AMERICAN MOSAIC #811 - Armed Forces Recruiting

By Paul Thompson


Our question this week came by e-mail from Vietnam. Nguyen Thanh Binh would like to know what a person must do to serve in the United States Army.

The Army is only one part of the American military force. The others are the Marine Corps, the Air Force, the Navy and the Coast Guard.All of these services are looking for young people to join.

No one in the United States is forced to join the military. However, in time of a national emergency, the United States Congress can ask that all healthy men serve in the military.

Many American young people today enter the military because they want to travel to different parts of the world. Some join because service schools teach good job skills. And many join to serve their country.

The United States military services accept people who are between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four. A man or woman under the age of eighteen must have his or her parents' permission to join a military service. Members of the American military also must be American citizens or be able to prove they live in the United States.

Young men and women must have completed high school before they are permitted to serve in the American military. Some services will accept a person who has passed a national test of high school knowledge. To become an officer, a person must have successfully completed a four-year college.All the services send new members to training schools. These schools teach young members to repair airplanes, for example, or understand electronic equipment. The Armed Forces has hundreds of such jobs that call for special knowledge and skills.

Each person who wants to join signs documents that promise he or she will serve for two, three, four or six years. Some special schools like helicopter pilot training require that a new member agree to stay as long as six years.

The United States Armed Forces will also help young people attend college.Some young people are able to attend college while serving in the military.Others take part in programs that help pay for higher education after they leave the service.

Many people continue to serve in the military for twenty or even thirty years. They become the senior officers and enlisted service members who find they like military life. After they retire, they will receive part of their pay for as long as they live.

Voice of America Special English