By Shannon Lawlor
It’s no secret that joining the military comes with an array of sacrifices. So why exactly do people join the military? Well, aside from the benefits reserved for active-duty members and Veterans, there are a handful of common reasons troops sign up. We compiled a list below!

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Why Do People Join the Military?

The benefits of joining the military look different for everyone. Each troop has their own motivations behind their decision to serve. But there are a lot of intersecting reasons why people decide to join the military.

1. Serving Your Country

One obvious and common reason people join the military is patriotism. The desire to serve our country is a major draw for prospective troops. Many of them choose to join so they can give back to the U.S., which is an expected value and motivation for active-duty members. The sense of patriotism and pride for our country inspires many enthusiastic troops to make this decision.

2. Financing Higher Education

Joining the military is an excellent financial decision for many prospective troops. While there are definitely sacrifices that are made, the military offers educational assistance for troops. The GI Bill helps pay or waive tuition for many military members. In an age where higher education is becoming more expensive and the job market is becoming more competitive, this benefit is something that many people take into consideration.

3. Benefits

The benefits tied to the military are another inspiration for enlistees. They range from free medical assistance to housing assistance. The benefits of joining the Army, Navy, Air Force, and other branches have a huge impact on many people’s decision to join, especially if they’re in need of stability in their lives. Benefits differ from branch to branch; here are some of the most prominent that encourage people to join.

Benefits of the Army

  • Enlistment bonuses.
  • Educational opportunities.
  • Healthcare.
  • Vacation days.

Air Force Benefits

  • Insurance.
  • Recreation.
  • Educational opportunities.
  • Travel.
  • Food and housing.
  • Strong retirement plan.

Benefits of Joining the Marines

  • Insurance plans with low rates.
  • Medical benefits.
  • Housing.
  • Time off.

Space Force Benefits

  • Insurance.
  • Food and housing.
  • Educational opportunities.
  • 30 days of paid vacation per year (with added travel benefits and lodging discounts).
  • On-base recreational activities.
  • Solid retirement plan.

Coast Guard Benefits

  • Food and housing allowances.
  • Educational support and opportunities.
  • Time off.
  • Insurance.
  • Free travel.

Navy Benefits

  • Cash bonuses.
  • Full- or part-time service options.
  • Advancement opportunities.
  • Low-cost health and life insurance.
The benefits of joining the military are fairly standard across each branch. The benefits packages, educational opportunities, and free travel opportunities explain why people join the military.

4. Purpose and Respect

When enlisting, a lot of people do so to find a sense of purpose and belonging. Joining the military often means you establish unbreakable bonds with your comrades. This can help cultivate a sense of purpose, belonging, and respect. These are attributes many of us crave, and joining the military gives troops an opportunity to find them.

5. Family Legacy

There are a lot of families who have military service as a proud part of their family lineage. People enlist to maintain this part of their family heritage. It’s not uncommon for active military members to serve because they were inspired by a close family member. This just shows how impactful having a military member in a family line can be. It encourages others to serve because of the strong sense of pride, connection, and respect for our country. This is cultivated by watching loved ones sacrifice and serve.

6. Physical Health

Anyone serving has to undergo extensive training. Military members are always in tip-top shape. It’s simply part of the job. Some people may be inspired to join because of the positive effect training would have on their physical health.

7. Job Stability

This seems a bit obvious, but job stability is an important attribute for young professionals trying to find a career. The job market is competitive, and it can be difficult to maintain a position. Enlisting in the military offers people stability with work. There are also opportunities for growth within their branch if they do well. Stability is a massive need for many people, so it’s no surprise that this has a huge impact on people’s decision to join the military.

Which Branch of the Military Should I Join?

If this inspired you to join, or if you’re on the fence about enlisting, it’s not uncommon to wonder which branch you should pursue. This varies heavily from person to person. The best way to find out what will work best for you is to do research on the different branches. You can see what day-to-day life looks like. From there, it’s a little easier to figure out what would be the best fit for you. Why do people join the military? Well, it depends. We all have a myriad of reasons for pursuing our professional field. The meaning of military service can have a huge impact on an individual’s decision. But these are some common reasons or draws to the military that influence people’s decision to enlist.

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The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement. | Photo by Sgt. HENRY VILLARAMA | 173rd Airborne Brigade



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