Introduction: How to Enlist

Picture of How to Enlist

Do you love your country? Do you want to kill for your country? Do you want to die for your country? Do you just need some money for college? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then you should enlist to serve in the United States Military!

With two wars currently going on, joining the military during this time of need is easier than one may think.

What follows is practical advice for enlisting in the military and serving your country with honor.

Step 1: Select a Branch.

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The United States Military is comprised of five branches.

These branches are the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. In addition, there is the National Guard.

The Army is primarily responsible for land-based military operations. The Navy, as the name would apply, is responsible for naval-based operations. The Air Force, obviously, is responsible for controlling the airspace of America and it's allies. Lastly, there is the Marine Corps, which was established to be amongst one of the elite fighting forces within the military and fights in all terrains and conditions. The National Guard and Coast Guard are charged with protecting American lands and waters respectively.

When selecting a branch of the military it is important to take into account practical considerations that joining each branch of the military would entail. For instance, if you hate flying, it may be a bad idea to enlist for the Air Force. And if you get sea sick, you probably shouldn't enroll in the Navy or Coast Guard.

The best idea would be to research each branch carefully online here and then to speak with a recruiter from the branch that you are most interested in.

Step 2: Talk to a Recruiter

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Once you have made up your mind to join the military the next step would be to talk to a recruiter. You can find a recruiter online by visiting websites such as this army one. A recruiter will be happy to talk to you about opportunities within their branch of the military. Remember that the recruiter isn't just looking for warm bodies, but interviewing you. Be sincere about your intentions for joining with the recruiter. They are looking for passionate, patriotic and fit individuals (mentally and physically) between the ages of 18 and 26. So long as you are not a total psychopath, have no prior criminal records, are not openly homosexual or physically deformed, the recruiter will be happy to guide you through the enlistment process and answer any questions you may have. They will also inform you about the possibility of officer training if you are interested in making a career out of the army.

Step 3: Take Two ASVAB and Call Me in the Morning.

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What on Earth is an ASVAB? Well, stands for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. This test is not an IQ tests and determines your individual strengths and weaknesses. With the help of this test the army determines how later to assign you. The test is usually given in schools by administrators of the federal government. You have to score at least a 31 to be admitted by the military.

Step 4: Time to Report

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Report to a MEPS. A MEPS is a Military Entrance Processing Station. This is where you will poked, prodded and rendered fit for service (ideally). From here you get shipped off to bootcamp to start your formal training as a soldier.

The US Army requires that you bring the following:

-Social Security card
-Valid driver's license or current state identification card
-Original or certified copies of your marriage certificate, divorce decree or separation order (if applicable)
-Original or certified copies of birth certificates of children under 18; affidavit of support for parents; court documents and direct deposit forms if ordered to pay spousal and/or child support (if applicable)
-Proof of citizenship (if not born in U.S.A.)
-If you are married to a service member in the military, have the name, Social Security number and military address of your spouse
-Original or certified ROTC documentation (if applicable)
-Original college transcripts; GED or high school diploma

Step 5: No Such Thing As Unfit

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If you are rendered physically unfit for service, there are still plenty of ways in which you can still participate in the defense of your country. The defense industry is one of the nation's largest employers and they are always seeking competent and talented individuals in an array of fields such as mechanical engineering, computer science, linguistics, advanced mathematics, the clerical arts and even graphic design.

Aside from the private defense industry, there is also an array of government organization related to defense that hire civilians such as the CIA and DARPA. Don't be afraid to explore your options and apply for alternative government posts.

Keep in mind that these jobs often require security clearance. Attaining security clearance involves a thorough background check, a lie-detector test and a full drug screening.


PuiG (author)2011-11-05

what happen if you are a foreigner ?? any options??

rockslammer09 (author)2011-02-08

Florida is not one of those states that have a state tax only a federal tax and nevada as well

YoungPyro19 (author)2010-07-17

Enlisting is very hard to do.

kingmii (author)2010-07-08


emclean (author)2010-03-11

when you are picking out you 'job' with in your branch, think about the future. what do you want to do after your service is over. i have turned a 4 year enlistment working on guided missles into a career in the electronics field.

combat arms is an honourable calling, it may not leave you competive in the job market.

static (author)2010-03-05

 On those nice high tech positions the advertising highlights. In my conversations with those who have been there, done that, the reality is don't count on one. Not to long ago I learned how low of standard the USN had before America as at war. Willing to enlist a high school senior that passed the GED rather than actually doing the work it takes to graduate from High School. Those who been there tell me once your in you will be subject to measures that separate the wheat from the chaff, to insure the best and brightest are trained for a limited number of the high tech positions. In the event you pudded your way through school or went the GED route good luck in being selected, hell good luck with getting high tech jobs in the private sector. In any event  the military is more likely to have positions for deck swabbers or other janitorial positions, before bullet stopper positions open up. Not that I would never say not to consider the military, just do more homework than this instructable provides. In the event you enlist come home safe.

Killin Idea (author)2008-01-25

Go Canada!

Hey guess who holds the record for the longest shot for a confirmed kill in Afghanistan.. A Canadian... 2.4 Kilometers...

Go Canada indeed!

upon his return home a U.S. marines sniper was interviewed asto what he felt when he killed a terrorist, his response? "recoil"

FINALLY canada does something in the war.

Uh yeah.. Well that last little US mini-series in the Balkans left us Canadians stretched pretty thin military wise... and we've been in Afghanistan since day one, hello JTF2... Canadians are also crew members in the JSTARS.. and I guess you haven't figured out where MARPAT DIGIPAT came from...


PLUCK YEW (author)2008-01-28

warmonger! go plant a tree

b5200 (author)PLUCK YEW2008-04-02

peacemonger! go kill a terrorist

coolz (author)b52002008-05-03

its "pacifist" not "peacemonger"

b5200 (author)coolz2008-06-16

its "patriot" not "warmonger"

corey_caffeine (author)b52002009-07-23

it's hippy not pacifist!

PLUCK YEW (author)b52002008-05-04

peacemonger, there's a new one.. do you know how to plant a tree, pull a trigger, get a life? you choose...

PKTraceur (author)PLUCK YEW2009-05-18

I suggest pick two. -PKT

mjw555 (author)b52002008-04-03

haha! awesome :)

UltraMagnus (author)2008-01-25

you forgot "do you want to steal oil for your country?"

PKTraceur (author)UltraMagnus2009-05-18

Sure, long as the other guy is a mile behind me. jk, I wouldnt particularly like that. Whatever. -PKT

i second that.

I third that.

icedog515 (author)2008-09-16

listen up hippies, it kill or be killed. i know every1 has their opinions, but people need to protect their country. ps. its not entirely Bush's fault, its those who elected him. pss. rock on emuman

emclean (author)2008-07-29

Three things from an old paratrooper. If you are looking to enlist in the military, decide what you want to do BEFORE you go to MEPS. The MEPS recruiters are trying to fill openings and combat arms if always a high priority for them. Knowing what you want will make it easer for you to stick to your guns, so to speak. It dose not mater what the local recruiter promised, it need to be on your paperwork from MEPE (your orders). I know a couple of people who failed to do so, and ended up in completely different jobs than they were expecting. Think of the future, think of what will help you out after you leave the service. Keep that in mind when you are at MEPS. Don’t let the ‘needs’ of the army (or what ever branch) sway getting what you want.

Lextone (author)2008-01-25

What the Hell is going on on this site? This is not an instructable, neither was your other one. These both should have been posted in the forums. Whats next how to vote for a Democrat/Republican? How to be a troll?

This is from the terms of use...

'Instructables is a web-based service owned and operated by Instructables, LLC for the purpose of allowing individuals around the world to show things they have made and learn how to make things from others (the “Purpose”). Instructables allows its users to create and update project descriptions as well as providing a rich collection of associated on-line resources including communications tools, project management tools, forums, personalized content and search services (collectively referred to as “Instructables”, “the Service”, or “the Services”). Instructables may be accessed through any various medium or device now known or hereafter developed. The Service may include advertisements which are necessary for Instructables, LLC to provide the Service.'

toolgal29 (author)Lextone2008-03-20

It is providing to the rich collection of on-line resources. And it shows others how to enlist. Also, since you are so keen on the terms of use and things, what happened to this, "We have a BE NICE comment policy. Please be positive and constructive with your comments"???

Lextone (author)toolgal292008-03-20

My comment was not negative. It was factual. This "Instructable" is a political opinion and its intent was to stir emotion . It was not constructive in any way and did not offer instruction of any kind. It is what they call satirical. That is not what Instructables are intended to be. I'm all for freedom of speech and thought, but this does not meet the definition of an Instructable. Like I said in my first post this belongs in the forums. As far as your comment of "providing to the rich collection of on-line resources" I disagree. Social commentary and satire on this site is like going to a steakhouse for tofu. This would have been better off at where it would actually accomplish what the writer intended. To invoke positive and negative emotional responses and fiery debate. As far as being nice, I was very nice. I didn't say "Hey man you suck" or "hey man you are a but monkey".

xACIDITYx (author)Lextone2008-06-09

Epoch Phail!

Gjdj3 (author)xACIDITYx2008-07-23

Haha. People on this site have the best pictures.

PLUCK YEW (author)Lextone2008-05-05

Are people who post copy-paste articles of general information to prove a point also called TROLLS...

catmandu57 (author)2008-07-22


noahw (author)2008-01-24

Inquiring Mind writes... "They are looking for passionate, patriotic and fit individuals (mentally and physically) between the ages of 18 and 26." I love how the army deems killing people and destroying entire cultures mentally fit work. You pull that kind of crap over here and they'll send you off to jail. Do it overseas in someone else's back yard and you're a war hero. I never got that part!

Gjdj3 (author)noahw2008-01-24


emuman4evr (author)Gjdj32008-06-15

Hey noahw and everyone else voicing their opinions, you wouldn't have freedom of speech without the military. The U.S. would still be a colony of Britain.

chuckr44 (author)noahw2008-01-25

When the enemy does not wear uniforms, you have to play a little dirty. The military tries to implement an honorable war, but this is more difficult when you cannot identify your opponent. Such was true in Vietnam, and the same is true in Afghanistan and Iraq.

inventorjack (author)noahw2008-01-24

I'm going to assume you're not intentionally trolling. So in that vein, rather than letting this instructable become a big political debate (read: argument), let's all just agree to disagree. Some people don't like the military. That's fine. The world would be pretty boring if we all had the same opinions :) But fighting about the merits/evils of the military doesn't seem to be the purpose of this site.

the_eradicator (author)2008-03-22

I would like to add that you have to keep an eye on the recruiter because they will try to pull a fast one on you! Now not all will do it but some will. Also if you join the Army watch out for Second "Loony's" who are fresh out of O.C.S.most of them suffer from a severe form of inferiority complex and can make your life miserable since they realize that they are the Privates of the Officer Corps! And last but not least remember this motto " I will guard myself from flank to flank and not take sh*t off of any rank.!

skcorttocs (author)2008-03-21


xACIDITYx (author)2008-02-18

2 wars? Iraq and ???

Jesusjuice917 (author)xACIDITYx2008-03-10


forestfire555 (author)xACIDITYx2008-02-20

Hopefully he is referring to Afghanistan, though we seem to have forgotten about that. We still have lots of troops stationed in Korea and Kuwait, too.

an yong ha se yo the only thing dangerous in korea is the deadly soju infact you can even book a tour of the DMZ Me>>>>Republic of Korea

Murphman (author)2008-03-09

Haha, very nice. I already got a letter from the army. I went to this really cool virtual army simulator at a Blue Angels show in Maine. It was crazy!

thematthatter (author)2008-02-27

each branch of the military is different, the airforce will not look at you with an asvab score of 31. most people get kicked back at the medical section of meps. if the doctor finds you medically disqualified you can get a waiver, there are waivers for everything also wear underwear, you dont want to be the guy who has to borrow underwear from their recruiter because they forgot to wear some, youll be in a room full of people doing underwear olympics so make sure they are clean

n4zou (author)2008-02-26

When your ready to enlist make sure you do it in a State without an Income Tax like Florida. If not the State you enlist in will be taking money out of your pay. It does not matter where in the world you are, you will be paying state income tax and you'll be filing a state income tax return. The military is a great career but allowing a State to take money from your pay while your not living or working in that State and not receiving any State services for your tax money is not right. Save yourself lots of money and that once a year paper work by enlisting in a State without an income tax.

naejivel (author)2008-01-27

Thank you Lextone - I thought the same...

D!6!T (author)2008-01-25

Patriots need instructions on how to enlist.....hahaha!
What is the US army runing out of troops?
is this an instructable for the ages of 10-15 yr olds?
just wondering......

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Einsteins Circuitry (author)2008-01-24

Very nice Instructable. Whats the next one going to be? ;-)

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