Service Branches


The Army is a powerful fighting force defending and serving our nation by land, sea and air. Elite groups within the Army, such as the Army Rangers and Special Forces, receive specialized training for advanced combat situations.

In addition to domestic bases, the Army has permanent stations in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa as well as troops on the ground wherever there is a conflict. Length of individual service commitment varies, and in some cases may be as little as two years.

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Serving in the U.S. Army Infantry

As warfare has evolved, so too has the Army’s oldest branch, the Infantry. In this video, you’ll watch an in-depth primer on this venerable fighting force and the men and women who serve.

Length 5:47 View Transcript


The Springfield Model 1795. The first musket to be produced in America. Borrowing from and improving on what had come before—much like the country it was forged to protect—it’s fitting that this weapon would come to represent the Soldiers of America’s Infantry.

INTERVIEWS (Why is the legacy of Infantry so important? Why did you join? What do you love about what you do?)

The oldest branch in the Army, Infantry is home to some of the most decorated units to ever enter combat. But as warfare has evolved, so has the role of Infantry.

Whether by air, by wheel, by track, or by foot, today’s Infantry will employ a diversity of tactics and systems as they close with and destroy the nation’s enemies.

INTERVIEWS (What are some of the missions and roles assigned to Infantry? How much fun is it to train on so many different skillsets? Why are Infantrymen more than just grunts/goundpounders/etc.?)

All Infantry careers begin at Fort Benning, Georgia; as part of One Station Unit Training, Infantry Soldiers first undertake Basic Combat Training before transitioning directly into Advanced Individual Training.

These Soldiers will be introduced to all weapons used by the Infantry: the M4 carbine rifle. Grenade launcher. Squad automatic weapon. M240B machinegun. As well as grenades, mines and demolitions, and anti-tank weapons.

Infantry Soldiers train to fight on not just the traditional battlefield, but also the urban landscape; as well as environments exposed to nuclear, biological, and chemical arms.

Armored vehicles such as the Stryker and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle are incorporated to simulate real-world ops. Similarly, helicopters—so critical to force mobility—are also utilized.

Further training based on the Army's needs will be as Infantry or Indirect Fire Infantry.

INTERVIEWS (What is the difference between Infantry and Indirect Fire Infantry? For 11C, how do you balance urgency and accuracy?)

The Infantry of today does not just patrol. Fighting positions for vehicles and personnel must be constructed and camouflaged. Fortifications, barriers, and other obstacles must be built or emplaced. There will be recon missions that require Infantry support.

For Indirect Fire Infantry units, the ability to rapidly establish and fire their man-portable or vehicle-borne mortar is key. They know team members down range are depending on them to bring their firepower to the fight, and the rounds they rain down may decide the day.

INTERVIEWS (How has Infantry prepared you for you Army career, and beyond? )

For many members of the Infantry, all of this begins a pattern of continued personal growth; advanced schools such as Airborne, Pathfinder, Sniper, Ranger, and even Special Forces, may lie along that path.

INTERVIEWS (How does today’s Infantry carry on the legacy of those who came before them?)

Generation after generation, America has depended on them to be her strength in war—her deterrent in peace. They go where the fight is most fierce, shouting “Follow Me!” as they lead the way.

They are relentless.

They are always there.

They are The Infantry.

Before Serving in the Army

To enlist in the Army, you must be between 18 and 34 years old (17 with parental consent). You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien. A high school diploma is preferred, but a high school equivalent such as the GED may be accepted. You must also take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test and a physical fitness exam. Some jobs may have additional requirements.

To serve in the Army, recruits must complete 10 weeks of Basic Training, commonly known as boot camp. Eligible college students can participate in their school's ROTC program or attend a military academy to join the Army as officers after graduation.

Sergeant First Class Keith Russell
Sergeant First Class | Keith Russell Army

Army Careers

The Army offers more than 200 career employment opportunities across various disciplines, including aviation, cyber, information technology, health care, aircraft maintenance and Special Forces. No matter your specialty, you'll receive top-notch training and the experience to handle whatever future career opportunities come your way. Find out which full-time Army opportunities are right for you or get information about part-time service in the Army Reserve or the Army National Guard.

Army Benefits

A competitive salary is just one of the employment benefits of Army service. All Soldiers receive health care, housing and food allowances, as well as educational opportunities. The Blended Retirement System offers guaranteed retirement pay after 20 years of active-duty service (and reaching age 60 for Guard and Reserve) in the form of a monthly pension or lump sum in addition to retirement pay options for those who serve less than 20 years (please speak to your recruiter for more information).


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.