Today's Military:

Military Myth Versus Reality

It’s Not What You Think.

Many people have misconceptions, or outdated ideas, about Today’s Military. Yes, you can still go to college. No, women don’t have to shave their heads. Yes, you can make it through boot camp. Take a look at some common misconceptions, and find out the truth for yourself. The U.S. Military has never been more diverse, more educated or more ready to help you succeed.

Click on each myth below to reveal the truth. If you have any questions, check our FAQs.

Myth:

The Military is a roadblock to a higher education.

Reality

Reality:

  • The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays public school in-state tuition and fees.
  • A network of skill training schools serves as a resource to train servicemembers for the many positions the Services need to fill. Training is available in many fields including IT, health care and security, to name a few.
  • The Military offers retired personnel up to $100/month reimbursement for tutorial assistance.

Get more information about the tuition support available in the Military.

Myth:

People in the Military are not compensated as well as private-sector workers.

Reality

Reality:

  • Military pay is comparable to, and in some cases better than, its civilian counterpart.
  • Services often include enlistment bonuses when there is a need for personnel in specialized fields. Amounts and requirements change frequently, so check with a recruiter for the latest information.
  • After 20 years of service, retired personnel can potentially receive military retirement pay for life.

Myth:

Women have a hard time achieving success in the Military.

Reality

Reality:

  • On average, across the Services, more than 79% of all jobs in the Military are open to women.
  • Women account for close to 18 percent of the U.S. Military.

Myth:

Military training and jobs have little relation to the civilian world.

Reality

Reality:

  • 91 percent of military jobs have direct civilian counterparts.

Get more information about careers in the Military.

Myth:

It's nearly impossible for ordinary people to complete Basic Training.

Reality

Reality:

  • Ninety-one percent of recruits complete their first six months of service.
  • Despite a tough reputation, drill sergeants sincerely want recruits to succeed.

Learn more about Basic Training.

Myth:

You don't need to finish high school to join the Military.

Reality

Reality:

  • You must have a high school diploma or equivalent to enlist.
  • A GED may be accepted with special approval.

Myth:

You must have perfect vision to serve in the Military.

Reality

Reality:

  • For the most part, an individual can serve as long as his or her vision can be corrected (i.e., with glasses) to 20/20.
  • Certain jobs, such as pilots and snipers, do have strict vision requirements. Talk to a recruiter for details.

Myth:

Servicemembers don't get much vacation time.

Reality

Reality:

  • Servicemembers receive 30 days of paid vacation a year.
  • Servicemembers also receive 21 days of adoption leave and 10 days of paternity leave.

Get more information about military benefits.

Myth:

The Military is just for people who like fighting.

Reality

Reality:

  • While all servicemembers are trained to respond to threats, 91 percent of military jobs do not involve direct combat operations.
  • Non-combat jobs in the Military include roles in journalism, business administration, food service and human resources.

Learn more about what it takes to join the Military.

Myth:

When you join the Military, you join for life.

Reality

Reality:

  • The length of active-duty service can be as little as two years.
  • Length of service can vary, but a first term generally involves eight years, with two to four years of Active Duty and the remainder in a Reserve unit or the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).

Get more information about types of military service.

Myth:

Some servicemembers never get deployed.

Reality

Reality:

  • While the majority of military jobs are not in direct combat, all servicemembers must be prepared for the possibility of deployment.
  • Servicemembers aren't always deployed to combat areas; they may also be deployed on foreign and domestic humanitarian missions.

Learn more about the careers available in the Military.

Myth:

It's hard to start a family in the Military since you don't know when you'll be deployed.

Reality

Reality:

  • Female servicemembers cannot be deployed overseas or away from their permanent duty stations for at least 4 months after their child is born.
  • Male servicemembers receive 10 days of paternity leave, which is comparable to the leave given in civilian careers.

Get more information about military benefits.

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