How Does the Army Work?

Posted August 28, 2006 by

Any Way You Serve: You’re A Soldier.

As a Soldier in the U.S. Army, you have several options when you decide to join. No matter which options you choose, you’re showing your commitment to your country and yourself, and you’ll be an important part of the world’s most powerful Army.

Active Duty & Army Reserve

Those who choose to serve on Active Duty serve full time throughout their length of service. Serving in the Army Reserve is a part-time commitment where you continue your civilian career. Both options have unique advantages.

Two Choices – One Army

In today’s changing global climate it takes a multi-tiered force of highly trained, committed Soldiers to protect our freedoms and defend democracy. This force consists of Active Duty Soldiers and Soldiers in the Army Reserve. These two groups work in tandem to create the strongest fighting force in the world.
Active Duty: Serving Full Time
Active Duty is similar to working at a full-time civilian job. There are hours when Soldiers must be training or performing their jobs and then there are off-hours when Soldiers can do what they like. For an Active Duty Soldier, length of service can range from two to six years.
UPDATE: The Army has an accelerated enlistment option wherby you serve on active duty for a one year period and then the remainder of your time in the reserves. Not everyone qualifies for this, but well worth asking a recruiter about.
Army Reserve – Serving Part Time
The Army Reserve is more like a part-time job that enables Soldiers to keep their civilian careers while they continue to train near home and serve their country. Many professionals as well as college students are Soldiers in the Army Reserve. Soldiers in the Army Reserve typically spend one weekend a month in training, and attend a two-week Field Training Exercise (FTX) once a year.
Service options for the Army Reserve range from three to six years, depending on the individual’s Army job and where their Army Reserve Center is located. In addition, Soldiers in the Army Reserve may be called up to Active Duty (called “activation”).
Enlisted Soldiers & Officers

Enlisted Soldiers have the specific job skills and know-how to ensure the success of the team on every mission. Warrant Officers have specific technical or tactical specialties (for example: helicopter pilots). And Commissioned Officers are the managers and problem-solvers who lead other Soldiers in all situations.

Enlisted Soldiers
Enlisted Soldiers make the Army a strong, adaptable force that can respond to any threat. They work in tandem with Officers to achieve mission success even in the harshest of conditions. While Officers give orders, Enlisted Soldiers are encouraged to show initiative in order to get the job done.
Responsibilities of Enlisted Soldiers depend on their specific Army job called a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS).
To become an Enlisted Soldier in the U.S. Army, you must be:
* A U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien
* High School Diploma or equivalent
* 17-41 years old
* Healthy and in good physical condition
* In good moral standing
Some Army jobs may have additional qualifications.
Warrant Officers
Warrant Officers are highly specialized experts and trainers in their career fields. By gaining progressive levels of expertise and leadership, these leaders provide valuable guidance to commanders and organizations in their specialty. Warrant Officers remain single-specialty Officers whose career track is oriented toward progressing within their career field rather than focusing on increased levels of command and staff duty positions, like their Commissioned-Officer counterparts.
Warrant Officer Candidate School
Individuals who are accepted for Warrant Officer Candidate School (WOCS) will first attend the nine-week Basic Combat Training (BCT) course as an Enlisted Soldier. Following completion of BCT, they will attend WOCS.
Those who currently serve in the military and maintain a superior level of technical/tactical expertise are also encouraged to learn more by contacting the Warrant Officer Recruiting Team.
Flight Training
For those who have dreamed of becoming an aviator, the Army can make it a reality. Warrant Officers pilot UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-47 Chinook, OH-58 Kiowa Warrior and AH-64A Apache helicopters—some of the most exciting, technologically advanced aircraft anywhere—on combat, rescue and reconnaissance missions. Soldiers gain these piloting skills in the Warrant Officer Flight Training (WOFT) program.
After entering the Army, you will attend nine weeks of Basic Combat Training (BCT). After successfully completing BCT, you will attend WOCS for six weeks and then go directly to the flight-training program.
You’ll be well paid for your expertise, receiving flight pay in addition to normal pay, allowances and benefits. Plus you’ll get the recognition and pride that come from being an Army Warrant Officer.
Do you have what it takes to become a Warrant Officer? Applicants for the Warrant Officer Candidate School/Warrant Officer Flight Training program must:
* Have a high school diploma.
* Be at least 18 years of age at the time of Regular Army enlistment and not have passed your 33rd birthday when the board convenes. High school seniors may also apply. If you are 33-34 years of age, you may request a waiver.
* Be a citizen of the United States.
* Score 90 or higher on the revised Flight Aptitude Selection Test (FAST). FAST test results are valid indefinitely as long as verifiable official records exist. No waivers are available for failure to meet the minimum FAST score.
* Earn a minimum of 110 General Technical (GT) score on the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) (non-waivable as well). The GT score is one component of the ASVAB results.
* Meet the Active Duty Army’s screening height and weight standards.
* Take a complete physical exam at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) and meet entry medical fitness standards as determined by military medical authorities no more than eighteen months prior to the date of application. Must also undergo a Class 1A Flight Physical Examination in addition to the one conducted at the MEPS and have results approved by Flight Surgeons at Fort Rucker, Alabama, prior to the selection board. The Flight Physical must also be less than 18 months old.
Commissioned Officers
Commissioned Officers are the leaders of the Army. They lead Soldiers during every aspect of a mission. Commissioned Officers make decisions quickly, always focusing on completing the mission successfully, and showing respect for their subordinates. Commissioned Officers lead from the front and adjust to environments that are always changing. To be a Commissioned Officer is to be respected as a Soldier, an inspiring leader and a servant of the nation.
In addition to exhibiting self-discipline, initiative, confidence and intelligence, Commissioned Officers are physically fit and can perform under physical and mental pressures. They are judged by their ability to make decisions on their own and bear ultimate moral responsibility for those decisions.
The four ways to become a Commissioned Officer in the world’s most powerful Army are explained below.
Reserve Officers Training Corps
ROTC provides college students the ability to train to become Army Officers. In ROTC, Cadets take a curriculum of elective leadership and military courses to lead Enlisted Soldiers once they join the Army. There are multiple ways to enroll in ROTC.
Earn college credits and get the cash—enroll in ROTC and you may compete for up to $80,000 in scholarships.
To enroll in Army ROTC you must be:
* Accepted or enrolled in a participating college or university
* A U.S. citizen
* Physically Fit
Officer Candidate School
Officer Candidate School (OCS) is another way to become an Officer in the Army. After completing Basic Combat Training, candidates participate in rigorous training for 14 weeks and then attend the Officer Basic Course.
To attend Officer Candidate School, you must be a U.S. Citizen and a college graduate, at least 19 years old and not have passed your 29th birthday at the time of selection (age waivers may be considered).
United States Military Academy at West Point
West Point is one of the country’s top universities. It’s a competitive environment that produces some of the nation’s best leaders. Many graduates of West Point become leaders in the military, in government and in the civilian world.
If you’re up for the challenge, listed below are some of the basic general and academic requirements for West Point. An applicant must be:
* At least 17 years old and not have reached your 23rd birthday as of July 1 of year admitted
* A U.S. citizen
* Single, not married
* Not pregnant or with any legal obligation to support a child or children
* An above-average high school or college academic record
* Congressionally nominated or have a service-connected nomination
* A recipient of strong scores on either college entrance exam—ACT or SAT
Direct Commission Officer
Each professional branch of the Army—Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, the Army Chaplain Corps, and the Army Medical Corps—has its own officer training program that allows civilian degreed professionals to apply to receive a direct commission in their career field. Training time for direct commission officers varies depending on the career field and generally includes courses in military history, Army leadership, and career-specific courses designed to adapt civilian skills to Army practices.
If you have an interest in the Army. Please take time to fill out the below information request form. You are not obligated to join by doing so. The information will only be used to contact you with Army related information.

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