(Loving Living Local)- Local Army recruiters share personal stories and explore benefits of joining the US Army.

Eight uniformed soldiers with the US Army Recruiting Battalion sat down with host, Susan Kirton to recount their own personal experiences with the US Army, explore benefits of service, and identify misconceptions and barriers. Staff Sergeant Scott discusses qualifications, testing, and the step-by-step process of joining. Sergeant First Class Chatham shares about options and benefits such as training, locations, incentives, bonuses, and money for college. Staff Sergeant Denton admits that basic training is not like the movies and provides a clearer picture of what basic training and on-the-job training are really like. First Sergeant Denman explores common obstacles and myths about service. Staff Sergeant Wilson provides details about Army Reserve options. Staff Sergeant Cabrera details her own experience with joining the army as well as the culture and diversity she has found. First Lieutenant Sun and Second Lieutenant Tims elaborate on officer routes soldiers can take such as OCS versus ROTC.

The army offers numerous benefits. Army service allows Soldiers to retire after only 20 years of service and to receive benefits from the Army’s retirement income fund after only two years. The VA loan is a guaranteed, lifetime benefit for Soldiers which boasts no down payments, competitively low-interest rates, and no need for Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

Soldiers receive 30 days of paid annual vacation. The Army supports parents and offers generous leave, including 12 weeks for both parents (a non-gender benefit) and an additional 6 weeks of convalescent leave for mothers. Other benefits include enlistment bonuses up to $50k, complete healthcare coverage for full-time Soldiers, access to the Buddy Enlistment Program, over 1,500 advanced training certificates, and tuition assistance with the opportunity to earn full college tuition.

In an uncertain world, service means stability and security for the future. The Army offers enlistment contracts ranging from two to six years, so you can decide what best fits your life plans. There are 84 different occupations with a two-year option for those who aren’t comfortable making a longer commitment.

The Army is offering a duty station of choice. For some, staying close to home is important, and now we have opportunities that offer location predictability. For Soldiers who decide to pursue a career outside the Army after their term of service, the Army offers career counseling, special programs, and guidance. The Partnership for Youth Success program even offers five guaranteed job interviews with program partners across the nation.