You have completed your initial entry training; you should now have new confidence in yourself and what you can do as well as new physical and mental abilities. The next step is skill training.
What you do depends on the branch of the army you have chosen or to which you have been assigned. It may consist of advanced training in one of the combat arms-infantry, armor, field or air defense artillery, or combat engineers-or perhaps on-the-job training, or education at an army service school. This part of your training will develop you for one of the hundreds MOS (military occupational specialties) offered by the army.
Skill training programs generally last from seven to nine weeks; some of the more technical can call for as many as forty weeks. Your training program will employ the most modern teaching methods available. It will combine practical, hands-on training on real equipment with classroom instruction by professionals in the field you have chosen. You will find the latest in teaching aids which will enable you to pace your own training and speed up your progress. The quality of training you receive could be difficult to match in civilian life at any price.
The army is not just the infantry, nor is it a collection of individuals in uniform waiting for something to happen. The army is a vast organization of men and women who have been educated and trained to do their best in over three hundred occupational specialties.
The army has thirty-three career management fields, each of which contains many specific jobs ranging from one to nearly fifty. These are commonly referred to as MOS and include the following titles:
Administration, air defense artillery, air defense missile maintenance, aircraft maintenance, ammunition, armor, automatic data processing, aviation communications-electronics systems maintenance, ballistic land combat missile and light air defense weapons system maintenance, band, chemical, combat engineering, communications-electronics maintenance, communications-electronics operations, electronic warfare/crypto-logical operations, electronic warfare/ intercept systems maintenance, field artillery, food service, general engineering, infantry, law enforcement, mechanical maintenance, medical, military intelligence, petroleum, public affairs and audiovisual, recruitment and re-enlistment, special operation, supply, topographic engineering, transportation.
You may recall that before being accepted for enlistment you must take the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery), an aptitude test that provides you with information about where your strengths may lie. Nine aptitude areas are used by the army and each of the MOS falls under one of them. These areas are clerical, combat, electronics, field artillery, general maintenance, mechanical maintenance, operator and food, skilled technical, and surveillance/communications.
ARMY PROMOTION REQUIREMENTS
To private (E-2) six months active duty and commander recommendation.*
To private first class (E-3) 12 months active duty service, four months as a private and commander's recommendation.
To specialist or corporal (E-4) 12 months active duty service, six months time in grade and commander's recommendation.
To sergeant and staff sergeant (E-5 and E-6) test against peers in job skill and other soldier skills. Must also have high school diploma, and meet Army promotion point system scores and promotion board criteria.
To sergeant first class and above (E-7 to E-9) must meet Army centralized selection board criteria.
*In exceptional cases, the commander may accelerate promotions to E-2, E-3, and E-4.
If you plan to go through college or participate in one of the many army officer training programs, you too can carve out a worthwhile career and enjoy the advantages of attaining officer status.
Advantages of Being an Officer
What are the advantages of becoming an officer? Probably you will decide that the most important advantage is the prestige attached to the position that is primarily an administrator or manager. This management experience will prove valuable should you decide to return to civilian life later and seek a second career in business.
Not only is the pay higher and thus an attractive feature, but comfortable quarters for officers and their families are provided at nearly all posts. If such quarters are not available, an extra living allowance helps pay for renting civilian housing.
Another advantage is membership in an officers' club, which is found on practically every army installation. The club provides recreational and social activities for officers, their husbands or wives, and children. In between dances and informal parties, which are regular events, the club affords opportunity for dining out and socializing with other friends and their families.
As previously mentioned, in addition to the programs that train officers, direct appointments are available for men and women who are professionally qualified in certain fields. One of the most popular officer programs for which training is required is that associated with aviation.
Army Aviation Opportunities
In 1911 the army had one plane and one pilot. Today the army has thousands of helicopters and it operates heliports in the United States and abroad. To run this vast fleet of aircraft and supporting airfields, the army needs aviators, crew members, mechanics, avionics experts, air traffic controllers, radar operators, and technicians. Many of the positions are filled by trained enlisted personnel as we have just seen. Aviators, however, who receive over $450,000 worth of flight training over a period of fifty weeks, earn the rank of aviator/warrant officer. They are then ready to assume flying duties in the United States or overseas.
The army's flight training program, open to men and women, is tough and physically demanding; it can be emotionally draining as well. You learn how to hide a two-and-a-half-ton helicopter in a tree, how to fly through total darkness to sneak up on a target, how to fly through storms, and most important of all, how to keep cool under any pressure. Once you have earned your wings, you will have gained the technical knowledge to be a skilled pilot and the confidence and discipline to be a leader. Aviators are obligated to serve for six years following the date of their commissioning.
Chaplains, Lawyers, and Medical Specialists
If you aspire to be a military chaplain you must have certain undergraduate credits from an accredited college or university, possess a master of divinity degree (or equivalent theological degree), or have completed sufficient graduate-level study in theology or related subjects to qualify you to perform professional functions as a chaplain. Contact a recruiter to obtain further information and discuss your own situation.
You may obtain a direct appointment in one of the army's medical administration and field medical operations specialties if you have a baccalaureate degree in a management or health care related area. As an allied health scientist, you may receive a direct appointment in one of seventeen career fields if you possess a qualifying graduate degree. Special areas of interest include clinical psychology, health physics, optometry, and sanitary engineering.
For information about the army's ROTC program and the Army Military Academy at West Point, see Chapter 9.
Space limitations prevent describing every training course the army has to offer or every opportunity the service can offer you as an enlisted soldier or officer. For further information about the army and the opportunities which may await you in the regular service force, consult your nearest army recruiter or write to Headquarters, U.S. Army Recruiting Command, Fort Knox, KY 40121-2726. Phone: (800) USA-ARMY (toll free). On the Inter-net, http://www.army.mil/)
ARMY NATIONAL GUARD
The National Guard dates back to the very beginning of our nation. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution provides that the Congress shall have the power to call forth "the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union suppress insurrections and repel invasions." Although Congress was authorized to organize, arm, and discipline the militia, training and the appointment of officers were left to the states. The Second Amendment places the National Guard under state jurisdiction in peacetime and permits its use to put down local disturbances. This was true in the case of the 1967 riots in Detroit, Michigan, and Newark, New Jersey. In wartime, however, the guard becomes part of the United States military service, and it was mobilized during the Korean War and again in 1961 during the Berlin Crisis. Enlistment is voluntary, and the federal government pays members for the time spent in drilling and training in the field.
Job opportunities in the National Guard include many of the areas found in the regular army. Enlistment age is 17 to 34, but those under 18 must have the consent of their parents. Applicants must have at least a ninth grade education and in some cases may attend basic training before they graduate from high school. Initial training covers basic and advanced skill specialties. While a member is on active duty training, she or he receives full pay and other privileges. After that, monthly and annual training is required during the rest of the enlistment period.
The Army National Guard also has its own officer training program for those who are qualified. These officers-in-training attend the same schools and receive the same education as officer candidates in the regular army. Once training is completed, the officers are commissioned as second lieutenants in the Reserve of the United States. Officers can also be appointed in the Army National Guard after finishing college ROTC. Some men and women may receive a direct appointment if they have certain necessary skills or training, and officers leaving active army duty may also be appointed to the guard.
CIVILIAN EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Did you know that in addition to the enlisted and officer personnel, thousands of U.S. citizen employees are engaged in different occupations as members of the army's worldwide civilian work force? And would you believe that every year many of these civilian employment vacancies must be filled, varying from the lowest grade level to executives?
Today's army offers a broad range of civilian employment opportunities for people of diverse backgrounds, educational achievements, work interests, and job skills. The army is committed to achieving full equality of opportunity through affirmative action programs which include the Federal Women's Program, the Hispanic Employment Program, and the Upward Mobility Program. (For further information see Chapter 10.)