United States Air Force (USAF) - Responsible for aerial military operations, defending US Air Bases and building landing strips. Part of the Department of Defense. Known as Airmen.
- USAF Reserve: U.S. Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve
United States Army (USA)- Responsible for major ground combat missions, especially operations that are ongoing. Part of the Department of Defense. Known as soldiers.
- Special Forces: Green Berets
- Reserve: Army Reserve and Army National Guard
United States Coast Guard (USCG) - Responsible for maritime law enforcement, including drug smuggling, manages maritime search and rescue and marine environmental protection, secures ports, waterways, coasts. Part of Homeland Security. Known as Coast Guardsmen, Coasties.
- Reserve: Coast Guard Reserve
United States Marine Corps (USMC) - Responsible for land combat, sea-based, and air-ground operations support for other branches, guards embassies around work and classified documents in those buildings. Part of Department of Defense. Known as Marines.
- Special Forces: Raiders, Marine Corps Special Operations Command
- Reserves: Marine Corps Reserve
United States Navy (USN) - Responsible for protecting waterways (sea and ocean) outside of Coast Guard jurisdiction, Navy warships provide runways for aircraft to land and take off when at sea. Part of the Department of Defense. Known as sailors.
- Special Operations: Navy SEALS
- Reserves: Navy Reserve
United States Space Force (USSF) - Responsible for organizing, training, and equipping space forces to protect US and allied interests in space and provide space capabilities to joint forces. Part of Department of the Air Force
Attend college while getting military training
Reserve Officer Training Corps
Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is a program offered at colleges/universities across the country to prepare students to become officers in the military. Each branch has its own ROTC Program, and each college/university may focus on a specific branch. Students commit to serve in the military in exchange for paid college and guaranteed careers after college.
A way to serve in the military without giving up on civilian employment or schooling.
- Requirements: US Citizen or resident alien, aged 17-42 (varies by branch), pass armed forces physical exam, passed the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, ASVAB, meet minimum ASVAB eligibility standard (receive sufficient score on ASVAB composite called the Armed Forces Qualification Test).
- Obligations: initial training 8-12 weeks, monthly drill 48 periods or units per year (usually one weekend per month, annual training (2 weeks per year), maybe activated to full time service voluntary or involuntary (vary in length and location, may include 30 days in unit near hometown), contract between 3 and 8 years depending on branch and specific occupation.
- Benefits: part-time pay, skills training, health care coverage, up to 3 years of educational assistance (may also earn post 9/11 GI Bill benefits), commissary and exchange privileges, earn points toward reserve retirement.
- Reserve Branch Options
- For Army
- West Point, New York, 10% acceptance rate
- For Navy or Marines
- Annapolis, Maryland, 8% acceptance
- For Airforce
- Colorado Springs, Colorado, 11% acceptance rate
- For Coast Guard
- New London, Connecticut, 19% acceptance rate
- For Merchant Marines & any reserve officer in any branch
- King’s Point, New York, 15% acceptance