Jumping out of airplanes isn’t something you’d expect to be just another day on the job. But for Staff Sgt. Roger Simmons, it was an important aspect of his time in the Army.
Since joining the Army, Simmons has attended airborne school at Ft. Bragg, traveled to Europe, trained with German soldiers and jumped out of planes with soldiers from Panama and Venezuela. Simmons joined the Army to take advantage of several benefits.
“There are a lot of different things you can do. Money for college was one of my reasons,” Simmons says. “I was also looking at it as a progression for jobs because I knew the market wasn’t the greatest. The training and the experience is one of the big things.”
If you’re interested in joining the Army, call your local recruiting office to see if you’re eligible. Once you enlist, your first job will be to succeed at basic training, a nine-week lesson in soldiering, rifle marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat and other skills.
“Basic training is the same if you’re an infantryman or a cook,” Simmons says. “And from there, you go on to your specific job training, which is different.”
A typical day in the life of a soldier starts with physical training, or “PT.” Then a 9-to-5 workday follows.
“At 5 o’clock, you’re done for the day and you can do whatever,” Simmons says. “You can take college classes, go clubbing… The only thing we require is that you’re back ready to work the next day at 6:30. Most people think that your whole time in will be like basic training. But really, after basic training, it’s just like any other job.”
From his experience in the Army, Simmons says he’s learned discipline, pride, leadership, teamwork and management skills.
“Out in the field, it’s a brotherhood,” he says. “There really is a camaraderie that you can’t find anywhere else.”
Education: High school diploma and passing ASVAB score
Salary: A private starts at $14,321 base salary; increases with rank and time in service. Base salary doesn’t include bonuses, allowances and other benefits.
Random fact: The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a multiple-choice test that helps you determine for which military jobs you are best suited.