Wilderness Survival Kits, Tips & Training About A.Ranger Rick 173rd ABN/SETAF Bardolino / Rentals Useful Links Wilderness Survival Skills Wilderness Survival Tips Wilderness Survival Training


U.S. Army

10 Good Reasons Why You Should
Think About JoiningThe U.S. Army
(And 10 Reasons Why Most Don't)

By "Army Ranger Rick" F. Tscherne


ATTENTION READERS: Do you know someone who is down & out? Don't have any skills? Lack self esteem? Confidence? Can't afford to go to college? Can't afford health care insurance? Hurting for money? Don't have a home? Can't provide for his/her family? Don't know what they want to do with their lives? If you do, then this article is for them. And I so encourage you to please print off this page and give it to them because you just might help change their life "forever."

Yep, if you're wondering if this article is about trying to convince you and others to join the Army...you betcha it is!  Why? Because if a 17 year old, young, whimpy, dorky kid like me can make it in the Army - ANYONE CAN!

While most people join the Army for different reasons from quitting school, can't find a job, failed relationship, come from a broken home, a dysfunctional family, can't afford to go to college, the high cost of medical care and other financial strains & struggles of everyday life in America. The good thing about joining the Army is that it can offer you a temporary, alternative or a permanent new life where you can learn a new skill, gain self-esteem, confidence, discipline, job security and yes, financial independence too.

But first let me tell you a little bit about myself as to why I joined the Army way back in 1972.

I was born in New York and spent half my childhood living in the city before moving to a small country-bumpkin town called Berwick - Pennsylvania. Where I enjoyed playing hooky from school in learning how to hunt, fish, trap and shoot instead of studying and learning math, english, history, geography and playing on some junior/high school football, basketball or wrestling team.

And way back then in the late 60's and early 70's if you didn't play on some school sports team you were a nobody, an outsider, and a whimp. And the best looking girls in schools, which were the cheerleaders wouldn't even say "hi" to you because they all wanted to be cool and hang out with the ball and wrestling jocks. And sometimes these jocks (just like in the movies) would pick on the dorky & whimpy kids to show off their masculinity and toughness. And yep I was one of those kids, but I wasn't picked on as bad as some others were.

Well just short of my 18th birthday I was able to convince, or rather "blackmail" my parents into allowing me to quit school at the age of 17 to pursue what I've always wanted to do since I was little kid - to join the Army. And so that's what I did, I quit school, joined the Army and stayed for 20+ years so I could retire at an early age (39) and draw a monthly retirement check and have free medical care and other benefits for the rest of my life.

But I got a lot more out of the Army than I planned. I gained self-esteem, confidence, learned how to fight, to stand up to bullies, got rapidly promoted, traveled the world, lived abroad in a few countries that most people can only dream about which is how I met my beautiful & wonderful Italian wife. (Note: To see what she looked like when I first met her, click on my " Army Ranger Rick " page and then " My Photo Album " page.)

Which right after we were married is when I started to think about my future. And so I started saving and investing wisely so I could someday afford to buy a home and hopefully retire at an early age and live happily ever after. And today I am proud to say my wife and I are completely debt free and we own a nice comfortable home on the largest lake here in Northern Italy called Lago di Garda. And we still have our military privileges, have access to all the US military bases in Italy where we enjoy shopping for our "tax free" American made groceries and products.

Yep, not bad for a whimpy, dorky, city-slicker, country-boy, high school drop out, huh?

And while everyone back in ol'Berwick (PA), including my teachers thought when I quit school I would never amount to anything but a "loser." Well surprise, surprise, surprise, I'm still alive, retired at an early age (39) and live here in Italy and have the best of both worlds. And I wish all those Berwick Bulldog jocks and hot cheerleader babes who use to "snub me" back in the late 60's and early 70's could see me today. Boy, would they be envious, jealous and wish they were a lot nicer to me back then so they could at least come visit me here in Italy today. Well too bad, eat your hearts out girls including you 60's & 70's Berwick Bulldog jocks too!

Ok, so now that you know a little bit about me, which I'm sure many of you can probably relate to or know someone who was treated the same way as I was in school. I will give you my top 10 reasons why you should think about joining the Army today followed by the top 10 reasons why most people don't join the Army. Fair enough?

Now I know it's not easy for some people, especially the anti-war and intellectuals who have never served in the military to understand you don't just join the Army to learn how to kill people and fight wars. But to help people in need, both here in America and abroad through humanitarian assistance, construction, medical aid and more.

And so after you have read my top 10 reasons for joining the army today, which won't have anything to do with "duty, honor and country." If you don't think these are good enough reasons, then fine, don't join the Army.

*Note: If you're thinking of quitting school just to join the Army like I did way back in 1972, it's best you first check with your local Army Recruiting Office to see if they are currently accepting HS drop outs or those with GED's. Because depending on the needs of the Army in meeting their "current" recruitment goal, you may need a HS diploma or GED to enlist. So again, check with your local Army Recruitment Office first.  

And so here goes..

#1 Job Security & Training - Where else could you learn a new trade from over a 200 + specialty fields and not have to pay one single penny for this training? And when you get out of the Army you can use this same skill in the civilian world to find a job too. No where! And if you think most of these Army skills are in the "combat arms" field (infantry, armor, artillery, etc), think again, take a look:

Administration Support -10
Arts & Media - 9
Combat Arms - 25
Computers & Technology - 24
Construction & Engineers - 23
Intelligence & Combat Spt - 34
Mechanic - 28
Medical & Emergency - 29 ,
Legal & Law Enforcement - 7
Transport & Aviation - 35

If you want to learn more about these Military Occupation Specialties (MOS), then check out this link below: (Note: Updated as of Jan. 1, 2009)


By the way, in case you haven't noticed lately people have been losing their jobs, homes, investments and more all because our American economy is in a very bad recession. And not just blue collar workers but highly skilled and college educated people too. Yep, almost every company and business has been affected by this recession in some way or form and are struggling almost everyday from low-to-no sales to having to make a choice between filing for bankruptcy or laying off some of their employees to stay afloat and in business.

Well the Army, along with public servant jobs like policeman, fireman, etc, are the only real secure jobs today that you will [almost] never have to worry about being laid off, not getting paid, not having medical coverage and being able to retire after just 20 years of service. And that's a fact! And I challenge you to try to find another line of work or a company or businesses that will guarantee you all four of these benefits. Go ahead and try, I guarantee you won't anywhere!

If you want to learn more about jobs & skills in the Army, many of which will last you a life time if you decide to stay and make the Army a career, then just log onto this link below: (Note: Updated as of Jan. 1, 2009)


#2 Competitive Pay, Free Housing, Meals, Bonuses - Now here's what most people don't know. that Army pay is very competitive with jobs found in the civilian world. Really! Otherwise how do you think the Army has been able to recruit and maintain a high retention and re-enlistment rate way, way, before the Iraq & Afghan war?

Now I'll bet you're thinking and saying to yourself "Oh really Rick, then SHOW ME THE MONEY!" Not a problem, and so what I'll do is break it down into simple non-military terminology so you'll be able to understand it better.

When you join the Army, like with any civilian job, you usually have to start at the bottom and work your way up. And in the Army starting at the bottom that's called being a Private / E-1. And so your starting pay, commonly known as your basic pay (BP) will start at $1,400.00 a month. (Note: As of Jan. 1, 2009)

Now if you're thinking. "Hell Rick, that's not a lot of money." It is if you take into consideration you don't have to pay anything for your meals, clothing, rent, electric, water, and other household living expenses. All this is provided free, or rather it's all part of your benefits in being in the Army.

But hold on! That's not all... As you progress in the Army either in rank or time in service (TIS) your monthly basic "take home" pay increases too. Check out this 3 year monthly pay chart based on the minimum and maximum rank you should be able to obtain within 2-3 years time-in-service while in the Army. (Note: As of Jan 1, 2010)

Less Than 2 Yrs
Over 2 Years
Over 3 Years
$ 1,467
$ 1,467
$ 1,467
$ 1,644
$ 1,644
$ 1,644
$ 1,729
$ 1,838
$ 1,950
$ 1,916
$ 2,014
$ 2,123
$ 2,090
$ 2,230
$ 2,337

And if you're (legally) married and you choose not to live on the base in military / government housing, you will be given a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to find your own off base "civilian" housing/quarters. Which the amount you will be given will be determined by your (a) duty location (where you are assigned either in the US or overseas), pay grade (your rank), and the number of dependents (children) in your family. And below is just an example of approximate amount (more or less) in how much you could receive for BAH. But again it depends entirely on where you are assigned & located in the US or overseas and it increases every year too.

Rank and Amount

Rank/Pay Grade  
$ 699
$ 699
$ 699
$ 799
$ 999

And in addition to this, if you're married you'll also receive approximately $325 a month for groceries & food. But if you're single, sorry you'll only receive $25 a month because the dining facility (cafeteria) will be available to you whether you want to eat there three times a day or not. That is until you decide to get married or gain more rank, whichever comes first. And regardless if you're married or single, you'll also receive $500 a year (about $40 a month) to maintain your uniform, boots and other clothing items.

If you're interested in making some extra money that will also help you to get promoted faster too. If you volunteer to become a paratrooper, go into the aviation or demolition field you'll make an extra $150 a month for hazardous duty pay. Not to mention there are some other monthly allowances that you will be entitled to if you live or work in a hazardous, high income or a remote place and assignment.

And depending on the needs of the Army and the job skill you choose, you could be entitled to what is called an Enlistment Bonus (EB). Which is a monetary incentive anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 that is offered to individuals who agree to enlist in the Army in critically needed job skills and meet these eligibility criteria;

(a) high school diploma (b) an AFQT score 50 or higher (c) no prior military service (d) enlist for 3 years

Now after you have served and completed your first 3 year enlistment and you have decided "Hey, this Army life ain't so bad, I think I'll stay in a bit longer." Depending on the needs of Army in certain MOSs, you could be eligible to receive anywhere from $10,000 - $15,000 for another 3 years that is called a Re-enlistment Bonus (RB). And after you have been in even longer, again depending on the needs of the Army, you could be eligible for some more re-enlistment bonuses later on.

And so if you want to learn more about Army pay, cost of living allowances, enlistment and reenlistment bonus, just log onto this link below: (Note: Updated as of Jan. 1, 2009)


#3 Educational Benefits, College Tuition & Assistance - Now for those of you who are looking to advance your education but you can't afford to go to college or pay your existing student loan. The Army can provide you the money that you need to achieve your goal in getting that degree. And depending on the job you choose, the college fund and provided you agree to start giving a $100 a month from your pay, in return you can earn over $80,000 to help pay for your college. No BS!

The Army is in partnership with more than 1,800 community colleges and universities across the nation that can help you to earn an associate or master degree without even leaving the base. Such as through on base college courses where the teachers & professors will come to you, online self pace college courses and even via "live satellite" college classes too. Really! So no matter where you are stationed, stateside, overseas, in a remote location or even a combat zone. You can still a get a college education that will help you to find a job when you get out or get promoted faster if you decide to stay in the Army and make it a career.

Now under the Army's "Tuition Assistance" (TA) program, once you have submitted the course that you would like to attend and it's approved, you may be able to receive 100% funding for books and course fees up to $4,500 per academic year.

And so if you want to learn more about furthering your education and having the Army pay for most of it, then log onto this link below: (Note: Update As of Jan. 1, 2009)


#4 30 - 54 Days a Year Paid Vacation,Time Off & More - The Army's 30 days a year paid vacation is unarguably one of the best fringe benefits you will find no where else in the civilian world. No where! And you can take your 30 days a year vacation in 5, 10, 15 or 30 day increments too.

But what I have always done, and I have advised others in the Army to do this too. Being that you're normally off on the weekends when you are not deployed or on a training exercise. If you plan in advance and schedule your vacation time in 5 day increments from a Monday thru a Friday you will have 9 vacation days off "six times a year" for a total of 54 days off instead of 30. And yes, you can do this in the Army with no problem at all.

And besides your 30+ days a year paid vacation, it does not include; (a) national holidays, (b) individual & unit time off for doing good work, (d) sick leave, (e) 3 - 4 day Thanksgivng & Christmas weekend holidays. And on top of this, every year from about December 21 st thru January 5 th you work only in the mornings commonly known as "Christmas ½ day work schedule." Where else could you get this much time off in the civilian world and get paid for it? No where!

And as an additional bonus, whenever you are deployed away from home or your base for a year, you are provided an extra 15-30 days off that does not come out of your yearly 30 days a year vacation. Again, where else could you get this much time off in the civilian world? The average and most time off you will receive in the civilian world is about 15 days, unless of course you own your own business, you're a company executive or a school teacher.

To learn more about Army leave & vacation time, just log onto this link below: (Note: Updated as of Jan. 1, 2008)


#5 Fly Worldwide Free on US Military Aircraft - One of the fringe benefits for all US military personnel and their families including retirees is to be able to fly FREE on US military owned and operated aircraft known as " Space Available Flights." Or commonly called "Space A" or "Military Hops. It's a unique way to travel and see the world for free provided you have time to wait for these incoming & outgoing flights at most USAF bases which could be anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

How this works is simply once a military plane lands and all the cargo and duty passengers have been loaded onto the aircraft, if there are any unused seats they are then given to any "Space A" travelers. And the good thing about flying Space "A" is that you can sign up and register as far out as 60-days in advance of your desired travel date. Which once the USAF base flight operation center receives your Space "A" request, they will then place you on a priority & category list based on your duty status and not your rank.

Now keep in mind that although you can't beat the price of a Space "A" hops, it's free, remember? Don't expect nothing fancy like an in flight movie, meals or a nice comfortable seat that you would normally get from a regular airline. But once again, it's free and one of your fringe benefits for being in the US military.

To learn more about Space "A" Flights just log onto this link below: (Note: Updated as of Jan. 1 2009)


#6 Early Retirement & Monthly Income For Life - Now if you decide to make the Army a career and stay for, less say for a minimum of 20 years or 30 years. Below is the "approximate amount" you can expect to receive each month based on your rank and time in service (TIS) when you finally decide to retire from the US Army. (Note: As of Jan.1, 2010)

20 Years
25 Years
30 Years
$ 2,065
$ 2,784
$ 3,504
$ 2,313
$ 3,163
$ 4,002
$ 2,680
$ 3,230
$ 4,827

Another advantage in staying in the Army for 20+ years is that you can retire as early as 37 or 38 years old and take that skill the Army taught you and use it to find a second career in the civilian world. And that's exactly what most of my Army buddies did, they retired early [like me] and had no problems finding a job in the civilian world. And today they are enjoying their second career, working on their second retirement pension and will receive it about the same time they are eligible to receive their social security pension too. In other words, they will be receiving three separate retirement checks a month by the time they reach the age of 62. Not bad, huh? Can you do this in the civilian world? Only if you're cop, fireman or some other type of public servant.

To learn more about how much you would be entitled to and how to calculate your retirement pay, just go to this link:


#7 Free Medical, Eye & Dental Care - How many people do you know are struggling or complaining about the high cost of health care insurance? How many times have you read stories about people who have worked hard all their lives to save and own a home. And then all of a sudden one of their family members became seriously ill or injured and due to the mounting medical bills that they couldn't afford to pay, they lost their home and everything they owned.

Well in the Army you don't have to worry about this because you (and your immediate family too) are automatically covered under a comprehensive health care plan where you pay nothing or very little. And the Army's health care team is one of the best medical networks in the world utilizing the state-of-the-art technology and facilities. In fact, at some locations if you are married and prefer to visit an off-base medical facility, provided they are an approved facility under the Army's TRICARE system you are free to make an appointment with them at no cost or very little.

The bottom line is, when you join the Army - the Army takes care of it's own! If you want to learn more about the Army's medical care & benefits just log onto these links below: (Note: Updated as of Jan. 1, 2009)




#8 Travel & Live Abroad Where Most People Can Only Dream About - You know what? I never had any ambition or desire to ever leave the good ol'USA, nor to marry a non-American woman who couldn't speak english. But unfortunately, or so I thought, my first assignment after I graduated from basic and advance training I was shipped off to Germany. But then a few months later the Army decided I was needed more down in Italy where I was then stationed for 2 ½ years. And I have to tell you, I am glad the Army did send me to Italy because it's where I met my beautiful Italian wife.

And during my tour in Italy I was able to visit and see a lot of European countries and get to know the Italian and the European people, their culture, their beautiful country and more. Which I have to tell you too, these are a lot better places to visit and live than in New York City and Berwick - Pennsylvania. (Sorry New Yorkers and you Berwick Bulldog country-bumpkins, but it's true!)

But what happen to me in getting assigned overseas right after I graduated from basic & advance training may never happen to you. The chances are you'll probably and most likely be assigned to one of 25+ stateside Army installations. Unless, of course you want to volunteer to go overseas which your chances are fairly good you'll get the assignment you want if there's a job vacancy there with your MOS. And the most popular overseas assignments are Germany, Italy, and Korea. Though Hawaii and Alaska are not considered overseas assignments, they are also popular places soldiers like to request too.

But no matter where you're assigned, stateside or overseas the worse thing you can do is become what soldiers call is a "barrack's rat." These are individuals who stay on the base all the time, usually in their rooms and don't venture off the base except for military training exercises. And yes, I was one of those "barrack rats" for my first two years in the Army. And if I had not decided to finally venture off the base while stationed in Italy I would not have met my wonderful Italian wife who I have now been married to for almost 33 years.

The bottom line, don't become a barrack rat, get off the base and enjoy where you're assigned. And if you don't, it's not the Army's fault but your own. Check out this link below to see just some of Army's worldwide Morale, Welfare & Recreation (MWR) resorts, lodging and travel tours that are available to you, you can't beat the price. (Note: Updated as of Jan. 1, 2009)


#9 Government & DoD Employment Advantages - Anyone who has completed a minimum of 3 years in the US Armed Forces are considered "veterans." Therefore should you decide to work for the government or the Department of Defense (DoD) when you leave the service you will have an advantage over "non-military veterans" in getting these jobs. Of course there are some who will disagree and don't think this is fair. But tough, that's one of the advantages, benefits and rewards you get for voluntarily serving your country. And believe me, there are lots and lots of [Gov't & DoD] jobs out there not only in the US but overseas too. And once you have served 20 or more years in these jobs you will also be entitled to a retirement pension and health care benefits too.

Not bad, huh? And that's exactly what a lot of my Army buddies did when they got out or retired from the Army, they found themselves a nice, secure, recession proof job. To learn more about Gov't and DoD jobs for military veterans, check out this website below: (Note: Updated as of Jan. 1, 2009)


#10 Retire To An Armed Forces Retirement Home - I know what you're thinking, me too, I said to myself "Hell no, I ain't never going into some old geezer Army retirement home to spend the last remaining years of my life sitting on some porch watching the grass grow."

But you know what? I'm now in my 50's, my kids are grown up and have their own lives and so it's just me and the wife. And so after doing some online researching and finding out what they look like and offer, I told my wife.. "Honey, if I outlive you, don't worry about me because I know where I'm gonna live for the rest of my life when I turn 60+ - the Washington (D.C.) Armed Forces Retirement Home."

Man, does this place look like a cool place to stay. And they only charge what you make depending on your IRS reported income and or your military retirement pay. And so if you're healthy and can take care of yourself you would only have to give up 35% of your income/retirement pay to stay in an independent living resident. Or if you're confined to a bed or a wheel chair and you need long-term assisted care, you would only need to give up a 65% of your income/retirement. Now that ain't bad considering most civilian retirement homes today (2009) on average want about $2,500 month and up. (That sucks!)

And what you get for your money at these AFRH is three meals a day from a dining facility, a private, air-conditioned, 130 square foot room plus a private bathroom, shower and walk-in closet. Along with a bed, desk, chair, dresser, reading lamp as well as bed linens and towels that are laundered by a private contractor.

As for entertainment and activities, there's plenty of things to do to keep you busy, there's a golf course, fishing ponds, a bowling alley, movie theater, transportation, tours and everything else a private resort would have for it's resident. Including a medical & dental clinic and free to come & go as you please meaning. you're not restricted and required to be back in bed by a certain time nor to get up early for first call and unit roll call. (Just joking.)

And so check out these two links below to see what they got and offer and I am sure you will change your minds about these place too like I did. You never know, you just might need a place to stay at in your golden years and so don't cross off this extra fringe benefit just yet. (Note: Updated as of Jan. 1, 2009)

Wash - D.C. http://www.afrh.gov/afrh/wash/washcampus.htm

Gulfport - MS http://www.afrh.gov/afrh/gulf/gulfcampus.htm

Well that's my top 10 good reasons why you should think about joining the Army today, and as an added bonus and some other reasons.

Do you like to hunt & fish? Well in many states military service members pay nothing for these licenses.
Do you like cars and enjoy working on them? There's an auto-craft shop on almost every military installation.
Do you have family or marital problem? The military has an on base family advocacy office that can help you.
Don't like doing your yearly income taxes? The military has an on base office to help you with your taxes.
Don't know how to save & invest? The military will provide you classes on how to save & invest your money.
Does your spouse want to work and not stay home? The military can provide them on base employment.
Do you have children? If so, the military has it's own on base schools, kindergarten& day care centers too.

And these are just a "drop in the bucket" in what the Army can provide and offer you and or your family to make your enlistment or stay in the Army rewarding. When you join the Army, you become part of a special team and caring military community that you won't find anywhere else in civilian life. To learn more about the benefits in being in the Army, just go to this link: http://myarmybenefits.us.army.mil/

Ok, so now that I have given you my top 10 reasons why you should think about joining the Army today. As I mentioned, to be fair I will give you the top 10 reasons why most people don't join the Army.

But before I do, did you know there is a book called " 10 Excellent Reasons Not To Join The Military." This book was written by a Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, and just as the title suggests, it gives you 10 reason why you shouldn't join the military.

Now although this author is entitled to her own opinions and free to write a book about whatever she wants, even though she has "never served, been there and done that." She probably knows no more about what it's like to be in the military than a nun would know in what it's like to be a porno star. You know what I mean?

But if you think about it, sure, anyone can come up with 10 excellent reasons for not joining or becoming something. And so where would America and our society be today if people came up with.

10 Excellent Reasons Not To Be A Police Officer - There would be no law & order but instead anarchy & lawlessness.
10 Excellent Reasons Not To Be A Fire Fighter - There would be no one to put out fires and save lives & property.
10 Excellent Reasons Not To Be A Priest or Nun - There would be no religious guidance but instead sinners & satanism.
10 Excellent Reasons Not To Be A School Teacher - There would no one to teach your kids history, english, math, etc.
10 Excellent Reasons Not To Be A Doctor or Nurse - There would be no one around to care for and save peoples lives .
10 Excellent Reasons Not To Be A Lawyer - There would be no one to defend the innocent & prosecute the guilty.
10 Excellent Reasons Not To Be A Sanitation Worker - There would be no one to pick up garbage, clean streets, etc.
10 Excellent Reasons Not To Work For Home Land Security - There would be a lot more 9-11 terrorist attacks today.
10 Excellent Reasons Not To Go Into Politics - There would be no one to lead our towns, states or country.

And most importantly, where would we be today if our forefathers came up with "10 Excellent Reasons Why We Don't Need a Constitution or a Bill of Rights?"

Get my point? Think about it. And so here are those top 10 reasons (or excuses) why most people don't join the Army...

#1 - " I don't wanna get shot or kill other people.."

Well that's a very good reason if you're religious or a pacifist! But remember out of the 200+ specialty fields in the Army only 25 are in combat arms. And so if you don't want to shoot people, then don't sign up for the infantry, to be a Ranger or go Specials Forces. Choose one of the other 175+ non-combat arms MOSs where you will "less likely" have to fire your weapon only in self defense. But if you want to make rank faster, then it's best to choose a combat arms MOSs because that's where the "fast-track promotions" are in the Army.

#2 - "I don't wanna get blown up, become crippled for life or lose my life..."

That's another good reason, but what can happen to you in the Army can also happen to you in the civilian world too. Ok, well, maybe not get blown up, but you can become crippled or lose your life in other ways. The big difference between becoming injured, crippled or losing your life in the Army and the civilian world is.

Let's say you were walking down the street or a flight of stairs and you slipped, fell and became paralyzed. Who's going to take care of you? How are you going to make a living to support yourself? No one, and no way are you going to be able to make a living to support yourself neither. And that's a fact! But if this same thing happened to you in the Army, whether it was it was military related or not you will get disability pay and medial care for the rest of your life. But not so in the civilian world, unless your injuries happened on the job and the company or business has adequate liability insurance to cover your injuries and care. Get my point?

As for getting killed.Yes, there's no doubt about it, during war time, hostilities and conflicts you stand a better chance in getting killed in the Army than in the civilian world. But only if you enlisted for the infantry, the Rangers, Special Forces and other combat arms military occupation specialties (MOS). I'm not saying you won't get wounded, crippled or killed serving in the other 175+ non-combat MOSs. But less likely and no more than any other job in the civilian world, at least according to statistics.

#3 - "I don't like people giving me orders, screaming in my face and telling me what to do..."

No one does, especially 18 year old "punks & brats" who's parents fail to teach them discipline and respect and simply allowed them to do whatever they wanted to do all their life. And so if you're one of those problem children, then yes it's best you don't join the Army for your own safety. And not because of some sergeant who won't be able to put up with your smart ass mouth and bad attitude, but because some of your fellow soldiers won't. Because in the Army you have to learn to work as a team , and so there is no "I" in the word TEAM. And so if you're one of those who can't take orders and work well with others, then don't bother wasting your time trying to join the Army because you won't make it. And I guarantee you won't too.

#4 - "I don't want to spend three years away from my family and friends..."

If you or some of your family members or friends went away to college or had to move away to another state to find a job, where would you be? By yourself without them, right? Well the difference is in the Army you learn to make new friends fast wherever you go because you become a part of special society and a close knit military family. And for those of you who have never served in the Army, then you will never know or understand the close comaradie we soldiers have and share with each other.

#5 - "I'm too old to play Army."

The minimum age to join the Army is 17 with your parents consent, and the maximum age is 42. And so for anyone to say they are "too old to play Army" it's just another way of saying "Nah, not me, I'm not interested, let someone else serve." Excuses are like @ssholes, anyone can find one.

#6 - "All Army recruiters will lie and say anything to get you to sign up..."

True! They use to do this a long, long, time ago but not anymore. Today there are too many rules & regulations in place that prevent recruiters from taking advantage of those who are thinking about joining the Army. And so most of the time, about 99%, it's the individual who fails to do his or her homework first before visiting an Army recruiter. Which is easy to do simply by logging onto www.goarmy.com to see what the Army is currently offering. Or by googling "How to join the US Army" and up will pop a bunch of website's that will help you to decide what it is that you want from the Army, and a lot of them are non-US Army sites too. But keep in mind Army recruiters are like a car salesmen. When you walk onto a car lot and you don't know what type of car you want to buy, the car salesman is going to try to sell you the car he wants you to buy. But if you know what type of car you want before you go to a car dealer, you're in charge! And the car salesman either has to listen to you, or you can easily turn around and walk out the door and find another car dealer. Well it's almost the same thing with Army recruiters. So before you sign anything, do your homework first so you'll understand what you're signing and committing yourself to for three years or you could screw yourself.

#7 - "Once you're in, if you don't like it, you can't get out."

That's true! It's not like going to work for McDonald's and after a few days on the job if you don't like it you can always quit. When you enlist in the Army you're blinded by a written agreement & contract and committed to serve for three years.

#8 - "The Army is full of racist, sexists, and anti-gay people."

False! If anything the Army teaches you how to get along with others and to work as a team regardless of your race, religion, sex, and color. But the Army can't train and cure everyone in not being prejudice, a racist, a sexist, and to like everyone around them. But should someone make an inappropriate remark about someone's race, religion, sex or color while in the Army it won't be tolerated and they could (and most likely) be dishonorably discharged from the military. And if you're gay. provided you don't openly disclose or get caught committing a lewd sex act, the old rule of "Don't Ask - Don't Tell" is still enforced by the Army.

#9 - "The only ones who join the Army are losers who can't make it in civilian life..."

False! As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, people join the Army for many reasons. The top three reasons are: job training to learn a skill, earn money for college, and competitive pay and other benefits. For anyone to say "only losers join the Army." If it wasn't for selfless and caring people who are not afraid to give up three years of their life to join the Army, you can bet there would be a draft today. So be thankful for those who are willing to join so selfish, self-centered and self-serving people don't have to serve in the Army today against their will.

And if you want to know if you're one of these individuals, here's a test for you...If you can watch & listen to all four of these "YouTube.Com" videos below without shedding a tear, feeling sad, feeling proud and you want to do something to help our troops. Who are our brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, buddies, girlfriends, boyfriends, etc. Well you can either become one of the thousands of brave & caring soldiers you see in these videos or..if you choose not to, then at least support out troops. And if you do, then you are not one of those selfish, self-centered & self-serving individuals. Now please take a few minutes to either click on these links or to cut & paste and log onto these sites;           

Music Video: By Toby Keith - "American Soldier    

Music Video: By Toby Keith - "Red, White & Blue"

Music Video: By Brad Fletcher "Tribute To Our Troops"

Music Video: By Lee Greenwood - "God Bless The USA" 

#10 - "The pay sucks, you make less than minimum wage and have to work long hours..."

Sure, if you take the number of hours in a day 24 X 7 days X 4 weeks = 5,040 hours divided by your basic monthly pay and it will come out to way, way, way below minimum wage. Duh? And yes, you may be a soldier 24-7-12 but you don't work 24-7-12. On average a soldier works about 8 (+/-) hours a day not including field training exercises, real world deployments and maybe once in awhile you have to work on a weekend too. Here's what a soldier's average work day looks like. (Note: After Basic & Advance Training)

6:30 - 7:30 a.m
Unit Physical Training
7:30 - 9:00 a.m.
Off, Shit, Shower & Breakfast
9:00 - 12:00 a.m.
Duty & Training
12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Off Lunch
1:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Duty & Training

Total 8 Hrs

And so if you take these 8 hours X 5 days X 4 weeks = 160 hours and divide into what an average Pvt./E-1 makes per month ($1,400.00 divided by 160) ) and according to my calculations it comes out to $ 8.75 per hour. And let's not forget you don't have to pay anything for rent, your meals, your military clothing, nor for medical care. And so let's say you went away one weekend and blew your entire month's pay at some party on booze & girls and you don't have any more money left for the rest of the month. Well, you would still have a place to sleep and 3 x meals a day until your next pay check. Still think a soldier in the Army only makes minimum wage? Think again.

Ok, so now that you have read my top 10 reasons for joining and 10 reasons for not joining the Army and you are now thinking about joining. Here are the top 10 reasons why you will most likely NOT be accepted. Or if you are, you will "most likely" be dishonorably discharged and kicked out of the Army before your three year enlistment is up.

Are you or do you have..

1.) a criminal record?
2.) an exposed tattoo?
3.) smoke pot or take drugs?
4.) obese or excessively overweight?
5.) a racist or belong to a street gang?
6.) can't put up with people with authority?
7.) have any medical or physical problems?
8.) out of shape, don't like to do physical things like labor work?
9.) use your race, religion or sex as leverage to get what you want?
10.) an intellectual, over educated individual who thinks they're smarter than everyone else?

If you answered "yes" to one or more of these questions, then you may as well stay home and don't bother wasting your time seeing a recruiter because you will "most likely" not be accepted or make it in the Army.

Now I know some of you have probably heard some negative things about the Army, well so have I too. But based on my own personal military experience and in talking with some of these people, most of them have either (a) never served in the Army, (b) have only heard negative things about the Army from others who (supposedly) had served. Or (c) if they did serve they enlisted for the wrong reasons or had some different expectations and thought the Army was going to be like walking through the gates at "Disney World."

Like many businesses, companies, corporations, and organizations in the civilian world, no matter where or who you work for, everyone is going to have good days, bad days, and be told to do something they don't like or want to do. But you do it anyway and get through those days, right? Well it's the same way in the Army, no different.

And no, you're not going to be told to do something morally or illegally wrong. Because as part of your basic and advance training in the Army you will be required to attend some classes to learn how to distinguish the difference between a legal and an illegal order and how to properly handle and report it. And yes, I, too have found myself in some of these positions more than once. And if I had not handled these situations as I was taught I would now have successfully completed 20+ years in the Army but instead been booted out. So the system does work!

And while most anti-war activists and intellectuals like to compare today's Army to some bloody Vietnam war movies like "Full Metal Jacket, Born On The Fourth of July, and Platoon" in showing confused soldiers and uncaring leaders. The truth of the matter is today's Army is more like the movies "Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers and Blackhawk Down" in showing caring leaders and soldiers looking out after each other and working together as a team. And no where else will you find such a close bond between individuals except in the Army.

Well there you go boys & girls, if you did not know all this about the Army before, now you do. Though I am not an Army recruiter nor did I get paid by anyone to write this article, I wrote it because I wanted to write it. And because every so often I receive an email from someone asking me . "Why did you join the Army, what's it's like, what are the benefits, did you enjoy being a soldier, would you do it all over again, etc."

And so this article is way overdue and I am glad I wrote it. And so if I opened up your eyes and inspired any of you to think about joining the Army, I hope you will remember me and this article.

Now for those of you who are serious and without a doubt thinking about joining the Army and you are at least 18 years old and you would like to talk to me personally "one-on-one" about joining the Army. Provided you contact me via email first ( SOSSurvivalKits@live.com ) and provide me your full name, date of birth and address, I will provide you my Skype info and be willing to talk to you. And if you don't know what is Skype is, google it.

Please do NOT attempt to contact me via Skype without first contacting me via email. And do NOT contact me if you are NOT at least 18 years old. If you fail to follow my instructions and try to contact me via Skype without sending me an email first, I will NOT answer your call but instead put a BLOCK on your follow up Skype calls. The bottom line, please do NOT waste my time unless you are seriously thinking about joining the Army. And if you are, then I will be more than happy to talk to you, fair enough?

And if you would like to improve your chances of making it through the 9 weeks of basic training, here are some excellent books that I would suggest you read; (Note: Order from: www.survivaloutdoorskills.com )

Max Out The Army, Navy & Marine Physical Fitness Test

25 Days To Becoming a Better Leader at Work, Home & Play

The Ranger Digests Series I-IX

A great site in learning what basic training is like from every angle from being a new recruit, what not to do or say, your worst fears, to what your Drill Instructor will be like and how to get along with him/her, etc. Check out this website: http://www.ultimatebasictraining.com/Blog/

And don't think Army life is all work and no play, because it's not all work. And a great site to visit to see what Army life is like through a popular comic strip called " Pvt. Murphy's Law "  is at this link: www.PvtMurphy.com . Once you log on, click on the "Archive" link at the top of the page to view more than 200+ hilarious cartoons that describes everyday life in the Army from basic training to the Iraq war. It's absolutely hilarious because it's so true and right on the money!

And in closing let me say one last thing...the hardest thing about joining the Army is what I call the "three doors of courage."

Door #1 - is finding the courage to walk through the door of an Army recruiter's office.

Door #2 - is finding the courage to walk out the door of your home for the last time to report to the Army.

Door #3 - is finding the courage to walk through the door of an Army Reception Station where you will be processed into the Army where millions of other recruits have passed before you.

But once you have passed through these "three doors of courage" it will only be about a day or two before you will not have time to think about your home, family, wife, girlfriend, etc because you will be too busy adjusting to your new life and making new friends. And believe me everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY goes through this. But don't worry, you'll get over it, everybody does.

Well there you go, I hope you enjoyed this article and will think about what I wrote and pass it around to others who might find it interesting too.

Take care, God bless and good luck to you all.

Richard (aka Army Ranger Rick) F. Tscherne

US Army, Sfc/E-7 (Ret)
Author, The Ranger Digest Series
Developer, SOS Survival Kits
Owner, www.SurvivalOutdoorSkills.com

PS: To learn what I did in the Army, log onto my website at www.SurvivalOutdoorSkills.com and then click on my " Army Ranger Rick" page to view my military experience & bio. Hooah!

U.S. Army
Rick 1993
Me in 1973
Me in 1993






New Survival Kit

SMA Survival Kit
Dedicated To The
173rd Abn Recon Plts

Uncle Sam

Why It Pay$ To Join
The U$ Army.

(Click here to find out)

Wanna Website Like This? Contact:
Gary L. Benton
Dancing Fox Web Design
















































































































































































































































































































































© 2008 by Survival Outdoor Skills, All Rights Reserved.