Videos: Today's Military
  • MEPS Overview(02:56)

    A Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) is where applicants for military service go to complete the enlistment process. There are 65 MEPS in the United States and Puerto Rico. Applicants who must travel a distance will receive free lodging at a nearby hotel. Meals and transportation are also provided at no cost.

    Nicknamed “Freedom’s Front Door,” MEPS are staffed with military and civilian professionals who carefully screen each applicant to ensure he or she meets the physical, academic and moral standards set by each Service. To do so, each applicant goes through the following steps:

    • Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) testing
    • Career Counseling
    • Physical Exam
    • Background Screening
    • Oath of Enlistment

    Following the Oath, an applicant is now a full member of the U.S. Military. At this point, he or she may ship directly to Basic Training for his or her branch, or enroll in the Delayed Entry (or Enlistment) Program (DEP) and undergo training at a future time. It can be a long day, and a lot happens quickly, but applicants are briefed at every step by MEPS staff, and there is always help available should questions arise.

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Speaker 1: I am Commander Cathy Macer. I am the commanding officer of the Boston Military Entrance Processing Station. MEPS is the place where applicants come to process into the Armed Forces, and we are responsible for ensuring quality accessions into the Armed Forces during both peacetime and during times of mobilization. Well, the day starts, given that the applicant has stayed at a contract hotel overnight, they are given a wakeup call at 4:00 in the morning. Breakfast there at the hotel, and then so they're here at the MEPS shortly after 5:00 in the morning.

Speaker 2: My name is Staff Sgt. Michael Lyle. I am the MEPS liaison when it comes to anybody for the Air Force. The applicant will come in in the morning and sit down with the liaisons, and we will go over what their day is going to entail and what they should expect and, yeah, normally at about 5:15, 5:30 when they do show up, we are the first face that they get to see in the morning.

Speaker 1: Long gone are the days where applicants are herded into various, you know, large rooms and impersonally treated. We have moved into a red carpet treatment for our applicants where they are treated with dignity and respect.

Speaker 3: Good morning, everybody. I'm Sgt. 1st Class Ketcham. I'm operations NCRC here at the Boston MEPS.

We reassure them throughout the day all the time. I mean, yeah, when they first come up on the floor, you know, they come very early in the morning. Once we get them signed into the MEPS, we get them all in one area, and we give them the morning brief.

Once we get done here, you're going to go to the medical, folks. You're going to get a medical brief, and you're going to run through that process, okay? Once the briefing's done, you're going to get an exam. You're going to meet with the physicians, okay? And you're going to go through that. Once you're done with the medical, you're going to go down to your service liaisons. You're going to sit down with a counselor, and you guys are going to negotiate a job. Once that's complete, you'll come over to the processing section. All right, we'll do what we have to do over there, get you ready to swear in, take the Oath of Enlistment and then we'll set up the transportation to take you home.

Speaker 2: When they do understand the entire process, then we try to make sure that everybody is on the same page, and that if there are any concerns, hopefully then the individual feels comfortable enough to raise them before we get started on the day. That way, they have a nice smooth process. They know where they're going, where they're coming from, and when they come back to see us, they're in a good mood because they know one more spot is done.

Speaker 4: I've tried going to school, I've tried regular jobs and just nothing excited me.

Speaker 5: I've always wanted to join the Military. I went through college, and the, you know, the economy is not the greatest thing right now, but I've always wanted to join.

Speaker 6: Family full of Marines. My uncle did 32, my father did 23 and it'll be awesome to join as well, become a part of a brotherhood.

Speaker 5: And you know, I found some opportunities that can be used with my degree, all that kind of stuff, and they offer a lot of gainful things for what I want to do in the future.

Speaker 1: We are privileged to have them come into the Military. This is a voluntary service. This is not a draft era, and so it's important to us and to each of my staff to treat those who are interested in serving their country with the respect that they deserve.