The ASVAB

The Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery is usually taken at a computer at MEPS. It is a timed multi-aptitude test. You may be surprised to know that you’ve probably already taken it, as it’s given at over 14,000 schools nationwide. There are four very crucial areas that you will be tested in: Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension and Mathematics Knowledge. The scores you make in these areas will determine whether you are qualified to enlist, and just how qualified you are for certain bonuses and military occupational specialties (MOS). The higher your score, the higher your chances at landing the MOS you desire, so take the ASVAB seriously. Study and be prepared to concentrate by eating a good breakfast the morning of your test and getting plenty of rest the night before.  If you need to retake the test, you are required to wait for a one month period. Any retesting after that will require 6 months in between tests. The ASVAB will measure your strengths and weaknesses, and your potential for future success. How well you do on this test will rely heavily on how well you prepare, so go find a quite place you can study without distraction and draw up a basic study schedule. Ideally, you should study 2 months prior to testing. I wish you luck! Here are some valuable resources for those preparing for their ASVAB: ASVAB For Dummies, Premier Plus (with Free Online Practice Tests) McGraw-Hill’s ASVAB, 3rd Edition: Strategies + 4 Practice Tests ASVAB Study Guide 2014: ASVAB Test Prep with Practice Questions Barron’s ASVAB Flash Cards: Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery 1,001 ASVAB Practice Questions For Dummies (+ Free Online Practice)

Recruiters

Recruiters get a bad rep. Many have made poor decisions when it comes to doing whatever it may take to get a potential soldier through the door and through the process as quickly as possible. They say one bad apple ruins the bunch…that applies to recruiters as well. Allow me to reassure you that the vast majority of recruiters are honest and hardworking. They are dedicated to the Army Values. Recruiters put in unbelievable hours, and they go the extra mile for the potential soldiers. For instance, my recruiter takes me to all of my drills because I do not have a car, and even when he’s out of the office he is always just a phone call away; I am always able to reach out to him when I have a question or concern. Each branch of service has recruiting regulations that make it unlawful for a recruiter to be dishonest or deceiving. And there are times that recruiters’ words are twisted-it is up to the potential soldier to ask questions, seek explanation, and know what they are walking into! Of course the recruiter is not going to offer up any information which may drive you away-so ask very specific questions and expect direct answers. If promises are made by your recruiter get it in writing.  The military is not for everyone! Just the same, not every recruiter you come across will be the one you should work closely with on your path to enlisting, so be sure to find a recruiter that you feel comfortable with. And remember to always be up front with your recruiter, because lying about any serious health issues, etc. you may have won’t hurt the recruiter or anyone else, it will simply hurt you. You know your limits-be honest about them from the start, because serving and Basic Combat Training is a serious commitment that will require you to be at your very best! Recruiters do not get bonuses for signing people up. Your enlistment doesn’t change the figures on their paycheck one way or another. Please don’t waste a recruiter’s time if you know you have no intention of joining whatsoever-these people are so busy as it is. Treat your recruiter the way you expect your recruiter to treat you, and be respectful of his/her time. The first step with your recruiter if you seriously want to enlist will be pre-qualifying, and you will have to answer questions ranging from citizenship status and drug abuse history to your education level, etc. You will need to have your original birth certificate and social security card, for sure. You may also need official transcripts. It is your duty to be honest throughout this process. There is no one else to blame if you decide to withhold anything, or if you allow anyone to persuade you to be dishonest. Not being truthful in your paperwork is a crime. Now let’s put it like this…let’s say that you have asthma, and you lie and you’re enlisted…and then one day during BCT you fall out with an asthma attack. You will be placed in a holding status as your previous civilian medical records are located, and once they see you lied about having asthma you will be discharged for fraudulent enlistment and it will follow you for the rest of your life. You will never be able to enlist again. There are waivers that can be given for many things, but once you lie and enlist you’ve crossed the line and they cannot help you. You are not given the right to serve-it is a privilege. There are standards in place for a reason, and it is not up to us to determine how valid these standards are. Wouldn’t you rather take the chance of not qualifying than to enlist and be caught lying and get thrown out?! The consequences simply aren’t worth it! The medical questionnaire is extremely important-lots of time and money is put into processing your medical physical. If anything is determined to be an issue here, you won’t even get to have your physical. There is no waiver to be had in a situation like this, because it would seem apparent that your medical concerns are far too serious to be waived. What can or cannot be waived is not up to your recruiter. Based on law, regulations, and policy, some things cannot be waived. However, many times the National Guard waives what would not be waived for active duty or the reserve, so really what would be your excuse for lying about something you may not have to even worry about to be able to enlist?! Just don’t do it! All in all, your recruiter is not responsible for what you do or do not disclose, and it is your responsibility to get the information you need from him/her, and to find the recruiter that you work well with and feel comfortable with. Not every recruiter is a “bad apple”. And if you need one and you live in Tn, I’ve got plenty of numbers to share!

Choosing the National Guard

There are some that were born to lead, born to serve…they know early on that someday they will join the military. As a younger girl, I used to think periodically about joining the Air Force, but more than anything I wanted to be a singer someday. I didn’t grow up shooting guns and training myself to be physically fit-I grew up in the country, picking wildflowers and playing Barbies with my cousins. I can count on two hands the times I’ve been in hand-to-hand combat situations. As combat-ready as the Army is, I never believed I would be a part of it.

Choosing the National Guard also didn’t happen for me at a young age, while at my physical best. I am 28 years old, and I am physically in the worst shape I have ever been in! You see, this choice had nothing to do with my prior plans-this isn’t something I’d been preparing for!

I was on campus one day, heading to my second class of the day, and I ran across a table that had been set out for the National Guard. I grabbed a pamphlet from the table and moved on, but once alone I couldn’t stop thinking of all the benefits of joining the military, particularly the Guard, because I’d made a commitment, a plan if you will-I intended to go to community college for my Assoc. and then work on obtaining my Ph.D. in Wildlife Biology..While in the Guard, I would be able to serve my country, make money, AND attend college!

I discussed the pros and cons of joining the Guard with several of my buddies that have been in the military. Many of them tried to convince me that Active Duty was the way to go, but I stuck to my guns-if I was going to join, the National Guard is what felt right for me. Eventually, I felt really good about having decided to join the Guard, and my recruiter ended up being the very man that had sat at that table on my campus.

If you have ever thought about joining the National Guard, and you actually believe it is too late (that you are past your “prime” before even reaching your thirties), I will be the first to tell you that you are wrong! You can whip that body back into shape! And if you have considered joining but you feel as if you lack certain skills/knowledge, don’t let that hold you back! That’s what training is for! You don’t have to have all the tools you need to be a Warrior from the start, but you do need to have the character required-

Loyalty
Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. constitution, the Army, and other soldiers.
Be loyal to the nation and its heritage.

Duty
Fulfill your obligations.
Accept responsibility for your own actions and those entrusted to your care.
Find opportunities to improve oneself for the good of the group.

Respect
Rely upon the golden rule.
How we consider others reflects upon each of us, both personally and as a professional organization.

Selfless Service
Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.
Selfless service leads to organizational teamwork and encompasses discipline, self-control and faith in the system.

Honor
Live up to all the Army values.

Integrity
Do what is right, legally and morally.
Be willing to do what is right even when no one is looking.
It is our “moral compass”; an inner voice.

Personal Courage
Our ability to face fear, danger, or adversity; both physical and moral courage.

These are the Seven Army Values.

Something within those values needs to be apply to you-take a second to look at them and ask yourself which of those values means the very most to you, and I bet the one you choose is the closest to the reason why you would consider joining. For example, the most important to me is Honor, because I feel that each of those values is centered around Honor. And while all the benefits of the Guard are excellent, and while it is what works for where I am in life (my responsibilities and just how I can serve), deep in my heart I’ve made the decision to join because I honor my freedom, and I accept that it comes with a price. I honor my nation, and I honor the citizens of  my state.

So just know, I’m just a country girl with no previous military history/background. There are soldiers beside me that have always known they would wind up in the military, and there are soldiers beside me who simply possessed the desire and the character, and we are all training to become the Warriors this nation needs…and so can you!

If you don’t know what the National Guard can do for you, here’s a little info (but feel free to also search nationalguard.com for more info):

Education Benefits and Skills Training

Montgomery G.I. Bill for Selected Reserve – The MGIB-SR allows you attend school full-time while serving in the Reserve or National Guard and get over $10,000 for school in addition to your paycheck and any other educational benefits you may be eligible to receive.

Reserve Officer Training Corps – Through ROTC, the Army offers merit-based scholarships. In addition to tuition and fees, the Army pays ROTC students a monthly allowance for living expenses.

Tuition Assistance – You can be reimbursed up to 75% of tuition costs for up to 15 credit hours per fiscal year.

Loan Repayment Program – The Guard can help soldiers pay off student loans, if they attended schools on an approved Perkins, Stafford or other Department of Education Guaranteed Student Loan. Soldiers can qualify to have their loan repaid at the rate of 15% of the loan for each year of reserve duty, up to a maximum loan repayment of $20,000, depending on Military Occupational Specialties.

Education and Learning Facilities – Most Army posts have education counselors who help soldiers identify their goals and determine how best to reach them within the Army Continuing Education System. Counseling services include academic and vocational planning, testing, college application processing and financial aid advice.

Foreign Languages – Most Army Education Centers on major posts have language labs where you can study new languages.

College Credit-by-Exam – Members of the Guard can also take advantage of free College Level Examination Program tests (CLEP). For every test you pass on a particular subject, you can earn up to six transferable college credits. 

If you would like to know how the National Guard has changed my life since I joined, don’t be afraid to ask/message me!

Choosing the National Guard is a big decision, but it’s one that will turn your life around for the better-and I’m always excited to see my family of Warriors grow, so if you choose the Guard please let me know! And if you’re already in it-Hooah!

 

For more info, please visit: Army National Guard