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A Day in the Life of a Army-Officer

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An officer in the United States Army has an opportunity to serve his or her country in a selfless, meaningful way. Officers are entrusted never to give orders that they are not willing to carry out themselves. Those who enroll at a military academy as a track toward the rank of officer have their character tested with intense military training, physical fitness training, military classes, as well as a standard college curriculum. It is a heavy load that some find overwhelming. An officer can be stationed in any of the 65 international army military bases or at home in the states, run the gamut in ranks from Second Lieutenant all the way up to General.

Paying Your Dues

There are three ways to become an Army Officer: Army ROTC, Officer Candidate School, and graduation from the US Military Academy at West Point. All of them require a college degree.

Army ROTC is offered at 270 college and university campuses and at 1,600 partnership schools around the country. One of the best benefits of this route is that you can train to be an Army officer while enjoying a normal college life. ROTC courses are taken as electives, thereby making it possible for ROTC cadets to major in the discipline of their choice. Competitive merit-based scholarships are also available for students that qualify. Officer Candidate School is for the soldier already in the Army. It is the route that enlisted personnel already in the Army go to become an Army officer. Students just out of high school may also apply for entry to the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Present and Future

Since the time of Cain and Abel, human beings have fought one another, and it does not appear that we will stop anytime soon. Organized military branches in different countries have been omnipresent for thousands of years. But if you're going to fight, the U.S. Army is one of the better places to be. A brief, very incomplete history of the American Army would have to include the semi-organized force of colonists in the French and Indian War. The colonists formed an army as a tool to free themselves from England during the Revolutionary War. The Army defeated Mexico in the era of manifest destiny, and in 1861, the Federal Army fought the southern Confederate Army's attempt to secede from the Union in what became the Civil War, the only extended conflict in American history wherein Americans have fought and killed fellow Americans. Spain was dealt defeat in 1898. Germany was defeated by America and her allies not once but twice in the two World Wars. The latter half of the twentieth century saw the Army challenged by forces in Korea and Vietnam; although these conflicts were technically police actions and not wars (Congress never declared war on either of these nations), they played an important part in American military history. Although the most publicized military action in recent memory was Operation Desert Storm in 1991, the U.S. Army is constantly engaged in lower-profile peacekeeping missions throughout the world.

Quality of Life

PRESENT AND FUTURE

Once one has passed through either ROTC or the USMA, there are 46 specific jobs available (for men), ranging from leading Mechanized Infantry (serving on a crew manning a vehicle) to Cannon Fire Direction Specialist, to Armor Cavalry Scout (you get to lead a tank and its crew and search out enemy positions). Aside from these Combat Operations jobs, there are also jobs available in Intelligence, Administration, Logistics, Civil & Public Affairs, and Communications. Enlisted women can choose 26 regular Army positions. As an officer, one would of course be in charge of one or more of these operations. Greater responsibility and career potential will come with each promotion in rank.

FIVE YEARS OUT

After 4 years as an officer, one is almost guaranteed a promotion to First Lieutenant or higher. The amount of money earned goes up, and so does the amount of responsibility.

TEN YEARS OUT

After ten years as an Army Officer, the amount of money one can earn approaches its pinnacle, and if one has conducted him or herself in a professional, orderly manner, the sky is the limit as far as promotion goes. Commissioned officers have become Generals, congresspeople and senators after retirement from active duty.