The Truth of Military Life
The Military System as we all know is set up in a line of command, and each level is more important than the last they would want you to believe. But the truth is not as simple as they seem to want to make it look. While the officer corps is a little different than the enlisted corps of the Navy, the thing is both have in common is they must be able to play politics also and favorites .
When you join the military, no matter which branch it is, and I know cause I served in The Army, Army National Guard, and the Navy, if you don’t play politics you don’t get promoted. You have to align yourself to the in crowd so to say. When you report to your first command, look for the ones who kiss the Chief’s ass and the Officer’s ass and work overtime. These are called the climbers in my book, but when you align with them make sure your getting the right ones and not the back stabbers. For you will find two specific groups one the partying ones, who really don’t give a shit and just want to have fun and then the more serious ones who are looking for promotion and great evaluations every time.
They tend to do certain things correct all the time, like go by the book, say Yes Sir, yes Sir Three bags full Sir so to say, they keep a clean set of work Uniforms for inspections and shined boots spare too, they keep their Dress Uniforms all hung up, dry cleaned and with all ribbons and pearls in a row. They smile no matter what, and love to order others around. It’s what makes them so perfect and 4.0 sailors, soldiers or marines so to say. Are they smarter than the rest, nope, are they better than the rest nope, what they are, is called politically correct and they get promoted because they kiss ass well.
While the services, will say it is not so, it really is. Service men and women know it well, because some stay aboard ships and commands and never get promoted, and they are used for the dirty jobs. They are the ones cleaning bilges on ships, policing grounds in the Army, National Guard and yes even the Marines, they don’t fit the higher end of the standards on Evaluations when they come out. The Evaluation System in the Military is a 4,0 one and if you fall below 3.4 on it forget any promotion, they consider you not worthy of the next level up. They expect you to be clean, neat, pretty in dress Uniform and still work your ass off at your job on a regular basis. As you get up the chain they switch jobs you must do and qualify at, they expect bcause you’re an e-3 to be able to do certain things and on each level up as you go along. If you have problems with people and getting along with others your done also and no loners are allowed in the service eof course all for one and all for one is the creed, in all Branches of American service. So unless you can laugh with the Officers, and the higher up Enlisted, forget promotion and just sign one contract and get the hell out.
The Political side of it all will get you too, unless you are flexible in what you believe is politically correct at these commands you are ignored also. The Military has its own system of clicks so to say and it depends on which one you choose if you want to survive and advance. And here is one for you, as long as you steer the straight and narrow and get along with everyone your fine, make one mistake they may forgive it, make two and everything you worked for goes to hell. If you make mistakes or have accidents they label you a problem, change your evaluations and refuse to promote you. I know many E-4s and E-5s in the services that are stuck that way. Sadly, there is nothing one can do, unless you play the game, kiss ass and do everything exactly as told, no doing it your own way. I know, I Know why do I say this, simple been there done that. I fought back and got shit upon for fighting back and trying to change things it’s all about fitting in. The Military is exactly a one for all organization whatever branch you’re in. You do learn discipline, regulations, and procedures, but many of their jobs are out dated, if you go in get a newer side of the coin, by going electronics, or computers or the modern areas. They have phased out the Boiler Technicians these days and Machinist Mates in the Navy and Combined them. Propulsion is new and different I am told, faster and better.
What other positions do the services change I don’t know for sure, but they tend to change with the equipment and weapons that are changed also and they regulations change too, but The United States Code of Justice will never change. The UCMJ as the Military calls it’s Justice system is tough, right on and actually good to a point, it is though like the civilian justice system , sometimes rushing to justice and making mistakes I have seen it many times.
In The end if you cooperate and go along with it all, you can retire after 20 years with a pension, although I believe they may have upped the retirement to thirty years now. Full Benefits are full medical dental, and prescriptions, loans you can apply for and further education assistance. DO not allow yourself to break the UCMJ Regulation and rules with drugs, alcohol or abusing any substance that is equal. Do not get offensive or abusive to Officers or Higher Enlisted Personnel. Walk the tight rope and do your job and you can get promoted and advanced and not looked over. Break that line and you can find yourself on the bottom of the heap forever, and possibly with a Bad Conduct Discharge or a Dishonorable or something that will stop all benefits upon discharge. No one hires an ex-service member with a Bad Conduct or Dishonorable Discharge it sticks with you forever.
In the end, Military Life can be great, you learn, adapt and do your country service and get rewarded for it, if you fit in and do well. I would never knock anyone who wants to join or have a military life, most are patriotic, loyal and doing what they believe is right for them and their country. Some are forced by Civilian Judges into the Services as a second chance in life instead of jail or prison. Be careful of them if you go in for they are usually the ones who will do whatever they want and don’t give a shit.
The final thing I can say about Military Life of which I served 16 years, is this, It is great to serve ones country and fun to travel the world doing so, making friends in other countries and exploring, and in the end the best part if you serve overseas or on the seas and aren’t home a lot, is indeed coming Home!