What to Know about the Military

If you or someone you know is thinking about enlisting please take some time to look at the information on this page. Being in the service never comes close the romanticized version of the soldier portrayed in movies, television, video games and most importantly by Armed Forces recruiters.

Be responsible for yourself and your family and KNOW BEFORE YOU GO.

 

DEATH & INJURY The possibility of death or serious bodily injury like losing a limb or bodily function is a reality even in times of peace. The number of military deaths not including illness during peace time (1993) was 992 out of 1.6 million (0.06%). Compare that to the number of homicides in Chicago during 1993. The death and injury rate in the worst areas of major cities like Chicago have better survival statistics.

Many symptoms of injuries such as depleted uranium sickness don't even emerge until years after service and if it is not diagnosed before discharge out of the service the government will not pay for your treatment.

 

POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD) All soldiers who have fought in war and have been lucky enough to return alive have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in differing amounts of severity. Even soldiers who never saw death on the battlefield, a sailor on a battleship for instance, suffer from the knowledge that their actions caused death to innocent civilians miles away. These are thoughts and feelings soldiers have to live with for the rest of their lives. In many cases PTSD is so debilitating that veterans of wars can no longer normally function in society. In Chicago alone there are over 2,000 homeless veterans, many of whom are veterans of the Vietnam War. There are already veterans from the Iraq War who are now homeless largely due to their PTSD.

Becoming homeless is an extreme result of the consequences of PTSD. There are very many other ways in which PTSD affects the daily life of a veteran. Here are just a few:

Inability to hold a job

Inability to continue education

Flashbacks triggered by sight, smell or sound

Feelings of isolation or abandonment

 

LESS THAN HONORABLE DISCHARGE The military is not for everyone. A lot of people who join don't realize that the military life is not something they want to be a part for any number of reasons. Understand that by joining the military you are giving up numerous rights and those rights don't get reinstated until you are discharged. Once you've joined the military it is next to impossible to get out before your tour is finished without receiving a 'Less Than Honorable Discharge'. This type of discharge (just like any other) is on your permanent record. Every employer is interested in a veteran's discharge status and a 'Less Than Honorable Discharge' can and will affect your hirability.

Receiving a 'Less Than Honorable Discharge' also means that all of the benefits that were promised to you by the recruiters (education, health care, VA home loan, etc.) are null and void. Additionally, since a 'Less Than Honorable Discharge' is effectively the military's way of firing a soldier any sort of unemployment insurance benefits after discharge are not available.


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