO's.
That is my input on the subject. It was a lot different before my sister got her OCS bid, but we've talked and I see a lot more now. What it all boils down to is that ROTC people are jealous of OCS people because they are at the same point in life and they had to live on close to zero sleep all through college.
Posted: 19 Nov 97: "Pay Attention to Your Recruiter"
I don't know who said recruiters don't lie, because they do. Not all of them but some do. So, make sure that if a recruiter tells you something that sounds too good to be true, you get it in writing. Because they know more about the military than you, so get as much information as you can possibly get before you join. The military is a good experience, however, it isn't for everyone. So think thoroughly before you decide to enlist.
Posted: 22 Sep 97: "I got out before I even got in"
I was in the navy Delayed Enlistment Program scheduled to leave this coming March. After some serious thinking I realized that I had made a big mistake.I wanted to fly and I let myself get pressured into the nuke field. I told my recruiter that I wanted out... which I KNEW was possible, and he lied to me saying I couldn't. I was treated like he thought I was some stupid female, making sexist remarks (such as, & I quote "Just be a woman and make the best of your decision.") and saying I had second thoughts because I had a boyfriend... which I didn't. This guy who was the head recruiter of the office had only talked to me once, briefly, and he tried to tell me that he knew what was best for me. Yeah right, like he even has a clue. I told him I knew I could get out, and he said to let him know.. well I did.
I knew I wanted to join the military, I just realized that the navy wasn't for me... and I especially wasn't going to go after the way the recruiter treated me. With some help from Kentucky Congress Woman Anne Northup and Kentucky Senator Wendell Ford, I was discharged and I'm looking forward to an exciting new job in the Kentucky Air National Guard.. where I will be doing what I want -- FLYING. This is just to let people, especially women to know that you can't be pressured into anything. That recruiter messed with the wrong woman!! IT IS POSSIBLE TO GET OUT BEFORE YOU GO TO BOOTCAMP --- EVEN IF YOU'VE TAKEN THE INITIAL OATH.... DON'T LET THEM TELL YOU DIFFERENT!!!!!!!!!!
Posted: Dec 96:
Joining the military after High School does provide you with some advantages, until you are about 27 or so. At that point the difference between having a college degree can start being apparent.
Commissioning vs Noncommissioned status, (or Officer vs NCO), depends on the service and the job you want to, and what you are willing or not willing to do for your career. I would recommend to any one, but especially any young woman to ask questions of her superiors, what course they choose and why. There are sometimes great differences between NCO's and officers, and sometimes not so great.
I will warn any woman considering the USAF, that for promotion to the Senior NCO ranks you will need a Community College of the Air Force Degree (an AA or AS) in your career field. To be promoted to CMSgt (the top enlisted rank) you almost need a college degree (BS or BA, in fact a sizable number also have Masters or higher).
And all this is done on "your" time, not the government's.
I am a TSgt (E-6) in the Air Force, Command Post Controller, 18 years in the Service.
P.S. Webmaster Note: Good advice. It's true that most off duty education is done on the military member's personal time; however, the military does offer full-time educational opportunities such as the "boot strap" program, or programs such as AFIT (Air Force Institute of Technology). These opportunities are available but are very competitive, or as in the case of "bootstrap" are dependent on organizational needs.
I'd like to pass on a couple of thoughts to those thinking about joining. Thanks for letting me share.
1. Basic Training is tough, but not too tough or so many others before you wouldn't have made it. Keep in mind that your Drill Sergeants have a certain amount of time to turn about 200 different individuals into soldiers. They do not have the time to get personal and be nice to you. They are not picking on you, they just want to make the best soldiers they can, do not take things personally, they rarely are a personal thing, even if it does seem like they always pick on you.
2. Recruiters don't lie. I don't know how many times I heard the statement, "My recruiter lied to me." There are a few exceptions, but as a rule, they don't lie. If they do, report them, but I guarantee that they probably didn't lie. Remember, your recruiter has had certain experiences that may or may not reflect the experiences you are about to go through. There were things my recruiter didn't tell me, but he never lied, he just didn't know about them, there are so many different jobs and places to be stationed that your recruiter cannot possibly know everything about everything. Want to help your recruiter? Send him/her a letter telling him about basic training, about your AIT (Advanced Individual Training) and about your first duty station.
3. Explore your options before joining. What do you want to do? Where do you want to be stationed? Do you want the College Fund? Decide what's most important to you and insist on getting what you want (within reason, of course). If you want to do 20 years, focus on a job that will allow you to advance quicker. If you want the College Fund, find a job that gives you the College Fund. Want to go overseas, get it into your contract (only the Army did this when I joined). Want a civilian skill, find a job that transfers easily into a civilian occupation. One of the things I didn't realize until later, was that although, initially, I didn't want to go to a long school, I did want to go to language school, luckily my MOS was allowed to go to language school and so after three years in the Army, I applied for language training and was accepted. Ask around your circle of friends and family, you'd be amazed how many veterans there are, who will talk to you about what their jobs were like.
4. Always keep in my mind that you are signing a contract, you are getting something, but you are also expected to give, regardless of your personal beliefs. If you can't see beyond that, you should not join. The military is an all-volunteer force and by joining you are volunteering to go and do whatever is required of you, as long as they are lawful orders as defined by the UCMJ, (not you or Greenpeace or whoever).
5. LIFE ISN'T FAIR! Before signing your enlistment contract, look through it and circle the word "FAIR" everytime you see it. It's not there, Uncle Sam does not promise to be fair, 'cause life just ain't that way. But have a good time anyway.
25 Mar 96: A retired Marine Corps Captain writes:
This is a tip from my, as yet unpublished, book entitled, "How to Survive Your First Four Years in the Military".
Determine why you joined, then set some goals to ensure you get what you want and need from your military experience. GO AFTER THOSE GOALS. There's nothing worse than waking up to find you wasted some excellent opportunities because you weren't focused on what you wanted out of life. It's your life and your military experience. Make the most of it.
26 Mar 96, Juli asks: Is it better to join fresh out of high school or as a college grad?
26 Mar 96: Response to Juli's question:
There are advantages to both, I guess it depends on whether you want to be an officer, right away, or not. (Speaking for the Air Force) if you have a college degree and you're accepted into the military, you'll start out as a commissioned officer. If you come in fresh out of high school, you'll go into the enlisted corps. Of course, while your enlisted, you can go to night school and get your college degree; then if you're interested in getting a commission, you can apply. Of course, having a college degree won't guarantee that you'll be selected for a commission; there are so many variables, for example, what you're degree is in and does the military have any openings for that degree, with so much downsizing, there are fewer slots in the military. Certainly the pay is better for officers, but then again, if you come in fresh out of high school, you'll begin earning money versus your college counterparts who'll be racking up those student loan dollars. Again, there are advantages to both and it's really such a personal decision; the military needs both officers and enlisted personnel!
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