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Benefits of Joining the U.S. Military

Cora Derby
Before leaving for his next Air Force Base in Japan, my brother said his goodbyes to all of us.

It was 5:00 in the evening as I stood with my family, taking in the sight of a beautiful American flag flowing with the quiet breeze. The sound of Retreat and our national anthem brought a sense of hope and freedom, one that I will never forget. My brother had just given us a tour of his Air Force base in Louisiana, explaining to us how he’d been living the past few years. He showed us the flight line, along with many cool planes and the engine of the B-52 he was working on. It is one thing to picture the life of someone serving in my head, but seeing it with my own eyes showed me how much work and time is put into every aspect of the military. The men and women who protect our freedoms daily are national treasures! But what’s in it for our soldiers? There are so many benefits to joining our U.S. military that I’d love to share with you.

First, free college is a great perk of serving in the military! My brother joined when he was 18 and immediately began to earn college credits. Many don’t know that boot camp and tech school count towards your college degree. You can also take online or in-person classes to work towards your degree while serving. If you want to wait until you’re done with your military service, it’s no problem! There are two types of GI Bills offered to our military veterans. Either will pay for most of your college expenses, if not, all of them. 

I’m grateful that the military members sacrifice their lives every day to ensure our safety.

— Jade Letourneau (10)

In addition, there are many certificates that can be earned while serving in the military. Some of these require many hours, which can be nearly impossible to achieve without every day, hands-on training. The military offers it! These certificates transfer to jobs outside of the military, which is a benefit.

Furthermore, the military offers excellent financial help! When serving in the military, you will be able to live for free in the provided dorms. Dining facilities serve free food up to four times a day, and eventually, you will be able to move off base. When this time comes, you will be given a BAH, basic housing allowance, and BAS, basic subsistence allowance, to use as you see fit. If you want to buy a house, the VA offers home loans to our service members and veterans with zero down and better interest rates. Also important to mention is that while serving, you will receive two and a half-paid vacation days every month. It works out to be about a month off every year. Free health and dental care are also great advantages!

Lastly, the military offers the experience of a lifetime that may not be possible elsewhere! Have you ever talked to a veteran or service member about their military experience? No matter their age, they all have unique, life-altering stories. Many make friends that they’ll never forget or travel to places we only see in pictures. Most feel patriotism and a sense of honor for our country. “I’m grateful that the military members sacrifice their lives every day to ensure our safety,” explains Jade Letourneau (10).

As for my brother, he is an addition to the many service members who have made the best of their military experience. Last month, he was stationed at a new base in Okinawa, Japan, and is loving it! I thank all military members for their service!

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About the Contributor
Cora Derby, Photojournalist
Cora Derby is a sophomore at Yorba Linda High School, and this is her first year writing for The Wrangler. She loves to read, write, draw, bake, and crochet in her free time. Cora enjoys cozy days indoors and rainy weather, where she can spend the day working on all of her hobbies. She has a hamster named George that owns an Instagram page, containing mostly holiday-inspired photos of him. Currently, Cora is working hard in school and is trying to become more involved in her classes. Her favorite subject is Language Arts, in which she can use her writing abilities. She is excited for the incoming school year and looks forward to starting a path in journalism.

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    Carole WaltonFeb 25, 2024 at 3:25 PM

    Thank you for all the good information about the advantages of serving our country in the military. I think more people should consider joining. You go into it usually just a young person not knowing what life is all about and come out as a mature productive citizen understanding how great it is to live in a country with opportunity, freedom and justice for all.