Recruiters are amateur psychologists. They sense hesitation and uncertainty. They
will interpret both as an opportunity to influence and they are very good at
persuading people to join the military. If you are anti-military you should avoid
Don't take the ASVAB. The ASVAB was designed by the Department of Defense to identify 10th,
11th and 12th graders who had the potential to meet DOD needs. If you don't take the
test, you lessen yours odds of being pursued as a recruitment candidate.
Don't talk to recruiters. If a recruiter calls, hang up the phone. Don't engage the
recruiter in conversation. Don't say no. Don't say good-bye, just hang up the phone.
If the recruiter comes to your home, your school, or your work place, don't talk to
Don't attend military sponsored functions. The military has become adept at
promotions with hidden agendas. Contests and prizes are used to entice the
If you are pursued against your will, make some noise. Talk to the commander of the
recruiter. Talk to reporters. Talk to your Congressman and Senator. Talk to a
If you've taken the ASVAB or done some other thing to draw attention to yourself,
the military will come calling. That includes every branch. Each branch (Air Force,
Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy) has its own goals, standards and recruiters.
You will be contacted many many times.
After 12 or 13 years of school, many teens are tired of the years of homework. Four
more years of school are unappealling, especially to those who the system has left
poorly prepared. The military offers a four year break plus special training plus $36,000 for college. The benefits package looks
very good compared to life at minimum wage.
The recruiters will attempt to drawn you in a step at a time. You will be asked to
sign letters of intent. You will be asked to enter the delayed entry program. You
will be told that each action is irreversible. No action is irreversible until the
day you walk into a MEPS, sign a contract
and take the oath.
At any time prior to entering boot camp, you can notify the commanding officer of
the recruiting station or MEPS station in writing. You must explain why you have
changed your mind. You should list every reason. You should keep a copy of your
The miltary will process your notification and void your paperwork. This doesn't
mean you won't be contacted. They will try to get you to change your mind. Many
people get cold feet and then join later.
Boot camp is tough for many
recruits. Everything is disorienting. There's physical exhaustion from changed sleep
patterns and physical conditioning. There's mental exhaustion from the new rules and
surroundings. There's emotional exhaustion from the separation from family and
friends and introduction to a multitude of strangers.
Someone who has trouble handling the new stresses can be "washed back" into another
group. This allows the recruit time to adjust. "Wash out" is the term used to
describe someone who can't handle all the new stresses. Some people break down
completely. Others just can't keep up the demands of military life. For whatever the
reason, the military sends thousands back to civilian life before they can complete
At any time during boot camp, you can notify the commander that you wish to leave
the military. There's no need to lie about being a conscientious objector or sexual
orientation. There's no need to commit an offense. You need only be firm in your
desire to leave. The military will try to convince you to stay, but will eventually
give in and discharge you.
The first 180 days are a time of learning and adjustment. Military life isn't for
everyone. With that in mind, the military allows you to leave during the first 180
days. It isn't as easy as sending in a letter before MEPS or walking into the
commander's office during boot camp. The military has a lot of time and money
invested by this time. It will resist you as much as legally possible. In the end,
if you remain firm in your committment, it must let you go.
The military isn't required to tell you about your rights. You aren't told about how
easy it is to withdraw. You aren't told that discharge is free of consequences (as
long as there is no fraud). You live in a free society and you have the
responsibility to discover these things for yourself. However, sometimes military
members will tell you after the 180 day window is closed. It's a bit of cruel humor
among those who have chosen the military as a career.
It's possible to obtain a discharge after 180 days, but it's extremely difficult.
The military believes that six months is more than enough time to decide. Most
discharges after 180 days are due to prosecution for offenses against the military.
Such discharges cause damage to a person for life. Many government benefits are
denied and many employers won't hire a person who receives anything less than an
I hope that this article isn't taken as a call to avoid service. My intention is
quite the opposite. Military service
is an honorable tradition. Throughout the years, the military has protected the
United States and made it possible for the nation to grow and prosper. The military
helps ensure that the Blessings of Liberty are secured for ourselves and our
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any
price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to
assure the survival and the success of liberty. - John F Kennedy
A strong military requires all of its constituent parts to be strong. As the old adage goes, a chain is only as
strong as it's weakest link. It's my hope that those who are unwilling to be a part
of the military will take advantage of the advice given here and extricate
themselves with a minimum amount of damage to themselves, strengthening the military
by their leaving.