Do You Know the Rules and Regulations of the First Year of Enlistment?


By: Teresa McGlothlin

6 Min Quiz

Image: fstop123/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

When you sign your enlistment contract, you'll be given a general run down about how things will go. But, you won't learn all the regulations of military life until later! From uniform standards to codes of conduct, there's more to being a service member than signing your name on the dotted line. Do you know as much about the rules as you think you do? 

While some of the regulations are of the paperwork kind, others are everyday things that every service person should know. For instance, the Marines are not allowed to go very long without a haircut. There are certain places you shouldn't walk, and don't even think about putting your hands in your uniform pockets! Before you go breaking rules you didn't know existed, make sure you know as much about the regs as you can.

Every question is filled with information that can easily help you get a military-worthy score. Read it as carefully as you would read a question on the ASVAB, and make your choice using your precision problem-solving skills. Will you be able to make it through this quiz without breaking a rule, or do you know everything you need to know to make the military proud? Let's find out what you know about first-year enlistment!

In general, how many years does an active duty recruit agree to serve in the Marines or the Air Force?

When they sign up, new military members are usually bound to four years of active duty service, followed by four years of inactive duty. Lengths of service do vary from branch to branch, but four and four is standard for both the Marines and the Air Force.


Is it true or false that married couples with children can serve at the same time?

Family is at the forefront of military values. While there are exemptions, only one parent may serve at a time. Single parents may only serve with certain waivers or by relinquishing custody to a family member.


When you first enlist, what are you signing up for when you agree to report for duty on a future date?

Long gone are the days of signing up at the recruiting office and being sent off to basic training the same day. These days, most new enlistees sign a contract called the Delayed Entry Program (DEP). It's a legally binding document that says you'll report for service on a future date.


Does the military really have a branch-wide policy that bans walking while talking on the phone?

No one should really be walking and talking on the phone at the same time, but the military has strict rules about it. In addition to being unsafe, service members are expected to be on alert at all times. If they are distracted by their phones, they might miss a chance to spring into action.


Now that you're in the Marine Corp, how often are you required to get a haircut?

Even if your hair barely grows and you don't think you need a haircut, the Marines demand that you visit a barber once per week. Both on and off duty, attention to detail is a huge deal to the Marines.


Which two branches of the military have optional two-year enlistment contracts?

As the demand for new soldiers and sailors keeps rising, the Army and the Navy have started taking a different approach. Those holding needed skillsets are now offered optional two-year enlistment terms.


Are enlistment incentives and military benefits the same thing?

Everyone entering the military is automatically entitled to standard military benefits. Enlistment incentives are extra perks that are offered to those with much-needed skills. Incentives can vary from bigger housing allowances to extra pay and more.


What does the U.S. Navy say is "inappropriate and distracts from military smartness" while wearing a uniform?

According to the Navy's General Uniform Requirements, it's tacky to put your hands in your pockets. Sailors are expected to have their hands free so that they may salute a superior officer. Plus, it just looks bad!


When interacting with a superior rank, how do junior service members need to stand?

When superior officers are addressing those with a lower rank, lower-ranked individuals must stand at parade rest. During this resting stance, the hands are placed behind the back, the feet are placed 12 inches apart, and the head is positioned for a straightforward gaze.


Military members are permitted to have tattoos, but where are they not allowed to be placed?

Contrary to popular belief, service members are permitted to have tattoos. However, they may not be of a discriminatory nature, and they must not be on any visible part of the head, neck or face.


What kind of shoes does the Army allow female members to wear with their uniforms?

When appropriate, female service members may forgo the standard-issue military shoes in lieu of plain, black pumps. Men are not allowed to choose their footwear, and it's one of the few rules that offers a different set of standards for female enlistees.


While wearing your uniform, which one of these affectionate things are you not allowed to do?

It's important always to maintain your professionalism while wearing your military uniform. While it's perfectly fine to help someone across the street or to escort your date to their seat, the military frowns upon the act of holding hands.


Which of these personal issues could cause problems with getting a security clearance?

Many things can stop a new enlistee from getting higher security clearances. In this instance, we are talking about your credit score. Having lots of unpaid debt may put you at a disadvantage.


When you enlist, you agree to four years of inactive duty after your active duty service. What's it called?

Although enlistment terms do vary, four years of active duty are usually followed up by four years of Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). When an individual is on IRR, they are obligated to report for active duty if and when they are called.


How often do most military members have to recertify the Physical Fitness Test (PFT)?

New service members are not off the hook when they finish basic training. Part of being ready for duty is maintaining good physical health. All military members must recertify their PFTs approximately every six months.


Do you know how many days of leave the average new enlistee receives?

In the civilian world, the average amount of vacation time per year is around 15 days. For service personnel, it's double! All branches of the military offer a handsome 30-day vacation package upon signing enlistment papers.


Those who qualify to live in off-base housing are usually given which of these benefits?

There's a good chance that you will placed in dormitory-style barracks after you complete basic training if you're single. If you have a family or a higher rank, you are given the option to live off base. The BAH (Basic Housing Allowance) assists with rental costs.


After basic training, what's the next step for most military service persons?

Once basic training has wrapped up, most new service members get a little break before they head to Advanced Individual Training (AIT). During this phase, enlisted persons receive hands-on and individual training for their future position.


Which of these terms is also known as the swearing-in ceremony?

Before heading to basic training and after signing an enlistment contract, new recruits must take the Oath of Enlistment. The oath promises that the service person will report for duty and dedicate themselves wholly to protecting the country.


What's the very minimum age someone can sign up for military service?

The official minimum enlistment age is 18. However, it's possible to sign an enlistment contract at the age of 17 with parental permission. Many future officers begin their careers in the ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) during their high school years.


The first week of basic training is known by a few different names; which of these is not one of them?

The first week of basic training is not like many imagine. During the first few days, new enlistees are received and processed into the military system. It's not only an introduction to military life; it's also the phase in which administrative tasks like payroll are conducted.


How often can you expect to get paid during your first year of enlistment?

A steady paycheck is just one benefit of joining the military! Throughout any military career, service members can plan to be paid every two weeks. Though the dates may vary, it's a consistent part of military life.


True or false? The Army allows new recruits to use their cell phones during boot camp.

In years gone by, new recruits were only allowed to send letters from basic training. These days, the military has opted to keep up with the times and now allows weekly use of personal cell phones. It's a privilege that is held in high regard.


While standing in formation, what must service members never wear?

Service members are permitted to wear a hidden necklace, a plain ring, or their uniform hat in formation. They may not, however, wear things like sunglasses or gloves. These additional accessories are considered a distraction.


According to the Marines, what surface should you always avoid walking on?

It's not unusual to hear a Marine say, "Get off the commander's grass!" There's a strange, unwritten rule in the Marine Corp about never walking in grass unless you're mowing it. It's especially true of government buildings.


If you were going to engage in a risky activity like skydiving during your off time, what sort of form would you have to sign?

As a member of the service, enlistees are considered government property. Because the military wants to protect its investments, anyone wishing to participate in a risky activity must sign an Operational Risk Management (ORM). It's even true for those wishing to join a platoon's basketball league.


The U.S. Navy has the highest maximum age limit for new recruits — what is it?

With parental consent, military enlistment can begin at the age of 17. Each branch has a different maximum age limit, but the Navy has the highest. It accepts members up to 38 years of age.


When you're strolling with your sweetheart, what side are you required to walk on?

It might sound a little silly, but it's for a good reason. Service members are required to walk on the left side so that their right hands are free to salute any superior officer they might encounter. It's a remnant of the days when shields were held on the left, and swords were held on the right.


What are you not allow to wear to the commissary — even when you are off duty?

When you are in the privacy of your own home, you are permitted to wear what you like. However, conducting any sort of business on base should be done while wearing respectable clothes. You should save the gym clothes for your workout.


Is it permissible to allow your proud sibling to try on your military jacket when you're home on leave?

Under no circumstances should you let anyone wear any part of your military uniform! When civilians wear parts of a military outfit, it is considered disrespectful to those who have committed their lives to duty.


What's the name of the document that outlines the military justice system and lists criminal offenses?

Administered by the Department of Justice, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) outlines all military laws and ordinances. Every branch of the military is covered within the document's rules.


Where would you go to take the ASVAB and to turn in your enlistment package?

What a recruiter sends a new enlistee for a physical assessment and ASVAB testing, enlistees are told to report to the MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station). It's the last step before being given a date to report to boot camp.


If an enlistee signs up for Direct Ship, what does that mean?

An enlistee would rarely enlist in the Direct Ship program, but it does happen when specific skills are needed. Instead of receiving a date for future reporting, those who sign a Direct Ship contract leave for basic training right after testing at MEPS.


How many times is a future noncommissioned officer usually promoted during their first year of service?

There are two ways to become an officer in the military. Enlistees can enter as a commissioned officer or through officer training. Those who rise through the ranks and show promise as an officer are generally promoted three or four times during their first year of service.


What sort of policy does the Army have in place that outlines the rules of dating fellow service members?

The Army has made great efforts to modernize. It was once considered against the rules for an officer to date someone of a lower rank, but their fraternization policy has been revamped. There are still rules and regulations about dating, but they are not as strict as they once were.


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