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The Best Military Branch to Enlist In
A Veteran Ranks the Military Branches

By: Ron Johnson, Yahoo Contributor Network

The military is an excellent option for many, if not all, young people. As a veteran, I can say that any full-time, active enlistment in the military is a step towards a promising future for a young person. The military instills discipline and a sense of responsibility, creates self-confidence, provides a steady paycheck, and causes young people to see that the world does not revolve around their tiny little neighborhood or town. I recommend a military enlistment to anyone who's interested, and even those who aren't. If you're confused by all the options, allow me to give you a rundown of the military branches to help you decide which branch of the military is best for you. And if you have questions, don't be afraid to ask. Now get reading maggot, we don't have all day!
#1 - Army Best Military Branch
The Army ranks best among military branches because they continue to offer 2-year enlistments as well as giving recruits the ability to choose their job (known as a MOS) prior to enlisting. Although the government's National Call to Service authorized 2-year enlistments in each branch of service (including the Air Force and Marine Corps), these enlistments are not popular or easy to get. Meanwhile, the Army continues to offer a 2-year enlistment along with good technical jobs for that minimum enlistment. Additionally, Army pay scales are decent and duty stations are located all across the United States and elsewhere in the world. I served under a 2-year enlistment in the 1990s as a Construction Equipment Mechanic (MOS 62B) and am very happy with both the experience and the opportunities that my Army service made available to me. For a young person considering a short enlistment or even a military career, I honestly don't see how they could go wrong by choosing the Army as it is the best military branch to enlist in. Just stay away from grunt positions and menial MOS's like 88M (Truck Driver) or 92F (Petroleum Supply Specialist); otherwise you risk becoming a bullet catcher.

#2 - Air Force
The Air Force is also an excellent choice for those seeking enlistment in the military, but they cannot guarantee a job for the recruit and they do not have 2 or 3 year enlistments. Aside from these two issues though, everything else that the Air Force offers is fantastic. The Air Force is safer than the Army, the jobs are typically less strenuous, and they offer better facilities than the Army or other branches of the military. Ask any military veteran about the Air Force and they'll tell you that their mess halls and barracks are great! Of course in the next breath they'll make fun of airmen for their poor discipline and easy physical fitness tests, but this is just military ribbing. Your choice of military branch should be based on your needs and desires and not inter-service rivalry. The Air Force is highly recommended, just keep in mind the minimum 4-year enlistments and lack of job selection available to potential recruits. For these reasons, the Air Force ranks second in my ranking of the military branches.

#3 - Navy
Even though the Navy places third in my military branch rankings, don't let that deter you from pursuing them. The Navy is a highly specialized branch of service, perfect for those who love the ocean, boats, and adventure. Long voyages at sea and the opportunity to explore destinations unknown is quite alluring, but living conditions are known for being poor. Seamen are packed into their living quarters like sardines and voyages can go on for months at a time without any escape from the ship, so if you're considering enlisting in the Navy, make sure you really want that lifestyle. Outside of the obvious lifestyle adjustments, the Navy offers some very good job choices with great opportunities in the civilian world. And like every branch of the armed service, their specialized job training is free; actually, they pay you! Like the Army, the Navy also offers 2 and 3-year enlistments, much like the Army. If you're pursuing a military career, the Navy is a good choice. Just make sure that you really want to live on a boat for months at a time. For the right person this is a dream. For the wrong person, it's a nightmare.

#4 - Coast Guard
The Coast Guard is a military branch currently controlled by the Department of Homeland Security (as opposed to the Department of Defense, which controls the other military branches). The USCG conducts law enforcement duties as they patrol our coasts and interdict smugglers, and they also conduct search-and-rescur (SAR) operations in our waters. Coast Guard careers do not provide the opportunity for foreign travel and the jobs are not as varied as those offered by the Coast Guards big brother, the Navy. Still, a Coast Guard career or enlistment certainly isn't a bad thing, and it's preferable to a stint in the dreaded Marines. The US Coast Guard ranks low on my list of military branches for a reason, but that's not to say it's a bad choice. I mean, at least it's not the Marines. Speaking of which...

#5 - Marine Corps - Worst Military Branch
Of all the military branches, the Marine Corps ranks as the least attractive choice for this author. Technically part of the Navy, the Marine Corps are the elite war fighters of the United States military. The leathernecks of the USMC are truly fearsome fighters, tough as nails and ready and willing to fight all comers. The Marines turn recruits into stone-cold killers and they make no secrets about that fact. Marines live tough lives, sleeping on board Navy ships, charging through the surf and crawling in the sand with one goal in mind: engage the enemy. Unfortunately, when Marines fulfill their obligation and exit the service, they seem to find difficulty in turning this Marine Corps attitude 'off'. Whereas an Army or Navy veteran will likely adjust to civilian life over time and become softer, Marines stay Marines. Visit any neighborhood in the United States and you will find a USMC flag flying high over someone's house. You will rarely, if ever, see a person flying an Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard flag. While veterans of other military branches tend to relax a little bit as they transition into civilian life, any Marine will be quick to remind you of their unofficial motto, "Once a Marine, always a Marine." I don't know what those Marine Corps drill sergeants are doing to their recruits, but whatever it is, it works.

Is that a bad thing? Well, that depends on your reasons for considering a military enlistment. If you have a strong desire to kill the enemy, the Marine Corps is for you because that is what the Marines do. Either you want that or you don't, plain and simple. If you simply want a challenge, any other branch of the military will provide you with plenty of opportunities to test yourself. Army Rangers and Green Berets, Air Force Pararescue Jumpers, and the Navy Seals all offer extreme physical and mental challenges outside of the Marine Corps. So if you are considering joining the Marine Corps, think long and hard about what that means before going to a recruiter and signing up.

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