Why Do People Join The Army?

Contributed Post

For some people, joining the army is a no brainer. It’s as if they entered the world knowing that joining a branch of the armed forces was a foregone conclusion. The army is the largest branch of the armed forces in the United States with over a million active duty troops. This phenomenal army attracts all sorts of candidates wanting to join its ranks, from college leavers to older individuals who suddenly feel a calling to do something more worthwhile with their lives. Joining the army can be seen as a thing that you fall into, especially if you didn’t get the grades at school or if you can’t think of anything else to do with your life. But there are many more reasons why you might want to join the army.

War heroes are celebrated in this nation. Throughout society they are respected, whether pacifist or patriot. We can learn so much from our army veterans – they have a unique insight into the world and will rarely speak of the specific horrors that they have witnessed. However, army veterans can also have it tough when they try to slip back into civilian life. Many have to consider hiring veterans medical malpractice lawyers after negligence suffered due to injuries. Others struggle to find jobs and find themselves without homes. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t join the army; you just need to be aware that on your return to your home nation, becoming a civilian isn’t simple. So, why join the army?

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Family Tradition

For many young men in particular (although women also have army heritage) there is a tradition to follow within families. Many men from the same family may have belonged to the same regiment. This family tradition often inspires boys and girls from an early age. Their career is already mapped out in front of them. If this is the case, these individuals tend to join a youth army cadet scheme as teenagers to get a flavor of what life in the armed forces might be like. They head out on mock maneuvers and enjoy the camaraderie that they begin building within the forces.

As they mature, they can decide the route they wish to take. They may choose to join the army straight from school or head to officer training once graduated from college. Both routes are valid, but do affect the rank at which they can join the army. Family pride can be a massive motivator for those individuals who want to carry on a tradition that has been present for generations.


For many people, serving the nation that they are so proud to be a part of is motivation enough to join the army. They want to protect borders and keep their nation strong. To do this they join the army to serve. To fully protect liberty and freedoms, army officers need to be stationed abroad to complete peace keeping missions, to educate, and to be present in areas that need strong leadership from external official bodies.

Being a soldier isn’t all guns and fighting. The majority of the time is spent working in other countries to build infrastructure, to help those less fortunate than ourselves and to spread the values of the home nation. That doesn’t mean you cannot be called to fight. Being on the front line can be terrifying no matter how much training you have undertaken. The toll on soldiers mental health can be huge, and there does need to be more support when soldiers return from the front line to help them cope with anxiety, depression and PTSD.

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To Travel The World

There aren’t many careers that allow you to travel the world and get paid at the same time. You could, of course, choose to be an air steward, a pilot or an entertainer on a cruise ship, but being a soldier can be seen as much more worthwhile. For a couple of years at a time you will be stationed in different places worldwide. You could be at a barracks in Kenya, helping build wells for local communities, the next year you might be in Syria helping to rebuild infrastructure after air strikes, and the next you might be working in Iraq, taking a lead role in training up their own home army. Being in a destination for two years at a time gives you the chance to immerse yourself in a culture, develop a bond with the people in that nation and really make an impact in your job.

Infrastructure development is a huge part of army life. Far from heading out onto rooftops with your sniper rifle, you’ll have more chance of heading out with your IED detection unit and making land safe for kids to play soccer on. The variety of your work will be like no other job. However, the job sounds idyllic but it can be tough. You’ll need to win hearts and minds, which can be difficult in a nation that has a poor view of the United States. But, this is a challenge of being in the army!

The Pension

One perk of being in the army for the majority of your working life means that you will end up with a generous pension. However, the work you put in, the sights you will have seen and the experiences that you will have had to endure will make you well deserving of one. To join the army purely because of the pension is foolhardy and not recommended. You need to join the army because you want a different way of life, you crave routine and order, and you want to make a difference. You cannot have a life in the army, simply twiddling your thumbs and waiting for your pension at the end. This simply isn’t going to work.

Learn New Skills

From a young age, many people join the army as new recruits. At the age of sixteen, they can leave home, join the army and start a new adventure. This means that they will learn new skills and develop talents in areas they never even knew existed. Some new recruits have an idea of the sort of job they would like within the army. They might see their skills lying with engineering, bomb disposal or hostage negotiation. Some prefer more standard jobs such as army chef, doctor or chaplain. It doesn’t matter what role you might have in the army, you will have an impact. Everyone is needed, and everyone has a role to do. Being in the army is like being in one giant family. The bonds you forge will last you a lifetime and your colleagues go beyond mere friendships and become family ties instead. These are the only people who truly know what it’s like to do your job, so you maintain these bonds even when you return to civilian life.

Stopping Terrorism

With the emergence of new threats such as terrorism and insurgencies, some people feel a greater need to take a more active role in combating this threat. This is why many people now join the army. They may have no family tradition of careers in the armed forces, yet they want to join to have an impact and try to help the world. This can be foolish, but most of the time, people’s motivations are sound.

Joining the army doesn’t always mean whipping on a helmet and getting a gun ready, although you always have to be ready for this eventuality. For some, it means working in the background, being the strategist and working out the detail for others on the ground to follow. If you are an excellent problem solver, you can think outside the box, and you work well in a team, the army is crying out for individuals like you. Some people never see a gun in the military, and yet they make as big an impact as anyone when combating terrorism.

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Do Something With A Purpose

Many young people can see their lives crumbling. This might be because they can’t get an education, they can see the people that they hang out with aren’t beneficial to them, or they have poor relationships with their parents. To change their lives for the better they seek an alternative family. The army can fill that family shaped hole. The choices for some young people are stark. Join the army or risk ending up in prison or worse. They’d rather join the army, seek solace with people with a similar mindset and strive to turn their lives around and forge a career while doing something with a purpose.

Joining the army is not for the faint hearted. Many people join for a few years and then want out. This is ok. But others remain all their working lives, going through the ranks, traveling the world, helping others, and retire knowing that they have made a difference. The army may seem alien to some, but it is a way of life for others.