Your high school child has just informed you that he/she has been talking to a recruiter for the United States Armed Forces. You are in a panic because you know nothing about the military. Don’t panic. Less than 1 percent of the population serves in the United States Military. The following is a simple list to help you with the specialized language. The terms are fairly standard whether your child is joining the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard. This also includes the National Guard and Reserves.
1. M.E.P.S. or Military Entrance Processing Station – Pronounced as the if it were a word (Meps). All branches of the military have an office here. Your child will have his written and physical tests here. All paperwork before departure for Basic Training is processed through this office. In Knoxville, the M.E.P.S. office is downtown on Locust Street.
2. A.S.V.A.B. or Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery – The ASVAB is a multiple discipline or battery test. All persons enlisting in the United States Military must take the ASVAB. Your child’s score on this test will determine what career opportunities are available for your child. The higher the test score the better. The test may be taken more than once with a period of time between testing. There are online practice tests.
3. M.O.S. or Military Occupational Specialty – Your child’s MOS will be based on test scores and the needs of the military. As stated above, the higher the ASVAB score the more careers are open. Your child will have a say in the matter before the contract is signed.
4. Enlistment Contract – Read this contract over with your child more than once. If something is not spelled out in the contract, it does not exist. There is a joke among parents and recruiters, “If the recruiter’s lips are moving, he is lying”. Recruiters are good people. They have a quota to make.
5. D.E.P or Delayed Entry Program – This is known as the Future Soldiers Program in the Army. Your child may still change his/her mind and not join the military after the DEP contract is signed. Your child will be in the DEP until he/she ships for basic training.
6. Basic Training or Boot Camp – Your child will have physical training and classroom learning. Here your child will learn the military way of eating, standing, sitting, thinking. It is a total transformation.
7. Reception Battalion – Also known as Reception Battalion Hell. Your child will receive another physical, do more paperwork, be bored to tears. Recruits, at this point, will still be allowed the mobile phone. Recruits may play music and games and talk to friends. Your recruit will be assigned a battle buddy. They will look out for each other during Basic Training. Reception Battalion may last up to three weeks. Your recruit will be allowed one final phone call from a public phone. Your recruit will read a statement posted on the wall in front of the recruit. The phone call will last about 10 seconds. You will not have time to respond.
8. Graduation – This is where you meet your Airman, Marine or Soldier for the first time. There are speeches, a Pass in Review, a military band and much more, all to celebrate your child.
9. FDS or First Duty Station – This is where your child will begin his/her career in the military. Generally, this will be at a Fort, a Camp or a Base.
There are many more words and phrases. The military language is a highly specialized language. These nine will get the new military parent through the first few months.