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A-7. Soldier For Life and Credentialing

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A-7. Soldier For Life and Credentialing

If you serve faithfully and honorably, you are a Soldier for Life, whether you are in the active or reserve components, or serve for one enlistment or a long career.

Your Army wants to be a partner in your lifelong success. Everyone leaves active duty at some point, and most will need (or want) a civilian job. We want to help you have a successful transition to civilian life and civilian employment.

It’s never too early to start thinking about your long-term goals and taking steps, even small ones, to achieve them.

While in the Army, you will learn valuable skills. Strive to be the best in your specialty. One of the reasons veterans sometimes have trouble finding jobs is that they have trouble explaining their military experience in terms that are meaningful to civilian employers.

One of the best ways to do that is by earning a credential. A credential is government license (usually state governments) or a certification from a non-government credentialing agency.

Commercial truck driver’s licenses and medical licenses are examples of government-issued credentials.

Non-government credentialing agencies that offer certifications include the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, the American Culinary Federation, and the American Welding Society.

You can learn more about credentials related to your MOS on the website “Army Credentialing Opportunities On-line at (or do a search under “Army COOL”). You will learn more about credentialing in your military training and from the leaders in your unit of assignment.

Soldiers in some fields are required to earn credentials, such as an FAA license for Air Traffic Controllers, but for most Soldiers, credentialing programs are voluntary.

You may work on a credential on your own, or you might have the opportunity to participate in an Army sponsored credentialing program.

Most of these programs are offered to students in Army schools. When you go to an Army School, you might be asked if you want to volunteer to take a credentialing exam. The Army might give you study material, including web-based training. They might pay your fees and make arrangements for you to take the exam. We encourage you to take advantage of these programs, take them seriously, and study.

You might earn a valuable credential that will someday make your job application stand out.

The Army believes that studying for a credential in your field makes you a better-rounded Soldier, and it is one sign that you are a true professional in your military specialty.

It is difficult to provide general information about credentials, because there is so much variety among military specialties and among credentials and credentialing agencies.

Some military specialties (for example, Motor Transport Operators, Wheeled Vehicle Mechanics, Food Service Specialists, and many others) closely match civilian jobs. Other valuable military specialties, such as Infantrymen and Armor Crew Members, do not match civilian jobs.

If you are in a specialty that does not closely match a civilian job and does not have a lot of credentialing opportunities, there are several things you can do. Some of these are good ideas for all Soldiers:

  • In the words of the Chief of Staff of the Army, the best credential is often a college degree. When you finish your Initial Military Training, talk the Career Counselor in your unit and to an Education Counselor, they can advise you about continuing your education.

  • Remember that you are still learning life skills that will be valuable to an employer. Army Veterans tend to be reliable, hard-working, goal-oriented, “team players” and drug-free. As a future Non-Commissioned Officer (sergeant), you will learn leadership, effective communication, how to train others, and how to supervise a job site.

  • Even if your “main job” doesn’t match a civilian job, take advantage of any opportunities that come your way to learn new skills, for example, computer skills and operating and maintaining different types of equipment.

  • Keep checking! The Army is developing new credentialing opportunities.

Tips and Precautions: One of the reasons that some credentials are so valuable is that they are hard to get. If you sign up for a credentialing exam, study!

  • If you did your best, don’t be discouraged if you don’t pass on the first try. Remember everything you learned by studying to take the exam, and consider trying again.

  • If you choose a credential to work on, be sure that the credential is the right one for you. Before you spend your money or use up some of your military benefits, make sure that the credential is offered by a reputable agency and is known and valued by employers.

  • Many credentials have re-certification requirements or continuing education requirements. Know what they are.

  • Army COOL, Army Career Tracker, and credentialing agency websites contain a wealth of information. Talk to your instructors and leaders, your unit Career Counselor and education counselors. Ask questions!

A-8. Information Websites for Family Members

The Army recognizes the important role that spouses and Family members play in supporting Soldiers and in keeping our Army communities strong.

Each Army installation has its own website that is full of useful information for your Family and can be found by searching for the name of the installation on the internet.

Be sure to look for the official site indicated by the ending “” in the web address. We have provided you with a few useful websites to vital information sources throughout this Blue Book and additional sources are located below.

It is extremely important to you and the Army that we link your Family members with resources to help integrate them into the Army lifestyle.

Use these websites and the others embedded in this book as you progress through your career from BCT to your first unit of assignment.

They will provide a wide variety of information to your Family and help them progress with you throughout your Army career.

  • Start here with the “Army Family and New Spouse Orientation” video.

  • My Army One-Source answers hundreds of Family-related questions.

  • Army Knowledge On-Line (AKO) will allow you to sponsor your spouse with an AKO account similar to yours.

  • Deputy Commanding General for Initial Military Training Knowledge Center requires an AKO account to log-in and provides information about your training and resources available to you and your Family.

  • Civilian Personnel On-line is where your spouse can look for and apply for a job with the Army at any Army installation and the Army gives spouses an employment preference.

  • Family members new to Army life can find answers to their questions regarding Army benefits.

  • Contact the Red Cross to notify a Soldier of a Family emergency and/or search for your local Red Cross

  • The official TRICARE web site is where you and your Family members can find information on military healthcare coverage.

  • Visit the Dental Program online for local dentists in your area and information regarding dental care.

  • Your LES and other pay information can be obtained from the official MyPay Homepage.

  • Army COOL (Credentialing Opportunities On-Line).

  • Army Career Tracker:

Appendix B – Soldier’s Notes


ACE Ask, Care, Escort

ACU Army Combat Uniform

AER Army Emergency Relief

AIT advanced individual training

APFT Army physical fitness test

AR Army Regulation

ARNG Army National Guard

ASU Army Service Uniform

BCAC Beneficiary Counseling and Assistance Coordinator

BCT basic combat training

DEERS Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System

EO Equal Opportunity

FM Field Manual

FTX Field Training Exercise

ID identification

IET Initial Entry Training

IPFU Improved Physical Fitness Uniform

LDRSHIP Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage

LES leave and earning statement

MOS military occupational specialty

NCO noncommissioned officer

OSUT One Station Unit Training

SARC Sexual Assault Response Coordinator

SGLI Service member’s Group Life Insurance

SHARP Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention

STX Situational Training Exercise

TRICARE tri-service medical care

UCMJ Uniform Code of Military Justice

USAR United States Army Reserve

VA victim advocate

WTBDs Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills

Army Definitions


Advanced Individual Training - a training course where Soldiers learn skills in a specific military occupational specialty.

AIT platoon sergeant- a highly educated AIT Non-Commissioned Officer who supervises, manages Soldiers and trains skills in a specific military occupational specialty.

Army Values- values that characterize the Army’s professionalism and culture, and describe the ethical standards expected of all Soldiers.

Army Emergency Relief- A private nonprofit organization incorporated in 1942 by the Secretary of War and the Army Chief of Staff.


Base- the element around which a movement is planned or regulated.

Basic Combat Training- a training course that transforms civilians into Soldiers.

Buddy Team- two Soldiers in the same unit who look after each other at all times.

Bugle Call- the musical signal that announces scheduled and certain non- scheduled events on an Army installation.

Cadence- a uniform rhythm or number of steps or counts per minute.

Chaplain- a spiritual support officer to every Soldier.

Code of Conduct- guidance on how a Soldier must conduct him or herself if captured by the enemy.

Commissioned Officer- an officer who is commissioned into the U.S. Army; leaders with the authority to command Soldiers.

Conditioning Drill- a strength and mobility activity that helps Soldiers improve their functional strength, postural alignment, and body mechanics as the exercises relate to the quality performance of Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills.


Distance- the space between elements that are one behind the other; the distance between individuals is an arm's length, plus 6 inches, or approximately 36 inches measured from the chest of one Soldier to the back of the Soldier immediately to his front.

Double Time- a cadence of 180 counts (steps per minute).

Drill Command- an oral order given by a commander or leader, usually in two parts; the preparatory command states the movement to be carried out and gets you ready to execute the order; the command of execution tells when the movement is to be carried out.

Drill Sergeant- a highly educated, qualified noncommissioned officer and the primary instructor in IET who transform civilians into Soldiers.

Duty- to fulfill your obligations.

Element- an individual, squad, section, platoon, company, or larger unit formed as part of the next higher unit.

Equal Opportunity- equal treatment for military personnel, and civilian employees without regard to race, color, religion, gender, or national origin.


File- a column that has a front of one element.

Formal Complaint- an EO complaint in which a Soldier, Family member, or DA civilian files in writing and swears to the accuracy of the information.

Formation- an arrangement of the unit's elements in a prescribed manner such as a line formation in which the elements are side-by-side, and column formation in which the elements are one behind the other.

Fraternization- personal relationships between officer and enlisted personnel regardless of their service; same-gender relationships; relationships between permanent party members and IET Soldiers; relationships between IET Soldiers; violations punishable under UCMJ.

Front- a space from one side to the other side of a formation, and includes the right and left elements.

General Courts-Martial- a courts-martial that consists of a military judge and not less than five panel members when required; held for serious offenses.

Guide- the person responsible for maintaining the prescribed direction and rate of march.

Head- a column's leading element.

Honor- to live up to the Army Values.


Informal Complaint- any EO complaint that a Soldier, Family member or DA civilian does not wish to file in writing.

Integrity- to do what is right, legally and morally.

Interval- the space between side-by-side elements.

Leave and Earnings Statement- a detailed pay statement issued at the end of each month to military service members, retirees, and DA civilians; statement contains nine sections related to military earnings and leave.

Loyalty- to bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit, and other Soldiers.

Marksmanship Badge- a badge awarded to individuals who qualify, because they have demonstrated some special proficiency or skill; a badge worn to indicate the individual’s prowess with specific weapons, pistols, and/or rifles and during specified competitions, matches, or practice exercises.

Medal- Commemorative, campaign, and service medals are issued to Soldiers who take part in particular campaigns or periods of service for which a medal is authorized.
Medal of Honor- the highest awarded decoration conferred by the military. The medal is awarded for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the U.S..

Military Time- a time table based on the 24-hour clock system.

Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) - a senior enlisted technical expert, combat leader, mentor, and primary advisor to the commander.

Oath of Enlistment- the oath Soldiers make to officially enlist into the U. S. Army; the oath to support and defend the United States of America and the U.S. Constitution.

One-Station-Unit-Training (OSUT) - basic combat training and advanced individual training combined into one course.

Personal Courage- to face and overcome fear, danger or adversity (physical or moral).

Post- the correct place for an officer or NCO to stand in a prescribed formation.

Punitive Separation- when a courts-martial may not adjudge an administrative separation from the service.

Purple Heart- a medal awarded to persons serving in any capacity as a member of the Armed Forces who are killed or wounded (requiring treatment by a medical officer) in any action against enemies of the U.S..

Quick Time- a cadence of 120 counts (steps per minute).

Rank- a line that is only one element in depth.

Respect- to treat people as they should be treated.

Restricted Reporting- A reporting option that allows military sexual assault victims to confidentially disclose the assault to a SARC, VA, or Health Care Provider and receive medical treatment, including emergency care, counseling, and assignment of a SARC and VA, without triggering an official investigation. The victim’s report provided to healthcare SARCs, or VAs will NOT be reported to law enforcement or to the command to initiate the official investigative process unless the victim consents. Only a SARC, SAPR VA, or healthcare personnel may receive a Restricted Report. A Victim can also speak to a Chaplain without triggering an official investigation however; Chaplains cannot initiate a restricted report.

Risk Management- a decision-making process used to identify and eliminate or reduce risks associated with all hazards that have the potential to injure or kill personnel, damage or destroy equipment, or otherwise impact mission effectiveness.

Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) - The SARC is the single point of contact within an organization or installation that oversees sexual assault awareness, prevention, and response training; coordinates medical treatment, including emergency care, for victims of sexual assault; and tracks the services provided to a victim of sexual assault from the initial report through final disposition and resolution. The SARC is responsible for ensuring that victims of sexual assault receive appropriate and responsive care. Upon notification of a sexual assault and after receiving consent from the victim, the SARC will assign a VA to assist the victim. SARCs supervise VAs, but are authorized to perform VA duties if required.

Selfless Service- to put the welfare of the Nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.

Service member’s Group Life Insurance (SGLI) - military life insurance.

Sexual Assault- a crime defined as intentional sexual contact, characterized by use of force, physical threat, or abuse of authority or when victim does not or cannot consent. “Consent” will not be deemed or construed to mean the failure by the victim to offer physical resistance. Consent is not given when a person uses force, threat of force, or coercion or when the victim is asleep, incapacitated, or unconscious.

Sexual Contact- Touching or causing another person to touch, either directly or through clothing either genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh or buttocks with an intent to abuse, humiliate or degrade any person; or touching or causing another person to touch any body part of that person, either directly or through clothing if done with an intent to arouse/gratify sexual desire.

Sexual Harassment- a form of gender discrimination that involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Soldier- a highly dedicated, uniformed member of the U.S. Army who stands ready to defend the United States from its enemies.

Soldierization- an extensive five-phase training program in Initial Entry Training.

Special Courts-Martial- a courts-martial that consists of a military judge and not less than three panel members when required. It is held for relatively serious offenses.
Summary Courts-Martial- a courts-martial composed of a commissioned officer on active duty with the grade of captain or above. The purpose of the summary courts-martial is to make thorough and impartial inquiries into minor offenses and to make sure that justice is done, with the interests of both the government and the accused being safeguarded.

Thrift Savings Plan- a Federal Government-sponsored retirement savings and investment plan.

TRICARE- the Department of Defense's worldwide health care program available to eligible beneficiates from the uniformed services.

Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) - the statute that prescribes criminal law for Soldiers.

Unrestricted Reporting- A process that an individual uses to disclose, without requesting confidentiality or Restricted Reporting, that he or she is the victim of a sexual assault. Under these circumstances, the victim’s report provided to healthcare personnel, the SARC, a SAPR VA, command authorities, or other persons is reported to law enforcement and may be used to initiate the official investigative process.


Victim Advocate (VA) - Provides non-clinical crisis intervention, referral, and ongoing non-clinical support to victims. Support includes providing information on available options and resources to victims. The VA, on behalf of the sexual assault victim, provides liaison assistance with other organizations and agencies on victim care matters and reports directly to the SARC when performing victim advocacy duties. VA services are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Warrant Officer- a technical expert, combat leader, trainer, and advisor skilled in a specific technical specialty.

Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills (WTBDs) - the critical skills Soldiers are taught in Initial Entry Training; skills Soldiers train on and use throughout their Army career.

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The United States of America exists because there is a United States Army, which is arguably the best land force the world has ever seen. The U.S. Army is an institution founded on values and a bedrock of trust between it and the American people it serves. The U.S. Army Soldier is professional, disciplined and reflects the best of our country.

The title of Soldier is never given, it is earned, and what is earned is yours forever. Like the men and women that came before you, from the earliest days of the Revolutionary War to the Mountains of Afghanistan and the deserts of Iraq, the responsibility of defending our nation will be yours. When you graduate Basic Training you will have earned the right to be called Soldier and your name will forever be associated with the greatest Army on Earth.
There are no ex-Soldiers, only Soldiers. Whether you decide to complete one enlistment or make the Army your career, upon completion of honorable service you will have earned the title of Veteran or Retired Soldier but will always be a Soldier for Life. U.S. Army Soldiers, Veterans and Retirees are the strength in our communities and the leaders of our country; you will be that leader.
Once a Soldier, Always a Soldier…a Soldier for Life!

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