Why do people serve in the Army National Guard and U.S. Military? When you ask Soldiers why they serve in the military you get a variety of responses such as patriotism, love of country, travel, the opportunity to get away from home, education opportunities, being part of a team, discipline, and many other reasons. In fact, these were some of the same reasons that influenced my decision to join the Army. While these are great reasons to serve in the military, I honestly believe that MONEY is also an important factor.
Now before you get upset and chew me out, I want you to hear me out for a minute. Serving in the military is a wonderful way to serve your country and do everything mentioned above. The military is a brotherhood (and sisterhood), and also is a time honored tradition. But I question that most people who say they serve for one of these reasons mentioned above, would continue to serve in the military if they DID NOT GET PAID. In other words, they wouldn’t do it for free (in most cases anyway). You see, we all have basic financial needs. And if those needs aren’t being met, most people would not continue their military service, even if they enjoyed the other aspects of the military.
UPDATE: Does everyone serve their country just for the money? Heck no. The military has TONS of good people, patriots and people with a strong calling to serve their country. But I can guarantee the money does play a major role in their decision to continue their military career. Sadly, few people will ever admit that the MONEY is part of their decision making process. It’s as if they want you to think that the only reason they wear the uniform is because they are a patriot.
In addition, I recently learned that there are military organizations that DO NOT get paid. One example would be the Military Defense Force for each state. These members simply volunteer their time. And another visitor mentioned, we all have primary and secondary reasons for EVERYTHING we do. So, all the things mentioned above play a role in our decision making process.
END OF UPDATE
Heck, I spent 15 years in the Army and enjoyed my experience immensely. I enjoyed the travel, belonging to a team, deploying overseas, the personal growth, the friendships, the camaraderie, and everything else. I didn’t join the military to get rich, but the financial rewards were a big part of my reason to join the Army and continue my military service. The opportunity to have a steady paycheck, earn a pension, good benefits, and earn money for my college education were very lucrative, and had a big impact in my decision to join/stay in the military.
Whenever I ask someone why they serve, they NEVER mention the word money. But when I ask them if they would continue to serve if they didn’t get paid anything at all, 99.9% of the people tell me NO! So obviously, the MONEY has a huge effect on WHY they serve. And if that’s true, how come they never admit it when people ask them why they serve?
Please know I’m not writing this post to knock anyone. I love my country and the military. I just wish more people would be honest about the matter. What are your thoughts on this subject? Just leave a comment to share your thoughts.