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Top Ten Things to Google Before Asking Me (or any other Veteran)

Stew Smith air force army basic training boot camp coast guard height weight standards initiative marines medical requirements military military career navy pt test recruit recruiter research running swimming tattoo policy vision requirements

Take Some Initiative
- Do Basic Research for Future Profession -
THEN Ask Specific Questions for More Information if Needed

Google Doodle By Emily Newman

Though these are legitimate questions many people may have during the consideration process of joining the military, they are easily found online and mainly reference material that rarely any human will ever remember - even a Veteran!  Besides, most of the common questions first asked tend to change over time with new programs developed, new enlistment procedures, updated standards, and the needs of the military.  Finding a source that is up to date can also be a challenge.  This article will help you with the first steps of research though it is up to you to continue the journey, taking the initiative and preparing for your future. 

PLEASE do not take this as I do not care that you are wanting to serve this great country in our military.  I am grateful EVERYDAY for those young men and women even considering military service, but there are a few things you need to know.  The first one is LEARN TO TAKE SOME INITIATIVE

If you really want to serve, you should be preparing yourself NOW! Not just exercising to be a more durable physical performer, but what are the jobs you are interested in doing? Where do you want to live after basic training? Take a look at where the bases are in the military and where your job may take you. What uniforms do you like the best? This may matter to you. What job skills learned in the military will be transferable to the civilian world?  This SHOULD matter to you as you will be out of the military one day. Have an idea of the above issues BEFORE you go and talk to a recruiter,  because if you go into the recruiter and say, " I am not sure what I want to do - what do I qualify for?"  The military has a place for you, but it may not be a career you actually want to do making the next few years of your life not as fun as you may have envisioned. 

The second thing to learn long before you talk to a recruiter is you should be ready to serve. Needing to lose weight, get in shape, and finish school is something many have to do.  Consider these meetings with a recruiter a job interview.  To be taken seriously - BE READY.  (See Ready to Serve)

These are Ten Questions that many veterans receive from young recruits or those interested in serving.  But see the links below as the links to good information are provided for you - now you just have to read it. 

Related Topic - Stupid Questions and Why They Are Stupid - Video 

 The Top 10 Things You Should Google First:

1 - I want to serve but I don’t know what job I want to do. What are the jobs in the military?  See official links below as they are linked to the hundreds of jobs of each specific branch of service. 

2 - How long is __________ Training? -
Depends on what training you are talking about?  Each service has basic training or boot camp training typically in the 8-9 week range (Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard).  Marines are 12 weeks and definitely the hardest of all basic training if you want to know that question. 

3 - What are the height and weight requirements? 
Depends on your age but you have to search this this reference material as each height and age have different weight standards - no human will be able to recite this information.  Find up to date standards by asking google - "height weight requirements 2020" and type in the branch of service as well as they tend to be different as well. 

4 - What are the vision requirements to become a _________? Is PRK and LASIK approved?
  Google "2019 vision requirements for (military job)" you are seeking.  Pilots, SEALs, and other special ops units have stricter standards and typically all must be correctable to 20/20 with varying standards.  Find this info on OFFICIAL military websites as older articles could be outdated. 

5 - I had two surgeries when I was in high school. Do I still qualify?
I do not know - it depends on what the issue was and if you are 100% cured / healed.  One thing for sure - any surgery will require a waiver so you have to have ALL your medical documents in hand - Medical Record, Surgeon Report, Notes, Physical Therapy Release, etc.  Make copies as it could get "lost" in military medicine. 

6 - I have a medical condition called ___________? Am I medically qualified or will I need a waiver?
  This is a LONG list of medical conditions that will prevent you from serving. Here is an article I use for basic info when asked, but if you have to ask, it is likely an issue that would require a waiver.  The official DoD Requirements (link)

7 - What are the fitness requirements to become a ___________? 
There are countless standards within the military between the different branches of service, units within the branches, and advanced training programs as well.  In fact, the individual answers can likely be found on official site, but I have spent years writing programs for just about EVERY fitness test and training program that exits. 

8 - How do I Prepare for military service physically? Academically? Professionally? Mental toughness?
To be honest, general fitness available in most athletic history will be enough to get you through boot camp / basic training programs, however, if you want to do something tougher (special ops / special programs), your specific training matters. Swimming, Running, Rucking, higher rep calisthenics, load bearing, and other skills need to be practiced.  Becoming a Tactical Athlete is a requirement and knowing the phases of tactical fitness is a must.  You can actually prepare for years an not be ready if you do not get specific to the demands of future programs.  ASVAB - Take practice tests - actually study for this one. Mental Toughness - Get tougher - See link Building Mental Toughness

9 - I was arrested as a teenager for _________. Can I still serve? 
Well - that depends on severity of arrest and the needs of the military. See article.  Though there are "moral waivers".  You have to find a recruiter willing to work with you up the waiver approval process.  Felony waivers are tough to get and not even possible in some branches of service.
10 - If I have tattoos on my __________? Can I still join? There are standards for tattoos, piercings as well. The tattoo policy has been updated recently and each branch of service have slight differences.  See up to date article on the topic:  Army tattoo policy

Official Links with Up to Date Information

Here is my suggestion. Many requirements change over time.  My personal articles are in a process of constant updating to change Pt standards, tests, medical standards, waiver processes, etc. That is why the official site is important for you to bounce ANY info you find off of during your research process. The links to the official sites below are the career options page.  You will find hundreds of jobs you can do within each service branch.  Do something you are actually interested in - that is the NUMBER 1 goal you should have. Go to the OFFICIAL WEBSITES of these branches:

Special Ops Options (Official LINKS)

This is where you will find the most up to date information.  If you are seeking special ops programs, there are also official websites as well for those such as:  - Navy SEAL / Special Warfare Combatant Recruit Info - Official Website
Air Force Special Warfare - PJ, CCT, SR, TACP

Preparation Starts Early

Even when you are a kid, you can start your journey to prepare for military service. Do activities that involve team work - sports, clubs, theater, band, etc.  Do activities where you mentor younger students / kids like martial arts, tutoring, team captain, etc.  Stay out of trouble and away from illegal activities because a criminal record could derail your future even as a teenager.  Stay away from drugs as they are illegal and do nothing to help you become a better person.  Prepare your body to become a Tactical Athlete - Learn more about the Three Phases of the Tactical Athlete and how to train specifically for the tasks at hand.

What Training Program is Right for Me?

This is a very common question and the answer is always - "IT DEPENDS."

It depends on many factors that also depend on each other.  For instance, if this was asked by a 19 yr old male seeking Navy SEAL Training, the options are the following:


It depends:  The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness is a classic and focuses on high rep calisthenics and running and swimming base.  You will build up your running over 12-18 weeks to 20 miles but very fast paced focus on both the 1.5 mile run for the PST and the 4 mile timed run for weekly run test at BUDS. If you are an athlete with a strong power / strength background in lifting and not running or swimming, Navy SEAL Fitness is ideal for you. IF you need some place to start Navy SEAL Fitness is ideal for you as well because a calisthenics base / running / swimming progression is a good place to build a foundation.  Though you will likely need to spend some time in the Navy SEAL Weight Training Book OR if Navy SEAL FItness is too challenging, go with Navy SEAL SWCC, EOD, Diver, PST Phase 1 Workout.  Phase 1 is a good starting point if Navy SEAL Fitness program is too tough. 

Navy SEAL Weight Training - This is part two (winter lifting phase) of my SEAL Prep program. If you have done the Navy SEAL Fitness (12 weeks to BUDS) program a few times and need a break, this is the next program that integrates lifting with the Navy SEAL Prep training. This is ideal for people who have come from an endurance athlete background.  Athletes like swimmers and runners will also require some strength training as you will be exposed to challenges under logs and boats during the first phase and many miles of rucking 50+ lbs of backpacks and gear in 2nd and 3rd phases of BUDS.  Do not skip lifting in your year of training prep.  However, if you are coming from a powerlifting / football background, supplementing a few lifts into your endurance / muscle stamina focus plan is something you may enjoy especially if training for a year or more during your prep phase. 

Navy SEAL / SWCC, EOD, Diver Program Series - Phase 1 is what I call a beginner guide, but it is still challenging.  It is geared toward those who are scoring minimally or failing their Navy PST test - 500yd swim, pushups, situps, pullups, 1.5 mile run.  It is easier than The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness and a good prep course before attempting it. 

Phase 2 and 3 of the Navy SEAL / SWCC, EOD, Diver program is about the same level of intensity as Navy SEAL Fitness and is also a good follow-up plan after Phase 1

Phase 4 ot the Navy SEAL Key to Mental Toughness is by far my toughest workout ever created.  It resembles a day of BUDS, complete with "wet and sandy", runs after eating, high rep punishment push-ups, 4 mile timed runs, 2 mile swims with fins, log PT simulation, and even a HellWeek Simulator with 3 workouts a day.  

Tactical Fitness Series - Tactical Fitness, Tactical Strength, and Tactical Mobility is an ALL-encompassing program that focuses on lifting, calisthenics, run, ruck, swim, speed, agility, and flexibility / mobility. Many people focusing on USMC (OCS, RECON, MarSOC) Army Ranger / SF, Air Force Special Warfare, SWAT / Federal Law Enforcement, and Navy Special Warfare have done very well focusing on the Tactical Fitness Series and developing themselves into an all-round Tactical Athlete

Tactical Fitness - At the core of this program is the Tactical Fitness Test which measures 12 standards for your physical capacity, including: cardiovascular conditioning, strength, muscle coordination, and stamina. Tactical fitness means having the skills needed to save lives and extend the limits of your endurance whether you are in the military, police, firefighting professions, or just an everyday hero. Also featured in the Tactical Fitness Test called the Dirty Dozen.

Tactical Strength - Tactical Strength is the lifting program used by Stew Smith and his Military, Police, Fire Fighter fitness program called the Heroes of Tomorrow. It is designed to build strength in the upper body, legs, and core to prepare you better for any load bearing activity (rucking, boat carry, log PT, etc). The program also does not neglect cardiovascular activity and will end workouts with rucking or swimming (or other non impact options (row, bike, elliptical) if needed. The cardio workouts will be quick and fast focusing more on speed and agility than long slow distance. We also use the Tactical Strength Test to test elements of speed, agility, and strength / power.

Tactical Mobility is a comprehensive fitness guide for greater mobility, flexibility, and performance—designed for the men and women serving in military, special ops, law enforcement, emergency services. Tactical Mobility is a perfect fit for any fitness program as a stand alone "Mobility day" supplemented into your regular routine and will help you reach the pain free level of fitness. Gaining flexibility and mobility is the goal of the program and it will help with performance and help reduce injuries.

The Warrior Workout Series - If you are solid with making your own workouts, but need some ideas.  This three part series has 300 workouts (100 / book) to pick from focusing on all the elements of fitness and training programs. Each book is organized with periodization cycles in mind along with calisthenics only, weights / calisthenics mix, cardio options and more. Warrior Workout 1   -  Warrior Workout 2  -   Warrior Workout 3. 

More Options: Special Ops Running, Law Enforcement, Tactical Fitness 40+, Army Workouts, Army Special Forces, Air Force Special Warfare, USMC RECON / MarSOC Training...

and many more options as well as personalized training programs member's only program and the new :

Questions?  Just email me at

See more info at the Navy SEAL Articles Page


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