Military as a career? And retirement?

I am looking into joining the military and possibly making it my career.

I understand that the Army offers the quickest promotions, however, I am looking into the USAF, USN, or USMC.

Question is out of those 3 branches, which offers the quickest promotions and how long should it take to rank up each time?

And I was looking on and it says I can retire after 20 years with no payroll deductions. Does this mean if I am making $5000 a month then my pension will give me $5000 per month for the rest of my life?

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    While some branch's of the military are easier to be promoted, that is only for the lower ranks.

    Once you reach the middle and senior NCO ranks, the differences basically go away between service branch's.

    Average current promotion times: ( source, the DOD )


    Army - 4.2 yrs

    Navy - 5.2 years

    Air Force - 4.4 yrs

    Marine Corps - 4.8 yrs


    Army - 8.5 yrs

    Navy - 11.3 years

    Air Force - 12.9 yrs

    Marine Corps - 10.4 yrs


    Army - 13.6 yrs

    Navy - 14.4 years

    Air Force - 16.9 yrs

    Marine Corps - 14.8 yrs


    Army - 17 yrs

    Navy - 17.1 years

    Air Force - 19.7 yrs

    Marine Corps - 18.8 yrs


    Army - 20.8 yrs

    Navy - 20.3 years

    Air Force - 22.1 yrs

    Marine Corps - 22.1 yrs

    Of course these are service wide average times. You can easily be promoted alot faster than these times.

    If you retire at 20 years, you earn 50% of the average of your highest three years of pay.

    You earn 2.5% retirement each year you serve, up to 75% for retiring with 30 years service.

    In reality, most retirees earn a higher percentage, because the retirees cost of living adjustment, is usually higher than the pay increases for the active military.

  • 1 decade ago

    To answer you question:

    My sister in-law retired 20 years active air force and gets $1400 a month. She never made $5000 a month and was an E-7. She did take the 15 year $30,000 option and dropped to 40%, that's what they mean by payroll deductions, That and any lost time (IE: bing AWOL, going to jail, etc.

    The Army is the only branch that doesn't require tests to get promoted, just boards, E4 to E-5 and E-5 to E-6 are localized (within your battalion.) You have enough points when the numbers come out, you're in. E-7 and up is a DA board where they read your entire file in five minutes and hope for the best.

  • 1 decade ago

    Let's not forget the Coast Guard. . .

    While some people have posted that you'll get 20% of your base pay upon retirement, that's not correct. You'll get a pension based on High 3 (usually your last three years of service). Old farts like me, who've been in since before 1980 get a pension based on "highest pay."

    Basically 2.5% of base pay for every year of active duty.

    Also, that 75% limit doesn't apply anymore. People need to check

    the laws before they answer up. As it stands, if you can go past

    30 years in your Service, you could accrue up to 100% of your base

    pay if you got to 40.

    Check out the pay charts, educational benefits (especially the "Post

    9/11 GI Bill coming online 1 August), etc., and look at all the Services.

    Source(s): 30+ years and counting in the Coast Guard (11 enlisted, 10 CWO, and 10 commissioned).
  • Bill
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Army advancement is probably the quickest, but Air Force offers better facilities and living conditions. Pensions are 2 1/2% of your basic pay at the time of your retirement for each year served. Plus each year you get a cost of living raise the same as social security recipients. You also receive no cost medical insurance which pays 75% of allowable medical charges. Most retirees purchase a supplemental plan to cover the difference. Prescription drugs are no cost if available at military facilities. Otherwise they can be purchased via retail pharmacies at a significantly reduced cost. A low cost dental plan is available which covers routine exams, etc., at no cost and 50-60% of most major dental work.

    Chief Petty Officer

    U.S. Navy, Retired

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  • 1 decade ago

    They are roughly the same as far as promotions go, Navy is perhaps the worst as far as I can tell. But promotions also have a lot to do with how active the military is at the time that you are in, recruitment rates and so forth so it's not something you can plan out perfectly, and that's not the best approach anyway, to be overly focused on getting promoted. Focus on doing a great job. A retiree get 50% of the final base pay, not 100%.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well no, the airforce give their rank out on MRE's, but the army is pretu good at promoting too, also no when you retire you get 50% of whatever your pay was when you got out, plus if you don't wanna be told what to do, be a wussy and do whatever you want, the air force is your best bet

  • Mrsjvb
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    AF has the slowest promotion opportunities over all.

    as for generally speaking: up to E4 is automatic, all you need to do is meet time in service requirements. after that, there are tests to take, Boards to impress and job openings to appear. you can do 20 years and never make it past E6. oh yeah and there is High Year Tenure as well.. you can only have x number of years at each paygrade before you must move up..or they kick you out.

    as for retirement: you can earn UP TO 75% of your BASE PAY ONLY. at 20 years you get 50% with increments increasing each year up until the 30 year mark. other pays and allowances such as BAH and BAS or flight pay are NOT included.

  • 4 years ago

    don't worry, the recruiter will make sure you have registered in the "package" of documents you'll be filling out before shipping out. I didn't sign up years ago when the law came out in 1980, when I was 20. Joined the summer after the law came into effect, but the recruiter did it for me without my knowledge.

  • 1 decade ago

    ohh no you'll still only get 50% of your pay per month it just means limited taxes taken out

  • 1 decade ago

    How about you just go talk to a recruiter? He'll answer all your questions.

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