10 Reasons to Join the Army

by Thomas Metcalf

From “Be All that You Can Be” to “An Army of One,” the slogans of the United States Army boast of the opportunities and the challenges that this branch of the military offers to recruits. Besides being a patriotic step to take, joining the Army offers real benefits to those who embrace the opportunity.


In the Army, you can receive a regular paycheck plus free housing and meals. If you live off base you receive a housing allowance. You may also get an enlistment bonus when you sign up. There are also hidden benefits – many stores and restaurants give you a military discount, which also keeps money in your pocket.


With tuition costs historically rising faster than the overall rate of inflation, education typically ranks as a costly investment. The military provides solutions, making it possible to earn a college degree without racking up big student loans. Tuition assistance while in the Army -- and GI Bills after you leave -- can cover the entire cost.

Medical Care

Medical care is expensive in civilian life, but in the Army it is all covered – both medical and dental procedures. Moreover, there are no co-pays, deductibles or monthly premiums.

Career and Retirement

For many, the Army offers career opportunities. If you spend 20 years in the Army you can retire and begin to collect a pension immediately. If you wait until you are 65 years old or serve 30 years, you can collect even more.


Many people entering adulthood are uncertain what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Army service provides you with the opportunity to do something worthwhile while you assess your life interests and priorities.


The Army maintains bases all over the country and in much of the world, too. When you are on leave, you can visit locations that you probably would never have the opportunity see otherwise.

Job Skills

Having practical job skills is as important as having life skills, and you can gain expertise through on-the-job training in certain trades while in the Army. The skills you acquire in the Army will serve you well for the rest of your life.

Preferential Hiring

Even after you leave the Army you have benefits. Many employers give hiring preference to veterans because they know that the ex-soldiers typically make good leaders, exhibit maturity, job experience and good work standards. If you work for the federal civil service, your military time counts toward your federal retirement.

VA Benefits

Buying a home is the biggest investment that most people ever make. The military's VA loan programs offer a number of alternatives that make it easier for you to acquire your first home.


Many join the Army because they feel that it is the right thing to do. Defending and serving the country is a high calling and for some it is a family tradition. The camaraderie and sense of community that soldiers find in the Army might not be replicated in civilian life.

About the Author

Thomas Metcalf has worked as an economist, stockbroker and technology salesman. A writer since 1997, he has written a monthly column for "Life Association News," authored several books and contributed to national publications such as the History Channel's "HISTORY Magazine." Metcalf holds a master's degree in economics from Tufts University.

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