I’m military and went to Afghanistan.
There are definite ups and downs.
The ups require you take advantage of them, for example low to free accommodation costs, decent pay and this chance to save, plus opportunities to gain some very useful skills, and that’s just as a “grunt” in the infantry (me.)
An officer in the logistics corps would be well on the path to a very good job managing the logitistics for Nestlé etc.
The downsides, as a grunt, is the army has almost no respect for your time.
You are an asset and are used as such, sent here or there to do this or that, and also, shit travels downhill and you are at the bottom of that hill…
Little things, like if the Sjt Manor decides on a new regimen, well the effects will be on you more than anyone else.
Plus the casual racism and bullying (experienced it myself) and sexism (didn’t experience it myself obviously!)
Simply put, it is the best and worst job I’ve ever had.
6 day exercise in the freezing snow with 3 hrs sleep per night was not fun and yet the camaraderie once that is over… There’s nothing like it.
And then there was Afghanistan. Getting woken up because of a grenade attack is something else 😂.
Feeling the air displacement as the enemy rounds fly by your face… Well that was entertaining.
I’d recommend it to anyone from 18 to 24, for about 6 years, with a clear plan to learn stuff and squirrel away your cash.
I’d recommend it doubly if there’s a chance for deployment. Massive learning experience.
But the caveat is having a get out plan and something to substitute the discipline when you are on your own again.
More than anything I miss that routine from Afghanistan, get up, breakfast, physical training (I got to the strongest and most ripped I have ever been) then do what you like the rest of the time until guard duty comes around, and stand by to do whatever jobs need doing (weapon cleaning, toilet cleaning hahaha!)
Nothing to spend money on where I was (I spent $30 in 5 months outside of my 2 week break in England) and no mortgage or anything.
Weekly phone call to my friends and family.