Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Decide Which Military Branch is Right For You!

You've seen movies, you've heard rumors, you've gone to the parades... but what really IS the military? What does it do? Where do they go? Find out the military basics here, including:

Who they are: the Department of Defense and the five branches: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy.
What they do: a quick look at the history and mission of each branch.
Where they go: A glimpse of where forces deploy around the world.

Navy Overview

Founded Oct. 13, 1775, the U.S. Navy maintains, trains and equips combat-ready forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas. The Department of the Navy has three principal components: the Navy Department, consisting of executive offices mostly in Washington, D.C.; the operating forces, including the Marine Corps, the reserve components, and, in time of war, the U.S. Coast Guard (in peace, a component of the Department of Homeland Security); and the shore establishment.

The purpose of U.S. naval forces remains to project the power and influence of the nation across the seas to foreign waters and shores in both peace and war. Preventive diplomacy, policy enforcement, teaming with and defending allies, and immediate sea-based reaction to conflicts are the general areas which the Navy covers. Finally, all sailors live up to the Navy's core values: Honor, Courage, and Commitment.

The Verdict: The Navy is primarily focused on sea missions. If you cannot stand the water or don't like small spaces, do not join the Navy. On the other hand, the Navy provides some of the highest job satisfaction of all the services. Many different types of jobs are available in the Navy, and tradition, brotherhood, and pride are well entrenched. If you enjoy challenges by sea, land, and/or air, enjoy traveling the world, but are also searching for mental challenge and great job training, the Navy may be right for you.

Air Force Overview

The Air Force is the youngest of all five services. It first became a separate service Sept. 18, 1947 after President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947.

In its more than 50 years of existence, the Air Force has become the world's premier aerospace force. Its mission simply put is to defend the nation through the control and exploitation of air and space. Although obviously tasked with flying missions, most personnel work on the ground in various construction, support, and technical capacities.

The Air Force focuses on these areas:

Aerospace Superiority: The ability to control what moves through air and space ensures freedom of action.

Information Superiority: The ability to control and exploit information to our nation's advantage ensures decision dominance.

Global Attack: The ability to engage adversary targets anywhere, anytime, holds any adversary at risk.

Precision Engagement: The ability to deliver desired effects with minimal risk and collateral damage, denies the enemy sanctuary.

Rapid Global Mobility: The ability to rapidly position forces anywhere in the world, ensures unprecedented responsiveness.

Agile Combat Support: The ability to sustain flexible and efficient combat operations is the foundation of success.

The Verdict: The Air Force is focused on flying. There are also plenty of other opportunities on land though. If you like flying and/or working with flight systems & technology, the Air Force is for you.

The Air Force has two large reputations: one of concentrating a little more on high-tech training than the other services, and the other of being "softer" than the others. There is a little truth and a whole lot of false to these reputations - you need to go beyond these notions when talking with a recruiter.

Army Overview

Founded in 1775 by the Second Continental Congress, the Army is the oldest service of the United States military. Formed to protect the liberties of the original 13 colonies, the Army has evolved and grown from a small militia force into the world's premier army with global reach and influence.

Since its founding, the Army has played a major role in the country's development. The Army won the nation's freedom in the Revolution, preserved it during the Civil War, and protected it during the World Wars and Cold War. As recently as Desert Storm and actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Army continues to protect the nation and its principles.

The Army generally deals with land-focused missions. Its soldiers deploy to a conflict area and stay there to fight during the conflict, and then remain there until adequate peace and security has been established. The Army is chiefly used for long and drawn out missions which require great team effort, focus, and persistence.

The Verdict: The Army has the widest range of jobs of all the branches. It also has the largest bureaucracy, and thus things can be slow, especially if you try to change your path or change your job etc. However, do not be discouraged: the processes are there for a reason, and there are hundreds of possibilities within the Army - you should be able to find something which you would enjoy. If you like the idea of providing security, doing land-based operations, and being part of a huge team, the Army may be for you.

Coast Guard Overview

The history of the Service is very complicated because it is the amalgamation of five Federal agencies. These agencies, the Revenue Cutter Service, the Lighthouse Service, the Steamboat Inspection Service, the Bureau of Navigation, and the Lifesaving Service, were originally independent, but had overlapping authorities and were shuffled around the government.

The Coast Guard, through its forefathers, is the oldest continuous seagoing service and has fought in almost every war since the Constitution became the law of the land in 1789. Following the War of Independence (1776-83), the Continental Navy was disbanded and from 1790 until 1798, when the U.S. Navy was created, the revenue cutters were the only national maritime service. The Acts establishing the Navy also empowered the President to use the revenue cutters to supplement the fleet when needed. Laws later clarified the relationship between the Coast Guard and the Navy.

The U.S. Coast Guard is one of five branches of the US Armed Forces, and falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard's responsibilities include Search and Rescue (SAR), Maritime Law Enforcement (MLE), Aids to Navigation (ATON), Icebreaking, Environmental Protection, Port Security and Military Readiness. In order to accomplish these missions the Coast Guard's 38,000 active-duty men and women, 8,000 Reservists, and 35,000 Auxiliarists serve in a variety of job fields ranging from operation specialists and small-boat operators and maintenance specialists to electronic technicians and aviation mechanics.

The Verdict: The Coast Guard is by far the least "flashy" of the branches - it gets little of the limelight. It is also probably one of the tightest knit "families" of all the services. By and large the Coast Guard focuses on law enforcement, not large scale military operations. If you like the law, assuring security, working as a member of a small team, and a sea-going lifestyle, the Coast Guard may be for you. Of course, make sure you like water and can stand being on a boat!

Marine Corps Overview

The Marine Corps was founded Nov. 10, 1775 when the Continental Congress order two battalions of Marines be created to serve during the Revolutionary War. They further resolved that this force be acquainted with maritime operations in order to serve aboard naval vessels. Thus, the United States Marine Corps has always been an expeditionary naval force ready to defend the nation's interests overseas.

Official Marine statements include:

"We are warriors, one and all. Born to defend, built to conquer. The steel we wear is the steel within ourselves, forged by the hot fires of discipline and training. We are fierce in a way no others can be. We are Marines."

"In the Marines, everyone-sergeant, mechanic, cannoneer, supply man, clerk, aviator, cook-is a rifleman first. All speak the language of the rifle and bayonet, of muddy boots and long, hot marches. It's never us and them, only us. That is the secret of the Corps." - Col. Daniel F. Bolger, U.S. Army, DEATH GROUND: TODAY'S AMERICAN INFANTRY IN BATTLE

The saying goes, "Every Marine a rifleman first." This quickly demonstrates the Marines' intense focus on warfare. Their well-known slogan, "The Few, The Proud, The Marines," expresses the Marine Corps' intense focus on values. Warriors with values - this defines the Marine Corps.

The Verdict: Of all the branches, none are as proud as the Marines. Marines are a highly exclusive, highly motivated bunch. Those who become Marines do so because they want to, not because of benefits or other reasons. If you don't like the idea of running and shooting a gun, do not join the Marines! On the other hand, if you like missions on land and sea (and even in the air), if you place values and honor above yourself, accept large mental and physical challenges constantly, and would be excited to be among the first "on the scene," you may be Marine material.