Why do people join the military? Maybe it’s to avoid economic difficulties in end of the world satellite towns. Maybe it’s the only viable career option when the only other options are manual work or to pick up a trade. Maybe, like Kosta Scurfield, it’s out of a sense of honor, duty, or even patriotism.
Whatever the reason, it’s interesting to find out exactly what men and women in the military wish they'd known before joining the forces, which is exactly the question asked in an "Ask Reddit" session directed towards the ‘soldiers of Reddit’.
Maybe you’re thinking about joining up yourself. Maybe a family member has joined up. Maybe you’re just interested from afar. Whatever your interest, the thread certainly makes for interesting reading.
Here are a few of the standout answers...
From Sgt_Slate, A Former Marine
"You will be treated like whoever the lowest common denominator in your unit is. If that dude is a fuckhead that gets arrested every other weekend or some shit, get ready to waste literally hours of time attending 'Don't be a fuckhead' training mandated by higher. Also, enjoy your tobacco addiction, especially if you're in a victor unit."
"You feel so damn old and weathered going back to college with your GI Bill after an enlistment."
"Know that when you join, your life is owned by the government. It's fairly obvious, but when you actually experience it, it can be pretty surreal. Doesn't matter what you want all that matters is what the government wants from you. My old man was terminally ill and trying to get home was a nightmare, if I had been a civilian I could have just quit... I have had a good career with the military, I'm releasing in the next few months because this has started to really bother me."
1) Do not get your stereotypical high and tight haircut. That shit is garbage.
2) Learn the local area you are stationed at. Try to somewhat blend in. Be respectful of the locals. Everybody knows you're military by your hair, walk, mannerisms, etc. Get rid of that sense of entitlement since you're in the military. You fucking volunteered for it, don't be arrogant.
3) Don't be a douche-rocket; show some fucking respect when off-duty.
4) Off-duty = no fucking dog tags, especially outside your fucking shirt!
5) Don't buy any of that motto shit they sell you at basic. Those shirts are a dead giveaway that you can count to potato.
6) Stop taking your backpack everywhere, what in the flying fuck do you have in that thing?!
7) Mind your language when in public. Stop talking about slaying bitches when you're at the mall next to a family.
8) If you're overseas, learn some of the basics of that language. Use memrise or some language app.
9) Stay in shape! That shit is like gold in the military.
10) Travel as much as you can outside of base. Don't stay in the barracks every weekend! Look online for shit to do; there's always shit to do, unless you're at Polk or Irwin."
"I wish I had joined the fucking Air Force..."
"Didn't enjoy sleeping on rocks (literally, rocks), but there were times I was so tired I could have slept on anything. I fell asleep standing up once, in the rain."
"Marines navigate by the stars, sleep under the stars, and get pissed on by people wearing stars."
"Should have done ROTC and finished up college instead of enlisting."
"Most of sniper school involves a lot of math."
"There's nothing glamorous about being B-4, most of the time you're waiting around in the heat. It's nothing like the movies."
"All the people in books that say they can remember the faces of everyone they've shot are full of shit."
"The big one: not only can you not smoke, you can't use tobacco in any form. Good fucking luck if you're another nicotine addict."
"If you see combat, especially real combat, not a day of your life will go by from then on where you don't think about it. It will go away when you're busy or preoccupied, but when you're just sitting there, lost in your own thoughts, your mind will be back on the battlefield."
"All the hot girls join the Air Force."