How to Be Successful in the Military
There are many different reasons that people decide to be service members. Reasons vary from service to their country to being able to get training for civilian employment or get their college education paid for. Once you decide to join and are committed to the military, how do you become successful in the military? I have been fortunate enough to not only be in the military but to serve in both the Navy and Army. The road to success is pretty much the same in each branch. The Army lays success out for you in boot camp.
Setting up Success in Boot Camp
The first step to success is learning and following the Soldier’s Creed. The next is the Army values. Simply begin with honor and end with personal courage. While you’re in the military or even as a civilian, these are simple traits that will help you be successful with any employer. Once you’re in the Army and have been promoted to a non-commissioned officer, you should already know and understand the values. This begins with believing “no one is more professional than I am.” The military is a very easy job when it comes down to it whether your MOS is 11B/infantry or human resources. Most leaders their will tell you their expectations from day one. Be where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there and in the proper uniform, not in a uniform that looks like you slept in it or ironed it with a rock. Your uniform is something you should take a lot of pride in. It represents the U.S., the Army, your unit, and your MOS in some cases. Be disciplined and on time, be dedicated to yourself and your chain of command, have the desire to be the best, and be determined to overcome any adversity. If you want to be successful in the military, be your best every day and strive to exceed the expectations of your chain of command and the superiors you’re assigned to.
Take on Other Duties
Once you have completed all your MOSQ training, do not stop there. Continue additional advanced MOSQ training and education and also take on additional ancillary duties. This will most certainly help with advancement. To be successful and promoted quickly, become a product-matter expert in your MOS. Then pass on that knowledge and experience to your fellow soldiers or to others that may have a need or desire to learn as well. There are so many different military correspondence courses available for free that will help you gain knowledge of not only your MOS, but also other valuable tools that will help you be successful. This will include a wide variety of leadership courses as well because the longer you are in the military, the more responsibility you will gain. The next way to be successful in the military is to stay physically fit and at the weight the military accepts for your age and gender. This keeps so many good soldiers from being promoted or barred from enlistment. But physical fitness should be a given since the military provides you with the necessary equipment and time to do so, yet so many sit around playing Call of Duty on their Xbox, and I say, why play Call of Duty when you can live it! The army PT is way too easy in my book, so know your minimum number of pushups, sit-ups, and time you can do your run in, and don’t just strive to pass, strive for at least a 280 PT score.
Don’t Do Anything Stupid
The last way to be successful in the military that I will mention is do not do anything stupid! I have seen so many great soldiers with great opportunities fail in the military because they got into trouble. Even with limited down time soldiers still seem to find a way to get in trouble. While on my first deployment to Iraq, two soldiers got caught stealing from the PX in Kuwait Camp Arifjan. I do not mean they were stealing candy bars; they were stealing all sorts of items, including video games. Why? It never ceases to amaze me how soldiers are taught to be professionals and live with integrity yet they still do stupid stuff.
Then there is the booze or alcohol. Many soldiers come in the military not even of age to drink, yet they do. I understand that there is nothing wrong with having a beer but why let something that may cost you $10 for a twelve pack ruin your career? Why go to an MOB site or pre-deployment training, or even worse an MOS school, and bring in alcohol? Why put yourself in this situation to face UCMJ charges or an article 15? Especially while you’re under general article 15. Then there are the drugs, which are even worse. C’mon man! Why jeopardize your career, your life, and others’ lives?
I will end by saying again that you are all taught in boot camp what the army wants you to do and how to do it. This along with the tips I have added will help you to be successful in the military. Please live the soldier’s creed, the army values, the NCO creed, and gain as much knowledge and experience as you can. Pass this on to others and take advantage of the opportunities the military has to offer. You too will be successful. Good luck and enjoy the military. I know I have.