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Military Fatigues: What Are They?

If you serve in the U.S. military, you still might hear a couple of people referring to the primary military work uniform as military fatigues. In the next 20 years, that term will likely be obsolete as the people who once used it retire.

Military fatigues are a work uniform. They are used for labor intensive details, as a daily uniform, and also for combat. Today, they have other names, like battle dress or combat uniforms but military fatigues are once they were once known as.

Military fatigues have varied from branch to branch; some have had woodland patterns, others desert, and they have even been plain olive drab colored. A key feature of military fatigues is their durability, despite their oxymoron name, and lots of pockets.

Early American military soldiers wore elaborate and impractical uniforms during the first 100 years or so of the U.S. military’s existence. The uniforms were similar to what is now known as today’s service uniform, normally worn in an administrative or office environment. They are similar to a coat and tie worn by business men and women. Military fatigues weren’t even considered since the military was expected to look sharp, even as it fought. Military fatigues would likely have been considered slovenly.

As the U.S. military fought in wars, it began to understand that it needed a loose-fitting uniform that could allow soldiers to physically perform the many tasks required during combat. And for those of you who have served, it should come as no surprise that the uniform’s evolution took more than 100 years. The first large-scale use of military fatigues was during World War II.

How did military fatigues get their name? There is a lot of speculation and Army historians haven’t been able to pin the source, but it is believed that in the early days of the Army, laborious details were called fatigues. Eventually, as the uniform changed, soldiers performing these labor intensive details in the field wore the battle dress uniform and since they wore them during tiring, hard work, the uniforms eventually were tagged as military fatigues by the soldiers.

In 1981, the woodland camo battle dress uniform became the official duty uniform of the U.S. Army, but it arrived after military fatigues took its journey through the jungles of Vietnam. Through the early 2000s, BDUs would serve as the military’s primary military fatigues and then came a slew of variations until we arrived at what is known as the Army’s OCP uniform.

Military Doctor Benefits: Are They Worth It?

All branches of the military, with the exception of the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Space Force, have military doctor billets. Being a military doctor can be rewarding because a military doctor doesn’t just serve the country, he or she also serves their patients. And in some cases, like flight surgeons, they can also be aviators on flight status (not necessarily pilots), a nice perk for those who can get the rating.

There are multiple paths to becoming a military doctor, but we will focus this post on the two more popular methods of becoming a military doctor.

To become a military doctor in the U.S. armed forces, there are two primary avenues: the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) or the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP).

USUHS
The USUHS, in Bethesda, Maryland, is sometimes referred to as America’s Medical School. It opened its doors in 1972 as a way to create more military doctors. Applicants accepted to the USUHS are placed on active-duty and their education is paid for by the U.S. government. Think of it as a service academy for the military doctor. Applicants can serve as commissioned officers in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and U.S. Public Health Service as a military doctor. Attendees of USUHS, though not military doctors, are considered military officers and must wear their uniforms to class and they are on active duty for the duration of medical school.

Prior to starting at USUHS, candidates are required to attend an officer orientation program to help them transition into military service. Once completed, they can begin their military doctor training. It’s important to note that once a student enters USUHS, they are commissioned as second lieutenants or ensigns, depending on branch choice. They earn O-1 pay while in school for the duration. They are also entitled to full military benefits like medical care, housing allowance and 30 days paid vacation.

Graduates of USUHS are required to serve a seven-year active-duty service commitment as a military doctor. They are then promoted to the rank of captain or the grade of O-3 upon attaining status as a military doctor. Applicants choosing to serve in the U.S. Public Health Service assume a ten-year active-duty obligation.

HPSP
The branches have their scholarship programs located at HPSP Air Force, HPSP Navy and HPSP Army online. All of these are great ways to become a military doctor, but it is important to note that the HPSP is a scholarship program that enables candidates to attend the medical school of their choice. A candidate’s medical school tuition is paid for by the U.S. government and they receive a monthly stipend as they train to be a military doctor.

In HPSP, the military service portion is different as candidates are commissioned as an officer in the IRR (Individual Ready Reserve) as opposed to USUHS where a candidate starts serving and wearing a uniform when they report to the school. In both cases, it leads to a person becoming a military doctor.

As an HPSP participant, your medical training is similar to civilians. Candidates attend medical schools of their choice on their way to becoming a military doctor and there are no military uniforms worn. However, scholars are required to attend officer training and one 45-day training session for each year they receive scholarship funds. Uniforms are required during training periods. Similar to USUHS, candidates must attend an officer orientation in their first two years. During the periods of officer orientation training and the 45-day training sessions, students are paid as O-1s.

Upon completion of their medical school training, candidates are given a $20,000 signing bonus for joining the Army, Navy or Air Force and they incur a one-year service obligation for every year they received scholarship funds. So, four years of medical school would require for years of service as a military doctor. Once you enter active duty, you become a captain or an O-3 in grade.

Air Force Vs Army: Which Branch Is Better?

A considerable amount of subjectivity comes into play when selecting a branch of service to join. If you are thinking about joining the U.S. military, your personal preferences should play heavily into what branch you select.

For example, if you like the ocean, maybe the U.S. Navy is a good fit for you. Do you want to learn an automotive technician vocation, then maybe becoming an U.S. Army mechanic is best for you? The point is that knowing what you want to get from the military is important before you go and visit a recruiter. There are several branches, with many jobs, but if you’ve narrowed it down to joining the U.S. Air Force or the U.S. Army, then maybe this comparison Air Force vs Army post can help you.

Air Force Vs Army (Deployments)
Let’s face it, the primary mission of the U.S. military is to fight and win American wars. However, when it comes to deploying, there is a big difference, generally speaking, between the Air Force and the Army.

Since aircraft are extraordinarily valuable, many, not all, Air Force deployments tend to be locations that are relatively safer. For example, a fighter squadron might deploy to Kuwait to provide routine combat air patrols over an area, as opposed to an infantry company that might deploy to a combat outpost where they are in regular contact with the enemy. In this part of the Air Force Vs Army argument, one can argue that the Air Force is better, because it is safer, but if your goal is to join a ground combat specialty, then the Army wins here. As mentioned before, subjectivity weighs heavily.

Air Force Vs Army (Quality of Life)
Air Force personnel get a lot of grief from members of other branches of service and most of it is because of envy. Air Force bases are notorious for their world class gyms, first rate chow halls, and college-dorm-like barracks. Not to mention, Airmen tend to have the nicest and newest equipment.

Why does the Air Force have a great quality of life? The easy answer is if a person feels supported and cared for, they will likely stick around. In addition, there is an old standing joke in the Air Force ranks that has enlisted airmen saying, “I joined the Air Force because we send our officers to war.” While that is partially true, the Air Force does send its pilots into harm’s way while the majority of the support personnel are in relative safety back at base.

In the Army, that’s a little different. Given the Army has ground forces, it has to be within reach of its forward forces, so many times non-combat arms support personnel will be closer to combat than Air Force personnel. In recent years, The USAF has sent many combat arms personnel into harm’s way, but overall, the Army usually has more personnel in combat zones.

Back at garrison, the Army has made a lot of strides to improve its quality of life for soldiers on post. Soldiers have access to various eateries on post as well as ample recreational opportunities like golf, gyms, horseback riding, rod and gun clubs, auto hobby shops, bowling and other activities. The Army tends to be located in more places around the globe as well, but again, when examining the quality of life, Air Force Vs Army, much depends on what you want for yourself.

Air Force Vs Army (Occupational Specialties)
The Air Force and Army are pretty evenly split here. Both branches offer aviation, law enforcement, cyber, engineering, administrative, mechanical, culinary and other career fields. The key is figuring out what job you want to do and where do you want to do it.

When choosing between the Army or the Air Force, each branch has a number of jobs in similar areas. You’ll find health care, engineering, aviation, administrative, arts and media and mechanical jobs in both branches. If you prefer a job that sees more combat, though, the Army may be the right choice for you. If you have more interest in technology, you’ll find more opportunities in the Air Force. But there are ample opportunities for combat ground roles in the USAF and also plenty of tech jobs in the Army. Much depends on you.

A good way to find out what jobs are a good fit for you is to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery or ASVAB test, which is required for anyone signing up as an enlisted member in the Army or Air Force. The ASVAB measures your abilities to predict which jobs you’re most likely to find success in in the military. This can help you if you do not know what professions interest you.

Air Force Vs Army (Pay and Benefits)
It is important to note that members of the military are paid the same amount as long as they are in the same pay grade. For example, an E-4 in the Air Force makes the same as an E-4 in the Army. Now, if the Air Force E-4 is on flying status or deployed, they might make more money. Similarly, an Army E-4 who is in the airborne can collect jump pay and combat pay if he/she is forward deployed. There are lots of opportunities to make extra pay depending on your duty, but it is important to note in the Air Force Vs Army discussion that all branches pay their grades the same. How fast you climb through those grades is a different story and collection of special pay is up to you and the paths you take professionally.

Air Force Vs Army (Training)
Let’s cut to the chase on the topic of training, there is Air Force basic training and Army basic combat training. Both achieve the same thing; they give attendees a basic understanding of the Army or Air Force and that base training allows a service member to start his or her life in uniform. While the training may vary, the objective is the same.

Training after basic training depends on what occupational specialty you enter. Every technical or advanced school has its requirements. Some Air Force schools might require an airman to train for upwards of two years to be fully qualified while some Army schools might require someone to train for 10 weeks to be fully qualified. Much depends on the occupation.

When it comes to making a decision, Air Force Vs Army, you need to consider what works best for you. Every member in the U.S. military serves for different reasons. Some are motivated by patriotism, some are motivated by adventure, some are motivated by finding a better life. Others want to travel, earn money for college, or gain job skills.

If you’re thinking which is better, Air Force Vs Army, you can’t lose by selecting one of these services. Just ensure you pick was is right for you and what fits into your plans. Follow your head and heart and it will work out.

What is the Difference Between the Army and the Marines?

Ask any military veteran and they can easily sound off many differences between the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps. The uniforms are different. The training is different. Where they serve is different. Most glaringly, their core missions are different, although they seem similar at face value.

However, to a person unfamiliar with the U.S. military’s branches, superficially, the two branches have a lot in common. Both have infantry, aircraft, logistical support elements and extensive combat arms units. Not surprisingly, potential recruits ask what’s the difference in an Army vs Marines comparison? It is a valid question and the comparison is worth a closer look to help recruits determine if they would like to serve in the Army or the Marine Corps. What’s the difference between Army vs Marines? Read on.

First, the U.S. Army is comprised of an active-duty component and a reserve component that consists of the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard. The Army Reserve is a federal force that mostly provides combat service support to the combat arms branches and the Army National Guard is a state-controlled force which falls under the command and control of the governor of a state. The National Guard tends to have warfighting and support units. In times of emergency, a governor can mobilize the National Guard to assist in the state’s response to an event. Similarly, a president can mobilize and federalize National Guard personnel to serve in times of national crisis. Army National Guard, Army Reserve and active-duty Army all train at U.S. Army schools, but they serve in different capacities.

The active-duty Army conducts full-spectrum operations around the world. The Army Reserve serves ordinarily, one weekend per month, two weeks per year for annual training. The National Guard has the same training requirements as the Army Reserve, for the most part, but it should be noted that most Guard and Reserve personnel put in much more than just two days per month and two weeks per year. The operational tempo of the U.S. military has caused the Guard and Reserve to shoulder a lot of domestic and international missions, so gone are the days of the traditional weekend warrior as they were once affectionately called.

A person interested in joining the active-duty Army would become one of about 480,000 on duty around the world. The Army National Guard has around 336,000 and the Army Reserve has about 200,000 in its ranks. In the Army vs Marines comparison, the Army has far greater career opportunities for an individual to work in a career field of his or her choice, and to do that work in either a full or part-time manner.

Active duty is a lifestyle. An individual is immersed in the military because they live it every day. It is not just a job, but the services expect their members to live their lives according to a certain ethos; a set of virtuous values. The same can be said of the reserve and National Guard components, but there is more flexibility in that commitment. Reservists and National Guardsmen can attend college or vocational training usually paid for by the government. They can also continue to work in their chosen career fields in their civilian lives. For example, a National Guardsman might train as an airborne infantryman two days per month, but the rest of the month he can be a college student studying engineering. Or maybe an Army Reservist is working as a veterinarian technician full-time and attending classes part-time to get into vet school. The point is, being in the part-time military offers people flexibility whereas the active-duty military requires full commitment to service. Army vs Marines? The Army wins by a long shot when it comes to varying professional opportunities, both full- and part-time but the Marines are still a viable option for someone looking for part-time service.

The Marine Reserve Forces have approximately 38,500 personnel in it. The opportunities are clearly limited, but they exist as do many different career fields. By comparison, the Marine Corps has 186,000 Marines on active-duty. But while the Marines are small in numbers, they are notorious for their fighting prowess. Handfuls of Marines can accomplish a lot in austere conditions, but the fact is, they are small which means promotions are limited as are career opportunities. The opportunities are fewer than in the Army, but that point is a source of pride for Marines.

On this side of the coin, Army vs Marines, the Marines win hands down. A person seeking professional opportunities in the Army to advance themselves has more opportunities in a larger organization like the Army, but if an individual is seeking a personal challenge, where they will put the organization first over themselves, then they would likely thrive in the Marines. The Marines pride themselves on being small in numbers and completing training is a rite of passage that enables graduates to become part of a small group of Americans that have earned the Marine title. The physical requirements are harder than the Army’s and the Marine Corps requires a higher general score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery exam. When it comes to higher entry-level standards in the Army vs Marines comparison Marines win.

For an individual who isn’t considering college or vocational training, the Marine Corps might be a good fit in the Army vs Marines comparison. Service in the Corps indoctrinates an individual into enduring high levels of stressors and rising to challenges, traits that can help a person for the rest of their lives.

The Marine Corps is part of the Department of the Navy, but it is its own military service. It’s structure is similar to the Army and includes teams, squadrons, platoons, companies, battalions, divisions, etc. Recently, there has been a push by Marine Corps leadership to return the Corps to its naval combat roots even though it is still considered the U.S. military’s primary response team because it can mobilize faster than the Army. It is more agile because of its size. The Army, of course, is a separate service and falls under the Department of the Army, a part of the Department of Defense.

The U.S. government uses the Army to address long-term conflicts, but that is not to mean that the Marine Corps isn’t involved in long wars. The Corps has maintained a presence in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001.

If a person is comparing the Army vs Marines, there are many similarities and equally as many differences. The one thing that is the same is that the people who join the Army and the Marines devote themselves to the defense of the country and strive to serve their fellow Americans.