1. The opportunity to go to school (while being paid) to learn a job that interests me greatly. I enlisted as a Medic (Health Care Specialist). In the civilian world, this is the equivalent of a EMT-B. Training is 16 weeks at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. Training includes theories and practices of Basic Trauma Life Support, Trauma AIMS (advanced airway, intravenous therapy, medications and pharmacology, shock management) and CPR.
2. To get paid (and rewarded for) being physically fit. It is our job to be in good, physical condition. I don't know a lot of jobs that will give you a promotion over someone else because you're in better physical shape than they are; but the higher you score on the APFT, the more likely you are to be promoted, selected, etc.
3. The opportunity to travel and experience different cultures. Just being a military spouse has given me the opportunity to broaden my experience boundaries more than I could ever imagine. I cannot imagine how much more this will broaden after Basic in South Carolina, training in San Antonio, and wherever it is I am stationed for my first duty assignment.
4. The educational benefits. The military teaches discipline and determination. On top of military education, I have the Montgomery GI Bill to use once I am out of the Army, and Tuition Assistance to use while I am serving Active Duty. I grew up in a broken, poor family, and I know that a good education will provide me with the opportunities that my parents did not have. I was incredibly blessed as a young teen to be taken in by my aunt and uncle, who taught me to value education and hard work. My uncle was a pilot in the Navy, and I think his military-ness (as I like to call it), rubbed off on me.
5. The opportunity to give back to my country. My career and my way of life was not decided for me at an early stage in my life due to premature testing like some countries. I can become whatever I decide to become with determination and dedication. I am safe at night, knowing that our cities have strong police forces and that we have the best military force in the world. Our country values human rights regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. We provide humanitarian assistance and donations to worthy causes. I am blessed to be a citizen of this country, born and raised - I am unapologetically American.
6. The challenge. I've never been one to back down from a challenge. I may have regretted it once I was knee-deep in it, but I have never quit. I know that this is going to be one of the most physically, emotionally and mentally challenging things I've ever done. It will harden me. It will toughen my thin skin. But, at the end of the day, I will take pride in knowing that I wasn't forced. I chose. I volunteered to do it. At the end of the day, only 1% of America is eligible to serve, and I am honored to be part of that small percentage, as hard as it may be.
I'm not sure if staying in the military is something I will do, but, if the opportunity arises when it's time to re-enlist, I may. Perhaps I will re-class (choose a different job), perhaps I will apply for a Green to Gold Scholarship, so that I can finish my Bachelor's degree (on the Army's dime) and become an Officer. Perhaps I will finish my degree (time allowing) while I am enlisted this term, and work in the civilian corp while serving in the Reserves.
All I know is that enlisting was the first step, and what I had to do to get my foot in the door. The Army offers a lot of opportunities and programs to it's squared-away soldiers, and I am keeping an open mind and heart to all of them.
Here's a pretty intense video I found on YouTube.
True Tales of a Combat Medic
God Bless America! Army Strong.