Military Life Cycle | Your Life in the Military
Navy Boot Camp and Officer Candidate School: What to Expect
Navy Boot Camp is the first step in turning you into a sailor with all the skills to perform in the fleet. If you're on the Navy officer path, you'll attend a 12-week course to prepare for an officer's responsibilities. Know what to expect and arrive ready for Navy training.
Read This: Must-Dos for Separating
You've made the decision. Now it's time to make the most of it. There's a list of tasks to accomplish, and most of them come with a due date.
MilTax: Free Tax Return Filing Help for Your Service Member
If your service member has recently entered the military, you may now lose the ability to claim them as a dependent. On top of that, this may be the first time your loved one has ever had to file a tax return.
Department of Defense and Military Identification Cards
One of the most valuable assets to service members is their military ID. The Department of Defense issues distinct identification cards to uniformed service members, their family members and other eligible individuals to serve as proof of the cardholder's identity and Department of Defense affiliation.
CAC and Military IDs for Dependents, Retirees and Others
The military issues standard identification cards to active duty, reserve and National Guard members, retired service members, civilian employees, some contractors, family members of eligible sponsors and other eligible individuals. In addition to providing verification of identity and affiliation to the Department, military ID cards also verify eligibility for access to those benefits identified on the card.
Deciding Where to Live When You Leave the Military
The day will come when you're preparing to get out of the military. You might have spent many an hour already thinking about where you want to live when you get out. Now it's time to get practical.
Military Funeral Honors – The Essentials
Military Funeral Honors provides a final tribute to eligible veterans and a meaningful ceremony to their families. Military OneSource provides information to help you navigate the process to arrange Military Funeral Honors.
10 Reasons Why the Military Is a Great Career Choice
When your loved one decides to join the military, they’re taking an important step toward a great career path. As a parent, relative or significant other of someone who has joined the military – or is considering doing so – rest assured that there are many career and personal opportunities available to them.
Deployment Basics By Service Branch
The deployment cycle is the period of time from the notification of a deployment, through pre-deployment training, through the deployment, and immediately after deployment. Every deployment cycle is different, but here are some general things to know.
Transition Assistance Programs and Resources
The military has an extensive array of services to help make your separation a success. If you're an active-duty service member, National Guard and Reserve Component service member, or service member's spouse, you can take advantage of these transition assistance resources and more.
Deductions, Allotments and What Comes Out of Your Military Pay
Like a coin, there are two sides of your military paycheck. There’s what goes into your paycheck – basic pay, allowances and special and incentive pays – and there is what comes out. You can see your deductions and allotments listed on your Leave and Earnings Statement, or LES. Here are some of the more common items you’ll see listed on your LES.
Plan My Deployment: A Must-Have Tool for Deploying and Coming Home
Whether you're on your first tour of duty or your fourth, Plan My Deployment helps you, your family members and loved ones prepare for – and stay strong and connected – through every phase of deployment.
Stress Management During Deployment
In the military, stress happens. But too much stress can have negative effects on performance, safety and well-being. During deployment, it is especially important to know the signs of stress and to be ready with good stress management techniques.
Safe Driving Tips at Home After Combat Duty
The driving habits that kept you safe in a war zone can endanger you and others now that you're home. Reduce the risk of injury to yourself and others by retraining yourself to drive in normal conditions.
9 Tips for Reintegration After Deployment
Your deployment is over and now you are returning home. Next, it's time to reconnect with your family and friends and return to your "normal" life.
Your Career Path: Finding the Right Job
What kind of job are you looking for when you leave the military? Most people look for location, salary and job stability. But there's much more to finding great jobs for veterans.
Creating New Holiday Traditions When Your Service Member Is Away
Holidays can feel very different when your service member is away. There are traditions that you’d like to share with them or wish they could participate in. But there are things you can do to help yourself – and your service member – make the holidays special, whether they are stationed far from home or deployed. Sharing old traditions and creating new ones can keep the holidays fun and meaningful, and help you stay connected.
How the Military Helps Pay for College and Job Training
The military is an honorable way for patriotic men and women to both serve their country and pursue a career. When it comes to education and career benefits, the military takes care of service members during, and after, their service. Of course, the military itself can be a rewarding career choice. But if they decide to move on, service members can access many tools, resources and benefits to successfully transition into civilian careers.
VA Benefits for Disabled Veterans and Service Members
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides benefits and services to meet the needs of veterans and service members. While many VA programs are designed to serve veterans, particularly disabled veterans, VA services are not limited to those who have left the military.
Resources for Understanding Suicide Prevention in the Military
Service members put their life on the line to protect our country. But serious risks may lurk in everyday life for some with intense trainings or as the pace of military life suddenly gets faster and for prolonged periods. And that can be even harder and more confusing to deal with as a loved one.
Frequently Asked Questions About Military Funeral Honors
The Military Funeral Honors program includes several key elements that your casualty assistance officer or Military Funeral Honors coordinator can guide you through. In addition, here are some frequently asked questions and answers to navigating the traditional process.
Military Funeral Honors Eligibility
Military Funeral Honors are provided to recognize the sacrifice and contributions of our nation’s veterans.
How Your Service Member Will Benefit from the Military’s New Blended Retirement System
The military recently adopted a new retirement plan called the Blended Retirement System which extends benefits to a lot more service members than the old plan. The good news: the BRS can put your service member on the path to long-term financial security. And, the more a service member contributes to their own retirement, the more the Department of Defense matches it.
Make a Home Accessible With Department of Veterans Affairs Programs
If you're disabled, it is important to feel comfortable at home. Depending on your unique needs, modifications can make a big difference in your accessibility at home.
Programs That Hire Veterans
Many organizations in the civilian world value your experience, skills, work ethic and training as a service member. Here are ways to connect with employers committed to hiring veterans.
Overview of Veterans Affairs Benefits
You served. Now let the Department of Veterans Affairs serve you by helping you live life to the fullest.
Support and Resources Through the Commissary and Exchange
You may already know that shopping for groceries at the commissary or for electronics at the exchange can amount to significant savings. But you may not know that these stores also offer additional perks like contest prizes, scholarships and family employment opportunities, all while supporting your war-fighter overseas. Check out our listings below for benefits you may not have heard about.
Veterans Affairs Benefits for National Guard and Reserve Members
Guard and reserve members are entitled to benefits and services offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, just like their active-duty counterparts. The VA can help Guard and reserve members cover the cost of school, secure a home loan or acquire life insurance.
Military Retirement: Do You Have This Covered?
Transitioning to civilian life is just like everything else in military life. Doing it successfully takes preparation.
Veterans Affairs Benefits for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn Transitioning Service Members
Active-duty, Guard or reserve service members returning from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn deserve a smooth transition back to civilian life.
How to Write a Civilian Resume
Your resume is a summary of your background and experience, and it's likely to be the first information about you that an employer will see. These tips will help you make a resume that stands out.
4 Tips for Transition and Career Success
Making the transition into civilian life is exciting, but does take preparation. Make sure you are well-prepared by following these four tips.
Marine Corps Boot Camp and Officer Candidates School: What to Expect
Marine Corps Basic Recruit Training is the first step in preparing you mentally and physically to serve. The second step is the School of Infantry, where you'll develop core skills for service.
Army Basic Training: What to Expect
Basic training is the first step in preparing you to be a soldier. It starts with basic combat training or Army boot camp. Then comes specialized training in your career field — or you may go to Officer Candidate School to master Army leadership skills.
Air Force Basic Training: What to Expect
When joining the Air Force you can choose one of two paths, either enlist or get a commission as an officer. If you enlist, your first stop will be Air Force Basic Training, eight-and-a-half weeks of physical preparation to serve, before you move onto more technical training. If you take the officer path, you’ll go to Officer Training School, the U.S. Air Force Academy or Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps.
The New Army Combat Fitness Test
Starting October 2020, all soldiers will be required to pass the new Army Combat Fitness Test, which will replace the Army Physical Fitness Test. You will be expected to meet ACFT requirements regardless of age or gender, as part of your military training.
Military Clause: Terminate Your Lease Due to Deployment or PCS
Service members are protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act if they need to break their lease on account of a deployment or permanent change of station.
Military Pay 101: Basic Pay, Allowances and S&I Pay
As an active-duty service member, you receive many benefits and entitlements like free access to Military OneSource services and support. One of the primary benefits to working in the military is a steady paycheck and tax-free allowances. Here’s a summary of the different military pay elements you might see on your monthly Leave and Earnings Statement.
Which GI Bill Is Best for You?
The Department of Veterans Affairs has several programs that can cover the cost of education and training, housing fees and more. Review the benefits of each program and find out which one works best for you.
What to Expect During Military Funeral Honors
The Military Funeral Honors Program establishes procedures for requesting and providing Military Funeral Honors. Such honors consist of traditions intended to express deep gratitude for those who have served our nation.
When Your Guard or Reserve Service Member is Called to Active Duty
Your spouse or partner is preparing for deployment and transitioning from reserve status to active duty. Take advantage of several deployment support programs.
Military Homecoming: Things to Consider as a Family Member or Friend
The anticipation of a homecoming may come with many different feelings. It is understandable that you may be feeling anxious, excited, even worried all at once. As a family member or friend, you can be a key supporter for your service member as they return home from deployment – no matter if you live nearby or far away.
The Basics of Military Uniforms
Uniforms help promote a sense of cohesion and belonging among service members and communicate power and discipline to our allies and enemies alike.
Returning From Deployment: Helping Your Family Transition
Armed with the right information and understanding, reuniting with your family after a deployment can go more smoothly for everyone. Educate yourself on what to expect upon reintegration, and be patient with yourself, your spouse and your kids. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Follow these eight tips to ease your adjustment.
Explore Your Base and Beyond with MilitaryINSTALLATIONS
You’re going to PCS or you’ve just arrived. Want to learn about activities on base? Schools in the community? Check-in procedures? Child care? A veterinarian for your pet? Or other useful information?
MySTeP Supports Spouses Throughout Their Military Journey
The Department of Defense recognizes the role of the spouse in a smooth military transition, and has developed a new tool, called the Military Spouse Transition Program, designed to bolster your military spouse success at each step of the journey, from the beginning to the end of your family’s military experience.
Life Insurance for Veterans
Life insurance is one of those things we tend to avoid. But as a service member, you’re automatically provided life insurance.
VA Health Care for Veterans
There are many reasons to sign up for VA Health Care, the first being low- to no-cost, quality health care. Learn more about which health care benefits you qualify for and how to apply.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Homeless Prevention Program
The Department of Veterans Affairs has programs specifically to prevent homelessness or provide relief for veterans who are already homeless.
Veterans Programs, Services and Resources
The Department of Veterans Affairs and other government agencies offer numerous programs and services for veterans, their dependents and survivors. Beyond benefits, these programs and services are helpful.
Help for Veterans
As a service member, you’ve been taught to expect the unexpected. The unexpected can require a little support. As a veteran, you have help at hand. Find out about what kinds of assistance are available to you.
Military Transition to Civilian Life Comes with a Full Year of Support from Military OneSource
Hanging up your uniform and transitioning to civilian life can be both exciting and confusing. It may come with a lot of questions. Have you figured out your civilian career? Found a health care plan yet? Secured a new home base?
Voting While You’re Away From Home: The Absentee Voting Process
When military life takes you away from home, you and your family can use an absentee ballot and ensure your voices are heard on Election Day.
Free Resources for Service Members to Gain Financial Security
From budgeting and car-buying to building a good credit score or getting a handle on student loans, your service member has access to several free benefits and protections to help them gain firm financial footing.
Your Deployment Plan for Staying Fiscally Fit
Deployment can impact a household budget. Your pay could change, or you could incur some unexpected expenses. With the right information and a little extra effort, you can stay fiscally fit during deployment and stay in command of your household budget. Follow these tips to achieve financial stability and health even while you're gone.
4 Ways You Can Support the Children You Love During Their Parent’s Deployment
Grandparents, aunts and uncles, family friends and loved ones can make children of service members feel more secure and loved when their parent is deployed.
What You Need to Know About Marrying into the Military
If you are marrying a service member, congratulations. You are about to join an elite community of people who have committed to serve their country in a profound and meaningful way.
Your Leave and Earnings Statement
Your monthly Leave and Earnings Statement, or LES, is one of the most important financial documents you have for mastering your money and achieving your financial goals. Here's how to decipher the code.
Are You Financially Fit? How to Make Financial Wellness Happen
They say money can't buy happiness, but a financially-healthy future can buy peace of mind. Plus, financial security at home allows service members to be more focused and mission-ready.
Financial Protections for Your Service Member
If your service member ever gets into financial trouble, it can impact their military career. For this reason, there are two major laws – the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and the Military Lending Act -- that help protect the finances and ease the stress of active-duty service members and their families.
A Look Into Joining the Military’s Elite Forces in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force
U.S. service members already serve their country as part of one of the finest fighting forces the world has ever seen. Some special operations units have even higher standards than the general force.
Life After Basic Army Combat Training
Following your Army basic combat training, you’ll take one of two paths, advanced individual training or Officer Candidate School to advance in your military career.
Handling the Stress You Have About Your Service Member
You may feel pride that your child, grandchild, bother, sister, significant other or friend is serving our nation. At times, that may also cause you stress. Your concern can grow during deployments, trainings, relocations and other life events.
Learn the Warning Signs of ‘Military Scams’
Your military friend or family member serves our country with integrity and honor. Unfortunately, there are scammers out there who try to take advantage of that service to cheat them and you. You can help protect your service member against military scams by learning the warning signs of schemes that target those in the military community.
Credentialing Your Military Experience
You're looking to join the civilian world and that means job-hunting. Here's the good news: As a service member, you're part of one of the best-trained workforces in the world.
10 Tips to Take to Basic Training
Basic training varies by service branch, but it’ll help you to know these facts of military life before you report for duty. Own these 10 bits of advice from people who have been there.
Military Promotions: What Friends and Family Should Know
A military promotion is a significant achievement in a service member’s career It’s a testament to their commitment, mastery of duties and skill, and to the service member’s leadership capabilities. Some promotions are more meaningful than others, especially as service members move up in rank.
Meeting Military Fitness Standards
Physical fitness is a big part of life in the military. It’s required. Each service member is regularly tested. A Military OneSource Health and Wellness Coach can help you get or stay fit.
Understanding Common Military Traditions and Customs
Traditions are important as they can bind loved ones or groups of people together. The military is built on traditions, customs and manners, and as a result its members share a common experience. As a family member or friend of a service member, it can be valuable to learn about those traditions and customs your loved one participates in as a part the military community.
The Savings Deposit Program
If a combat deployment is in your future, be sure to learn about the Savings Deposit Program, a savings account that earns you 10 percent interest. An effective way to collect some savings, the Savings Deposit Program can help you and your family achieve your financial goals.
Military Pay 101: How to Open a Bank Account and an Introduction to TSP
When you’ve received your first Leave and Earnings Statement, or LES, that means you’ve been paid for your service in the Armed Forces. We’ve got some tips on how you can make the most of your basic pay – from the most important parts of your actual pay stub, to picking the right bank account, to even getting a “raise” by increasing your Thrift Savings Plan, or TSP, contributions.
Military Jobs: Your Future Career in the Armed Forces
Enlisting in the military can help you achieve your career goals. In fact, there are even some jobs that you can only do as a service member, like drive a tank or fly a fighter jet. Here’s what you need to know about your future military career.
Is Your Next Step Joining the Reserves? Get the Basics.
More than one in four active duty service members tell us they intend to join the reserves. It can be a great option for lots of service members.
Re-enlist, Reserves, or Transition? 4 Things to Consider
Maybe you're just ending your first tour of duty. Maybe you've fulfilled your obligation to your country. Now, you're at a crossroads—re-enlist, reserves, transition out? How do you know you're making the right call?