Since 1973, the United States has been an All-Volunteer military. While eligible male citizens must register with the armed forces on their 18th birthdays, there is no longer mandated military service.
So what makes someone want to join the military? Uncle Sam's pointer finger couldn't have convinced all of the millions of soldiers currently serving or in reserve to sign-up.
DoSomething.org spoke with Rajiv Srinivasinan, admissions officer at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and CEO of MyVetwork—a non-profit dedicated to easing the transition from military to civilian life for returning veterans. Rajiv let us know the top five reasons citizens join the service.
- Education. When you enlist in the army, you have the opportunity to receive a fully-funded education. Considering the rising amount of student debt in America, the option to attain a college degree without taking out loans is desirable to prospective soldiers.
- Stability. Joining the military means a steady paycheck and a stable career trajectory. Many people can't risk the uncertainty of job hunting without cash flow to pay bills and support a family.
- Respect. People want to be respected members of their communities. For many, the military is a path toward community-wide respect.
- Community. Rajiv expressed that the military offers a strong sense of family and community. Those who have come from a fragmented background seek a foundation of love and support that military communities provide.
- Adventure. People join because they're looking for a challenge and an adventure.