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 U.S. Air Force

The U.S. Air Force is one of the five branches of  the U.S. Armed Forces.  It defends the United States through control and exploitation of air and space.

Air Force Missions:
The Air Force follows these three core values:

  • Integrity
  • Service Before Self
  • Excellence in All We Do

The Air Force focuses on flying, but only a small fraction of personnel actually fly. Most airmen and airwomen work on flight support missions, handling base affairs, protecting bases, constructing new airstrips, guarding missile sites, even doing rescues.

Here is a quick list of missions that might be handled by the Air Force:

  • Transporting cargo from base to base for any of the branches
  • Bombing runs
  • Close Air Support (CAS) for on-the-ground missions
  • Jet fighter patrols to protect airports, strategic locations, etc.
  • Airborne mapping & monitoring of targets
  • Maintenance of aerospace systems and planes
  • Base / embassy / airport / other security
  • Constructing a new base
  • In-flight refueling
  • Special rescue missions behind enemy lines
  • Medical service in impoverished areas
  • Food & supplies distribution around the world


U.S. Army

The U.S. Army is one of five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. It is a strategic instrument of national policy that has served our country well in peace and war for over two centuries. Soldiers enable America to fulfill its world leadership responsibilities of safeguarding our national interests, preventing global calamity, and making the world a safer place. We do this by finding peaceful solutions to the frictions between nation states, addressing the problems of human suffering, and when required, fighting and winning our Nation's wars--our nonnegotiable contract with the American people.

Army Missions:

 The Army's core values are:

  • Loyalty
  • Duty
  • Respect
  • Selfless-Service
  • Honor
  • Integrity
  • Personal Courage

But beyond these values, what do people actually DO in the Army? It is impossible to sum them up in one comprehensive list, but here are a few of the missions the Army might cover:

  • Base security
  • Engaging enemy targets on the ground
  • Helicopter missions to drop troops in hard-to-reach areas
  • Counter drug operations
  • Law enforcement in volatile areas
  • Large-scale transportation of supplies and troops via ground vehicles
  • Humanitarian missions delivering food supplies, building schools, etc.


U.S. Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard is one of five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Coast Guard is the country's oldest continuous seagoing service with responsibilities including search and rescue (SAR), maritime law enforcement (MLE), aids to navigation (ATON), icebreaking, environmental protection, port security and military readiness.
The Coast Guard's 38,000 active-duty people, 8,000 Reservists, and 35,000 Auxiliarists serve in jobs ranging from communication specialists to small-boat operators and from maintenance specialists to aviation mechanics

Coast Guard Missions: 
The Coast Guard is a small, "out of the way" service, yet they do much to ensure the nation's security. The Coast Guard typically does not fight, at least not in the large-scale sense that wars are typically thought of. Yet their missions are critical to safety and stability.

What are the Coast Guard's missions? Here is a list summarizing each mission and the major components therein:

Maritime Safety

  • Search and Rescue
  • Marine Safety    
  • Recreational Boating Safety    
  • International Ice Patrol

Maritime Mobility

  • Aids to Navigation
  • Icebreaking Services
  • Vessel Traffic / Waterways Management
  • Bridge Administration
  • Rules of the Road

Maritime Security

  • Drug Interdiction
  • Alien Migrant Interdiction
  • EEZ & Living Marine Resource
  • General Maritime Law Enforcement
  • Law / Treaty Enforcement

National Defense

  • General Defense Duties
  • Homeland Security
  • Port and Waterways Security
  • Polar Icebreaking

Protection of Natural Resources

  • Marine Pollution Education, Prevention, Response & Enforcement
  • Foreign Vessel Inspections
  • Living Marine Resources Protection
  • Marine and Environmental Science


U.S. Navy

Nearly 400,000 active duty men and women serve in the U.S. Navy, the largest in the world today. Opportunities available to you range from serving on surface ships or submarines to working in the fields of electronics, engineering, computer technology, nuclear propulsion and aviation, to serving in special operations or intelligence while potentially traveling the world.

Navy Missions:
The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.

For most Navy jobs, it is almost certain that you will go to sea. Some people seem to forget about this fact and are later surprised! There are some uncomfortable aspects of being at sea. For example, there is not much space. You will probably have to share a bed - you will sleep at one time, and someone else will sleep there at another. However, there are many positives to being at sea. Teamwork is one big plus, as are the extraordinary chances to see the world.

What will you be doing? As the Navy is focused on sea missions, most jobs deal with some aspect of a boat. You might operate the engines, or maintaining the weaponry aboard, or analyzing maps. Missions might be things like:

  • Training missions at sea with foreign navies
  • Regional security
  • Reconnaissance / intelligence missions to gather enemy data
  • At-sea rescues
  • Medical care programs for Navy, Marines, or perhaps people in or near a war theater
  • Oil spill or other marine cleanups


U.S. Marine Corps

The Marine Corps is one of the most elite fighting forces in the world. The Marines are a part of the Department of the Navy and operate in close cooperation with U.S. Naval forces at sea. The Marine Corps' mission is unique among the services. Marines serve on U.S. Navy ships, protect naval bases, guard U.S. embassies, and provide an ever-ready quick strike force to protect U.S. interests anywhere in the world.

To perform the many duties of the Marine Corps, approximately 174,000 officers and enlisted Marines fly planes and helicopters; operate radar equipment; drive armored vehicles; gather intelligence; survey and map territory; maintain and repair radios, computers, jeeps, trucks, tanks, and aircraft; and perform hundreds of other challenging jobs.

Marine Corps Missions:
Marine Corps' expeditionary naval capabilities are critical in a world where 70 percent of the world's countries are located within 200 miles of a coastline. When crises erupt anywhere in the world, the nation calls upon its Marine Corps to rapidly carry out its foreign policy objectives. They are the nation's "rapid-reaction" force, and perhaps the most feared force in the world.

Marines operate domestically and all over the globe. As a rapid-reaction focused force, many spots where they work are risky at best. They are primarily tasked with first-on-the-scene missions, awkward or challenging missions that involve sea-land work, security, and anything with a high probability of gunfire. Don't forget - they are the world's most feared warriors!

Some examples of Marine missions:

  • Major warfare missions
  • "Small" warfare - city fighting, skirmishes, etc. - often high-intensity and short time-span
  • Base / embassy / target security
  • Troop-to-ship warfare - landing on a target ship and overtaking it (as opposed to ship-to-ship warfare)
  • Combat-support flight missions


20 Questions for Recruiters offers a lot of information to help you decide if you want to pursue a career in the military, but military recruiters have the most current information on job availability, new deals and changing requirements. Once you decide to talk to a recruiter, you should arm yourself with as much information as possible, develop some idea of what you want and know the questions that you want answered. In general, your questions should help you:

  • Understand eligibility and military life
  • Pick the right service for you
  • Understand the jobs you're eligible for
  • Understand the benefits you can get
  • Get the best benefits package possible
  • Prepare for basic training and a military career
  • For starters, here are the questions that the Insider recommends asking:

1. How long do I have to enlist for? What's the minimum commitment? Generally the minimum is two years, but the amount of benefits you receive directly relates to your commitment.

2. Am I eligible for any special enlistment programs or bonuses? Make sure you tell the recruiter if you have ROTC, college or even Junior ROTC experience. Some services have programs that will allow you to enter at a higher pay grade than peers with no experience.

3. What do I have to score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test to qualify? The minimum score varies annually based on need and candidate availability. Some specialties also require a particular score. Your recruiter should have the latest information on qualifying scores. Make sure you know what you need to score to qualify for the job you want.

4. What are the major differences in pay, benefits and job opportunities between services? While base pay and veteran benefits are the same across services; travel opportunities, job availability and promotion rates vary greatly. If you are considering more than one branch of the military, ask the recruiters the same questions and compare the answers.

5. Do you have films or literature about military life and particular jobs? Most recruiters have videos and literature about their branch and particular jobs. In most cases you can either check the videos out or watch them at the recruiting station. Remember these are promotional materials.

6. How long is basic training? Where is it? What is it like?

7. What physical fitness requirements must I meet to enter the military and succeed in basic training? Physical standards vary from service to service. Have your recruiter spell it out for you.

8. What jobs are available? Use our job matcher to find jobs that match your interest, and ask your recruiter about openings in these and related fields. Then, use the delayed entry program to get the training you want. Training programs are related to the job specialty that you are assigned to. You should ask your recruiter about the entire career path in that chosen field. Most military specialties have follow-on training as you gain expertise and rise in rank.

9. What are the possibilities for remote or overseas duty stations? All services have overseas opportunities. Overseas service is often considered a "square to fill" for advancement. Ask your recruiter.

10. What are the training and advancement opportunities for jobs that I'm eligible for? Military promotions are based on performance, time in grade and job knowledge. While the system is objective, certain specialties seem to fare better in promotion rates. Ask your recruiter how the promotion rates are in your chosen field and compare them to several other fields you may choose from.

11. What would pay be like? Military pay is no secret but can seem complicated for an outsider. Check out the guides to military pay for active duty, Reserve, and Guard; then ask your recruiter to explain how temporary duty pay, hazardous duty pay and other special entitlements affect your bottom line.

12. Do I get paid while in training? Military training is part of military service and you receive your pay based on your grade and entitlements.

13. How much money can I get for college? After checking our money for college section to see the many ways you can earn money for college, sit down with the recruiter and calculate how much you'll earn based on the programs that you enlist under.

14. Can I take college courses or other training programs while in the military? Yes. The military will pay up to 100% of the first $4,500 in tuition costs for college courses you take in your free time. Most bases have extensive education programs to help service members. Remember, off-duty courses can't interfere with your military duties.

15. Are there any upcoming military events in the area, such as airshows, fleet weeks, etc.? Recruiters will often have special deals for upcoming military events in your area. These good deals for potential recruits may include tickets to performances and passes to meet the Blue Angels, the Thunderbirds or the Golden Knights, or during Fleet Week.

16. Can a friend and I go to basic training together? Yes. Ask the recruiter about the "buddy program" which allows you to enlist together, go through training and even get advanced pay or bonuses.

17. What are the haircut or other appearance standards that will apply to me? Military standards are strict but vary slightly from service to service.

18. What's the delayed entry program? The enlistee can delay entry into active duty for up to one year (normally used by high school students). This program can also help you get the job you want or to choose when you want to attend training.

19. What are the next steps? Recruiters have no problem telling you what to do next. Have them draw you a road map. Then make your own decision without any pressure.

20. How can I get more information?  Contact your local recruiter or check student service for when a recruiter will visit the school.

Military Contacts

The Armed Services offer both male and female students many career and educational opportunities.  When exploring these options, a student should consider the wide range of programs provided by the different branches of the military.  They are located at:


U.S. Army Recruiter                                                   U.S. Marine Recruiter

1701 N. Larkin Ave                                                    1701 N. Larkin Ave

Joliet, IL 60435                                                           Joliet, IL 60435

(815) 730-9003                                                           (815) 741-3181


U.S. Army Reserves Recruiter                                    U.S. Navy Recruiter

1701 N. Larkin Ave                                                    1701 N. Larkin Ave

Joliet, IL 60435                                                           Joliet, IL  60435

(815) 730-9003                                                           (815)741-2744


Illinois Army National Guard                                     U.S. Coast Guard

2900 W. Jefferson                                                       1011 W. Ogden Ave

Joliet, IL 60431                                                           Naperville, IL

(815) 725-2935                                                           (630) 579-0063


U.S. Air Force Recruiter

1701 N. Larkin Ave

Joliet, IL 60435

(815) 730-9130


Service Academies

All of the service Academies (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, and Navy) offers four years of college with a Bachelor of Science Degree upon completion.


U.S. Air Force                                                             U.S. Merchant Marine

Director of Cadet Admission                                     Admissions Office

U.S. Air Force Academy                                            U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

Steamboat Road                                                         Kings Point, NY 11024

Colorado Springs, CO 80840                                     (516) 482-8200

(303) 472-3070                                                          


U.S. Army                               U.S. Naval Academy              U.S. Coast Guard

Admissions Office                  Attn: Candidate Office          Director of Admissions

U.S. Military Academy           Annapolis, MD 21402            U.S. Coast Guard Academy

West Point, NY. 10996          (301) 267-4351                       New London, CT 06320

(914) 938-4041                                                                       (203) 444-8500

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