As the proud mother of a honorable high school son, and the equally proud wife of a retired U.S .Navy chief, I found it interesting when a postcard arrived in the mail, inviting my son to join the United States Marines.
The slick wording and flashy photographs added the bonus of a Marines book bag or dog tag if my son sent away for additional information. Unfortunately for the Marines, my son will attend an out of state college upon graduation.
However, for those who may plan to make the military a career, perhaps do a hitch, here are some tried and true tips to "be all you can be " as an informed recruit. When you sit across from the recruiter, keep in mind, he needs you as much as you may need im.
Ask questions! You are valuable to the recruiter, his job and more than likely move up in rank is based on getting civilians to join. You are in full control of the situation. He will and does know the answers to what you may ask ... if he hems and haws or says he does not know, ask him to have the answers by your next meeting. I doubt that will be the case, military men and woman do not play the "duh, don't rightly know" game, but again, you are valuable, make him earn his pay.
Sample questions may be: Where in the US might I be stationed after "A" school (Navy, but all branches of the service have schools)? Is this a large city? Small town? What can I expect living there? What will happen if I do not pass the "A" school I was promised? The Navy only promises they give you the chance to go to the school ... not that you will pass it. Fail Navy "A" school, and you're IBM ... instant bo'sun's mate. What will be the ship/shore rotation of my rating during my enlistment? Where would my shore duty be served? Overseas or state side? What sort of ship would I serve on, and what are it's duties? How may crew are on board and what sort of duty section would I serve? What is the deployment schedule, and when is it up for its next deployment? What is its battle group, and what countries could I expect to visit? How can I get through boot camp with reduced stress?
Memorize general orders, memorize ranks and names, practice the motto of squared away? A recruiter can show photos of a sample barrack room, ask to see photos of navy racks if you chose that service ... most Navy or Marine recruiters will have photo albums. What will a rack locker hold? The military can be a smart stepping stone to a bright future. You will leave the military with leadership and life skills, but it will not come easy.
Do not make it "easy" for the military to pluck you from a high school desk and set you down in combat without being informed. Look out for your best interests, and explore all aspects of serving … not just enlisted, and not just one service.