Information About Military Enlistment and Reenlistment

Military Enlistment / Reenlistment Document

Marine Sergeant Inspecting Recruits
••• Karen Kasmauski / Getty Images

Do you have an interest in serving your country in the military? If so, what job do you think you want to do? There are hundreds of jobs within each branch of the military that can prepare you to serve as part of the military team, but also prepare you for the rest of your life with training that can transfer to a civilian career. Now - what branch is right for you?

Army. Navy. Air Force. Marines. Which branch of the military might be right for you? If you're thinking about joining the military, you'll need to make sure this is where you want to start your career. If you already know someone in the military, it's wise to ask that person questions you may have. If you don't know someone, don't worry, there are many places to go for information. Here are a few:

Visit a Recruiter

Once you’ve researched all you can on your own, if your still interested, it's a good idea to visit a military recruiter. Here, you can explore which branch of the military might be best for you. A recruiter can provide detailed information about military service and can answer your questions about your specific wants and needs. However, if you are considering jobs that require elevated physical fitness standards like Marine Corps or Special Operations, you need to also prepare your physically for the toughest boot camp in the service or advanced follow on selection programs in any of the services special ops program - Navy SEAL, SWCC, Diver / EOD, Army Special Forces / Ranger, Air Force PJ / CCT, or Marine RECON. Regardless, if you have not worked out in a while, you should start well before boot camp or basic training as you will be running and doing calisthenics (pushups, situps / plank pose, pullups, and more). Some branches (Army, USMC), you will also ruck (carry 40-50lbs back packs) during basic training, be prepared for that type of training as well.

How To Join

There are two ways to join the U.S. Military: enlisting directly after high school or finishing college first and joining as a commissioned officer. Though, you can still enlist after college if you prefer. A military officer is a leader who supervises and manages activities in nearly every occupational specialty. However, enlistment is the most common way to join the military as the officer corps is about 1/10 of the manning of the enlisted population.

Military Enlistment/Reenlistment Document

The Military Enlistment/Reenlistment Document is the "contract" signed by all individuals enlisting in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, including members enlisting in the Delayed Enlistment Program (DEP), and enlisting in the National Guard and Reserves. The document, known as DD Form 4/1 can be found here.

Below is an excerpt from the document:

"I understand that many laws, regulations, and military customs will govern my conduct and require me to do things under this agreement that a civilian does not have to do. I also understand that various laws, some of which are listed in this agreement, directly affect this enlistment/reenlistment agreement. Some examples of how existing laws may affect this agreement are explained in paragraphs 10 and 11. I understand that I cannot change these laws but that Congress may change these laws, or pass new laws, at any time that may affect this agreement, and that I will be subject to those laws and any changes they make to this agreement. I further understand that: My enlistment/reenlistment agreement is more than an employment agreement. It effects a change in status from civilian to military member of the Armed Forces. As a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, I will be:

(1 ) Required to obey all lawful orders and perform all assigned.

(2) Subject to separation during or at the end of my enlistment. If my behavior fails to meet acceptable military standards, I may be discharged and given a certificate for less than honorable service, which may hurt my future job opportunities and my claim for veteran's benefits.

(3 Subject to the military justice system, which means, among other things, that I may be tried by military courts-martial.

(4) Required upon order to serve in combat or other hazardous situations.

(5) Entitled to receive pay, allowances, and other benefits as provided by law and regulation."

Make sure you THOROUGHLY read through the contract and if there is something you do not understand, have someone explain it to you. The last thing you want to do is sign a contract and you not get the job that you thought you were signing up for.