View Full Version : Military Enlistment timeline help.

07-10-2008, 12:09 AM
I've got a secondary character, who needs to 'enlist' and be 'shipped out' pretty quickly. Whats the fastest that can realistically happen today?

Figure a healthy 18 year old kid shows up at a recruitment center in the local mall, and 'signs up'. Service branch doesn't matter, though I'd like it to be Marines or Army. What I need is for him to come back and tell the other characters - "I just enlisted, and I have to report to XXX by XXX..."

He needs to leave town.

I'd like it to be within say, three days... a week tops. Is that realistic? I've got a friend who enlisted in the Airforce recently, but it was almost six months from 'sign here' to 'report there' - much medical testing and such. But he had special language skills and the AF wanted him to report for training at a particular time to coincide with the job. My character is an unskilled kid. He's going to be a grunt.


07-10-2008, 12:13 AM
My son enlisted in the Army in late April of '06. Started basic second week of May, graduated August 30 and many of his cadre who didn't go on to Airborne or other training could have shipped out pretty much after that, as I recall.

eta - checked some dates - signed up April 27th and flew off to Ft Benning, GA on May 18th

Cav Guy
07-10-2008, 12:16 AM
You hit the nail with the idea that it depends. Recruits have to be scheduled into training (both basic and advanced) and a whole slew of other things.

That said, it's certainly possible to be gone in a week. That can happen if your character hits the cycles just right or there's a spike in available training slots. You could always ask your local recruiters what a common waiting period is (assuming a person doesn't do a delayed enlistment option). That might give you a better idea of conditions in your area (assuming that's the setting for your story).

07-10-2008, 12:18 AM
Former Navy Recruiter here. Just had a chat with a local Marine recruiter.

If he doesn't care what he's going to do, and he goes Army or Marine Corps, AND he shows up in the office on Tuesday with a his high school diploma/GED completion, and his criminal background check comes up clean. They could fingerprint, criminal background check and ship him within a week.

Now, that's these days. The time frame of your story may well change that.

07-10-2008, 12:30 AM
Thank you oh 'vast and unpaid research department'. What a great community.

I'm thinking he can just hit 'the luck of the draw' in terms of the right cycle. The Tuesday hint is a good one.

Since we've got a former recruiter here... what's the current status regarding 'aliens'... and I'm not talking little green men. I've been googling around a bit, following stories about the military as a path to citizenship. I'm thinking this could be part of the kids motivation - to eventually get citizenship out of it. Would that be held out as a likely path for the kid, by the recruiters?