Celebrating the Choice to Serve
Since 1973, the United States has sustained an All-Volunteer Force (AVF). So much of what our nation has achieved over the past fifty years has been born from millions of willing individuals dedicated to something greater than themselves. Today more than 1.5 million people throughout the Military continue to embrace this higher calling.
Explore the sections below to learn how the AVF has provided service members with:
- opportunities to make meaningful contributions both at home and abroad
- significant benefits to lead a well-balanced life
- the support to pursue their goals and develop new ones through training and further education
How Choice Leads to Change
People volunteer for service not just for themselves, but for the positive impact they can make among their peers, in their communities and around the world. Some of these meaningful opportunities include humanitarian aid, medical care, cybersecurity and engineering.
Learn more about the ways that people serve in the AVF.
“Just seeing the destruction and the devastation so close to home — I know what a hurricane can do. I’ve seen it often … and being someone that people reach out to for help, that’s big.”
“There are all different mindsets, all different kinds of people in the Military, but we all come together to give back. … As hospital corpsmen, we strive to give back to the community, to give patients that motivation to continue to push forward.”
“When I take a step back and look at my job, I think, ‘Wow, I’m doing important stuff.’ Knowing I’m making a difference makes me really enjoy what I do.”
A Path Forward
In the AVF, service members can follow their personal ambitions and professional successes in many ways — this includes having multiple pathways to serve, an environment that promotes equality and the flexibility to pursue a well-balanced life.
Explore a day in the life of a variety of service members.
“The Military gives you plenty of opportunity to have a normal life — to balance your family life and even take vacations each year. I’m a very social person, so it’s great to be able to spend time with friends and family.”
“Pretty much every kind of person is in the Military. Every day I am floored by the depth and diversity of the people, values and beliefs that I encounter in the Military. We truly are representative of the melting pot of our nation, all unified by our desire to help others.”
“The Reserve provided me an opportunity to live both aspects of a civilian and military life. I’m a regular person who, at the end of the day, is also a Soldier.”
Pursuing Personal Missions
There are countless reasons why people with goals just like yours have voluntarily joined the Military — to go beyond the expected while developing lifelong skills.
See how service members are making their aspirations a reality through educational benefits, advanced training and other opportunities for growth.
“Education benefits are one of the best opportunities that motivated me to be in the Military. ... I’m currently using Tuition Assistance for graduate school, and I still have my GI Bill to further my education if I wanted to pursue that as well.”
“The Military invests so much time and energy into training to ensure we’re all ready to do our specific jobs. Even after I officially started my job, I was constantly training, getting my hands dirty and learning while doing.”
“You never know until you have a challenge in front of you that you can actually take that step to do it. Your feet may not want to move, but you just need to take the step. The Military gave me that confidence.”
Types of Military Service
The U.S. Military consists of six active-duty Service branches and their respective Guard and Reserve components. Together, they offer a broad variety of ways to serve.