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This Is What Life in the Military Is Really Like

Ever wonder what daily life in the military is really like?

To veterans and active-duty members of the armed forces, there is little to wonder about. We applaud their heroic service to their nation.

To civilians who have never enlisted, there’s a great deal of mystery surrounding what life in uniform is really like. We’ve seen the movies and probably have dear friends and family members who have put their lives on the line. It is for the greater good of their nation as a whole. It’s worth taking a closer look at the reality of military life. It is to gain a fuller understanding of what that kind of sacrifice and commitment really entails.

Day-to-day Military life ultimately depends on which service branch you join. In which career choice you select, and what locale you end up serving in. There are some commonalities across the board that most service members have in common. Basic training, living on base and caring for a family, and deploying for the first time are examples of this.

Keep watching this video to get a fuller picture of what military life is all about and the unique challenges and benefits that service members are subjected to.

Daily Life

The length of commitment that a service member signs on to is mostly dependent on which branch of service. A prospect signs up for in addition to their career choice and what training is required.

For most first-term enlistments, this amounts to Active Duty status for 4 years. This is followed by another 4 years in what is called Individual Ready Reserve or the IRR.

While in Active Duty, it’s not a 24/7 job. Service members have days off and work schedules like most other civilian jobs.

The IRR is an on-call kind of job. You don’t have daily training and you live out your life back home with a regular civilian job. But you can be called for duty at any point until your term expires. Some branches require that those in the IRR take a yearly health and fitness check. It is to ensure their readiness for duty when necessary.

Physical Fitness

It has always been a crucial part of a service member’s respectability to their country to maintain high levels of physical fitness. A huge chunk of an enlistment’s training is focused on maintaining a healthy, strong, and able body. Throughout a service member’s life even after their service terms, it is strongly encouraged for a member to stay fit and able bodied if at all possible.

Basic Training

Every individual hoping to serve their country in the military must pass a Physical Fitness test at the end of their Basic Training. It’s important for people that are considering joining the military to prepare themselves physically before enlisting.

A careful review of the specific requirements for the fitness test as well as familiarizing oneself with the required exercises will help a prospect prepare themselves for the training.

Following Basic Training

It’s a requirement for service members in any branch and career choice to pass the Physical Fitness Test. Depending on their scores, branch, and job, they may be required to take the test on a more regular basis – sometimes once every 6 months.

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Housing on a base really varies by rank, locale, and what a service member’s family situation is like.

Everyone lives in the barracks during their basic training and then following Basic training most single individuals are required to live on base for a while.

In general, base-housing is very similar to living in a college dorm or apartment complex.

For service members with families, there are several options available. Some live in apartments, while others live in small single-family houses.

In addition to just providing housing, many bases also have a hoard of other amenities and recreational options available exclusively to personnel and their family members. Most bases are equipped with libraries, bowling alleys, swimming pools, gyms, stables, camp grounds, and even movie theatres.

Off-base service members are given a Basic Allowance for Housing to help accommodate their living expenses. This varies depending on their rank and family situation.


Again, every service branch varies, Universally however service members take a lot of pride in their uniforms.

From the black neck-chief of Navy Service Formal Dress Whites to the tactical vests worn by those in Army and Marines, uniforms vary according to their function and the occasion.


Also known as evening, full, mess, and dinnerware, these uniforms are worn for special events such as balls, graduations, ceremonies, and weddings.

Service Dress

This is basically equivalent to a civilians business suit and is worn in the office or at public events.

Utility or Working Uniforms

Also known as fatigues, these uniforms are worn while in combat or when carrying out day to day chores and duties.

Physical Training Uniforms

This is what a member wears while undergoing training or while exercising.

Everyone that enlists is given their required uniforms when they first sign on but are required to buy requirements as needed unless they are given a yearly clothing allowance.

Social Life

Joining the military doesn’t mean you have to give up on your social life.

Actually, the opposite is true. Service members enjoy a wide variety of recreational facilities on base, they have the opportunity to join sports leagues and travel inexpensively in their leisure time thanks to military discounts.

The military’s service members actually live out pretty socially fulfilling lives.

On base, there are all the entertainment options that we talked about earlier like the movie theaters and gyms, but the military also brings in exclusive entertainment to its facilities with the help of Armed Forces Entertainment.

The AFE brings in hundreds of shows featuring musicians, comedians, actors, and athletes a year to military bases all around the world.

Additionally, each branch has its own Morale, Welfare, and Recreation department that helps fascinate things like providing discounted vacation options for service members and their families.


There are so many great opportunities for service members to travel the world while serving in the Military.

After basic training, the next step is for the service member to go to Advance individual Training which is also known as A school.

From there, they travel to their first duty assignment.

Individuals can volunteer if they desire for assignments overseas, but there is no guarantee about where the military will send them.

No matter where they end up being based, service members still have opportunities to travel

either for their deployment or in their recreational time.

Commercial airlines, train and bus services, and other transportation options in the private sector typically offer military discounts. The Military also operates a program called Space-Available that gives some service members the opportunity to hitch a ride on government airplanes when seats are available. Additionally, there are a number of discounted lodging locations across the world for military personnel only – even at Disney World in fact.


Deployment by definition is the moving of Military personnel and supplies from a base to a specific and strategic location.

Not every service member is deployed. It depends on the person’s Military Occupation Speciality and the unit they are assigned to.

Deployment doesn’t always mean going to war – although it can include that.

Sometimes members are deployed on a humanitarian mission or to other non-combat regions for other purposes. Occasionally units are deployed within the country to help aid in disaster relief.

Even during deployment, service members have some recreational time.

Deployment does have the potential to be a stressful affair for service members. It shouldn’t be sugar-coated entirely. Joining the military is a major decision and comes with serious risk and responsibility.

While deployed, service members are typically able to stay in communication via mail, email, messenger, and by phone. Of course, some missions may require that communication be restricted for periods of time for security reasons.

Family And Support

The Military doesn’t take family lightly. They know that it is a significant part of their service member’s lives. Over half of all active-duty members are married and a third of all families that include and active-duty service member include children. Because of this, the Military has provided a lot of options for familial support.

There are organizations for healthily addressing almost every aspect of a service member’s family life. Whether it’s food assistance, education, financial assistance, counseling, or dozens of other individual needs, the military either has a resource to help or is actively developing a solution.

Support Networks

Service members themselves are provided with a wide range of resources for assisting them with their individual needs. From relocation, parenting, education, stress, and mental health management or any other aspect of military life, there are means available to assist service members and the needs of their families.

Hopefully, this video has helped you to gain a better understanding of what it’s like to actually be in the military. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about what life in service to your country is actually like. You can’t learn what military life is like just by seeing it portrayed in the movies or video games and even this video doesn’t fully encapsulate what service life is really like, but hopefully it clears up some questions and paints a clearer picture for what life in the Military actually entails.

Again, it’s important to pay thanks to those that have served or are serving their country today. We wouldn’t be here or have the freedoms and liberties that we do without our Veterans and active-duty service members.

What do you think is the hardest part about being in the military, deployment, or living on base? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

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